RELG 102 Buddhism Chapter Outline
RELG 102 Buddhism Chapter Outline RELG 102
Popular in Introduction-World Religions
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
verified elite notetaker
Popular in Department
verified elite notetaker
This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kathryn Weeks on Thursday July 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RELG 102 at West Virginia University taught by Joseph Snow in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views.
Reviews for RELG 102 Buddhism Chapter Outline
Report this Material
What is Karma?
Karma is the currency of StudySoup.
Date Created: 07/28/16
Buddhism Chapter Outline I. Introduction Buddha taught about earthly suffering and its cure, liberation from suffering depends on our own efforts. Understanding our suffering and how we create it for ourselves is how we become free. Psychological and meditative aspects are emphasized. Other forms include: Devotional practices Mystical elements Appeals to various Buddha’s and bodhisattvas for protection and blessings II. The life and legend of the Buddha The Buddha (awakened one) was named Siddhartha Gautama (wish fulfiller, “he who has reached his goal”). Conceived without intercourse, but by a white elephant carrying a lotus flower who entered his mother’s womb during a dream. Portrayed as a reincarnation of a superior being born many times before but took birth once again out of compassion for all those suffering. Married and had a son named Rahul meaning, “fetter.” Experiences the Four Sights: 1. A bent man portraying old age 2. A screaming woman portraying sickness 3. Dead bodies being burned portraying death 4. A Sannyasi – mendicant seeking lasting happiness rather than temporal pleasure At age 29 embarked on a wandering life to pursue a difficult goal: the way to liberation from suffering. 6 years of extreme selfdenial techniques: Nakedness Exposure to great heat and cold Breath retention A bed of brambles Severe fasting Shifted practice to a middle way that rejected both selfindulgence and selfdenial. Began a period of reflection and experienced supreme awakening. He passed through four stages of serene contemplation Recalled all of his past lives Faced realization of the wheel of repeated death & rebirth – past good or bad deeds reflect future lives Realized the cause of suffering & means for ending it Became known as “Shakyamuni Buddha,” the “sage of the Shakya clan.” Focus on validity and centrality of core teachings – Dharma: Four Noble Truths Noble Eightfold Path Three Marks of Existence Guidelines for achieving liberation from suffering Monks referred to as bhikshus and “nuns” referred to as bhikshunis. Buddhism Chapter Outline Sangha – monastic order that developed from the Buddha’s early disciples, accepted people from all castes and levels of society. “Be the master of your own mind.” – The Buddha III. The Dharma A. Introduction Buddhism described as a nontheistic religion. “Buddhism is a religion of wisdom, enlightenment, and compassion.” Goal of spiritual effort of Buddhism is to achieve Nirvana, or liberation. B. Four Noble Truths Foundation for all later teachings – 1. Life inevitably causes suffering, dissatisfaction, and distress Dukkha: suffering and dissatisfaction; our personal identity is impermanent. What we regard as “self” is an everchanging bundle of fleeting feelings, sense impressions, ideas, and an evanescent physical matter. No two moments of identity are the same. 2. Suffering is caused by craving, rooted in ignorance Origin of dukkha is craving and clinging to sensory pleasures, to fame and fortune, for things to stay as they are or to change, and attachment to things or ideas. Craving leads to suffering because of ignorance; we fail to understand the true constantly changing nature of things we crave. Everything = in a constant state of flux. No separate, permanent, or immortal self; a human is an impermanent composite of interdependent physical, emotional, and cognitive components. Anatman reduces attachment to ones mind, body, and selfish desires. Suffering helps us to see things as they really are. 3. Suffering will cease when craving ceases Dukkha will cease when craving and clinging cease. Illusion ends, insight to the true nature of things dawns, and nirvana is achieved. Free from selfcenteredness and full of compassion one lives happily and fully. 4. The way to realize this state: Noble Eightfold Path Craving and suffering can be extinguished by following the path of ethical conduct, concentration, and wisdom. C. Noble Eightfold Path to Liberation First Aspect = Right understanding – comprehending reality correctly through deep realization of the four noble truths. Seeing through illusions, and everything we do and say is ultimately produced by the mind. Second Aspect = Right thought or motivation. Uncover any afflictive emotions that affect our thinking (selfish desires). Purify mental defilements (self interest) thinking becomes free from the limitations of selfcenteredness. Third Aspect = Right speech. Use communication in the service of truth and harmony. Speak to others and ourselves in a positive way. Fourth Aspect = Right action. Observe 5 basic precepts for ethical conduct: avoid destroying life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxications. Fifth Aspect = Right livelihood. Ones way of living does not violate 5 precepts. Choose a profession that does not cause harm to others or disrupt social harmony. Buddhism Chapter Outline Sixth Aspect = Right effort. Striving continually to eliminate the impurities of the mind, diligently cultivating wholesome actions of the body, speech, and mind. Joyful effort = antidote to laziness. Seventh Aspect = Right mindfulness. Discipline and cultivation of awareness. Eighth Aspect = Right Meditation. Applies mental discipline to quiet the mind and develop singlepointed concentration. D. The Wheel of Birth and Death Each phenomenon or event acts as a cause that sets another into motion. Karma – spiritual cause and effect, the “action” of body, speech, and mind. Operates primarily because of the 3 root afflictions: attachment, aversion, and delusion. The opposites of these afflictions – nongreed (generosity), nonhate (friendliness, compassion), and nondelusion (mental clarity/insight) act as causes to ultimately leave the circle of birth and death. Jataka tales – stories of the Buddha’s past life to illustrate moral lessons In the center of the wheel of life are animals representing the 3 root afflictions, the next circle shows the fate of those with good karma (left side) and bad karma (right side). The third circle represents the 6 spheres of existence from gods to infernal regions. The outer rim exhibits the chain of cause and effect while grasping the wheel is a monster representing death and impermanence. E. Nirvana Goal of Buddhist practice is to reach Nirvana. A desirable state of mind, the only way to end the cycle of suffering is to end all craving. Lead a life free of attachment that has no karmic consequences. When the arhant – worthy one, dies the individuality disappears and the being enters the ultimate state of Nirvana. IV. Branches of Buddhism As the Buddha’s teachings expanded various schools and thoughts of Buddhism arose, one of the earliest and the only one known today is Theravada. It means “way of the elders,” with other schools of Buddhism developing shortly after like Mahayana meaning “great vehicle.” Both schools are in agreement upon the four noble truths, the eightfold path, and the teachings of karma, samsara, and nirvana. A. Theravada: the path of mindfulness Study early scriptures in Pali, honor the life of renunciation, and follow mindfulness meditation teachings. 1. The Pali Canon A large collection of ancient scriptures preserved in Pali language, the authoritative collection of writings is an ancient canon referred to as the Pali Canon or Tipitka (Three Baskets). They are three collections of sacred writings – rules of monastic discipline, dharma teachings, and scholastic treatises. Theravadins also accepts noncanonical Pali works, such as later commentaries. 500 elders agreed on a definitive body for Buddhists teachings – recited orally until the first century BCE when the suttas were transcribed. 2. The Triple Gem Those who follow the theravada take refuge in the Triple Gem: the Buddha (the enlightened one), the dharma (teachings he gave), and the sangha (community). Taking Buddhism Chapter Outline refuge in this is honoring the inner Buddha within us all. Dharma = a medicine that can cure all our sufferings – immediate, timeless, known only through personal experience. Sangha is the community of realized beings. Buddhist monasteries are located in the center of village life. 3. Meditation Two major branches of meditation practice are samatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (insight). One must increase attentiveness to focus the mind and achieve calm abiding. One proceeds the practice of vipassana to develop insight into dukkha, anicca, and anatta. In vipassana one takes note of the movements around them, the rising and falling of ones breathing, the thoughts and imagination, the agitations and feelings or emotions that are occurring in their surroundings. Dukkha is suffering and dissatisfaction, anicca is impermanence, and anatta is no eternal self. The goal is to achieve peace of mind and to have a clear, calm, attentive, and flexible mind. 4. Devotional Practices The Mahaparinibbana Sutta is a Pali scripture describing the Buddha’s cremation and dispersal of his relics. The white elephant is a legendary symbol of the Buddha. Some spiritual practices are roadside shrines as well as relics which followers place bits of their own deteriorating selves (hair, teeth, nails, bones, etc. from the Buddha’s “cremated body”). People light candles and offer flowers to the Triple Gem. Worship images related to the Buddha are depicted as empty spots under the Bodhi tree in which he gained enlightenment; likewise, the lotus or white elephant associated with the Buddha’s birth. A wheel or two deer kneeling before a throne can represent the first sermon and actual images of the Buddha were not used until first century BCE. B. Mahayana: the path of compassion and wisdom Developments in thought and practice which gradually evolved = Mahayana. Scriptures emphasize the practices of compassion and wisdom by monastics and laypeople toward the goal of liberating sentient beings from suffering. These teachings can lead people into becoming Buddha’s or bodhisattavas themselves. 1 . Bodhisattvas Lotus Sutra (early Mahayana scripture) brought forth the idea that the Buddhist teachings could be interpreted differently depending on the follower’s mental capacity. It also nudged the idea that there is a higher goal than liberation – to be a bodhisattva. Aspirants are taught to practice the ten perfections (paramitas): generosity, morality, renunciation, transcendental wisdom, energy and diligent effort, patience and forbearance, truthfulness, determination, loving kindness, and serene equanimity. Most popular Bodhisattva = Avalokiteshvara (Kannon in Japan, and Guanyin in China) they symbolize compassion with extended blessing to all. Guanyin is a model of innerstrength, equilibrium, and self control. 2 . The Three Bodies of Buddha Theravada tradition emphasizes the idea that the Buddha taught the dharma as a guide to liberation from suffering then died like any other being. The Mahayana tradition regards the Buddha as the embodiment of enlightened awareness. Thought to be an immanent presence of the universe with 3 bodies (aspects). The first being a formless enlightenment of wisdom of the Buddha; the second is the body of bliss of a Buddha (an aspect that Buddhism Chapter Outline communicates the dharma to the bodhisattvas); the third is emanation body (Buddha takes countless forms to liberate suffering beings). In Mahayana the Buddha’s are looked up on as perfect, pure, intelligent, and compassionate beings. 3 . Emptiness All continued phenomena arise and perish continuously – lack true existence. Sunyata (emptiness or voidness) is the most complex and profound of Mahayana teachings. Nagarjuna states that compounded things have no independent existence and no eternal reality. Emptiness is free to experience reality directly and be compassionate without attachment. Emptiness does not mean we do nothing, but that we are not attached to the results of our actions. With the “perfection of wisdom” there are no obstacles and no fear. C. Chan and Zen: the great way of enlightenment Zen preserves the essence of the Buddha’s teachings through direct experience and is triggered by mindtomind transmission of Dharma. Zazen is considered to be sitting meditation where direct insight results from. Zen is a meditation method where one must maintain an upright posture and not move while counting to 10 with a clear and calm mind. If the mind starts to get restless then the meditator must start over. Action = spontaneous and natural with a calm mind. Roshi Kaplaeu explains that the world is one interdependent whole and each person is a separate part of that whole. The aim of Zen is enlightenment often experienced as a flash of insight referred to as Satori. D. Pure Land: devotion to Amitabha Buddha The most popular Buddhist School in East Asia is Pure Land Buddhism and at times of great upheaval people lost hope in achieving enlightenment themselves and turned to Buddhist schools. Amitabha Buddha is the Buddha of boundless light who formerly was a prince vowing to obtain enlightenment. 1 . Jodo Shinshu: The True Pure Land Salvation comes through repeating the name of Amida Buddha – the nembutsu, “Namu amidabutsu” without separating onself from society and with sincere trust and devotion. This was emphasized by a Japanese monk, Shinran, who broke monastic tradition and got married. Most popular form of Buddhism practiced in Japan – True Pure Land school of thought. E. Nichiren: salvation through the lotus sutra Strive to enlighten not only selves, but also society as a whole. The lotus sutra influenced the emergence of a variety of other subgroups of Buddhism. F. Vajrayana: The indestructible path Under Atisha Tibetan Buddhism became a complex path with 3 stages. The first is to quiet the mind and relinquish attachments through meditation practice. The second is intensive training in compassion and wisdom, and the third is an esoteric path called Vajrayana (the diamond vehicle) or Tantrayana: an accelerated path to nurture enlightenment within 1 lifetime. Qualified teachers who guide students through this path are referred to as lamas. G. Festivals Not all Buddhist festivals are uniformly celebrated; the most important is Vesak – according to theravadins marks the birth of the Buddha, enlightenment, and death (which Buddhism Chapter Outline all miraculously occurred on the same day). Buddhist holidays celebrate 4 landmarks – enlightenment, conception, birth, and death. V. Buddhism in the West Over 400 Zen meditation centers flourish in North America. Westerners often want instant gratification of being immersed immediately into Buddhist culture and practices without taking the time for patient practicing and teachings. One must be inwardly transformed step by step. Traditional training takes up to 25 years of traditional study. Buddhism seems to be evolving in the west and transforming into a remake of the traditional Buddhism image. The west needs a Buddhism stripped of belief in rebirth and karma. Instead a secularized version of Buddhism – an existential, therapeutic and liberating agnosticism.