A Brief History• Founded by Siddharta of the Gautama clan c. 560-480 BC (?)• Son of a raja who tried to keep him from seeing four sights: a dead body, an aged person, a diseased person, an ascetic monk• Married at 19 and had one son• Lived a privileged youth devoid of the ugly side of life• At 30, began to understand that life was not always good and beautiful• Abandoned his family and began a quest for life’s meaning, or enlightenment “Buddha” --- Enlightened One
A Brief History• Tried several avenues to enlightenment Knowledge taught by a guru Extreme asceticism• During a meal at a tavern was ridiculed by fiveformer friends• Left and sat under a fig tree to meditate• Here, the answer came Life is an endless cycle of birth, life, and death This cycle creates desire that causes karma and places fetters on people Enlightenment is found when one overcomes desire
A Brief History• Found his five friends and preached to them his primary discovery Neither the extreme of indulgence nor the extreme ofasceticism will bring enlightenment. Instead, one must find a middle way.• These five men, along with Siddharta, formed the first Buddhist monastery
The Teachings of Buddha Siddharta understood life in a Hindu manner, but with differences • Stopped all animal sacrifices • Gods considered irrelevant; he taught indifference to them • The gods of no use in finding enlightenmentSiddharta espoused Four Noble Truths as the basis of all his teachings. They are called noble truths because: Noble – because they ennoble the one who understands them Truths – because they correspond with reality
The Teachings of Buddha The Four Noble Truths• The Noble Truth of Pain To live is to suffer. To do otherwise is impossible Two ways to suffer Physically Psychologically• The Noble Truth of the Cause of Pain Suffering is caused by craving Getting what we want is no guarantee of happiness Humans need to modify their “wantings”
The Teachings of Buddha• The Noble Truth That Suffering May be Overcome and Happiness Attained Must learn to give up useless cravings and learn to live each day without restlessness or selfishness, enduring life’s difficulties without hatred or anger Suffering is made a state of mind; happiness becomes a state of being With these realizations, nirvana is achieved Nirvana – A dimension transcending time and space where there is no movement, aging, or dying. It is infinite, eternal, and without causation. There are no boundaries, no concepts of self, or non-self. It is an experience---not a place---of great happiness.
The Teachings of Buddha• Noble Truth of the Way That Leads to Cessation The Eight-Fold Path• Right views – perfect understanding of the truth of existence• Right intention – Willingness to achieve enlightenment• Right speech – Saying all that is required, nothing more• Right action – doing all that is required, nothing more
The Teachings of Buddha • Right livelihood – being a monk or nun • Right effort – directing one’s efforts properly • Right mindfulness – meditating properly • Right concentration – maintaining continuous focus In Buddhist thinking, everything needed for a good and proper existence is encapsulated in this eight-fold path.The person who follows the path will break the bonds and achieve releasefrom the cycle: nirvana. In this state, desire (craving) will be extinguished, or snuffed out like a candle.
The Holy Book & Code of Morality• The Holy Book is the Tripitaka Ti or Tri = Three Pitaka = Baskets• The Tripitaka is actually a multi-volume set of books• Each book is in three (Tri) parts including the teachings of Buddha, sermons by others, and commentary• The most important books are in section one: The Dhammapada (The Way of Truth, or Verses of Truth), 423 verses written by Siddhartha• The books were not fully written until 100 BC in Sri Lanka• Buddhists do not hold these volumes as divine or infallible; they are only the teachings of a great man that should be judged against one’s own experience
The Holy Book & Code of Morality• The Buddhist concept of right and wrong All speech and/or actions rooted in greed, hatred, ordelusion lead away from nirvana and, therefore, are bad Ethics based on self understanding are stronger than those based on command “Five Precepts” of Buddhist morality Avoid killing or harming living beings Avoid stealing Avoid sexual misconduct Avoid lying Avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugsUntil nirvana is achieved, the mind, with its preferences and abilities at the time of death, re-establishes itself in a fertilized egg to live again. This is rebirth more than its is reincarnation.
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The Development of Buddhism Within a year of Shiddharta’s death, a council was called to determine the meaning of histeachings Unity and agreement were not found --- four factions developed 390 BC the factions combined into two groups Hinayana (the exclusive way) Mahayana (the expansive way)
The Development of Buddhism In General Hinayana Mahayana Smaller segment, more Largest segment of conservative, & orthodox Buddhists – more liberal Known as the small boat Known as the big boat or or raft raft Dominated by the Numerous schools of“Theravada” school of thought. No one schoolthought (the tradition of dominates the elders)
Specifics – Theravada BuddhismClosest to the original teachings of BuddhaMainly in Sri Lanka and SE AsiaIndividuals must achieve enlightenment alone, withouthelp from godsThe monk is the ideal figure Becomes part of the “Sanga” (order of monks) Shaves head Wears yellow robe Begs for rice Seeks release through meditation
Specifics – Theravada Buddhism• If one will not join the Sanga, that person must be content to be a layperson, supporting monks, and hoping for betterment through rebirth• Only monks can obtain nirvana• Relics of the life of Buddha are important• Some teach that Siddhartha was a divine omniscient who lived many lives prior to becoming the Buddha. Another Buddha is now awaiting rebirth and will share further enlightenment with the world.
Specifics – Theravadan Buddhism Theravadins Are Guided by Ten Precepts• No Murder• Do not steal• No sexual immorality• No lying• No liquor• No eating to excess or after noon• No entertainment• No cosmetics• No sleeping in high or wide beds• One is not to put trust in gold or silver
Specifics – Mahayanan Buddhism Very different from teachings of Buddha. They believe:• Buddha taught other things in private that Theravadins do not know• Theravadan monks are selfish because they only seek their own salvation• Siddhartha was more than a man, he was acompassionate DIVINE being• Siddhartha was not the only Buddha; there weremany other divine beings born into the world
Specifics – Mahayana Buddhism• Worship developed around these divine beings• These divine beings are of two kinds: Buddhas Bodhisattvas (powerful beings who provide help for humans with the problems of life) – These divine beings postponed nirvana (by refusing to enter it). They sit in heaven, sharing their merit with humans and answering prayers. – As Mahayana spread to new nations, it incorporated the deities found by claiming these gods were incarnations of Buddha
Sects of Mahayanan Buddhism• The Pure Land Sect -- Believe in heaven rather than nirvana -- Believe in many gods, among them Amitabha -- Priests may marry, have families, eat meat -- Little is required of followers except to show Amitabha (Japanese “Amida”) their gratitude• The Rationalist Sect (Tendai) -- Meditation on Buddhist Scripitures is a basic need, but only through reasoned study -- Teachings: (1) Lotus Sutra is inspired scripture, (2) Unity in reality, (3) Universal salvation is possible
Sects of Mahayanan Buddhism• The Intuitive Sect • Believe that salvation comes through a flash of insight like Buddha under the fig tree • Origin traced to Bodhidarma in the 5th century AD • In Japan the sect took the name, Zen • Disciples distrust reason, are not ascetic, and trust that enlightenment will come through accident or meditation • To aid the process, Zen masters give students riddles to solve, may shout at them, slap them, or even cut off a student’s finger• The Magical Sect • Mainly in Japan and China • Fusion with Shinto beliefs is common
Sects of Mahayanan BuddhismThe Sociopolitical Sect-- Began c. 13th century in Japan-- Founder, Nichiren, believed > Lotus Sutra is only scripture required > Social justice is the primary message of correct Buddhism-- Chanting is major part of worship-- Four vows > Beings are infinite; I vow to save them all > Passions are infinite; I vow to end them all > Many teachings that can save: I vow to learn them all > Buddhahood is supreme achievement: I vow to attain it
Sects of Mahayanan Buddhism• The Lamist or Tibetan Sect • A variation of Buddhism developed in Tibet • The Dalai Lama is the central personage • Essentially the ruler of Tibet • It is believed that when a Dalai dies, he will reincarnate in the body of a young boy • Priests search for this boy, looking for one who yields traits of the deceased Dalahi • When found, this boy begins a long process of preparing to lead a nation
Sects of Mahayanan Buddhism• Lamists rely on magical practices (from pre-Buddhist times) and tantras (manuals) that teach magic words and spells• Teach a human duality: Male and female in each body• Certain phrases are used to focus spiritual energy, ward off evil, and attain good fortune: “Om mani padmi hum” (Om the jewel of the Lotus hum)• Utilization of a prayer wheel cylinder
Sects of Mahayanan Buddhism• Clergy (lamas) divided into two orders: (1) The Yellow Hat School, (2) The Red Hat School The Yellow Hats Highest order Ruled by the Dalai The Red Hats Adherents of the Bardo Thodol (Book of the Dead) Scriptures Bardo – a dreamlike state lasting 49 days following death where ultimate destiny is determined Priests of this order assist dying people through the death experience
Innovations? Of The Mahayana School• Theoretical abstraction of complete emptiness replaced by absolute compassion• Multiplication of divine beings into three main groups: – Manushi Buddhas – like Gautama, have achieved enlightenment on earth, but are of lesser importance because they cannot minister on earth – Dhyani Buddhas – attained enlightenment in heaven and are yet available to minister to those on earth – Bodhisattvas – Buddhas in the making. Heavenly beings who forgo nervana until all beings achieve nirvana
Innovations? Of The Mahayana School• The Lotus Sutra and other Scriptures that gave rise to the broader teaching that all humans may achieve Buddhahood• The development of many schools of Buddhist thought and practice