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Phil230 Midterm StudyPack - P age |1 P H I L 2 3 0 Midterm...

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P a g e | 1 P H I L 2 3 0 : Midterm 1 Philosophy 230: Introduction to Buddhism Midterm 1 Study Guide Lecture 1: What is Buddhism ? 4 Sept 07 & Lecture 2: Orientalism. 6 Sept 07 (1) In “The Doctrinal Position of the Buddha in Context,” the authors (Paul Williams and Anthony Tribe) observe that “ what it is to be a Buddhist, and what it is to be e.g. a Christian, or a Muslim, [or a Jew,] are different. And if to be a Buddhist and to be a Christian [or a Muslim, or a Jew] are different, then Buddhism and Christianity [and Islam, and Judaism] qua ‘religions’ are different” (p. 3). - Explicate this statement in light of what you know about the main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), - particularly qualities that they all share in contrast with Buddhism. - Points that you might consider include religious cosmology and worldview, the nature and place of deity or deities, and the possibility for the co-existence of multiple religious systems. (2) With reference to the last point in the previous question, consider that Buddhism does not always emphasize life-cycle events (birth, coming of age rituals, weddings, etc.) as do many of the Abrahamic religions. For instance, traditionally, there was no formal Buddhist liturgy for wedding ceremonies. Buddhist monastics (monks and nuns) did not act as officiants at such ceremonies, and marriage was not considered a religious matter requiring involvement with or control by the Buddhist clergy. - Why might this be the case? - What does this difference suggest about the relationship between Buddhism and its surrounding cultures?
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P a g e | 2 P H I L 2 3 0 : Midterm 1 (3) In “The Buddhist Cosmos,” Rupert Gethin interprets Buddhist cosmology to “take… the form of a hierarchy of existence related to certain kinds of mentality ” (p. 122), in other words, to propose an “equivalence of cosmology and psychology” (p. 119). - According to Gethin, how are the two equated or linked? In some forms of Buddhism, it is said that “the three-fold world is nothing but the mind,” i.e., that the realms of desire, form, and formlessness are fundamentally nothing but mental states. - In what sense is this view part of the Buddhist cosmology introduced in the writing by Gethin and the inclass lecture on September 6? - Finally, how does the equivalence between cosmology and psychology serve to make the Buddhist universe a basically ethical one? - What does this way of construing ethics imply about the importance of mental states in Buddhist ethical thinking? Lecture 3: Cosmology and previous life of Buddha . 11 Sept 07 & Lecture 4: Historical Buddha . 13 Sept 07 (1) The achievements of our particular Buddha are not considered to be unique within the Buddhist universe. It is said, in fact, that all Buddhas display the same eight successive phases in their careers.
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