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Lecture 17

MMW 12 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Faxian, Gautama Buddha


Department
Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 12
Professor
Richard Cohen
Lecture
17

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MMW12%Lecture%Notes%
Carolyn% Kao%
Feb$22$LectureMedieval$Buddhism:$Some$Eyewitness$Accounts$
l Quick%Review%of%MMW%11%Buddhism%
n Buddha%(the%enlightened%one)%400%BCE%
u Shakyamuni%is%his%name%
u Four%Noble%truths—world%as%an%imperfect%place%
l Suffering% %
l Cause%of%suffering%
n People%are%ignorant,%attached%to%the%things%on%Earth%
(materials,%people,%desire…)%while%things%change%from%
time%to%time,%and%are%unable%to%capture.% %
l Cessation%of%suffering%
l Path%to%the%cessation%of%suffering%
n Solution:%the%internal%transformation,%the%change%of%
attitude%toward%the%world.%The%world%itself%cannot%be%
changed.% %
n Karma:%consequence%of%moral%actionone%should%be%
morally%healthy%(benevolence%versus%evilness)%
u Karma%determines%your%next%rebirth.% %
n Samsara:%the%constant%cycle%of%life—one%could%become%
either%a%god%or%an%ant%or%anything%in%between.%There’re%
numerous%possibilities%among%samsara.% %
n When%giving%up%attachment,%people%stop%suffering%as%
changes%happen.% %
n No$attachmentànot$creating$karmaàescape$from$
samsara$
n Answer:%no-self%
u People%don’t%have%fixed%existence%
u Wanting%is%creating%karma%
u Matter%of%imagination%being%placed%upon%the%object%
l Faxian%and%Xuanzang:%What%They%Were%Doing?%
n Source%of%truth%
u Coming%from%God,%or%can%be%generated%by%human%beings?%
MMW12%Lecture%Notes%
Carolyn% Kao%
u Authority?%Authenticity?%
n Faxian%traveled%to%India%during%5th%century%BCE%
u looking%for%truth%of%Buddhism%from%China%to%India%
u returned%to%the%source%of%Buddhism%
u finding%out%what%makes%Buddhism%truly%Buddhism% %
u however%religions%always%move%through%time%as%time%goes%
oncorruption%happens%and%the%essence%is%lost%
n Essence$at$the$Origin$Model$
u Esse:%to%be%in%Latin%
u Essence:%being,%existence,%reality,%truth%
n Complex$History$Model$
u The%history%is%shaped%by%numerous%factors—social,%economic,%
emotional%life%which%is%constructed%in%the%past%helps%people%project%
the%future%
u More%complex—personal%identity,%history,%community%
u What%and%why%people%are%doing?%Why%meaningful%(why%does%it%
matter?)%
u Not%just%digging%into%a%single%text%in%the%essence%of%time%
l Two%of%the%Three%Incidents%From%Faxian’s%Account%
A. Naga%As%Benefactor%
u Page%51-52%story%about%Buddhist%community%
n People%were%not%dedicated%themselves%to%the%idea%of%truth,%but%
to%interact%with%a%holy%snake/dragon%(worship%of%snake)%
n Sense%of%hierarchy%
n Localization%
n Domestication%
n Generalized%exchange%network%
n Observance%on%how%people%organize%themselves%in%
relationship%to%snake%and%the%community%
B. Relic%Worship%In%Nagara%
u Nagara:%the%religious%centre%
u Relic:%source%of%prestige,%holy,%powerful,%legitimation,%skull%of%
Buddha%(the%possession%of%relic%gives%the%kingdom%legitimacy)%
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