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MSU / Biology / AGR 309 / the great going forth

the great going forth

the great going forth


School: Murray State University
Department: Biology
Course: Survey of World Religions
Term: Spring 2015
Cost: 50
Description: BUDDHISM Siddhartha Gautama – The Buddha • Born (566-483 BCE) a noble Aryan (Kshatriya) • Son of a prince of Shakya tribe in Nepal • He was born miraculously from his mother’s (Maya) side • Raised by his aunt after Maya died • Priests foretold he would be a “world leader” or “world teacher” • If exposed to suffering, he would become “world teacher” • Grew up in luxury, married, trained as a warrior
Uploaded: 08/02/2017
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• Why is nonviolence valuable for politicians?

• How can inner peace be achieved?

• How can we minimize suffering?

BUDDHISMSiddhartha Gautama – The Buddha • Born (566-483 BCE) a noble Aryan  (Kshatriya) • Son of a prince of Shakya tribe in Nepal • He was born miraculously from his mother’s (Maya) side • Raised by his aunt after Maya died • Priests foretold he would be a “world leader” or “world teacher”• If exposed to suffering, he would become “world  teacher” • Grew up in luxury, married, trained as a warrior The Great Renunciation (The Great Going Forth) •Left his comfortable life at age 29  •Pursued asceticism •Gave his possessions away •Experienced suffering•Four Passing Sights: old age,  sickness, death, holy man with no  possessions at peace •Depression kept him from enjoying luxurious  life •Reviled by Jains for not being ascetic  enough The Great Renunciation (The Great  Going Forth) •For 6 years Siddhartha sought out teachers,  meditated, learned philosophy, begged for  food•Questioned why suffering exists •Extreme asceticism caused him to collapse under a sacred tree •Rejected asceticism •Adopted “Middle Way”  between self-indulgence and asceticismEnlightenment (Bodhi) of the  Enlightened One (Buddha) •Meditation under another tree – Bodhi Tree – led to enlightenment•Siddhartha became  known as Buddha –  The  Enlightened or  Awakened  One •Suffering, old age,  death, etc. are part  of life •But release is  possibleSpread of Buddhism • Five companions became his followers • They spread a new order based on moderation, meditation, etc. • Unclear whether Buddha planned to create a new religion • Last words: “You must be your own lamps, be your own refuges. Take refuge in nothing other than yourselves. Hold firm to the truth as a lamp and a refuge…”Oral/Textual Tradition • Buddha’s teachings were transmitted orally • Written material appeared hundreds of years after his death • He probably spoke a language related to Magadhi • Earliest writings are in Pali and SanskritTriratna / Tiratana – “The Three  Jewels” 1. Buddha – ideal human • model of self-control, enlightenment, mindfulness • Historical person and timeless “living” being 2. Dharma – sum of Buddhist teachings • Focus on what is useful / practical • Unnecessary speculation is useless • How can we minimize suffering?• How can inner peace be achieved? 3. Sangha – community of monks and nuns What is reality? 1. Change is constant • Anichcha/anitya – impermanence • Wise people expect change 2. Nothing has a permanent identity • Anatta/anatman (“no Atman”) – absence of self or soul • Rejection of Hindu idea of Atman3. Suffering exists • Dukkha/duhkha – suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction • Life is miserable • Suffering cannot be eliminated but can be lessenedFour Noble Truths 1. To live is to suffer • Realistic or pessimistic view of life? 2. Suffering is the result of desire • Trishna/tanha – desire, craving, thirst 3. To end suffering, end desire • Seek inner peace, not happiness • Inner peace = acceptance • Change yourself not the world around you • Focus on the present – not past or future 4. Release from suffering is possible and can be attained  by following the eightfold path • Nirvana – “cool,” “blown out”• Fire of desire is extinguished • Self-control, enlightenment, end of karma, rebirth Noble Eightfold Path (to  Nirvana) 1. Correct Understanding – recognize impermanence, desire, cause of suffering  2. Correct Intention – Thoughts and motives are pure, not selfish 3. Correct Speech – Honesty and kindliness 4. Correct Action – Do not hurt others or animals, Avoid stealing, hurtful sexual conduct5. Correct Work – Does not harm others 6. Correct Effort – Constant moderate  improvement 7. Correct Meditation/Mindfulness – awareness  and contemplation of reality  8. Correct Contemplation – cultivate inner peace  (samadhi) Buddhism and the Indian  Tradition Buddhists rejected: Buddhists modified:• Vedic rituals  • Priests • Caste system • Permanence of  reality • Existence of  individual soul • Ahmisa – “nonharm” • Causing suffering to  another is cruel • Live with empathy • Vegetarianism • Rebirth - related to  personality, not the soul • Similar to a light from one  candle to the next • Karma • Influences personality (not soul) that will reappear in  future lives • Samsara – world of change • Liberation = nirvana –  similar to mokshaPolitical Buddhism • King Ashoka expanded rule in India c. 250  BCE• Afterviolent expansion he became interested in  nonviolence • Why is nonviolence valuable for politicians? • Promoted Buddhism • Built stone columns with Buddhist  inscriptions • Buddhism later spread throughout Asia•s•fTheravada Buddhism: Way of the  Elders • Three “sects” of Buddhism:  Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana • Theravada mostly in Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia • Politicians drawn to rigorous ideals • Nirvana = detachment, meditation• Laypeople cannot attain nirvana • Monks try to become arhat – perfect beings • Similar to Hindu sanyasins – orange robes, beg for food, etc.  Theravada Monks and Monasteries • Monasteries often located in cities  • Have schools, clinics, animal shelters, meditation centers • Survive on donations, which give donors good karma • During rainy season monks study• Monks are role models • Monks chant sutras at weddings, funerals, etc.  • Some monks are temporarily ordained • Even as large groups – police, etc. Theravada Literature • Theravada Pali Canon - Tripitaka/Tipitaka “three baskets” • Divided according to subject 1. Vinaya – rules for monastic life – on begging, relations with  monks and nonmonks, etc.2. Sutra/Sutta – sermons and dialogues attributed to Buddha 3. Abhidhamma/Abhidharma – “works that go beyond the  elementary teachings” • Jataka Tales – collection of fables, often illustrated in art,  plays Theravada Art • 8 spoke wheel = eightfold path • Umbrella symbolizes Buddha’s authority  • Protect important people from sun• Footprints • Lotus flower • Empty throne • Stupas over monk graves  and Buddhist sites • Representations of Buddha  appear after first century  CE • Reclining BuddhaMahayana Buddhism: “The Great  Vehicle” • Big vehicle imagined as ferryboat to carry all people across river • Everyone can attain nirvana • Nirvana is accessible in everyday world of samsara • Individual can save himself by saving others • Allowed ritual and speculation back into Buddhism • Vedic fire ceremony  • Reaction to asceticismMahayana teachings • Emphasis on wisdom and compassion • Karuna – compassion, empathy, kindness • Kindness to others is kindness to oneself • De-emphasis on individual, who is part of the whole • Bodhisattva – enlightened being, deep compassion • Refuses to enter nirvana to help people • Bodhisattva vow – to be reborn until all are  enlightened Trikaya – “Three Body Doctrine” • Buddha nature expressed in three ways 1. Dharmakaya – “form body” or  “body of reality” • Historical Buddha was manifestation of “cosmic  Buddha nature” – divine reality, permeates all things,  similar to Brahman Trikaya – “Three Body Doctrine” 2. Nirmanakaya – “transformation  body” • Buddha’s physical body was  incarnation of divine reality • Other incarnations can also exist• Maitreya – incarnation of Buddha who will be messianic figure • Depicted as laughing Buddha (Mi-lo fo) Trikaya – “Three-Body Doctrine” 3. Sambhogakaya – “perfect blissbody” • Multiple co-existing Buddhas who live on their own Buddha Land • Amitabha Buddha created a Buddha Land paradise in the west • Depicted as Buddha on a lotus flower in flower garden Heavenly Bodhisattvas • In addition to earthly bodhisattvas  (saintly figures) • Are heavenly Bodhisattvas gods? • Avalokiteshvara is the most famous• He helps people from a heavenly realm • Indians depicted him as male • Chinese depicted “Guanyin” (Kuan-in) as female because of her compassion and mercy • Popular in Japan as Kannon • Similar to Christian Mary  Shunyata – “emptiness” • All reality is “empty” (shunya) of permanence• Nature is created of smaller patterns, which are part of larger patterns • Everything is co-existent, part of a larger whole Tathata – “thatness” • Reality is composed of experienced moments • Tathata refers to poetic moments in life that underscore reality• It invites people to experience wonder in everyday life • Often experienced when reality is expressed in an  unexpected way • Child saying something profound Mahayana Literature • Prajnaparamita Sutras – “Sutras of pure wisdom”, 100 BCE • Emphasizes that everything is interdependent • Vimalakirti Sutras  • Vimalakirti was a “layman rich and powerful, brilliant  conversationalist, respected householder surrounded with the  pleasures of life, but also a faithful and wise disciple of Buddha • Illustrates possibility of living Buddhist life as a non-monk • Pure Land Sutras • Discuss perfect, heavenly realm established by Amitabha Buddha • Saddharma Pundarika Sutra – “lotus sutra of the good law” • Illustrates Buddha’s transcendence and that all people have the Buddha nature Buddhism in East Asia • Buddhist writings translated into Chinese by 8th century • 2 forms of Mahayana Buddhism  1. Zen/Chan school of meditation 2. Pure Land• Buddhism also influenced Korean and Japanese culture by  8th century • Zen was adopted by Japanese military Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Shingon • Tendai • Jodo / Pure Land • Nichiren • Zen Shingon • Shingon  (Chen-yen) – “word of truth”• Focus on experiencing  Buddha nature through  mantras • Fire ceremony – similar to  Vedic tradition • Use of mandalas –  geometric designs to  represent reality • Incorporates ritual and  magicTendai • Named after monastery in eastern China • Mount Tiantai “heavenly terrace”Pure Land (Jodo) • Pure land – jingtu / jodo – is a real location beyond earth • The place is a metaphor of joyful living  • Traced back to Chinese monk – T’an Luan (c.  476-542) • Focused on worship of the bodhisattva Abitabha Buddha  • Practiced by monks and laymen • Monk Honen introduced Pure Land in Japan • His disciple Shinran taught that monasticism is  unnecessary • “Martin Luther” of Mahayana • Pure Land = most popular Mahayana school Nichiren • Nichiren – “sun lotus” • Began in Japan • Founded by Tendai monk – Nichiren (1222-1282) • Thought he was a reincarnation of a Buddha in the Lotus Sutra• Nichiren mantra: “Praise to the mystic law of the Lotus Sutra” • Several sects of Nichiren • Nichiren celebrities include Tina Turner  Zen / Chan • Zen / Chan is 7th step in Eightfold Path  • Traced back to monk Bodhidharma • Aimed to simplify complexity that enveloped Buddhism • Focused on seated meditation and breathing - zazen • Enlightenment – sotori/kensho – brings unity of self with universe • Reveals ones true nature• Koan – “public discussion” – complex question that cannot be  answered logically • Q. Why did the monk Bodhidharma come from the West?  • A. “The bush in the garden” • Explanation: Bodhidarma focused on nature • Koan can also be an activity Vajrayana Buddhism: “The Diamond  Vehicle” • Tibetan Buddhism • Rooted in Tibetan shamanism and Tantric Buddhism • Tantras – enlightenment through the body, often sexual • Lama = Tibetan guru• Monk Tsong Kha-pa (1357-1419) taught that monks must be  unmarried  • Resulted in Gelug-pa sect – “Party of Virtue” or “yellow Hat  • Dalai Lama (ocean superior one) is head of Gelug-pa • Lamas are reincarnations of Buddhas and bodhisattvas • Dalai Lamas are emanations of Avalokiteshvara • Each time one dies, monks search for a new one • Kundun, Seven Years in Tibet, Little Buddha

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