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Department
Religion
Course
RLG206H5
Professor
Cary Takagaki
Semester
Winter

Description
The social and religious environment in India at the time of the historical Buddha Hinduism was the primary religionAryans ryans aka IndoEuropeans ryan Invasions 20001500 BCEThe Aryans invaded Northern India and other parts of Europe after which you have the Hindu tradition Early texts of the Hindu tradition are called the Vedas knowledgewisdom ca1500 BCE600 BCE The Vedas contained hymns to the godsalong with religious materials and teachings used in ritual sacrifices and in dailylife Pg9 early texts of Hinduism that teach about the many godsCaste System of HinduismVarna caste systemBrahmins priestsKshatriyas warriorsVaishyas merchants and artisans providersShdras farmers workers and servantsuntouchables technically not in the caste system but is considered the lowest of the systemHindus believed that you are born into your caste based on your previous life You cannot work your way up or down the system The caste in which you are born in is the caste you live and die as The Hindu Tradition Reincarnation to be reborn again in another form and time after you die Your birth depends on your actions good and bad during the course of your life action intentional act the effect such actions leave that influence the future of the actorKarmaAtman the soul or essence of ones self Soul permanent selfdestroy ones karma and attain spiritual realization of the divine in all things in order to escape the rounds of rebirth Pg 10 This challenges ideas that the Vedas had given Whats wrong with continuous rebirth ie samsra wanderingon cycle of birth death and rebirth According to the textbook new monarchies were being established in India greater changes such as trade and cities being built With these changes social structures and cultural customs were being questioned According to Hinduism no matter how much good one does in their life it can only be reaped in their next life When the historical Buddha began to preach he gave a new insight on ways in which individuals can reach enlightenment in this lifetime as well as ways in which to break free from the cycle of samsara4 Goals to Life1 Kma satisfying the desire for sense pleasureconsidered the lowest goal because this urge is common to both man and animals2 Arthaacquisition of worldly possessions or money political power commercial competition3 Dharmaobservance of religious dutiessince kma and artha are rooted in selfishness dharma is superior to themall Hindus are expected to choose this goal4 mokamoksha liberation from the cycle of rebirth and deathliberation achieved through Godrealizationall without exception will eventually accomplish this in this life or after their deaththose not so evolved may need several more incarnationsBrahman The universal being God understood to be not so much personal as the source and essence of all existence Ultimate Reality in Hinduism p 402Although some believed in the Vedas others were sceptical and seekers for liberation left the cities and resided in the forest where they became known as the sramana strivers They searched for liberation and contentment The sramanas included communities of the Jains Ajivakas materialists and sceptics Jainism was founded during the time of the historical Buddha and believed that since individuals are bound to karma and rebirth to find liberation meant severe asceticism The Buddha joined this group for a while until he realized he was discontent with the teachings of asceticism Asceticism In Buddhist thinking moral behaviour and ritual actions alone cannot produce the state of awakening and Nirvana Enemies of the self includes desire discontent hunger thirst ceaseless clinging laziness and sleep fear doubt pretence and stubbornnessramaa samana Pali striverstrivers for liberation and contentment wandering ascetics who lived in poverty and begged for what they neededp 10The Historical BuddhaSiddhartha Gautama is the person the world has come to know as the Buddha the awakened one He was born in the Northern part of India to the Kshatriya caste warrior approximately 5th6th centuries BCE lived Scholarspoint out that not only the date of Gautamas birth but also stories about his life must be questioned in terms of historical accuracy The complete biographies of Gautamas life were written hundreds of years after his death and include legends not found in earlier texts The Buddha had several nameskyamuni epithet ie Sage of the kya clan the kyas were ancestors of the BuddhaGautama family name most excellent cowSiddhrtha given name he who has achieved his goalEXAMPLE kyamuniWHOWHAT historical figure who started the Buddhist traditionWHEN ca 5th6th centuries BCEWHERE born in what is now NE IndiaWHYSIGNIFICANCE he founded the Buddhist traditionDESCRIBE he was born into the Kshatriyas or warrior caste and after seeing the 4 Signs at the age of 29 renounced his princely life to lead the life of a ramana ie striver He is said to have attained enlightenment at the age of 35 and died at the age of 80 after a life of disseminating his teachingsHow he was conceived and bornA white elephant appeared in a dream to the Buddhas mother Maya the night of his conception It opened her right side and entered her womb This is how the Buddha was conceived During the Buddhas birth a tree bend down to help Maya give birth and the Buddha was born with almost no pain It rained hot and gold to bathe him And he was born with the 32 primary marks and 80 secondary marks of a great manYOUTH The Buddhas father Suddhodana meaning pure rice was a warrior and wanted his son to be the same When he was born a fortune teller foretold his future saying that he will either be a great king or a spiritual leader His father shielded him from all the evil and sick in the world and showered him with all pleasure and materialistic want This is important to Buddhists today because it defines the major distractions that keep people from taking on spiritual quests because of worldly pleasures and security wealth seems to offerAccording to some later texts the Buddha got married to Yashodhara and had a son names Rahula meaning fetter He left his family on his spiritual journey later in life How did he come to this decision By seeing the Four SignsThe Four SignsFour SightsGautama went on four chariot rides in which he witnessed four signs that led him to the decision to lead a religious life1 Decrepit old man and realized this was the fate of everyone2 Severely deceased man and understood that sickness cannot be kept away by power3 Saw a corpse and saw the ultimate fate of all humankind4 Hermit practising meditation and learned that the hermit left material comforts of his household in order to seek spiritual liberation from the human conditionIt was through these four signs that Gautama realized that all his pleasures in life are not static they will soon pass and could not provide permanent happiness or shield one from the ill fate of lifeThe Great Renunciation went on a spiritual journey at the age of 29 leaving behind his wife Yaodhar and his son Rhula He went to Rajagrha where he begged for alms and lived with other seekersSpiritual Teachers Include Arada and Udraka Gautama was taught under both of these teachers during his spiritual journey Arada taught him the state of non existence in meditation and Udraka taught him the attainment of neither perception nor non perception
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