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Summary of all readings up to 2/17/16 by Donald Lopez

by: Megan Costello

Summary of all readings up to 2/17/16 by Donald Lopez REL 134

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Megan Costello
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Summary of the assigned readings in Buddhism for upcoming midterm and all testing through semester.
Intro to Buddhism
Lai, Rongdao
Study Guide
Buddhism, Readings, religion, Jatakas, Birth Stories, midterms, Religion USC
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Megan Costello on Wednesday February 17, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to REL 134 at a university taught by Lai, Rongdao in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views.


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Date Created: 02/17/16
King Shibi Rescued a dove The Shibi Jataka King Shibi is on his path to enlightenment and is cutting off his own flesh to suffice the  Hawks desire to feed on the Pigeon. To show that he has true compassion for all living  being he must not flinch through any suffering. "These insignificant sufferings cannot be  compared with the sufferings of hell. Therefore, it is incumbent upon me that I lift up my  thought, and even in the midst of these sufferings I increase my compassion (for living  beings)." Seek to attain enlightenment without faltering, as the king has done to become a bodhisattva (Buddha). His flesh was restored after preaching an act of truth that he  did not regret mutilating his body for a pigeon. The people paid their respects to the  future Buddha.  Mount Sumeru: according to Buddhist cosmology, the mountain at the center of the  world Bhikkus: monks The Buddha remembers his Mother’s Tears The Noble Search: Ananda is Buddha’s personal attendant and cousin. After a bath in the river, Ananda  suggests they go to a nearby hermitage, where a number of monks have gathered. He  overheard the monks speaking on the dharma and interrupts. He speaks of his journey  to attain enlightenment as a young man who shaved his hair and beard put on a yellow  robe and went from the home to homelessness. A group of monks asked Ananda  (cousin of Buddha) to speak on the dharma and he wanted them to hear it from the  blessed one himself. He asked the Buddha to go to the hermitage where the monks  reside out of compassion. He went and explained the ignoble search­which is people  with attachment and infatuation. And the noble search, a person who understands  stands the danger in attachment and seeks unborn supreme security from bondage,  nirvana. He talks of his story meeting friend Kalarma his teacher, and discussing the  entrance of the dharma by releasing oneself from direct knowledge. He realized that this dharma being taught was the base of nothingness so he left it and went away. Went  and met another teacher of the dharma and was again displeased and left it. Then he  went to a place he found as an agreeable piece of ground. There he sat and thought.  And came to "my deliverance is unshakeable; this is my last birth; now there is no  renewal of being." He found it difficult to teach the dharma and thought nobody would  understand. The Brahma knew the world would crumble without his teachings and  appeared in front of his to reassure that some will understand his teachings. He went to  teach the dharma to the people who had "dust in their eyes" he went to teach Alara  Kalama, but was unable due to his death. He considered his other teacher, but found he has also died. He considered first teaching the dharma to the group of 5 monks and  used his divine eye to see where they were located. He found them and was greeted  and attempted to teach the group of five but they said "how will you have achieved any  superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble one?"  He was able to convince them and begin his teachings. He discussed the five cords of  sensual pleasure, that when you seclude from them you are not in the Evils touch. Evil  is referred to as Mara, through meditation the monks blindfolded Mara and deprived  them of the Evil One’s opportunity. They were pleased with his teachings.  The Workings of the Law of Karma Treasury of Higher Doctrine The teachings of Buddha are usually organized into three groups, or three baskets.  They are: The Sutras, or discourses of the Buddha; the Vinaya, or code of monastic  discipline; and the Abhidharma, a term that resists easy definition, it combines dharma  (doctrine or phenomenon) with abhi (superior or pertaining to), means special doctrine.  Karma­the law of the cause and effect of actions. The specific causes of suffering are  said to be ten types of negative deeds, called the ten “non­virtues”: killing, stealing,  sexual misconduct, lying, malicious speech, inconsiderate words, frivolous speech,  greed, harmful intent, and wrong views. Such deeds are said to be motivated by the  “three poisons”: the negative emotions of desire, hatred, and ignorance. Killing may be  motivated by desire, as when murder is committed in the course of a robbery, by hated  or by ignorance, as when sacrifice is considered a virtuous deed. What constitutes a  “principal cause of action”, an action that is carried to completion and thereby can serve  as the cause of an entire future lifetime. Buddhism famously teaches that there is no  self and that the constituents of mind and body, are all impermanent, coming into  existence and out of existence in each moment. Good actions, with their preparatory  and consecutive actions, arise from non=desire, non­hatred, and non­ignorance.  We have seen that bad courses of action were not indifferently “achieved” by the three  roots. Killing, wickedness, and injurious words are achieved through hate. Solely by  hate. They are achieved when one thought of murder, or one thought of violence  (concerning wickedness and injurious words) manifests itself. Adultery, greed, and  stealing are achieved through desire. False views, through ignorance, is the view that  there is neither good nor bad. The other courses of action, lying, malicious words, and  inconsiderate words, are achieved either through desire, hatred or ignorance.  Wickedness is a hatred of living beings.  As long as the victim is living, the murderer is not touched by the transgression of  murder, and when the victim dies, he (=the murderer) no longer exists if he died at the  same time or before. Because a new body has come into existence. The body­the  personality­by whom the preparation had been accomplished, the body of the murderer, is destroyed, the murderer takes up a new body which belongs to another. When many  persons are united with the intention to kill, all are as guilty as the one who kills. If a  person has been constrained through force to join the army, they are only not guilty if  they form the resolution, “even in order to same my life, I shall not kill a living being.”  One can act vocally or bodily and still be guilty.  Prana, the “vital breath”, is a wind whose existence depends on the body and the mind.  This prana is a vital organ and is annihilated by a murder. One says that the body lives  when it is endowed with the organs; and that the body is dead when it is devoid of them. The five material organs, is seen; that the consciousness of which is transmitted by  another, is heard; what is admitted by reason of correct reasoning, is mata, known; and  what is perceived by the mental organ is cognized. “Cognized” is what one feels in and  of oneself.  The Buddha’s First Sermon Setting the Wheel of the Dharma in Motion After achieving enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have been reluctant to teach. But  the god Brahma descended from his heaven to implore him to do so, arguing that  though there are some beings with much dust in their eyes (who thus would be unable  to perceive the truth the Buddha had seen), there are also beings with little dust in their  eyes (and thus able to perceive the truth). The Buddha agreed, deciding that his two old mediation teachers would be worthiest to be the first to hear his dharma. But they had  recently died, and so he chose instead “the group of five”, the five ascetics with whom  he had practices austerities and who had abandoned him in disgust when he gave up  their regimen of controlled starvation and accepted a meal. The Buddha walked to  where they were staying and when they saw him approaching, they agreed among  themselves to ignore him, still holding him in contempt for his weakness. But when he  came into their presence they were moved, to greet him and offer him a seat. This is the story of what he taught them after his achievement of Buddhahood. The Buddha’s  teaching is called the dharma and is represented as a wheel, like the wheel of a chariot, with eight spokes. When the Buddha teaches, he is said to turn the wheel of the dharma to set it rolling. One of the group of five, named Kondanna, achieves enlightenment. The Buddha had successfully taught the truth to one other person. Soon it would be  conveyed to many more.  The middle way is the path between the two extremes that the Buddha himself had  fallen into earlier in his life, the self­indulgence he had known as prince and the self­ mortification that he had practiced with the group of five ascetic. Neither of these leads  to peace; only a middle way between them leads to nirvana. That middle way is the  famous eightfold path of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right  livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation(concentration). They are  summarized under the three trainings necessary for liberation from rebirth: the training  in ethics, the training in meditation, and the training in wisdom. The four noble truths are suffering, origin, cessation, and path/way. These four things are said to be true only for  those with insight into the nature of reality.  In the first truth, Buddha identifies the  sufferings as eight: birth, aging, sickness, death, meeting with the unpleasant,  separation from the unpleasant, not finding what one wants, and the five aggregates  subject to clinging­the physical and mental constituents of the person. The second truth  is the truth of the cause or origin of those sufferings. Ex: craving as a source of  suffering, or ignorance as the root cause of suffering. The origin of suffering is to be  abandoned. The third truth is the truth of the cessation of suffering and the craving that  is its cause, not temporarily but permanently. The cessation of all forms of suffering and  their causes is called nirvana. Finally, there is a path or way leading to the state of  cessation. The fourth truth, the truth of the path­that is the eightfold path described  above. The Buddha makes three statements about each of the four truths. The first is the knowledge or recognition of each truth “this is the truth of suffering”. The second statement is what must be done with regard to each truth. Specifically suffering is to be recognized, its origin to be abandoned, its cessation is to be realized, the path to cessation is to be followed. The third statement is a declaration that the goal for each truth has been accomplished: suffering has been recognized, its origin to be abandoned, and so on. The Buddha explains that he understood the four truths in three phases and twelve aspects. When he had done so, he was enlightened. He did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma (God who persuaded Buddha to teach). But when the knowledge and vision arose in the Buddha: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewal existence. The group of five were delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. The dust-free vision of the dharma: “whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.” The Wheel of the Dharma had been set in motion by the Blessed One, and cannot be stopped by any ascetic or Brahmin or deva or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world. At that moment the Four Great Kinds cry of the wheel spread as far as the Brahma world (Heaven of the Brahma gods), and an immeasurable glorious radiance appeared in the world surpassing the divine majesty of the devas. Prince Vessantara gives away his Children The Vessantara Jataka Having practices, the perfections over billions of lives, the bodhisattva was very close to enlightenment in his last human rebirth before his birth as Prince Siddhartha. He has already practiced giving in his past lives, but as Prince Vessantara, the bodhisattva gives away his own children. He married a beautiful princess name Maddi, who bears him two children, a boy, Jali, and a girl Kanha. A delegation arrives at the kingdom suffering from a drought and asks the Vessantara to give them a white elephant that rains where it goes. He gives them the elephant but soon his own kingdom complains that the source of their prosperity has been lost. They complain to the king, Vessantara’s father, that his son be banished. Before they depart Vessantara makes a lavish gift to the people. In route to their forest hermitage, Vessantara, with his wife and children, give away their carriage and horses. They find a hut on Crooked Mountain, and live there happily for seven months. One night Maddi has a terrible dream that Vessantara gives his children to an evil Brahmin, Jujaka. Maddi returns to find her children missing and when she asks Vessantara where they have gone, he replied that he gave them to a Brahmin as slaves and claims she is young enough to have more children. Another Brahmin arrives asking for him to give him Maddi, he agrees and Maddi is led away without complaint. But this Brahmin is Indra, the kind of the gods, in disguise. He has come to test the prince’s generosity. He returns Maddi to the prince and grants him eight wishes. Vessantara asks that his father be glad to see him upon his return to the kingdom, that he ascent to the throne to become a compassionate kind, the he have a son, and that he never regret a gift. Because he never regrets a gift, he does not wish for the return of his children. The children are still slaves of the evil Brahmin. One day, he takes them to the kingdom of Vessantara’s father, who recognizes his grandchildren and purchases them from the Brahmin. The kind regrets having banished Vessantara and leads to invite him to return. Vessantara and Maddi are overcome with joy to be reunited with their children. The prince agrees to return home and assume the throne, insisting that his gift of the elephant long ago had been proper, despite all that it set in motion. As kind, his first act is to free all captives, human and animal. Indra causes a rain of jewels that soon become waist deep. Vessantara distributes some of the jewels and saves the rest, to be used as gifts in the future. During that night, Maddi had a dream of a man wearing two saffron robes and with red garlands came threatening her with a weapon in his hand. Entered the hut and grasped Maddi by the hair and dragged her out and there her flat on the group, dug out her eyes, cut off her arms, and splitting her breast took her heart, dripping blood and went off. She woke up terrified, and thinking that she shall ask Vessantara to interpret her dream. When she told him that dream, he knew that he would fulfil the Perfection of giving, and that a suppliant would come on the next day and beg his children from him. He decided to console Maddi and send her away. ‘Your mind must have been agitated because you were lying uncomfortably, or because of something you had eaten, Maddi. Do not be frightened. He deceivingly sent her away, in the morning, when she had done all her chores, she kissed her two children on the head, and warned them to be careful, since she had a bad dream that night. Then leaving them in charge of the Great Being, with the words, ‘take good care of the children, my lord’, she went into the forest in search of roots and fruit, wiping her tears away. Jujaka, sure she would be gone by them, came down from the mountain ridge, The Great Being came out of the lead-hut and sat down thinking, ‘The suppliant will come now, looking at the path which he would come.’ His boy, Jali listened to his father and greeted the Brahmin and offered to take his baggage. The Brahmin was mean to the boy, and the boy looked at his body and saw the eighteen human deformities. The Great Being and Jujaka had a conversation and he pleated that his intentions were to beg and ask for his children. When he heard this, the Great Being was filled with happiness, and gave without hesitation. He invited him to stay for the night so Maddi could wash them, anoint them with scent, and adorn them. Jujaka replied that he did not with to stay and admitted that women take everything the wrong way and would bring trouble to give this gift. He asked then that the children see their grandfather, and he will give him money. Jujaka said, he was afraid of robbery, or being beaten, or killing him. He would take the children as servants for his wife. When the children heard his harsh words, they ran away and hid in a clump of bushes, and ran unable to keep still in any one place. Jujaka couldn’t see the children and made the assumption that Vessantara gave them a signal to run away, and called him the biggest liar in the world. The Great Being was shaken by this and realized they must have run off. He would fetch them for the Brahmin and followed them the footprints to the children, he asked them to fulfil his perfection and Jati his son, and Kanha climbed out and would not argue with their father. He told his children what to do when they wish to be free. Have his son give the Brahmin $1,000 gold coins and his sister 100 of everything. He brought them to the Brahmin and he formed an aspiration for omniscience (knowing everything that you need to know of mainly religion), ‘Omniscience is a hundred times, a thousand times, a hundred thousand times more precious to me than my son!’ So take the gift of my children dear Brahmin. Then he who brought prosperity to the kingdom of the Sivis gave the children Jali and Kanhajina as a gift to the bramin. When he gave away his children, the earth shook. Then the cruel Brahmin bound the children's hands and let them away beating them while the Sivi prince looked on. The Brahmin tripped on an uneven piece of ground and the children escaped, running back to the Great Being. They pleated that they wanted to see their mom before being given away. They said he would kill them and described him as a very heinous not human thing. The Great Being said nothing, and the boy preached grieving for his mother and father. The Jujaka came up and took them off, beating them. Asking the father to give these toy elephants and horses and oxen of ours to their mother to restrain her sorrow. The Great Being started weeping. He considered running after the Brahmin and killing him, and so bringing back his children. But a second thought convinced him that this would be impossible. For to wish to redeem a gift once offered, because the suffering of children is too painful, is not the way of a good man. The boy told his sister that they should die since there was no reason for living since they were given to a greedy Brahmin who treated them like cattle. Again the Brahmin tripped and the children escaped, they ran off with a single impulse back to their father. Jujaka got up quickly and he caught up with them, bound their hands and continued to lead them off. The girl sobbed and cried out to tell their mother Maddi. Wander Solitary as a Rhinoceros Horn The Rhinoceros Horn Sutta The early community of Buddhist monks, led by the Buddha, wandered throughout the year, without a fixed abode. The lay supporters of the community complained that during the rainy season, the monks were damaging their crops. In addition, by stepping on many worms and insects as they walked from town to town, the monks were creating negative karma. The Buddha thus instituted the “rains retreat,” a period in which groups of monks would remain together during the monsoon. Laypeople provided shelters for the monks. Scholars speculate that these shelters eventually evolved into monasteries, where monks could dwell throughout the year. But a certain nostalgia remained for the homeless life and it appears that some monks continues to live it. The life of the solitary wanderer is a poem known as the “Rhinoceros Horn Sutta.” It is a poem that originated in the early community, for whom the homeless life remained the ideal. “One should wander as solitary as a Rhinoceros horn.” The horn was a symbol of that which stands alone, without companions. A solitary enlightened one was believed to be the speaker of this text. This term seems to apply to a particular type of monk who preferred not to live among the community with other monks, instead practicing in solitude, often in silence. They achieved nirvana, but they did not rely on the teachings of the Buddha during their last lifetime. They achieved enlightenment before teachings of Buddha were present in the world, and having gained some enlightenment they did not speak of the path to others. One should not wish for a son, let alone a companion. One is a man of the whole world and not hostile, being pleased with whatever comes one’s way. Kunala Loses his eyes Legend of Ashoka The most famous kind in the history of Buddhism is the emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty of India. Ashoka was born a century after the Buddha’s passing. Ashoka was a historical figure, had carvings in pillars and rock walls. They are the earliest evidence of Buddhism. This is the story of Kunala, Ashoka’s beloved son, when he resists sexual advances of his evil stepmother, she responds with a gruesome act of revenge. Ashoka was born a son, and he claimed that his son with make the law blossom. His name meant increase of the dharma. The eyes of his son resemble a bird named kunala. The king couldn’t discover the difference between the bird and his son, so he renamed his son Kunala. When the Prince Kunala grew, he was given a wife. The five supernatural knowledges claimed that the son would not have his eyes for long. Ashoka asked why, and it was since Kunala didn’t fulfill his duties. The foremost of the wives of Ashoka was seduced by Kunala while he was alone, and he refused her love and said she was a mother to him. The wife dreamed of finding the occasion to harm Kunala for his refusal of her love. The city of Takshashila, which obeyed king Ashoka, began to revolt, and the king wished to go there but the ministers had him send Kunala. When he sent his son, he felt an attachment to his son’s eyes that would soon perish. When the prince has lost his eyes, the city will plunge to grief. Kunala entered the city and was given bowls of offerings. Then Kind Ashoka gave his wife Takshashila seven days in power of his kingdom. She decided to write a false letter in the name of the king that ordered that Kunala’s eyes be torn out. She sealed the letter with the ivory seal that Ashoka uses and sent the letter off. The king had dreams, of Kunala having vultures rip out his eyes and having his teeth fall out. The community explained the inhuman order to them and he commanded them to tear out the eyes of Kunala. They explained they did not have the courage to tear out his eyes. Then a man with eighteen marks offered to tear out his eyes and Kunala realized that his eyes are perishable. He has taken in the best that his eyes could give him, seeing that objects are perishable. The man ripped out his eye as commanded, the people screamed, and Kunala received his eye in his hand. He looked at his eye realizes that this organ is not him. He acquired the first stage of the path of nirvana, a stream enterer. He had him rip out his other eye, he had gained the eyes of wisdom however. Some time later, he knew that this was not the work of his father, but the work of the queen. He wished that wife well since all she was trying to do was harm, but he actually became wiser from it. His wife hearing about his eyes, rushed to him and fainted, once she regained consciousness Kunala soothed her. He was guided back home, never had a profession since his body was so delicate, he sat and sang of how his eyes were torn out and the truth that had appeared to him. Ashoka asked for his son, the guard went to get him but mistook him for a blind medicant with his wife. The King knew this was the effect of his dreams. Kunala announced that today he was the son of the Buddha, they were conducted into the presence of the King, who was unable to recognize his own son. He learned it was Kunala, and the king fainted. He told his son of how he was grieving over this misfortune and Kunala responded by saying that he did not need to worry about an event that had passed. Ashoka learned that this was Tishyarakshita’s doing and called her to tell her that he would punish her for being such a cruel one. The king threatened her with many tortures. Kunala spoke words of truth to his father that it would not be honorable to kill this woman, although she ordered a cruel act of his eyes being torn out, he has no anger towards her. His eyes became as they were before after he spoke this truth. However, Ashoka still had her thrown into a place of torture where she died by fire. The reason his eyes were torn out was due to in times past, there was a hunger who caught hundreds of gazelles and reflected about all the meat he would have if he were to kill them. He took out the eyes of the gazelles and they were deprived of sight and unable to escape. He put out the eyes of several hundred gazelles, he has undergone the sufferings of hell during several hundred gazelles, he has undergone the sufferings of hell during several hundred thousand years as the price for this action. He was born into an illustrious family because he restored the statue of the Buddha, as recompense for this good deed he was reborn with an agreeable outward appearance.


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