BUDDHISM - 1) What are the names of the two major schools...

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What are the names of the two major schools of the Mahayana that Skilton discusses and that we discussed in class? What issues are they debating? What does it mean to say that interdependent origination is what we call emptiness? Why does Nagarjuna deny svabhava – or self existence? What is the difference between emptiness and suchness? The two major schools of Mahayana are Madhyamaka and Yogacara. According to de Bary, Madhyamaka (Doctrine of the Middle Position) was founded by Nagarjuna during the2nd c. CE. The scriptural basis is the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, the most important of which is the sunyata. They teach that the phenomenal world has only one qualifying reality, opposing the doctrine of the Sarvastivadins. All beings labor under the constant illusion of perceiving things when in fact there is only emptiness. This emptiness or Void (sunyata) is all that truly exists. Emptiness never changes. It is absolute truth an absolute being. By this reasoning, event the arguments of the Madhyamika school in favor of the ultimate reality of Emptiness are unreal, and this argument against the Madhyamika position is itself unreal, and so in infinite regress. Nagarjuna denies svabhava (self-existence, essential nature and pure quality of the spirit). One of the two truths of the Madhyamaka is Paramartha Sattya; the ultimate truth of the universal absence of svabhava. Svabhava is the characteristic which, according to Nagarjuna, ordinary people unconsciously and erroneously suppose all individual entities to possess. The Yogacara school (the way of the Yoga) is associated with the teachings of a number of idealist sutras. According to de Bary, the Yogacara school is one of pure idealism. Skilton says that Mind Only (cittamatra) is the principale doctrine of the school. They argue that the whole universe exists only in the mind of the perceiver. All perceptions may be explained as projections of the percipient mind. We can only know or experience things with our mind. The school disagrees with the Madhyamaka position and view them as nihilistic. The Yogacara gave expression to a more positive or concrete description of reality, inspired by meditation experience. As opposed to the Madhyamaka who don’t believe anything exists, the Yogacara believe that there is something that really exists, and that is the mind. Suchness is in which all phenomenal appearances are lost in the one ultimate being, as opposed to Emptiness, which implies that nothing has ultimate existence. Everything is radically impermanent. 2) Discuss the role of women in early Buddhism. How were women perceived generally? (Be sure and discuss Mara and his daughters) How was the role of mother understood? How did women come to be ordained? Why and after how long did the community of
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2008 for the course REL 101 taught by Professor Carruth during the Spring '08 term at Ole Miss.

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BUDDHISM - 1) What are the names of the two major schools...

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