Buddhism Readings.pdf - Buddhism Readings A Introduction to Buddhism(from de Bary Sources of Chinese Trad The Coming of Buddhism to China B Guanding

Buddhism Readings.pdf - Buddhism Readings A Introduction to...

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BuddhismReadings A. IntroductiontoBuddhism(fromdeBary, SourcesofChineseTrad. )+The ComingofBuddhismtoChina B. Guanding,“OntheFivePeriodsoftheBuddha’sTeachings”;Huisi,“The MethodofCalmingandContemplationintheMahayana”;Zhiyi,“TheGreat CalmingandContemplation” C. BiographyandautobiographicaccountofFazhao D. Sutra(Scripture)forHumaneKings E. MiracleTalesaboutGuanyin(Guanshiyin)
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Chapter 15 THE INTRODUCTION OF BUDDHISM The coming of Buddhism to China was an event of fat-reaching importance in the development of Chinese thought and culture and of Buddhism itself. After a long and difficult period of assimilation, this new teaching managed to establish itself as a major system of thought, contributing greatly to the enrich ment of Chinese philosophy, and also as a major system of religious practice, which had an enduring influence on Chinese popular religion. Indeed, it came to be spoken of along with the native traditions, Confucianism and Daoism, as one of the Three Teachings or Three Religions, thus achieving a status ofvirtual equality with these beliefs. By the time Buddhism reached China (according to official tradition, in the first century CE.), it had already undergone several centuries of development in regard to both its philosophical doctrines and its religious practices. This is not the place to attempt a summation of that historical development, but a brief statement of the major principles and concepts of Buddhism in India is essential to understanding the forms it took in China. BASIC TEACHINGS OF BUDDHISM The fundamenta] truths on which Buddhism is founded ate not metaphysical or theological but, rather, psychological. Basic is the doctrine of the “Four
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416 The Introduction of Buddhism 417 Noble Truths”: (s) all life is inevitably sorrowful, (2) sorrow is due to craving, () sorrow can only be stopped by the stopping of craving, and (1j this can be done by a course of carefully disciplined conduct, culminating in the life of concentration and meditation led by the Buddhist monk. These four truths, which are the common property of all schools of Buddhist thought, are part of the true Doctrine (Sanskrit, dhanci), which reflects the fundamental law of the universe.1 Mi things ate composite, and, as a corollary of this, all things are transient, for the composition of all aggregates is liable to change with time. Moreover, being essentially transient, they have no eternal Self or soul, no abiding mdi viduality. And, as we have seen, they are inevitably liable to sorrow. This three fold characterization of the nature of the world and all that it contains sor rowful, transient, and soulless is frequently repeated in Buddhist literature; without fully grasping its truth no being has any chance of salvation, for until one thoroughly understands the three characteristics of the world one will in evitably crave for permanence in one form or another, and as this cannot, by the nature of things, be obtained, one will suffer, and probably make others suffer also.
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