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Buddhism Notes Sept. 23-30

by: Kayla Wisotzkey

Buddhism Notes Sept. 23-30 RLST 105

Marketplace > Towson University > Religious Studies > RLST 105 > Buddhism Notes Sept 23 30
Kayla Wisotzkey

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About this Document

These notes cover what we learned in class this past week.
Intro to the Study of Religion
Carl Yamamoto
Class Notes
Religious Studies, Buddhism
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kayla Wisotzkey on Saturday October 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RLST 105 at Towson University taught by Carl Yamamoto in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 26 views. For similar materials see Intro to the Study of Religion in Religious Studies at Towson University.


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Date Created: 10/01/16
Kayla Wisotzkey BUDDHISM History 1) Life of Buddha/Early Sangha (563­322 BCE) ­Place: India/Nepal ­The Buddha:  a. born in 563 in Lumbini b. he was a renouncer c. he belonged to the Shakya clan d. his full name was Siddhartha Gautama e. He was called “Shakyamuni” (sage of the Shakyas) and “the Tathagata” (the gone one) ­India at the time of Buddha’s birth: a. Religion: Two ways of practice; Brahmanical(orthodox) vs. Renouncer(heterodox) b. Society: 4 classes(varna), urbanization and commerce cause a cultural and religious  uphevel LIFE OF THE BUDDHA 1) Royal birth: his mother had a dream of a white elephant, and this is when she got  pregnant with Siddhartha.  When he was born, he was able to walk and speak.  A sage  prophesized that he would either become a great king or religious teacher. 2) Sheltered life: Siddhartha’s parents wanted him to become a king, so they sheltered him  from the outside world so he wouldn’t know about death and suffering. He got everything he wanted so he was distracted from the religious life and wanted to be king. 3) Worldly accomplishments: Siddhartha received the training of a prince; horseback riding, book learning, etc.  He was very smart and married a wife and had a child. 4) “Four sights”: the turnaround.  Siddhartha wanted to see the world, so his father finally  sent him out to the city, but he removed all of the sick and dying people from the streets.  Even so, he saw these four sights: a) old man   b) sick man   c) corpse   d) renouncer He realized that he needed to stop his life of indulgence.  He decided to become a  renouncer b/c he realized everything he valued in life was impermanent and would  eventually go away. 5) Great departure(renunciation): Siddhartha cut off his hair, took off his clothes and  jewelry, and went into the forest.  He studied with a meditation master, but was still  looking for more. 6) Asceticism: Siddhartha deprived himself of all pleasures to achieve a higher spiritual  level.  He performed austerities and didn’t eat. 7) Rejection of asceticism: Siddhartha realized that by depriving his body, he was darkening his mind.  He discovered the “middle way,” which is avoiding both self­indulgence and  self­mortification.   8) Went to the Bodi tree: Siddhartha traveled to a tree in a place called Bodh Gaya.  He sat  down and vowed to sit there until he achieved awakening 9) Mara attacks: Mara the demon sent his daughters to dance around the Bodi tree to tempt  Siddhartha to have sex with them.  He ignored them. He then conjured up a huge army to  scare Siddhartha but he still ignored them and the illusion of the army disappeared.  Mara then asked who the witness will be when he reaches enlightenment, and Siddhartha  touched the Earth and said the Earth will bear witness.  The Earth responded by  rumbling, which meant it really will bear witness, and Mara disappeared. 10)Awakening: Siddhartha meditated all night and at dawn he reached Nirvana, making him  “the Buddha.” He had 3 sights throughout the night: a. He became aware of his past lives b. He saw that all beings go through karma­samsara c. He understood the origins of suffering and rebirth 11)Teaching: The Buddha went to Deer Park, Sarnath and did his first teaching and acquired  his first disciples.  “Turning the Wheel of Dharma(teachings)” refers to Buddha giving  his teachings.  The first Buddhist communities (sanga) began. The 3 jewels: a. Buddha (fully awakened one) b. Dharma (teachings)  c. Sangha (spiritual community)  12)Death (parinirvana): The Buddha achieves the great nirvana, he teaches his arhats  (disciples) about impermanence (everything comes to an end). BUDDHISM AFTER BUDDHA  Councils: the original disciples (arhats) get together in two councils 1) 1  council: recitation of scriptures and sutras, which were the actual words of  Buddha; the sutras were recited by Ananda; “Thus have I heard” 2) 2  council: Buddhists split into two schools a. Theravada: “The way of the elders,” Southern b. Mahayana: “The great vehicle,” Northern  Buddhist Empires and Rise of Mahayana ­Buddhism began to spread through India and Asia ­King Ashoka: King of the Mauryan Empire, he spread Buddhism as he expanded his  Empire ­stupas: the repository of relics (bones and ashes of dead people that were thought to have magical powers), King Ashoka built a lot of them  KushastEmpire (30­375 CE)  1) 1  iconic art: pictures of the Buddha a. aniconic: pictures of things that represented the Buddha b. iconic: pictures of the actual Buddha  2) Silk Road: pathways of trade from Europe to China; as the Kushan Empire became  Buddhist, Buddhism was able to travel down the Silk Road because their Empire was  right in the middle of it. 3) Rise of Mahayana  Disappearance of Buddhism from India ­1197: The Nalanda monastery and University was sacked, so the birthplace of Buddhism was destroyed  Theravada ­The way of the elders 1) sutras: Pali­sutras, more spoken and local 2) role model: arhats, which were the direct disciples of Buddha 3) Buddha: human­like, realistic 4) Change: conservative, didn’t want change  Mahayana ­The great vehicle ­maha=great, yana=vehicle to take you to Nirvana 1) sutras: new sutras appeared 2) role model: Bodhisattvas (new role models) 3) Buddha: supramundane, god­like, greater than human 4) change: new ideas, open to change ­The followers said that the new sutras appeared in visions and dreams, and that the  scriptures were an “open canon” that could always be added to. They also said that the  new texts were hidden by the Buddha until humanity was ready. a. New Sutras 1) Perfection of Wisdom sutras: Diamond sutra, heart sutra (teaches emptiness)  2) Buddha­Nature sutras: all beings have the potential to become Buddhists 3) Pure­land sutras: based on Buddhists who live in pure lands, the goal is to be born into a pure land b. New role model ­The Bodhisattvas: higher and more important than the arhats, closer to Buddha,  “awakening being” ­Mahayana: “the Bodhisattva vehicle” (taking them to Nirvana) ­The Bodhisattva path was one of compassion and wisdom; they could choose to  reach Nirvana but they don’t in order to help humanity c. New ideas about reality Philosophy CORE CONCEPTS of early Buddhism: on the night of Buddha’s enlightenment, he understood: 1) Samsara a. Karma and rebirth ­there is no beginning to samsara, and every being has been through every state of  existence ­6 realms of rebirth: 1) 3 good rebirths: god, “jealous god,” and human 2) 3 bad rebirths: animal, hungry ghost, and hell­being ­Wheel of life: a wheel of paintings that depict all of the realms; the inner ring is karma  and the outer ring is afflictions/3 poisons (desire, hatred, ignorance)  ­gods: live lives of pleasure ­humans: most fortunate rebirth, the is the “middle way” because you can focus on  religion and have an opportunity to reach Nirvana ­AFFLICTIONS+KARMA=SAMSARA 2) The nature of existence b. Suffering ­4 sights: old man, sick man, corpse, renouncer ­more of a practical focus of dharma ­4 Noble Truths: 1. Truth of suffering (unsatisfactoriness)  2. Truth of the cause of suffering (desire)  3. Truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirvana) 4. Truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering (8­fold path) ­8­fold path: The three trainings are of wisdom, mortality, and meditation ­Causes of suffering: birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow, grief, pain, unhappiness, not  getting what you want, getting what you don’t want, having a mind and a body c. Impermanence ­When Buddha saw the 4 sights, he realized that everything he enjoyed was impermanent ­Last teaching: Buddha’s cousin Ananda was crying at Buddha’s death bed, and he  reminded Ananda that everything, even he, is impermanent. ­Dependent co­arising: the law underlying impermanence; the general principle of cause  and effect in the world; “universal causation” ­Everything comes into existence in dependence upon something else  d. Not­self ­5 aggregates(skandhas) that make up a person: form, sensation, perception, mental  formations, and consciousness ­There is NO permanent self (atman) beyond those aggregates ­Nagasena: compares the person to a chariot; the person is put together into one unit and  if you take the pieces apart, there is nothing left ­ “me and mine”: if you believe in an atman, you claim things for yourself and cause  problems, this is the cause of all problems in the world ­ “Process view of reality”: impermanence, no­self, and dependent co­arising combined ­A person is a pattern, not a substance


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