Lecture Notes: Tibetan Buddhism

Lecture Notes: Tibetan Buddhism - Tibetan Buddhism o Tibets...

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Tibetan Buddhism 10/28/2013 o Tibet’s often called the “roof of the world” – highest place on the planet Possibly a spiritual connection of the broader universe Closer to the God or Spirit(s) associated with height Association between the spirits and the mountains – source of a life giving resource (water) o Mountain god specifically associated with water o Origin of Tibetan State and National Identity Prehistory o Region was governed by a legion of mythical kings (before history was recorded) Sacred rulers, legitimized by having come from heaven, people trust them to do the work of the people 7 th century enters the historical record o enters with the king of the Yarlung dynasty, King Namri Lontsan He organized various tribes in a unit, to benefit economy Consolidated tribes rebel against Yarlung leadership King Songtsen Gampo reconsolidates Tibetan state Next 200 years o Territorial expansion and empire building Begin to share more of a language, same race, share a greater amount of culture, including religion Formation of a national identity o Early Form of Religion in Tibet Animism
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o Believed that all existing things, especially natural objects, are or can be animated by spirits Rivers, mountains are animated by spirits o All of reality is animated by sacred power o Including human beings Spirit is capable of residing outside the person without the person dying Resides in a tree or stone usually – intention being if the spirit needed a rest, it could rest in that natural object Gesar – an enlightened being, evident to him that Tibet had been infested by negative spirits, or beings. He comes to earth and marries a princess and becomes King. Tries to control these demons, has trouble with one in particular Her spirit is housed in a tree, so he cuts it down to attempt to kill it. But she continues to bring chaos to the region. He believes her spirit could be in a lake, so he empties the lake. But she continues her negativity Turns out her spirit resided in a sheep, as well MORAL – if you have an outside location where your spirit can rest, keep it a secret. Because if someone kills that object, part of you could potentially die. If you want to control evil spirits, you must know who they are, where they reside (in), and come up with a deal with them to get them to discontinue their evil doings Shamanism o The regulation and transformation of life and society by individuals who communicate and control the spirits o Ability to access sacred power, and make a connection with the spirit world to effect your own world
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o Shamans enter into altered states of consciousness in order to gain insight into what is ultimately real, and to gain access to a sacred power o Problematic practice – people would go to “witch doctors” where they would go for healing, but also find a way to get rich quick, grow wealth These people would give them an assignment, which is usually impossible. So they go back and say I can’t do
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