Buddhism

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Note by michellemjredman, updated more than 1 year ago
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Rel 1000 (test 4) Note on Buddhism, created by michellemjredman on 11/23/2013.

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Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama in about 500 BCE-dominant religion in Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) , Sri Lanka, and Tibet-was prominent in china and India from many centuries-an influential religion in Korea, japan, and South-east Asia-growing in popularity in the west

          The Buddha- Legendary Life-Siddhartha Gautama was the prince of the Shakyas (minor Himalayan nation)-born in Lumbini (in Nepal) under miraculous circumstances (c. 550 BCE)-his mother Maya, died shortly after his death-a sage foretold his future as a great world- conqueror-his father hoped for him to become a great emperor not a spiritual leader-Siddhartha was "imprisoned" in a palace of sensual delight-married to Yashodhara, who gave birth to his son,  Rahula-one day he left his palace, and encountered The Four Great Sights1. old age 2. illness 3. death (these made his experience sorrow, and realize impermanence)4. renouncer (he understood the option/possibility of finding truth)-renounced his throne (age 29), and set out in search of teachers/ teachings-limited success with meditation masters; then years of acute austerities-had a pivotal insight into the Middle Way ( of life and meditative practice)-intense meditation led him to attain Nirvana (extinguishing all illusions)-he achieved this is Bodh- Gaya, under a sacred fig tree (Bo/ Bodhi tree)-he had become the Buddha (the Awakened One)

               Post- Enlightenmentthe Buddha preached the first sermon in sarnath to his ascetic friends- they became the first members of his sangha (monastic community)-this event is called Turning the Wheel of the Dharam (his teachings)-preached from age 35 to 80 (his death); gathered some close disciples-converted may from all castes and religions; either lay persons or monks-even permitted women to join the sanagtha (though with stricter rules) -Mahaprajapati/Prajapati (his foster mother) was the first Buddhist nun-monks/nuns (bhikkhus/bhikkhunis) follow the Vinaya (monastic rules)-the Buddha was renowned for teaching in parables and in unusual ways-his prime focus was on sorrow and its ending, not on metaphysics-e.g., Parable of the Poisoned Arrow/ Mustard seed-received some royal patronage during his lifetime- on deathbed reemphasized the importance of self-reliance on the quest-nevertheless he was already being venerate by people during his lifetime-his physical passing is called the Parinivana -

BUDDHIST TRADITIONS AND TEACHINGS the Buddhist canon is known as the Tripitaka (Three Baskets)- compiled by his closes disciples, e.g. Ananda - his attendant 1. Sutra Pitaka (basket of discourse) - general teachings by the Buddha2. Vinaya Pitaka (basket of discipline) - monastic regulations                 - the Sangha follows over 220 rules of discipline3. Abhidharam Pitaka (futher teachings) - philosophical arguments

The First Sermon: The Four Noble Truths The Buddha's teachings are known as the Dharam.A simple rendition of these teachings are associated with the first sermon1. the inevitability of sorrow. suffering for sentient beings2. Duhkha has a cause. It is grounded in out ignorance (avidya) about reality   - we are ignorant of the impermanence of all phenomena   - we desire/cling/thirst after (trshna) illusions 3. Duhkha can end, if we end our illuion-based desires. This is niravna4. The Noble Eight- fold Path (or middle way) is one method prescribed

The Noble Eight- Fold Path- these need to be developed simultaneously 1. proper religio- philosophical outlook: (question all assumed truths) 2.proper intention/ aspiration: (have sincere determination to find the truth)3. proper speech/ communication: (don't deceive)4. proper action: (actually do what is necessary and appropriate)5.proper livelihood: (choose your occupation wisely)6.proper application/ effort: (persevere in you practice)7. proper mindfulness (smirti): ( utilize the right kind of meditation)8. proper samadhi (contemplative union) : ( find potent insight/ realizations)

The noble Eight- Fold path leads to Buddhahood, the goal of all BuddhistAlthough anyone striving for freedom from all illusions is a Buddhist, formal entry into Buddhism is marked by "taking refuge in the Three Jewels"1. The Buddha2. The Dharam3. The Sangha

Buddhist developed many types of meditation practices over the centuries- the most common and effective is mindfulness (smriti) practice- one carefully observes (w/o judgement) body/mind process.- as mindfulness develops and is refined, one will have a powerful insight       (nirvanic) into a common process occurring -this process is known as Prititya- Samutpada (Dependent Origination) - Prititya- Samutpada reveals the origin of our sense of "self"-it depends in part on  our perceptions, our ignorance, and our desires     perceptions- sensations- self - desire - death - sorrow-each created self is dependent on a vast array of related phenomena-all these are impermanent; so are our many psychologically created selves- as these "grow old and die" we experience suffering

The Anatman Doctrine in Buddhism- insight into pratitya- samutpada reveals not only how "selves" are created-it reveals there is no permanent, independently existing self (e.g., atman)-there is nothing permanent in existence (no soul, no Brahman/Atman, etc)-this is known as the Anatman Doctrine

Buddhists accept the principles of karma and rebirth, but in distinct waysKaram: principles of cause and effect; only pertains to "intentional acts."If there is no soul/self, what is reborn? answer: nothing permanentThe person is like a candle flame; it appears to be separate entity-actually it is a manifestation of a complex highly- interconnected process-rebirth is like one candle flame igniting another-physical rebirth may occur in the realms (heavens, worldly, underworld)-but rebirth may/should be understood psychologically Nirvana: ends all illusions about the self, thus freedom from karma and rebirth

Mahayana Buddhism and the Bodhisattva IdealSome centuries after the B's parinrvana, mahayana Buddhist texts appeared- distinguished themselves from what they called Hinyana Buddhism- Hinayana - lesser vehicle/ raft     Mahayana- great vehicle/ raft- Raft image; carries one to the far shore of liberationThe Mahayana emphasizes the Bodhisattva (Enlightenment being) idealBodhisattva: a person who strives for the liberation of all sentient beingsbeings are infinite in number/ i vow to save them all;the obstructive passions are endless in number/ i vow to end them all;Buddhahood is the supreme achievement/ i vow to attain itThe bodhisattva is a heroic ideal; to attain it one must perfect many qualitiese.g. chraity, patience, loving-kindness; but the two most important ones' 1. prajna: transcendental wisdom  2. karuna: compassionBodhisattvas also develop skillful means of perfect there qualities and rescue beings from suffering

the Buddha received some royal patronage during his life time-for some centuries is primarily cirulated in the Ganges river kingdoms-co-existed with other rival religious- philosophies (e.g., Janism)-c.250 BCE, the emperor Ashoka developed a vast empire in India-he converted to Buddhism, and helped establish it throughout his empire-sent missionaries to adjoining countries where Buddhism flourished-Buddhism virtually vanished from India by 16th CE; now in revivalOnly one non- mahayana (i.e. Hinayana) Buddhist school survivesIt is called the theravada (doctrine/ teaching of the elders)- it is the dominate form of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand- it is more conservative and regards the Tripitaka as it's primary canonMahayana Buddhism spread to china, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Vietnam-marked by adaptability, and distinct forms development in various countries-e.g., tantric Buddhism in Tibet; devotional Buddhism in China ad Japan-it is more conservation and regards the Tripitaka as it's primary canonTibetan Buddhism - the indigenous religion of Tibet was Bon- animistic, abounding in deities/ spirits both benevolent and malevolent- a Tibetan king converted and invited a Buddhist missionary- padmasambhava a tantric Buddhist master       -shaped the nature of Tibetan Buddhism      - Tibetan Buddhism is also called Vajrayana (Thunderbolt Vehicle)- tantra is characterized by high ritual, male/female (sexual) imagery, etc.      - also super-normal powers may be developed for the benefit of others-may Bon deities were "converted" and became divine bodhisattvas-vajrayana later developed the tradition of reincarnating lamas (teachers)- the dalai lama (ocean[of wisdom] lama) become political leader-current xiv incarnation, in political exile (won nobel peace prize)  

Chinese and Japanese BuddhismBuddhism entered China via the silk roads in the 1st century-initially encounter resistance due to Confucian values (this-worldly)-grew popular after the fall of the Han Dynasty (c.200BCE- 200CE)-gained its greatest popularity during the Tang (T'ang) dynasty (7th- 10th CE)-distantly Chinese Buddhist schools arose, often based on a particular text     -e.g., Tiantai Buddhism was based on the influential Lotus Sutra     - teaches that Buddha nature is within all beings and can flower like a lotus     - these schools also in Japan; Tiantai became Tendai in Japan-after 12th CE, neo- confucian philosophy dominated China and Japan- pure Buddhism declined in China

other important schools developed in China and spread to JapanPure Land Buddhism  -based on devotional to Amitabha Buddha (jp. Amide)  -chanting his name (jp. nembutsu) leads to rebirth in the pure landanother devotional Japanese Buddhist school focuses devotion on the lotus sutra

Zen Buddhism-founded by the semi-legendary Indian meditation master Bodhidharma-meditation at shao- lin monastery; used martial arts as mediation method-school empasizes meditaionZen Buddhism developed two main branches in Japan  Soto Zen: emphasizes sitting meditaion (zazen)  Rinzai Zen: emphasizes use of the Koan  - the Koan is an enigmatic question which can bring about insight   e.g., what is the sound of one hand clapping?Vajrayana, Zen and devotional Buddhism are gaining popularity in the world

The buddha (legendary life)/ post-enlightenment life

Buddhist traditions and teachings

meditation and the nirvanic insight

development and spread of buddhism

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