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Chapter 1

Buddhism chapter notes: chapter Chapter 1 notes.docx

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Shinji Takagaki

BUDDHISM: Introduction - “One could point out that only in recent centuries has the term Buddhism been used to name this religion. This name was coined by Western scholars and eventually became accepted by Buddhists themselves. Previously, the religion was often referred to as the teaching or message and the Buddha‟s way of path of attainment.” – pg 1 - “Central importance of doctrine and practice” – pg2 - “Fundamental to the variety of Buddhist traditions is the classical opinion that to be a Buddhist means to take the Three Refuges or to take refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the dharma and the Sangha”. – pg 2 - Dharma – teaching … Sangha – community - “The emphasis on Indian Buddhism is important because it is the root experience from which all other forms of Buddhism have grown.” – pg 3 - “We will also see that as Buddhism traveled outside of India, it adapted to different Asian cultures. For example, Theravada spread into Sri Lanka and parts of Southeast Asia, preserving a classic brand of Indian Buddhism.” – pg 3 - „Southern Buddhism‟ – “is not pure Theravada, but includes worship and rites associated with both pre-Buddhist spirit religiosity and Hinduism.” – pg3 - „Northern Buddhism‟ – “took shape in Tibet based on the Mahayana teachings and Tantric traditions of India” – pg3 - „Eastern Buddhism‟ – “is the product of inculturation influenced by Confucian and Taoist strains of classical Chinese culture.” -3 - „Western Buddhism‟ – “beginning to take shape as more westerners seek enlightenment by adopting and adapting Asian forms of Buddhism. As this new phenomenon is taking place, Asian Buddhusm is also chaning in order to engage the modern world that in Asia is so influenced by Westernization” – 3 The Life of Gautama Buddha - Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha, the “Awakened One”, “sixth century BCE was a time of social and religious change.” -pg 9 - “Was born during a historical epoch when the Indian culture was open to his religious message of enlightenment, compassion and peace.” – pg9 - In the questioning intellectual environment, numerous schools of religious thought and practice emerged. - Religious leaders were turning to the recently mystical composed ideas of the Upanisads rather than the ritual practices of the older Vedic tradition. - The Vedic tradition was a product of the Aryans who began to invade the Indian subcontinent around 2000 BCE. - The Vedas contained hymns to the Gods (devas), emphasizing the ritual worship of many Gods. - Upanisads: mystical belief in a universal and unitary spiritual Reality, called Brahman: the true essence, or Atman (self) of all things. 1. Personal realization of this divine essence through insight and meditiation would lead to spiritual liberation, moksa - liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul from karma and rebirth. - Śramana – “strivers” for liberation and contentment” – 10, “they often were wandering ascetics who lived in poverty and begged for what they needed.” - “Jainism was founded around the time of Siddhartha Gautama by Mahavira (Vardhamana Jnateputra), the “great hero.” -10 - Group taught that all beings have a jiva – “life principle” 1. The jiva is like an individual soul that is bound by karma and rebirth to this material world. Only way to free oneself from jiva is through severe asceticism. - “materialists denied both karma and rebirth” -10 - “on his spiritual quest Gautama joined a small group of sramanas for a time.” But after his Awakening, “he rebuked the shortcomings of the views and practices of the sramanas groups” -10 1. he was opposed to the jains mechanical way of thinking about karma and their extreme asceticism. The Early Life of Siddhartha Gautama - “Date of birth could be put between 578 and 447” -11 – “lack of consensus” “many scholars place his life fully in the fifth century bce” -11 - “Scholars point out that biographies of Gautama‟s life should be questioned for historical accuracy because they were written hundreds of years after his death and include legends not found in earlier texts.” 11 Birth - Born to the warrior-caste of the Sakya clan in the state of Kosala. - In later tradition Buddha is given the title, Sakyamuni, “sage of the Skya clan.” - “a personal name for the Buddha was not given in the earlier texts but appears in later texts as Siddhartha meaning “one who
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