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Chapter Readings 1 to 9

RLG206H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter Readings 1 to 9: Dharma, Himalayas, Walpola Rahula


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG206H5
Professor
Christoph Emmrich
Chapter
Readings 1 to 9

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BUDDHISM READINGS
READING 1
Symbolic gestures – mudras
Practice of offering to ones guru; guru occupies prime importance because he
embodies the Buddha
In Tibet – guru is often added as 4th refuge
People usually offer their gurus a MANDALA – means circle
Monastics and laypersons usually offer mandalas
Visualize guru is on mount meru sitting on lions throne but actually offer
flowers. Wash hands and call out particular offerings
READING 2 PG 238-241
THE ROCKET FESTIVAL IN LAOS
Theravada Buddhism believes Buddha is not an active protector; does not
interfere in mundane concerns of people
Spirits called nat in Myanmar and phi in Thailand and Laos.
Certain spirits may be offered animal sacrifices or whiskey while Buddha will
receive only cooked food and flowers
Rocket Festival (Bun Bangfai) held in Laos and northern Thailand
Invocation of God of Heaven to ensure abundance of harvest
Main role of monks is to make the most powerful rockets – they have about
10 days
2 day festival no women participate; commemorates Buddha’s birth, death
and enlightenment
Rockets are launched; the one to go farthest gets prize of 200-300 kip kept at
the monastery
The monastery (wat) takes care of spiritual needs of the people and the spirit
temple (ho phiban) takes care of the environmental needs of its people (food,
shelter etc.)
READING 3 Page 264-269
RITUALS AND FESTIVALS
PILGRIMAGE TO MOUNT KAILASA
Circumambulation – going around a sacred site
Prostrations – putting bodies full length on ground
It takes a day to go around the mountain once.
The king of Bhutan controlled the wealthiest monastery before it was
destroyed.
Story behind rocks is a demon tried to remove the mountain with a rope but
Buddha convinced him not too and there is a footprint of Buddha on the
mountain.
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Gang rimpoche mountain is sacred because Buddha came here plus it is
center of Himalayas; center or world.
Mani stones – stones with a specific mantra written on them
Members of BON RELIGION MOVE COUNTECLOCKWISE AND BUDDHISTS
MOVE CLOCKWISE AROUND GANG RIMPOCHE.
Grand prostrations – Tibetan Buddhists keep on prostrating as they move
around the mountain and in the ritual.
READING 4
Sanboe was given to princess who turned into nun. Book contains rituals and
festivals prominent in Kyoto.
Bulding of stupas next to river bank is an act of devotion; monks pray on the
stupas and offerings are made; some ignorant people believe it is just a day
for pleasure so they also get drunk and fall but they will also join the garden
of merit.
Rite of dead was initiated when Buddha was in this world. One can save
parents from hungry ghosts if they offer monks food.
According to Japanese Buddhism, chanting of the name if amida Buddha gets
you reborn directly into paradise after death. By chanting this name, all sins
are erased.
Animals are liberated to remove sins
Turtle that was freed by man told him of a flood about to occur and that man
saved entire village and was made PM.
READING 5
KING ASOKA – most famous, beloved of Gods
Believed in dharma as policy to rule but not necessarily limited to Buddhist
doctrine
Conquered kalinga but felt bad and sorrowful for all the bloodshed so
planted mango trees, dug wells, watering holes, rest places throughout city
for comfort.
Asoka gave tax break to village of lumbini
King parakramabahu – great reformer; said cannot talk to mom in private
and can beg for food.
Believed Buddhist order will last 5000 years
Unified different sects of monks; not done by former kings
Did not regulate the doctrine but had rules for teeth brushing, sleep, walking
in rain etc.
READING 6 MONKS AND POLITICS READING PG. 253
2 types of monks; forest dwelling and town dwelling
Renouncers – renounce society and devote life to meditation
Political monks – involved in movements and bettering the lives of people
Walpola Rahula was a well known political sri lankan monk
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