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Chapter 3

RLG Chapter 3.doc

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Kenneth Derry

Chapter 3: Buddhism The Man Who Woke Up Buddha: in Sanskrit means to wake up or the Enlightened One. o He was born around 563 B.C. in Nepal. o His full name was Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakyas. o At 16, he married a princess named Yasodhara who bore a son called Rahula. Three Phases of Buddhas Quest for Enlightenment: o To seek two Hindu masters and pick their minds for the wisdom in their tradition (he learned the yogis). o To join a band of ascetics where he learned the futility of asceticism. o To perform a combination of rigorous thought and mystic concentration along the lines of raja yoga (empting oneself of ones finite self) took 49 days in the Immovable Spot. Buddha founded an order of monks and nuns, challenged the deadness of Brahmin society and accepted in return the resentment and queries his stance provoked. o He trained monks and oversaw the affairs of his order. o He maintained an interminable schedule of public preaching and private counseling. Buddha died at the age of eighty in 483 B.C. from dysentery after eating a meal of dried boars flesh in the home of Cunda the smith. The Silent Sage Jataka Tales: had Buddha sacrificing himself for his herd when he was a stag and hurling himself as a hare into a fire to feed a starving Brahmin. He gave to each his sympathy, his enlightenment and the strange power of souls, which even when he did not speak a word, gripped the hearts of his visitors and left them transformed. Buddha was gifted with preternatural insight into character, he is able to size up the people who approached him and he seemed never to be taken in by fraud. The Rebel Saint The religion of Buddha appeared overnight, fully formed, unlike Hinduism, as it was a religion of reaction against Hindu perversions. Six Aspects of Religion (not for Buddhism): o Authority: it begins with specialization because talent and sustained attention will lift some people above the average in matters of spirit. o Ritual: we want to interact with people in ways that make the interactions more than the sum of their parts. o Speculation: people want answers to questions. o Tradition: it is tradition rather than instinct that conserves what past generations have learned and bequeath to the present as templates for action. o Grace: the belief that reality is ultimately on our side. o Mystery: being finite, the human mind cannot begin to fathom the Infinite it is drawn to. Buddha was determined to clear the ground from corruption that truth might find new life. o Buddha preached a religion devoid of authority. He wanted to abolish the Brahmin caste. He challenged each individual to do his own religious seeking and do not accept what they hear by report. o Buddha preached a religion devoid of ritual as he would ridicule Brahmanic rites as superstitious petitions to ineffectual gods. o Buddha preached a religion that skirted (to go around) speculation. o Buddha preached a religion devoid of tradition. o Buddha preached a religion of intense self-effort. No god or gods could be counted on, not even the Buddha himself. Buddha considered the notion that only Brahmins could attain enlightenment as ridiculous. Buddha doesnt believe reincarnation because once gone, they will always be gone. o Buddha preached a religion devoid of the supernatural. Buddha condemned all forms of divination, soothsaying and forecasting as low arts. He concluded that the human mind was capable of powers but refused to allow his monks to play around with those powers. Original Buddhism can be Characterized in the Following Terms: o Empirical: a disciple must know for himself, direct validation. o Scientific: attention to discovering cause-and-effect relationships that affected an experience. o Pragmatic: people should be concerned with problem solving. o Therapeutic o Psychological: instead of
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