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Buddhism

The quest to end suffering

Birth and Childhood


The Buddha
Siddhartha
Gautama
Born the son of a
king in northern
region of India,
563 BCE

miraculous birth
story

Father sheltered
him from the world

He went out
into the world
and saw the
four sights

Quest to End
Suffering
- First followed teachings of
Brahmins
-

Tried aesthetics of the


Jains
-

collapsed accepted rice

Realized the Middle Way


Sat under the Bodhi tree until
he reached enlightenment
- Witness to the earth
- Battle with Mara
- Decided to teach

Sermon at Deer Park


Four Noble Truths
1) Life is
pain/suffering.
(Dukkha)
2) The cause is craving
3) The cessation of pain
is possible!
4) The way that leads
to the cessation of
pain: this is the noble
eightfold way (or eight
fold path),

Eight fold path

right understanding
right thoughts
(intentions)
right speech
right action
5 precepts for
moral conduct

Five Precepts:
Do not take life
Do not take what is not given
Do not distort facts
Refrain from misuse of the senses
Refrain from self-intoxication
through alcohol or drugs

right
right
right
right

livelihood
effort
mindfulness
meditation

What is a principle
base religion?
Buddhism differs from Western religion in
that it is based on principles

Guidelines not dogmatic teachings


Instrumental
Flexible
Means to an end, not an end in themselves

Buddhas Death,
Serves as a teaching
At age 80 told followers he was nearing the end of his life.
- Fell ill after eating spoiled food
- Taken to Kusinara
- Entered Parinirvana

Disciples were beside themselves, Buddha offered final teaching:


Follow the dharma and the disciple. Be your own lamps
"All composite things pass away. Strive for your own liberation with diligence.

Pilgrimage sites
designated by the
Lumbini -- birthplaceBuddha
Bodh Gaya, Bihar - Site of
the enlightenment
Sarnath Site of the first
sermon (Chaukhandi
Stupa)
Kushinagar -- Site of the
Buddha's paranibbana

The spirit of the Buddha is


in these places. But the
ultimate spirit of the Buddha
is within us. Dali Lama

Three Jewels
The Buddha
Different meanings
Historical, Shakyamuni
Buddha
Three Bodies of Buddha 1)
Enlightened wisdom
2) Celestial aspect
- appears in Bodhisattvas
- communicates the
Dharma
3) Manifestations such as
Shakyamuni Buddha

Three Jewels
The Dharma
What is Dharma? (discuss!)
teachings
Emphasis varies from school to school
Texts/stories/myths
- Pali Cannon
Tipitaka (3 Baskets)
- monastic Discipline
- teachings
- scholarly writings
- Stories of lives of Buddha and
Bodhisattvas
- Jataka stories
Personal Experience

Three Jewels
The Sangha

community

-Began as community of monks who


followed the Buddha
-Stressed equality
-Against the caste system
What defines the community?
Varies within traditions:
- monastic community
- lay community
- universal sangha

Women and the


Sangha
Was the Buddha
sexist?
Story of his stepmother
Maha Pajapati Gotami

Buddhism emerged in a
highly patriarchal
society
Buddha did allow women to
become members of the
Sangha
Buddhist teachings are not
inherently sexist
Affect of cultural biases

American Buddhism has


many women leaders
and teachers

Rita Gross
Buddhism after Patriarchy

Buddhism's view of
women is ambiguous.
Some Buddhists
emphasize the
irrelevance of gender
but others claim that
women should strive to
be reborn as men
because women's
capacities are limited.
As is the case with all
major world religions,
Buddhism's institutions
are patriarchal.

Buddhist Worldview
What is reality?
Nontheistic
Metaphysics not the Buddhas issue
Focused on reality of suffering, Dukkha

Impermanent Materialism ?
Emptiness/ Suntata
Nothing endures
Empty of permanent existence

Suffering is caused by desire for permanence


Language, mental structures cause confusion

Interdependent

Skandha
Five types of phenomena that
objects cling to as a bases for
a sense of self
Buddhist doctrine describes
five aggregates:
1)
2)
3)
4)

"form" or "matter
"sensation" or "feelings
"conception", "cognition",
"mental formations",
"impulses",
5) "consciousness" or
"discernment
All change and are impermanent

Nagasena & King Menander

Just as when the parts are put


together, the word chariot is
used,
So to when the aggregates
are together. It is the
convention to say a being
Ngasena recites from the
Tipitaka

Goal of Buddhism
Karma: nothing
permanent to pass on
Actions set other actions
in motion
Cause and affect
Three root afflictions
Greed, Hate, delusion

End of Samsara: Nirvana


Literally means to blow
out (the flame of desire)
Results in freedom from
attachments

Represents crossing over


to the other shore,
beyond existence

What is Nirvana?
Gary Gach

Thich Nhat Hahn

Nirvanano longer
fueled by toxins
Greed, anger, denial

Nirvanasensation of all
suffering (comes from
misunderstanding), Removal
of Rompa Sections,
translation of freedom

Energy of Buddha gets


rid of them

Rompa Sections: fear,


nonviolence, hatred

Nirvana: state of
flames going out
No longer causes and
conditions

Nirvana: removal of non


being
No notion of deaththere is
continuation
Meditationlook deeply at
reality

Practices to end
Suffering
Meditation
Vipassana (insight)
Begin by noticing the breath
Observe emotions and thoughts
Non-judgmentally, let them pass

Samatha (stilling the mind)


just sit

Devotion
Do not worship the Buddha
Venerate, see has guide
Some believe in intercessory prayer

Realization - the three characteristics of existence


Anicca (Impermanence)
Dukka (suffering and dissatisfaction)
Anatta (no self)
Interconnected reality

What is
Emptiness?
suchness or thus-ness

Way things appear temporary


Not absolute
Rises and perishes constantly
Reality is as it is

Sunyata (Mahayana teaching)


The world of phenomenon is void
of independent existence
No need to cling to anything, all empty
Nonattachment
Becomes interpreted as egoless in Western context

Buddhism and Jainism


similar and different
Buddhism:
Not as strict, Monks / Nuns wear clothes, Arent vegans,
Middle Way
Jainism:
More extremists, focus on self, more diet restrictions,
Jiva/Karma are actual substances, Vegetarianism, Eternal Vita
Similar:
Originated in same place, Karma, Dharma, Nirvana,
Meditation, No godsmore guides, Reincarnation,
Enligtenment Goalshelp others reach enlightenment,
Material Reality, Available to all, Neither have Veda or caste
system
Stress ethical lining

Buddhism on the
move
Followers believed had a
message to spread
Major division happened
regarding Buddhas
teachings
250 BCE, 3rd Council,
Great Schism Theravada
and Mahayana
Two dominant schools
emerged
Still exist today, more
over lap

Theravada
"Way of the elders"
Dominates Buddhism in Southeast Asia

Three Jewels
Buddha = teacher and example
Emphasis is on historical person, lessons
and teachings of his life

Dharma = Pali Cannon


Sangha = Monastic Community
Center of community life
Supported by laity

Theravada
Ideal
Arhat a person
striving for
enlightenment
Strives through ones
own actions for
enlightenment

Theravada
Practice
Vipassana (insight) Meditation
Progress is up to the individual
Humanity is on its own in the universe
Prime attribute of enlightenment is wisdom (bodhi)

Develops profound insight into the nature of reality, the


causes of suffering, the absence of a separate core of
selfhood.
From these realizations flow four Noble Virtues
1)
2)
3)
4)

Loving-kindness
Compassion
Equanimity
Joy in the happiness and wellbeing of others

Mahayana
The great vehicle
Buddha = Three
Buddhas
1) Formless enlightened
wisdom
2) Celestial
there to provide grace in
quest for enlightenment

3) Body of transformation
historical manifestation
of Buddha nature

Mahayana
Dharma = the grace of experience
Uses pali cannon and Jataka tales
especially experience of the practitioner

Sangha
Broader definition
Monks and nuns but also laity

Mahayana
Ideal
Bodhisattva Buddha in the making
Bodhisattva vows

However innumerable sentient beings are,


I vow to save them.
However inexhaustible the defilements
are,
I vow to extinguish them.
However immeasurable the dharmas are,
I vow to master them.
However incomparable enlightenment is,
I vow to attain it.

Key differences (but not


absolutes)
From Houston Smith World Religions

Theravada
Human beings are
emancipated by selfeffort

Mahayana
Human aspirations are
supported by divine
powers and graces
they bestow

Key virtue is wisdom

Key virtue is
compassion

Attainment requires
constant commitment
is primarily for monks
& nuns

Religious practice is
relevant to life in the
world and therefore,
laypeople.

Key differences (but not absolutes)


From Houston Smith World Religions

Theravada
Ideal: Arhat who remains
in nirvana after death
Practice centers on
meditation
Buddha: a saint, supreme
teacher and inspirer.
Minimizes metaphysics.
Minimizes Ritual

Mahayana
Ideal: Bodhisattva

Practice include
petitionary prayer
Buddha a savior
Elaborate metaphysics
Emphasizes ritual

A Mahayana
Example
Zen Buddhism

Zen Schools (Chan)


Influenced by Taoism
and Shinto
Focus is on meditation
Bodhidarma 6th century
Told by teacher to take
Dharma to China

Aimed at helping
everyone to realize
their Buddha nature,
awaken the pure mind

Zen and culture


China
Positive view of
nature
Strong influence of
Taoism
Incorporation of
Hotei monks
Simplification of
metaphysics

Japan
Reverence of
natural world from
Shinto
Dominance of
Mindfulness
Incorporation of
warrior code
http://www.youtu
be.com/watch?v=_
WAi2fwUqN4

Zen Ox Herding
Pictures

All have Buddha nature


Enlightenment is possible
in this lifetime
Focus on recitation of the
Lotus Sutra
Namu myo-renge-kyo

Nam: Devotion,
Myoho: mystic law
Renge: cause and effect,
Kyo: sutra

Two groups
Soka Gakkai International
Nichiren Shoshu

13th century Japanese


Monk, Nichiren

Based on faith and devotional


practice (classically)
primary practice is devotional
buddhahood attained and rebirth
into celestial realm by faith in
Amitabha creator of the pure land
utopian

Practice is primarily recitation


Five Gates of Mindfulness:
Praise and Veneration.
Visualization.
Sutra Recitation.
Making the Vow for Rebirth.

Dedicating Merit
Accumulation of merit assists in
rebirth in the pure land
Can dedicate merit to others

Tibetan Buddhism
Vajrayana Diamond Way or
Thunder Bolt vehicle
Exists in many places, peak is
in Tibetan Buddhism
Tantric
combines beliefs in magic and
esoteric philosophy
emphasizes mystic symbols,
sacred chants, and devotional
techniques

View Buddha as celestial being


Appeal to forces outside of self

Differs in speed of path


Deity practice [enlightened
beings]

Tibetan Buddhism
Differs in absorption of local
religions
Bon
Indigenous beliefs
Nature deities
Incantations
[blessings/curse/exorcisms]

Before or alongside Buddhism


Currently own distinct
tradition
Influenced and influenced by
Buddhism

Buddhism very accepting of


these older practices

The Dali Lama


Tenzin Gyatso, head of
state and spiritual leader
of Tibetans
13th Dalai Lama,
incarnation AvalokitesvaraBuddha of compassion
Born 1935, ascended to
throne 1950, fled in 1960
1989 Nobel Peace Prize

"I am just a simple


Buddhist monk - no more,
nor less."
http://www.youtube.com/w
atch?v=JXdhHn8L65o&featu

The Buddhist King


King Ashoka (304232 BCE)
Converted to Buddhism
Saw his duties as king to
reform based on Buddhist
principles
Did not force others to be
Buddhist

Passed a number of edicts


carved on stone pillars
Dealt with state morality more
than individual
Reflect adoption of ahimsa for
his Kingdom
Health care for people and
animals
People can follow own path
but should lead toward
goodness

Here (in my domain) no


living beings are to be
slaughtered or offered in
sacrifice.

Sites of King Ashokas Pillars


Some inscriptions:

And noble deeds of Dharma


and the practice of Dharma
consist of having kindness,
generosity, truthfulness,
purity, gentleness and
goodness increase among the
people.

Here (in my domain) no living


beings are to be slaughtered
or offered in sacrifice.

All religions should reside


everywhere, for all of them
desire self-control and purity
of heart.

Four priests and two


laymen, represent
Rinzai Zen, Jodo
Shinshu, Nichirin,
Tendai, and Esoteric
schools
Soyen Shaku "The
Law of Cause and
Effect, as Taught by
Buddha."
Subsequently, Shaku
delivered "Arbitration
Instead of War

Two Suzukis
Bring Zen to American
DT Suzuki, Rinzi Zen
Lightening path
More emphasis on Koans

Sungri Suzuki, Soto Zen


Teachings of Dogen
Gradual path
Emphasis on sitting
just sit

Focus
- Mindfulness
- Compassion
Great impact in America

Insight Meditation
Society
Started retreat center in 1975
We offer meditation retreats rooted in
Theraveda Buddhist teachings of ethics,
concentration, and wisdom.

Several of the most read teachers:


Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg

Instrumental Nature of Buddhism as


Practice

Soka Gakkai
International (SGI)
Exception to the segregated Buddhist norm
Japan-based society
promotes Nichiren Buddhism
Lotus Sutra
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo--is the primary
practice of SGI members.

primary aim: personal happiness & peaceful


society
a lay Buddhist organization
seeks to promote the values of peace, culture and
education
Largest in US and most diverse

Thich Nhat Hahn


Early 60s founded the School
of Youth Social Service in
response to war
grass-roots relief organization
rebuilt bombed villages
Based on the Buddhist
principles of non-violence &
compassionate action.

Banned from returning to


Vietnam in 1966
1982 founded Plum Village in
France
Worked with boat people,
refugees, former soldiers
Founded order of Interbeing

Key teaching: through mindfulness, we


can learn to live in the present moment
instead of in the past and in the future.
Dwelling in the present moment is the
only way to truly develop peace, both
in one's self and in the world.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
=xD7i6VUOriI

Self Immolation and


Buddhism
136 Tibetan Buddhist self
immolation in protest of
Chinese government actions
In Viet Nam, protesting against
the treatment of the Buddhist
majority by Government
Action seen as assisting in
downfall of government
Unfortunately lead to copy cats

During War Buddhist leaders


appealed for people to stop
Suicide seen as against
Buddhist principles

Journalist Malcolm Browne's


photograph of Thch Qung c
during his self-immolation in
1963

Buddhist Ideals,
Real world Realities
Buddhism in Japan
During WW II
Compliancy and support of
nationalistic governments
imperialist
Doctrine of selflessness leading to
no indv. Independence
Buddhism subservient to state

Several Rinzai Zen teachers


issued apologies for their
traditions support of the military
and remorse for crimes
committed

In Bhutan
Discrimination against ethnic
Nepalese people many families
had lived in Bhutan for more
than 200 years
More than 106,000 living as
refugees in Nepal
Children denied education,
health care and future in
Bhutan
Tragic intersection of cultural,
religious and ethnic persecution
Human Rights Watch

2013 In Burma (Myanmar)


Zen at War by Brian Daizen Victoria

Violence against Muslim groups


Buddhist Nationalism