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BUDDHISM TRADITIONS.docx

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Department
Humanities
Course
HUMA 1865
Professor
Aviva Goldberg
Semester
Winter

Description
BUDDHISM TRADITIONS - “everything that arises also passes away, so strive for what has not arisen” buddha’s last word to disciples - after his revelation at age 35, Buddha understood and taught that all worldly things are caught up in a cycle of arising and passing away - dharma = teaching - sangha = community; Buddha charged his followers to carry the dharma to the rest of the world Buddhism 3 main traditions (originated in India): - Theravada: spread to Southeast Asia - Mahayana: became principal school in East Asia - Vajrayana: developed out of Mahayana and became closely associated with the Himalayan region Triple Gem: - Buddhists say they take refuge in the Triple Gem - 1 The Buddha - 2 the dharma - 3 the sangha - as they progress along the path to enlightenment, they seek to become more compassionate, generous, away from desires/hatred, focus on purity/wisdom/spirituality Origins - 6-7 BCE - *Buddhism is not a religion developed as a reaction to Hinduism, rather Buddhism represented a continuation of the traditional religion of India (and extend back thousands of years before Buddha himself) first gem : buddha - the budhha is the one that has achieved full enlightenment - the Buddha is there to perfect dharma - a new Buddha comes about once dharma has declined…similar to Hinduism, when Krishna and bhagavid gita come to earth when dharma declined - Buddha is aware of needs of world and knows when to reborn - Karma needs to be reborn again and again depending on previous lives - A new school of Buddha takes over the previous …before a Buddha passes away they appoint someone as the Buddha - All Buddhist look forward to a future Buddha known as mitria - Although only one Buddha, there are other spiritually advanced people who have achieved some degree of enlightenment…are known as worthy ones…arhats - Bodhisattva = enlightened beings - Shakyamuni is venerated for having achieve enlightenment (perfection of spiritual wisdom) and liberation (moksha) from samsara (the cycle of rebirths) after striving through hundreds of previous lives to perfect his “mind of englightenment” ** story of shakyamuni - The villagers were getting ready for the Buddha for that era, so they were filling all the mud holes…one man said he would fill one of the holes by laying himself over it…buddha doesn’t step on him and declares the young man as the next Buddha…after the young mans death, his karma is reflected into the next life…he will keep in that state of samsara until purification - Jitaka is the different accounts of the lives lived by Shakyamuni (through reincarnation - i.e.: born as prince, and when the prince dies, his bodhisattva is reborn in the heavens and stays until he thinks he can be born as a perfect father (determines the perfect time) - - * like jesus, buddha’s birth occurs without sexual intercourse - mahaparusa: the 32 signs of the great person buddha yielded this 32 attributes - - when born, the king names the baby Siddhartha (successful one) …the king then orders that no evidence of sick, old age, suffering, and death be allowed near the boy - - reason: seeing all of life’s miseries would lead him to abandon the world and follow spiritual path; thus the king sheltered him away from such evidences - however, with all of the king’s efforts to protect him from life’s sorrows the prince finally learns the truth - FOUR SIGHTS AND GREAT DEPARTURE - The prince sees 4 sights that will alter his life  sick man, old man, dead man, and monk (old man = consequences of aging; sick man = all beings are subject to pain; dead man = death is inevitable) - sick/old/dead men = symbols of life’s sufferings - monk = find cause of this suffering, escape the cycle of life so that the prince wouldn’t have to endure those sufferings Enlightenment - Bodhisattva (aka pre-Buddha) through many lives fails to achieve nirvana, - when he was a child, he had no desires, lusts, etc…so he made a statement that he would find a tree and sit under it to achieve nirvana (until whenever he achieves it) - the lord of death Mara tempted with 3 daughters to make him stray away from the spiritual path and take bodhisattva soul - bodhisattva refuses all of Mara’s request - this is when he achieves nirvana Setting Wheel in Motion – dharma - the Buddha begins by telling 5 disciples the path of moderation between self- indulgence and aesthetiscm - when Buddha had all the wealth, he didn’t develop spiritually, and didn’t make significant progress in life…only when in moderation did he achieve enlightenment - at age 30, he starts his mission to spread the dharma…for the next 45 years SECOND GEM--- DHARMA - dharma: refers to teachings of the Buddha - includes: law of nature, eternal truths, the reality of spiritual forces (i.e. karma) - self-denial, self-indulgence, and four noble truth = human problem - the core of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and eightfold Path: - 1. Noble truth of suffering (duhka AKA suffering includes sickness, death, etc). 2. Noble Truth of Origin (suffering arises from desires, cravings) - 3. Noble Truth of Cessation (suffering will cease when desires cease) - 4. Noble Truth of Eightpath Fold: the right understanding of the Four Noble Truths, right thought (free of desire, ill mind, etc), right speech, right meditation, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right conduct 3 Characteristics of Existence: - suffering, impermanence, and no-soul - suffering = basically the First Noble Truth - impermanence = all earthly things are changing, all things pass through this cycler process - no-soul= underlines implications of impermanence on human life Tripitaka: - Theravada tradition referse to the scriptures collectively as the Tripitaka (3 baskets) - the discourses of Buddha arranged into 3 divisions of sermons, monastic law, and metaphysics. Third Gem: Sangha - established by Shakyamuni Buddha as the orders of monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen. - Ashoka, a great king of the Mauryan dynasty, is understood to have placed important roles in the spread of Buddhism in India. He encouraged his followers to live according to dharma and preferred conquest through righteousness (dharma) over violent conquest. Theravada Buddhism: - Theravada meaning “way of the elders” - Conservative, traditionalist, original form of Buddhism – does not recognize scriptures after the Tripitaka - Prominent tradition in Sri Lanka and in Southeast Asia - PRACTICE: - Buddha-Puja paying respect to the Buddha by placing flower on altars before praying - 5 MORALS OF THE BUDDHIST: killing, stealing, sex, wrong speech, and intoxication - MERIT RITUALS: alms giving, Dana ritual (Monks visit homes, pagodas, etc to receive $/food), Life/Death cycle rituals (integration of Buddhist traditions with the country it is in, no specific tradition), Buddha Day Festival, and Meditation Mahayana Buddhism: - Meaning “the Greater Vehicle” - Main points-  Criticizes Theravada for failing to be properly inclusive  All should be bodhisattvas working for the liberation of all beings and their own full Buddha hood  Perfected bodhisattvas have the power to assist worshippers and are common focuses for meditation also. - PRACTICE: festivals regarding treatment of the dead, festivals honouring Buddha’s birth/nirvana, New Year’s Mahayana diffe
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