Buddhism 02042009


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A short presentation on Buddhism taken from my lectures on comparative religion

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Buddhism 02042009

  1. 1. Buddhism
  2. 2. Buddhism <ul><li>Origins </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Divinity </li></ul><ul><li>Sacred Texts / Individuals / Spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Ritual and Death </li></ul>
  3. 3. Origins <ul><li>Buddhist practices and teachings have been able to adapt readily to new host cultures and traditions. </li></ul><ul><li>There are so many different varieties that it is difficult to identify practices and beliefs that are distinctly Buddhist. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Origins <ul><li>The Buddha was not considered to be a deity or supernatural being. </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamentally, the Buddha is a teacher – has found the answers to deep human dilemmas and made the answers available to others </li></ul>
  5. 5. Origins <ul><li>The institutional and intellectual expansion of Buddhism was fostered by a adherents ( arhants – “worthy ones”). </li></ul><ul><li>The fundamental impulse of Buddhist practice is the finding of serenity in a world of suffering and change. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pursued through Buddhist worship, observing the Five Precepts, offering food to monks, celebrating rites of passage, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Origins <ul><li>Origins of Buddha begin with his previous lives as a bodhisattva (“future buddha ”). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Samsara (“rebirth”) is the result of karma (series of actions) accumulated over many lifetimes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Raised as a prince, Gautama Siddhārtha left his palace due his curiosity about the outside world. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiences of human suffering instilled a wish within him to seek release </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Origins <ul><li>First effort for release was through severe asceticism (strenuous fasting and self-denial). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decided this route was unproductive. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sought the “middle way” by avoiding extremes of self-indulgence and self-denial. </li></ul><ul><li>Attained Enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi Tree on the bank of the Nairanjana river. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Was tempted by Mara (evil god), but withstood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Realized the “Four Noble Truths” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Origins <ul><li>Four Noble Truths: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth of Suffering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All life is filled with suffering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth of the Origin of Suffering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Suffering stems from desire (desire for permanence) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth of the Cessation of Suffering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Suffering ceases when desire ceases </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth of the Path </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Noble Eightfold Path” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 10. History <ul><li>Circa 566-486 BCE : Life of Gautama Siddh ā rtha </li></ul><ul><li>Circa 486 BCE : First Buddhist Council (formation of the core of the Buddhist canon) </li></ul><ul><li>Circa 383 BCE : Second Buddhist Council; first splits in the Buddhist community </li></ul>
  10. 11. History <ul><li>Circa 100 BCE : First Mahāyāna sutras (sayings of the Buddha) appear </li></ul><ul><li>1 st cent. CE : Buddhism arrives in China </li></ul><ul><li>220 – 236 CE : Buddhism flourishes in India under the Satavahana dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>320 – 540 CE : “Classical age” of Indian Buddhism under the Gupta dynasty </li></ul>
  11. 12. History <ul><li>4 th cent. CE : Buddhism spreads to Korea; Buddhaghosa codifies the foundations of Therav ā da Buddhism </li></ul><ul><li>6 th cent. CE : Buddhism arrives in Japan </li></ul><ul><li>7 th cent. CE : Emergence of Tantric Buddhism </li></ul><ul><li>7 th – 8 th cent. CE : “First Diffusion of the Dharma” in Tibet; first Tibetan monastery founded </li></ul>
  12. 13. History <ul><li>800 – 1200 CE : Pala Dynasty; monastic universities in eastern India </li></ul>
  13. 15. History <ul><li>800 – 1200 CE : Pala Dynasty; monastic universities in eastern India </li></ul><ul><li>10 th cent. CE : “Second Diffusion of the Dharma” in Tibet </li></ul><ul><li>11 th cent. CE : Emergence of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism </li></ul><ul><li>1100 – 1200 CE : Buddhism declines in India; eastern Indian monasteries destroyed </li></ul>
  14. 16. History <ul><li>1391 – 1475 CE : “1 st ” Dalai Lama (Tibetan monk dGe-’dun-grub – “Gend ü n Drub”) </li></ul><ul><li>1543 – 1588 CE : Reign of bSod-nams rGya-mtsho (gains title of Dalai Lama – “S ö nam Gyatso”) </li></ul><ul><li>1617 – 1682 CE : Reign of Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang rGya-mtsho – “Great 5 th ” Dalai Lama (“Losang Gyatso”) </li></ul><ul><li>1935 CE: Birth of bsTan-’dzin rGya-mtsho, the 14 th (and current) Dalai Lama (“Tenzin Gyatso”) </li></ul>
  15. 17. “ No, you da Man!”
  16. 18. History <ul><li>1 st Buddhist council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to establish early history of the samgha (Buddhist community) with certainty; most early evidence dates from several hundred years after the commonly accepted date of the Buddha’s death. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set to resolve dispute concerning monastic regulations and discipline, restate the Buddha’s teaching, and establish a common body of doctrine </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. History <ul><li>2 nd Buddhist Council (3 rd Council?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional expansion taxed monastic code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First schisms develop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ What constitutes an arhant?” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sthaviras (“Elders”) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mahasamghikas (“Great Community”) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would produce the “Eighteen Schools” of Buddhism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipated later doctrinal splits between the H ī nay ā na and Mah ā y ā na schools. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 20. History <ul><li>Core Buddhism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intuitive wisdom follows upon moral conduct and mental discipline in accord with Buddhist precepts: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All existence is unsatisfactory ( dukkha ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All existence is impermanent ( anicca ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There is no permanent self ( anatta ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Existence claims </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All existence is transitory and exists dependent on other things </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 21. History <ul><li>Broadly, Indian Buddhism divides into the Theravāda school (also called Hīnayāna “Lesser Vehicle”) and Mah ā y ā na school (“Great Vehicle”) </li></ul><ul><li>Theravāda school includes the Sautr ā ntika and Vaibh ā sika schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Mahāyāna school includes the M ā dhyamika and Yog ā c ā ra schools. </li></ul>
  20. 22. History <ul><li>Theravāda school (Hīnayāna; “Lesser Vehicle”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Lesser” vehicle because it is oriented towards liberating the individual </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mah ā y ā na school (“Great Vehicle”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed from Theravāda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Greater” vehicle because it opens up the way to liberation to a great number of people (potentially to all beings; bodhisattva ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zen Buddhism is derived from Mahāyāna Buddhism. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 23. History <ul><li>Buddhism came to Tibet in two waves (“First” and “Second Diffusion of the Dharma”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First Diffusion began with the first images of the Buddha brought to Lhasa (capital of Tibet) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Diffusion came to an end during persecution. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 24. History <ul><li>Second Diffusion (end of the 10 th century CE ) established four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>rNying-ma-pas (Nyingmapa) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sa-skya-pas (Sakyapa) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bKa’-gdams-pas (Kadampa) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bKa’-rgyud-pas (Kargyupa) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dalai Lamas stem from dGe-lugs-pa (Gelukpa) Buddhism, which descends from the bKa’-gdams-pas (Kadampa) </li></ul>
  23. 25. History <ul><li>Tibetan Buddhism is characterized by three core elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tantric ritual and meditation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Tantra”: name from the texts conveying its teachings: Mantrayana (“Vehicle of Sacred Chants”) & Vajrayana (“Vehicle of the Thunderbolt”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mandala art to encourage awakening </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Awakening through basic emotions (including wrath) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monastic intellectual discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Royal secular power </li></ul></ul>
  24. 27. Divinity <ul><li>Theravāda Buddhism insists on Buddha being mortal, but who achieved Nirvāna and escape from the cycle of karma and rebirth. </li></ul><ul><li>In Mahāyāna Buddhism, celestial bodhisattvas are those who progress to the highest stages of the path to becoming a buddha , and who have acquired power and the ability to act in a quasi-divine manner. </li></ul><ul><li>Celestial bodhisattvas can postpone their transformation into celestial buddhas in order to continue to help others. </li></ul>
  25. 28. Divinity <ul><li>Karma </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Variation exists between Hindu and Buddhist conceptions of karma. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In Buddhism, karma is the universal law of cause and effect. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The effect of an action, which can be of the body, speech, or mind, is determined by the intention of the action. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intention, even without action, can produce a karmic effect. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 29. Divinity <ul><li>Karma </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only deeds freed from desire, hate, and delusion are without karmic effects. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liberation from the rebirth cycle is achieved by refraining from “good” and “bad” actions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Karma does not constitute determinism; actions determine the manner of rebirth, but not the actions of the reborn individual. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 30. Karma <ul><li>“ The deed ( karma ) produces a fruit under certain circumstances; when it is ripe then it falls upon the one responsible. For a deed to produce its fruit, it must be morally good or bad and be conditioned by a volitional impulse, which in that it leaves a trace in the psyche of the doer, leads his destiny in the direction determined by the effect of the deed. Since the time of ripening generally exceeds a lifespan, the effect of actions is necessarily one or more rebirths, which together constitute the cycle of existence ( sams ā ra ).” – A. Bareau ( Die Religionen Indiens , Vol. 3, 1964) </li></ul>
  28. 32. Divinity <ul><li>Nirvāna </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early Buddhism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Departure from the cycle of rebirths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Entry into entirely different mode of existence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requires complete overcoming of desire, hatred, delusion, and active volition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom from karma </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 33. Divinity <ul><li>Nirv ā na </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mah ā y ā na </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Undergoes conceptual change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unity with the absolute </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bliss in cognizing one’ identity with the absolute </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom from attachments to illusions, affects, and desires </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not Western idea of “annihilation” but “abode of immortality” </li></ul></ul>
  30. 34. Divinity <ul><li>Nirv ā na </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H ī nay ā na </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Two types of nirvāna are distinguished </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nirvāna with a remainder of conditionality (achievable before death) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nirvāna without conditionality (attained at death) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Still doctrinal differences within schools </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 35. Sacred Texts / Individuals / Spaces <ul><li>Buddhist canonical literature is highly variable, and new texts are constantly added. </li></ul><ul><li>Still seen as authoritative, as it still “provides access to the Buddha himself”. </li></ul><ul><li>Buddha’s “Dharma Body” is the collection of sacred texts (most enduring aspect of him). </li></ul>
  32. 36. Sacred Texts / Individuals / Spaces <ul><li>Dalai Lamas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gend ü n Drub (1391-1475) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gendün Gyatso (1475-1542) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>S ö nam Gyatso (1543-1588) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Y ö nten Gyatso (1589-1617) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Losang Gyatso (1617-1682) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jamyang Gyatso (1683-1706) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kelsang Gyatso (1708-1757) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jampel Gyatso (1758-1804) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lungtog Gyatso (1806-1815) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ts ü ltrim Gyatso (1816-1837) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kedrub Gyatso (1838-1856) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trinle Gyatso (1856-1875) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tubten Gyatso (1876-1933) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tenzin Gyatso (1935-) </li></ul></ul>
  33. 37. Sacred Texts / Individuals / Spaces <ul><li>Chinese and Tibetan canons differ, but have some similar core elements. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The sutras ( bKa’ ) bear direct authority of the buddhas and bodhisattvas . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exegesis developed around this core, which varied with the tradition. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 38. Ethics <ul><li>All speculation is only valuable if it can directly help a person alleviate suffering and attain nirv ā na. </li></ul><ul><li>Nirv ā na attained by following the Eightfold Path. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstain from harmful actions (moral conduct) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discipline the mind (concentration) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the self and mind properly (wisdom) </li></ul></ul>
  35. 39. Ethics <ul><li>Eightfold Path </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the thirty-seven limbs of Enlightenment (bodhip ā kshika-dharma) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Four foundations of mindfulness (satipatth ā na) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Four perfect efforts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Four roads to power (riddhip ā da) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Five roots (indriya) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Five powers (bala) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Seven factors of enlightenment (bodhyanga) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eightfold path </li></ul></ul></ul>
  36. 40. Ethics <ul><li>Eightfold Path </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect view : view based on four noble truths and the non-individuality of existence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect resolve : resolve in favor of renunciation, good will, and non-harming sentient beings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect speech : avoidance of lying, slander, and gossip </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect conduct : avoidance of actions that conflict with moral discipline </li></ul></ul>
  37. 41. Ethics <ul><ul><li>Perfect livelihood : avoidance of professions that harm sentient beings (hunter, weapons- / narcotics-dealer, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect effort : cultivation of what is karmically wholesome and avoidance of what is karmically unwholesome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect mindfulness : on-going mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfect concentration : concentration of mind that finds its highpoint in the four absorptions (dhy ā na). </li></ul></ul>
  38. 42. Ritual and Death <ul><li>Traditional view of death is based in the Indian doctrine of samsara (“rebirth” – fig.; “wandering” – lit.) </li></ul><ul><li>Existence was seen as cyclical. </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of rebirth was based on karma (“law of moral retribution”). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater merit: higher form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater sin: lower form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worst offenders have to eradicate sin through suffering in multi-level Hell before re-entering samsara. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lowest level of Hell reserved for those who killed their parents or teacher. </li></ul></ul>
  39. 44. Sacred Individuals <ul><ul><ul><li>Eisei and Dogen introduced Zen Buddhism (Chan Buddhism) during the Kamakura Era </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Felt there was significant spiritual laxity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pursuit of satori (Enlightenment or kenshō ) via contemplation of kōans and meditation in the Lotus position </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  40. 45. Sacred Individuals <ul><ul><ul><li>Honen (Genku) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Founded “Pure Land” Buddhism (Jōdo-shū) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Humanity too wicked to attain salvation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must throw oneself on the mercies of Amida (who may allow rebirth in the Pure Land) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shinran </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Founded “True Pure Land” Buddhism (Jōdo-shin-shū) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  41. 47. Sacred Individuals <ul><ul><ul><li>Nichiren </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Doubted Pure Land beliefs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regarded Lotus Sutra as the supreme spiritual authority </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  42. 48. Koan <ul><li>The master Bankei's talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. </li></ul><ul><li>His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Hey, Zen teacher!&quot; he called out. &quot;Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Come up beside me and I will show you,&quot; said Bankei. </li></ul><ul><li>Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>Bankei smiled. &quot;Come over to my left side.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The priest obeyed. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;No,&quot; said Bankei, &quot;we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The priest proudly stepped over to the right. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;You see,&quot; observed Bankei, &quot;you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen.&quot; </li></ul>