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History of Buddism, Week 1 and Week 2 Day 1 In-Class Notes

by: Smetana Larson

History of Buddism, Week 1 and Week 2 Day 1 In-Class Notes Eas 160 A1

Marketplace > University of Arizona > Eas 160 A1 > History of Buddism Week 1 and Week 2 Day 1 In Class Notes
Smetana Larson
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About this Document

These notes cover the lectures from the first 3 days of class
The Worlds of Buddhism
Takashi Miura
Class Notes
Worlds of Buddhism, history, Religious Studies, world religions




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Smetana Larson on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Eas 160 A1 at University of Arizona taught by Takashi Miura in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views.


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Date Created: 08/29/16
The Worlds of Buddhism  EAS 160A1  Takashi Miura  Monday 8/22/16    Ten Reasons to Study Buddhism  1. Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world  2. Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world  3. Buddhism helps us redefine our understanding of what “religion” is   4. Buddhism has influenced many different countries throughout the world  5. The 21st century is the “Asian Century” (supposedly)  6. Buddhism has rich visual and material culture  7. Buddhism has many interesting stories  8. Buddhism speaks to contemporary issues  9. Buddhism is an American religion today  10. U of A offers a Buddhist studies minor    ➔ Academic study of religion (school)  ➔ Theological, confessional study of religion (church)      Wednesday 8/23/16  Background to Buddhism  1. The Vedas  a. Collection of chants, hymns, and sacred formulas used by the priestly class in  ancient india (1500 ­ 1000 BCE)  b. In Sanskrit ­ the “Vedas” literally mean “knowledge” or “sacred lore”  c. It was originally an oral tradition, but it was eventually written down which is why  we know it today  d. Vedas live on as an oral tradition still chanted by buddhists today, mostly in India  e. Some Vedic chant verses were chanted during rituals, some were used as  prayers to protect against sickness and other disasters  2. Basic Concepts in the Vedic Tradition  a. The Upanishads  ​ are a set of philosophical texts (later in Vedic tests) that express  fundamental concepts/ideas that inform buddhism  b. Brahman:​ a concept describing the ultimate oneness of all existence (often  referred to as the supreme spirit)  i. All existence comes from one sacred source  ii. This oneness cannot be expressed in words  iii. Story of the father and the son putting salt into a glass of water because  the salt is there, but it cannot be separated  c. Atman: ​the “self” or “soul”   i. Conceptualized as a drop of water in the ocean because it's still part of  the ocean but we can take it as an individual  ii. Ultimately identical to brahman, eternal and divine  iii. Brahman is the external experience of divine reality/unity, while atman is  the experience of divine reality within  d. Samsara: ​  the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth  i. The wheel of life: there are 6 realms of rebirth  1. Gods  2. Asuras  a. Divine beings/demigods, never satisfied  3. Humans  4. Animals  5. Hungry ghosts  a. Breath fire because they're always thirsty but cannot drink  b. Depicted with a large stomach that can’t be satisfied  6. Hell beings  a. Buddhist hell faces eternal heat  b. It's possible to return to the other cyles  e. Karma​: In Sanskrit, means “action”  i. Actions motivated by good intentions are good karma  ii. Actions motivated by negative sentiments   f. Nirvana:​ liberation from the cycle of samsara  i. to wander eternally in the cycle of samsara is painful. The ultimate  objective is to be liberated from this cycle.  Monday 8/29/16  The Buddha­ the Life of Siddhartha Gautama (Part 1)  1. Hagiography and History  a. Stories about great leaders were not told as facts, they were idealized  b. Stories of the buddha are told as hagiography (embellished not made up)   c. Buddha was born in today’s Nepal, was India at the time  d. His mother dreamt  of a white elephant (wisdom) before she was pregnant  e. He was born a prince of northeastern india  f. Siddhartha couple walk and speak as a baby  i. The first thing he did was walk 7 steps, point to the heavens, and said it  was his last rebirth  ii. His father took the baby to an astrologer, and he told him he’d either be a  great king or a great religious leader  iii. He didn’t want him to pursue religion so he gave him “all of the pleasures  of the world”, siddhartha never encountered any form of suffering  g. When he was around 29, he left the palace walls (accident?) He sees…  i. A person with illness  ii. An old person  iii. A dead person  1. Siddhartha is devastated  iv. Lastly, he sees a monk pursuing a spiritual path to understand the  sickness, old age, and death  h. He decides to leave the palace and pursue a spiritual path, renounces all worldly  pleasures   i. He began practicing yoga and became a student  i. Learned the ​Sphere of Nothingness, ​  dwell in the realm of nothing  ii. Next teacher taught him t ​ he sphere of neither perception nor  non­perception​, because if you’re thinking of nothing you’re still thinking of  nothing (which is something)  iii. He achieved both of these things quickly so he stopped eating  iv. Then he pursued the middle path (between the luxury of being a prince  and aestheticism of extreme suffering)  v. Meditates for years under a tree until one night he gets it, how to end and  overcome suffering (enlightenment)  vi. Acheives enlightenment with three kinds of “true knowledge”  1. Remembers all of his past lives  2. Sees the birth and death of all other beings   3. The Four Noble Truths  vii. Mara:​ Last step before enlightenment (mara holds the wheel)  1. A demon, a fallen divinity that tries to distract siddharta from  enlightenment  2. Delight, discontent, craving (sends his three most beautiful  daughters) 


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