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Religious Studies
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Joe Larose

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Oct.17.2012 RELIGION TEST #2 – REVIEW NOTES Corresponding readings: The Paradigmatic Life of the Buddha The Paradigmatic Life of the Buddha -if I did not make this clear last class, and I think that I didn’t, the Buddha’s biography serves as a model for proper conduct – renunciation of the world in the pursuit of spiritual knowledge is necessary -we’ll see the same thing with the Jain tradition – renunciation is necessary for spiritual salvation -in the larger Vedic/Brahmanic/Hindu tradition we have been studying, there is an ongoing debate that we tried to understand -but with the remaining traditions we will study, there really is no debate over whether it is better to renounce the world or remain engaged -you have chapters 2-5 of a text called the Buddhacarita, or Acts of the Buddha -a circa 1stcentury CE full biography of the Buddha in 28 chapters -in it, we see a lot of what I described in the slides (chapter/canto 3 in particular describes the first three sights – old age, sickness and death) -but we get more than that as well -there are a few points I want to make about this text 1 – its relation to the dominant tradition 2 – its portrayal of the homeless life (renunciation) 3 – its basic argument for renunciation 4 – its portrayal of women 1 - -like the Kumārasambhāva, this is a very literate text, full of allusions to other mythological stories and characters -these allusions are important for showing us that the Buddhist tradition represented by this text was not separated from the dominant Brahminical tradition, but instead, was in dialogue with it -the author of this text knew the brahminical tradition very well Oct.17.2012 -the relationship becomes more concrete than just knowing some of the stories and making reference to them -at one point, the king and the prince debate over dharma – the proper course of action for the prince -read 5:28-38: -in particular 5.32-33:“But, O lover of dharma, it is now time for dharma, after I have devolved the sovereignty on you. the cynosure of all eyes; but if you were forcibly to quit your father, O firmly courageous one, your dharma would become non-dharma. Therefore give up this resolve. Devote yourself for the present to the duties of a householder. For entry to the penance grove is agreeable to a man, after he has enjoyed the delights of youth.” -here, the king is trying to convince the prince that renunciation at this time goes against his dharma – his duty to become king and to take on the duties of a householder -the king’s conception of dharma essentially agrees with what we saw in The Law Code of Manu -we’ll see this engagement with the larger Brahminical tradition over and over again -the dominant tradition does not engage with the smaller ones – it barely notices their existence 2 – -its portrayal of the homeless life – in other words, what is renunciation supposed to look like? read 5.19: “I dwell wherever I happen to be, at the root of a tree or in a deserted temple, on a hill or in the forest, and I wander without ties or expectations in search of the highest good, accepting any alms I may receive.” Oct.17.2012 -what kind of life is depicted here? -we see a similar depiction in the reading for today -is it like the life that is portrayed in the video about the aghori? -I don’t want to say too much about it now -but I do want you to be attuned to what this and ot
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