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Buddhism essay

Chapter 1 The Buddhist attitude of mind


Buddha is a human that has attained enlightenment
Onw has to develop himself for his own emancipation
It is on the principle of individual responsibility that the Buddha
allows freedom to his disciples
There is no esoteric doctrine in his teaching (nothing up his sleeve)
Freedom of thought own realization
It is proper to have doubt, do not be led by the authority of religious
texts
When you know something is bad, give them up
A disciple should examine even the tathagata, so he will be
convinced of the true value of the teacher
Doubt is one of the five hindrances to the understanding of truth
The root of all evil is ignorance and false views
One should not honour only ones own religion and condemn the
religions of others, but one should honour others religions for a
reason. So one can help ones own religion grow and renders service
to the religions of others
Violence in any form is absolutely against the teaching of the
Buddha
Sectarian labels are a hindrance to the independent understanding
of truth
People are too fond of discriminative labels that they go to length to
putting them on human qualities and emotions common to all
The source and development of an idea is a matter for the
academic, not the seeker of truth
Pukkusati tried to look for Buddha , didnt know it was him
Buddhism is laid on seeing, kowing and understanding, not faith or
belief
Saddha is confidence, bone out of conviction
Asanga: 1, full and firm conviction of a thing is 2. Serene joy at good
qualities and 3. Aspiration or wish to achieve an object in view
Buddha: to be attach to one thing (to a certain view) and to look
down upon other things (views) as inferior, this the wise men call a
fetter
Teaching is a raft, do not hold on to it
Buddha did not teach everything he knows because theyre not
useful and would create unnecessary metaphysical questions. He
considers them a wildness of opinions
Chapter 2: the four noble truths
The four noble truths objective, neither pessimistic nor optimistic
Dukkha to be defined as suffering is insufficient, for it also means
impermanence, emptiness, insubstantiality, imperfection
Happiness, both immaterial and material is impermanent, like
dhyana

He says, with regard to life and the enjoyment of sensepleasures, that one should clearly understand three

things: (1) attraction or enjoyment (assada), (2) evil


consequence or danger or unsatisfactoriness (adinava),
and (3) freedom or liberation (nissarana).
The conception of dukkha may be viewed from three
aspects:
1. ordinary suffering (dukkha-hukkha)
2.

dukkha as produced by change (veparinama-dukkha)

3.

dukkha as conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha)


a.

the five aggregates


i.

the aggregate of matter (rupakkhandha):


solidity, fluidity, heat and motion and the
derivatives of the four great elements

ii.

the derivatives: five material sense-organs,


faculties of eye, ear, nose, tongue and
body, and their corresponding objects in
the external world: visible form, sound,
odour, taste, tangible things and some
thoughts or ideas or conceptions which are
in the sphere of mind-objects

iii.

the aggregate of sensations


(vedanakkgandha): sensations through the
contact of physical and mental organs with
the external world

iv.

mind (manas) Buddhism does not


recognise spirit as opposed to matter

v.

the aggregate of perceptions


(sannakkhandha): the perception that
recognise objects whether physical or
mental

vi.

the aggregate of mental formations


(samkharakkhandha): all volitional
activities both good and bad

vii.

volition: mental construction, mental


activity. Its function is to direct the mind in
the sphere of good, bad or neutral
activities. Sensations and perceptions are
not volitional actions

viii.

52 mental activities, volitional actions:


attention, will, determination, confidence,
concentration, wisdom, energy, desire,
repugnance or hate, ignorance, conceit
that can product karma effects

ix.

aggregate of consciousness
(vinnanakkhandha): response or reaction
that forms a basis of the sic faculties (eye,
ear, nose, tongue, body and mind) and the
six corresponding external phenomena
(visible form, sound, odour, taste, tangible
things and mind-objects) as its object

x.

consciousness does not recognise the


object, awareness of the object, like seeing
does not mean recognising

xi.

consciousness is not spirit. It is names


according to the condition through which it
arises

b.

what we call a being is a convenient name for


the five aggregates

c.

they are impermanent and changing

d.

being is dukha itself

e.

thought itself is the thinker. If you remove the


thought, there is no thinker

principal evils in life: repugnance (ill-will with regard to


living beings, with regard to suffering and with regard to
things pertaining to suffering. Its function is to produce a
basis for unhappy states and bad conductor hatred.
Being impatient or angry at suffering does not remove it. It
adds a little more to ones troubles, and aggravates and

exacerbates a situation already disagreeable. Joy is one of


the seven Bojiamgas or Factors of Enlightenment
Chapter 3: the second noble truth Samudaya: the arising of
dukkha
it is this thirst (tanha) which produces re-existence and rebecoming (ponobbavia) and which is bound up with passionate
greed (nandiragasahagata), 1 thirst for sense-pleasures (kamatanha) 2 thirst for existence and becoming (bhaa-tanha) and 3 thirst
for non-existence (self-annihilation, vibhavatanha)
thirst depends for its arising (samudaya) on something else, which is
sensation (vedana), and sensation arises depending on contact
(phassa): conditioned genesis
four Nutriments(ahara) in the sense of cause or condition
necessary for the existence and continuity of beings 1 ordinary
material food 2 contact of our sense-organs with the external world
3 consciousness and 4 mental volition or will
mental volition is the will to live. They devote the desire, the will to
be, to exist. To re-exist, to become more and more, to grow more
and more, to accumulate more and more.
The germ(cause) of the arising of dukkha is within dukkha itself
The well-known formula in original Pali texts whatever is of the
nature of arising, all that is of the nature of cessation
Karma means volitional action only
Karma is the theory of cause and effect, of action and reaction; it is
a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or
reward and punishment
Death: non-functioning of the physical body. Volition, desire, thirst to
exist, to continue, to become more and more is a tremendous force
that moves whole world lives, whole existences, whole world
Rebirth is the continuation of the same series
Chapter 4: the third noble truth: the cessation of dukkha
Nirvana is expressed in negative terms: extinction of thirst,
uncompound, absence of desire the Absolute
The abandoning and destruction of desire and craving for the five
aggregates of attachment is the cessation of Dukkha
It is the annihilation of the illusion of the false idea of self
free
freedom of all evil, freedom from craving, hatred and ignorance
the absolute truth: there is nothing absolute in this world, that
everything is relative, conditioned and impermanent
nirvana is not result, more like effect, like how you hike up the hill
and see light
no words can express what happens to an arahant after death
cessation of dukkha is due to wisdom
chapter 5: The Fourth Noble Truth: Magga: The Path
it is the way leading to the cessation of Dukkha

the Middle Path: avoids two extremes; one extremem being the
search for happiness through the pleasures of the sense, which is
low, common, unprofitable and the way of the ordinary people;
the other being the search for happiness through self-mortification
in different forms of asceticism painful, unworthy and unprofitable
the Middle Path gives vision and knowledge, which leads to Calm,
Insight, Enlightenment, Nirvana
The Middle Path is the Noble Eightfold Path
1. Right understanding
a. Constitute wisdom
b. Understanding of things as they are, and it is the four
noble truths that explain things as they are
c. Right understanding is ultimately the understanding of
the four noble truths
d. This understanding is the highest wisdom which sees
the ultimate reality
2. Right thought
a. Constitutes wisdom
b. The thoughts of selfless renunciation or detachment
3. Right speech
a. Abstention from telling lies, backbiting and slander, and
talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity and
disharmony
b. From harsh, rude, impolite, malicious and abusive
language and from idle, useless and foolish babble and
gossip
c. Should keep noble silence
4. Right action
a. Aims at promoting moral, honourable and peaceful
conduct
b. Abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from
dishonest dealings, from illegitimate sexual intercourse
5. Right livelihood
a. Abstain from making ones living through a profession
that brings harm to others
6. Right effort
a. Energetic will to prevent evil and unwholesome states of
mind
b. To get rid of such evid and unwholesome states that
have already arisen within a man
c. To produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome
states of mind not yet arisen
d. To develop and bring to perfection the good and
wholesome states of mind already present in man
7. Right mindfulness
a. To be diligently aware, mindful and attentive with regard
to
i. The activities of the body

ii. Sensations or feelings


iii. The activities of the mind and ideas, thoughts,
conception and things
iv. Meditation for the development of attentiveness in
relation to the body
8. Right concentration
a. Four stages of Dhyana
i. Passionate desires and certain unwholesome
thoughts are maintained
ii. All intellectual activities are suppressed,
tranquility and one pointedness of mind
developed, feelings of joy maintained
iii. Feeling of joy disappears, while the disposition of
happiness sill remains
iv. All sensations disappear, only pure equanimity
and awareness remain
To be developed more or less simultaneously
The eight factos aim at promoting and perfecting the three
essentials of Buddhist training and discipline:
1. ethical conduct
a. universal love and compassion for all living beings
b. the Buddha gave his teaching for the good of the
many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion
for the world
c. included in 3 5 of Noble Eightfold Path
2. mental discipline
a. 6 8 of Noble Eightfold Path
3. wisdom
a. intellectual side or qualities of the mind
for a man to be perfect he should develop compassion and wisdom
two types of understanding:
1. q
qq1122, an accumulated memory, an intellectual
grasping of a subject (knowing accordingly)
2. real deep understanding (penetration): seeing a thing in its
true nature, without name and label. This is only possible
when the mind is free from all impurities and is fully
developed through meditation
Four Noble Truths:
1. Dukkha the nature of life, its suffering, its sorrows and joys,
its imperfection and unsatisfactiness, its impermanence and
insubstantiality
a. Understand it as a fact, clearly and completely
2. Origin of Dukkha desire, thirst, accompanied by all other
functions, defilements and impurities
a. Discard it, to eliminate, to destroy and eradicate it
3. Cessation of Dukkha, Nirvana, the Absolute Truth, the Ultimate
Reality

a. Realize it
4. Path leading to the realization of Nirvana
a. Understand the Path, follow it and keep to it
Chapter 6: the doctrine of no soul: Anatta
Buddhism denies the existence of a soul
The idea of self is an imaginary false belief which has no
corresponding reality, and it will produce harmful thoughts of me
and mine, attachment craving
Two ideas: self-protection and selfpreservation to console himself
Self-protection: man has created God, on wom he depends for his
own protection, safety and security
Selfpreservation: the idea of an immortal Soul or Atman, which will
live eternally
Conditional Genesis; synthetical approach nothing in the world is
absolute, everything is conditioned, relative and interdependent
Only ends with cessation of ignorance, volitional activities or
karmaformations
Conditional genesis is a circle
Will is conditioned
Freedom itself is conditioned and relative
Conventional truth I and ultimate truth no I
For example, the third verse of nos.5,6,7 of chapter 20, All
Dhammas are without self the term dhamma is much wider than
samkhara, it includes not only the conditioned things and states, but
also the non-conditioned, the Absolute, Nirvana. It includes
everything
Buddha asked if there is a soul-thoery that does not produce
suffering
Vacchagotta asked the Buddha is there a self? Buddha did not
respond and Vacchagotta walked away because Buddha did not
want to confuse Vacchagotta
Some people take self to mean mind or consciousness but its better
for a man to take his physical body as self because the mind is
always changing
It is wrong to hold the opinion I have no self because it arises out
of the false idea I AM. The correct position is to see things
objectively without mental projections
There is the fact of noselfness
Chapter 7: Meditation of mental culture: Bhavana
Meditation aims at producing a state of perfect mental health,
equilibrium and tranquility
Many have misconstrued the idea of meditation. Some attemped to
use it as a way to gain powers, which is an example of thirst
Bhavana means culture or development ie mental culture or mental
development

It aims at cleansing the mind of impurities in order to attain the


highest wisdom and realize the Ultimate Truth
Two forms of meditation: development of mental concentration, of
one-pointedness of mind, to lead to the highest mystic state such as
the sphere of nothingness. Nothing to do with reality and it
existed before Buddha
Buddha considered these mystic states as purely peaceful living, not
complete liberation
Second form of meditation: insight into the nature of things,
leading to complete liberation of the mind, to the realization of the
Ultimate Truth
Analytical method based on mindfulness, awareness, vigilance,
observation
The setting up of mindfulness (Satipatthana-sutts)
The discourse is split into four sections: our body (kaya), our
feelings and sensations (vedana), the mind (citta), various moral
and intellectual subjects (dhamma)
The most important thing is mindfulness or awareness, attention or
observation
The most popular or practical example is The Mindfulness or
Awareness of in-and-out breathing
Only for cultivating mindfulness of in-and-out breathing one should
sit, cross-legged, keeping the body erect and the mindfulness alert
Erect but not stiff
The power of concentration is essential for any kind of deep
understanding, penetration, insight into the nature of things
Another form of medidtaion is to be aware and mindful of whatever
you do, physically or verbally. You should live in the present
moment. This does not mean that you should not think of the past
or future, but to think of them in relation to the present moment,
when and where it is relevant
People generally do not give fully to what they appear to be doing
Do not think I am doing this or else you live in the idea of I am
A way of practicing mental development with regard to all our
sensations or feelings.
First is to learn not to be unhappy or worried, then you see clearly
why there is a sensation or a feeling of unhappiness. Examine how it
arises, its cause and how it disappears, its cessation.
Only look at it as a feeling not my feeling
Simply observing, watching, examining, dont judge
Meditation on ethical, spiritual and intellectual subjects
Think about the Five Hindrances:
1. Lustful desires
2. Ill-will, hatred or anger
3. Torpor and languor
4. Restlessness and worry
5. Skeptical doubts

One may also meditate on the Seven Factors of Enlightenment:


1. Mindfulness
2. Investigation and research into the various problem of
doctrine
3. Energy, to work with determination till the end
4. Joy
5. Relaxation of both body and mind
6. Concentration
7. Equanimity, to be able to face life in all its vicissitude with
calm of mind. The most essential thing is a genuine wish, will,
or inclination
One may also meditate on the four noble truths, or the five
aggregates
Four subjects of meditation (Four Sublime states)
1. extending unlimited, universal love and good-will to all living
beings without any kind of discrimination
2. compassion for all living being who are suffering, in trouble
and affliction
3. sympathetic joy in others success, welfare and happiness
4. equanimity in all vicissitudes of life
Instruction for life

1. Take into account that great love and great


achievements involve great risk. 2. When you lose, don't
lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for
others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes
a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them
properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take
immediate steps to correct it. 8. Spend some time alone
every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your
values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older
and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation


for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the
current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve
immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which
your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in
order to get it. 19. Approach love and cooking with
reckless abandon.
The Noble Eightfold Path is for all
True renunciation does not mean to run away to the reclude, for
your thoughts have to be pure regardless of where youre at
One does not have to be in solitude all the time. It may be needed
when one is trying to improve his mind and character, as
preliminary moral, spiritual and intellectual training, to be strong
enough to come out later and help others. If one does not help
others, then this is not keeping with the Buddhas teaching based on
love, compassion, and service to others
Then why is there the Sangha? It is here for those who are wiling to
devote their lives not only to their own development, but also to the
service of others
In Buddhism, there is a worship of six directions: parents, teachers,
wife and children, friends, relatives and neighbours, servants,
workers and employees, religious men
The six family and social groups are treated as sacred, worthy of
respect and worship (by performing ones duties towards them)
Four things that are conducive to out happiness
1. he should be skilled, efficient, earnest and energetic in
whatever profession and he should know it well
2. he should protect his income, which he has earned righteously
3. he should have good friends who are faithful, learned,
virtuous, liberal and intelligent
4. he should spend reasonable, in proportion of his income
four virtues conducive to a laymans happiness
1. Saddha: he should have faith and confidence in moral spiritual
and intellectual values
2. Sila: he should abstain from destroying and harming life, from
stealing and cheating from adultery, from falsehood and from
intoxicating drinks

3. Caga: he should practice charity, generosity, without


attachment and craving for his wealth
4. Panna: he should develop wisdom which leads to complete
destruction of suffering, to the realization of Nirvana
Once Buddha told Anathapindika that there are four kinds of
happiness
1. enjoy economic security or sufficient wealth acquired by just
and righteous means
2. spending that wealth liberally on himself, his family, his
friends and relatives, and on meritorious deeds
3. to be free from debts
4. to live a faultless and a pure life without committing evil in
thought, word or deed
economic and material happiness is not worth one sixteenth part of
the spiritual happiness arising out of a faultless and good life
Buddha does not only preach about material development, for it is
void without spiritual and moral foundation
He preaches nonviolence and peace
The Ten Duties of a King:
1. liberality, generosity, charity, do not have craving and
attachment to wealth and property
2. a high moral character: never destroy life, cheat steal and
exploit others, commit adultery, utter falsehood and taking
intoxicating drinks (Five Precepts of the layman)
3. sacrifiving everything for the good of the people: be prepared
to give up all personal comfort, mane and fame, and even his
life
4. honesty and integrity: free from fear or favour in the discharge
of his duties, be sincere in his intentions and must not deceive
the public
5. kindness and gentleness: genial temperament
6. austerity in habits: lead a simple life, should not indulge in a
life of luxury, self-control
7. freedom from hatred, ill-will enmity: bear no grudge against
anybody
8. non-violence: should also try to promote peace by avoiding
and preventing war, and everything which involves violence
and destruction of life
9. patience, forbearance, tolerance, understanding: bear
hardships, difficulties and insults without losing his temper
10.
non-opposition, non-obstruction: do not oppose the will
of the people, obstruct any measures that are conducive to
the welfare of the people