Buddhism Lecture 3

Buddhism Lecture 3 - 1 T h e s to ry o f Bud d h is m b e g...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 T h e s to ry o f Bud d h is m b e g ins in Ind ia in th e 6 th c e ntury BC E with th e b irth o f P rinc e S id d h a rth a G a uta m a , th e m a n wh o wa s kn o wn a s th e “Awa ke ne d O ne ,” o r Bud d h a . • a t wa s th e Bud d h a ’s re lig io us a nd c ultura l Wh b a c kg ro und ? • a t p ro b le m s d id h e inh e rit? Wh • y d id h e re s p o nd to th e m in th e wa y h e d id ? Wh Wh e n S id d h a rth a G a uta m a “wo ke up ” to th e truth a nd b e c a m e th e Bud d h a , th is d is tinc tive ins ig h t m a d e h im o ne o f th e m o s t e m ine nt a nd influe ntia l o f th e s e Ind ia n s a g e s . 2 Goals: 3 India – birthplace of great religions Ind ia is a n e xtre m e ly ric h a nd Ind c re a tive p la c e re lig io u s ly . In te rm s o f s h e e r num b e rs , Ind ia h a s g e ne ra te d m o re p o we rful re lig io us tra d itio ns a nd a ffe c te d th e re lig io us live s o f m o re p e o p le th a n a ny o th e r re g io n in th e wo rld . We will und e rs ta nd Bud d h is m b e tte r if we c a n und e rs ta nd h o w it b e g a n a s a d is tinc tive ly Ind ia n re lig io n. 4 What was the ideal of the Buddha’s life? Lumbini Siddhartha Gautama, Siddhartha the man who is recognized as the Buddha and the founder of the Buddhist tradition, was born in southern Nepal at the place call ‘LUMBINI’ in the sixth century B.C.E. century 5 What was the ideal of the Buddha’s life? The young man was raised as a prince, was married, had a child, then chose to renounce his life in the palace and become a wandering ascetic. ascetic. 6 What was the ideal of the Buddha’s life? You can see ascetics like the Buddha in India today, wandering the streets with very few possessions, begging their food, and dedicating their lives to religious teaching and study. their 7 What was the ideal of the Buddha’s life? After a period of meditation and study, Siddhartha Gautama sat down under a tree and “woke up” to the truth. This experience of awakening is known as Bodhi (Sanskrit and Pali for “awakening”), and Siddhartha Gautama is known to his followers as the “Awakened One,” or Buddha. One,” 8 What was the ideal of the Buddha’s life? This basic outline of the story of the Buddha is now so familiar that it is easy to take for granted. granted. 1. But why would a prince choose to leave 1. his palace in the prime of his life and take up the harsh life of an ascetic? the 2. What was he seeking? What did it mean to 2. say that he had “awakened” to the truth? say 3. To understand the Buddhist answers to 3. these questions, we need to know something about Siddhartha Gautama’s religious background and the religious world of India in the 6th century BCE. the 9 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization According to Hindu tradition, the Vedic hymns were “heard” by sages known as rishis, then passed on rishis through an unbroken process of oral tradition. These hymns were composed (or heard) in an early form of Sanskrit, a language that is closely related to Latin, Greek, and many of the languages of Europe. Sanskrit is not an easy language, and some of it will seem unfamiliar to you. But it helps at the beginning to know that it is related to English and other European languages. 10 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization The people who spoke Sanskrit, for example, called themselves the arya. The word, meaning simply “a noble person,” is found in the names of two countries in the modem world. The first is Iran, and the second is Ireland, the land of the arya that lies out there on the edge of the north Atlantic. Much of European civilization, like the civilization of India, is derived from the traditions of these people who migrated out of central Asia in the middle of the second millennium BCE and settled as far west as Ireland and as far south as India. 11 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization The hymns of the Vedas were sung to invoke and to praise the gods (deva). Many of these gods are (deva). related to the gods of classical Greek and Latin mythology. Dyaus, for example, is related to Zeus. The god of rain is known as Indra; the god of fire, as Agni (meaning “ignite”). 12 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization These hymns were sung by the priests, or brahmins, as part of a complex sacrificial ritual. brahmins, The priests built temporary altars, kindled sacred fires, and made offerings to the gods to invoke their aid. The sacrifices still go on today and are the core identity of the Brahmin caste, who function as the priests of India. 13 14 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization Vedic religion centered on sacrifice, and sacrifice centered on fire. The domestic fire, the hearth, received offerings on every ritual occasion, perhaps daily. offerings In early Vedic society there were perhaps four main In social statuses: priests, rulers, ordinary free people, and slaves. Later, most social status in India became ascribed by birth. ascribed 15 Socio-cultural Environment of the 6th century BCE The Vedic civilization : Origin of Caste The tenth and last book or the Rg Veda, which is presumed also to be the latest, contains a famous hymn (X90) called the Purusa­sukta (‘Hymn of the Cosmic Purusa­sukta Man’). A huge male figure is compared and assimilated to the universe, which he both pervades and transcends. Verse 12 of this hymn runs: ‘His mouth was the brahmin, arms were made the royal, his two thighs that which is the vaisya, from his feet was born the sudra.’ The cosmic man here equated wit society. 16 17 The Physical, Economic, Political and The Social Environment of the 6th century BCE Social Gautam theBuddha was born at a tim whe them ce r of I ndian a en ain nte Gautam civilization was locate in theGange plain. d s Thetraditional datefor thebirth of Gautam is, according to theBuddhists a of S Lanka and S outh-East Asia, 623 BC and for thede 543 BC E ath, E. of ri I n theBuddha’s day thesituation was in som re cts ve m m e spe ry uch ore f avorablefor agriculturethan it is today. Theincre in cultivation would, the fore havee ase re , ntaile a sharp incre d ase in thehum population of there an gion. Them agricultural production ajor was rice was . 18 The Physical, Economic, Political and The Social Environment of the 6th century BCE Social Towns or citie we ce s re rtainly to befound throughout theGange plain in tic Towns t heBuddha’s day. Many nam s of thegre citie we ofte re rre in the e at s re n fe d Buddhist te xts. I t is the forepossibleto se that oneof thefe re e ature of lifein this re s gion in t he6th ce ntury BC was an urban way of life E . Thecitie and towns we ce rs of industry and trade Worke in the s re nte . rs various industrie we organize in guilds, and it is known fromthe s re d Brahm anical and Buddhist source that the include guilds of woods se d Brahm worke iron-worke le r-worke painte ivory-worke and othe rs, rs, athe rs, rs, rs rs. 19 The Physical, Economic, Political and The Social Environment of the 6th century BCE Social At the time of the Prince Siddhartha’s birth, two types of government were in competition with one another in northern India: Republican and Monarchical The republics occupied a belt of territory which ran across the middle of the Gangetic plain in a roughly north-west to south-east direction from the Himalayas to the Ganges. The most northerly of them was the Sakyan republic, in which the Buddha himself was born. 20 The Religious and Ideological Environment It could be said that at the time of the Buddha was the golden time for religious revolutions. It was common among people of that time to go against the dominant religious group, Brahmanism. There were many types of mendicants already when Prince Siddhartha was growing up. They were called Shramana (Sanskrit) or Samana (Pali). It is refers mainly to non-brahman followers. 21 The Religious and Ideological Environment The other groups of The religious men were Ajivakas, a very broad category of homeless wanderers ‘drop outs’, or men of the ‘alternative life’; the Jains; the Materialists or Lokayatas; the Skeptics etc. the 22 The Religious and Ideological Environment Self-mortification lead to the spiritual liberation 23 The Religious and Ideological Environment Only way to liberation is to kill the main source of physical and mental desire by subduing it. 24 Ajivakas or Parivajakas are ascetics The founder: Makkhali Gosala & Purana Kassapa Doctrine: utter determinism or Niyati or impersonal ‘destiny’, governed all, that humans had no ability to affect their future lives by their karma: actions were not freely done, but themselves determined by niyati. 25 Ajivakas or Parivajakas or The Mendicant Ascetics The 26 27 The founder: Mahavira The Doctrine: The Jains held life to be an Doctrine: extremely painful business and aspired to attain moksha or liberation from the painful cycle of endless rebirth by withdrawing to a high, rarefied spiritual state. To do so they sought to amass the necessary karmic merit by the practice of extreme forms of austerity and impeccably 28 moral conduct. The Jain priests They took the virtue of ahimsa (harmlessness) to extreme lengths and some would sweep the ground ahead of them when they walked and were gauze masks over their faces. 29 Jain Clip 30 The founder: Ajita keshakambalin The Doctrine: A human being was composed of Doctrine: the 4 elements and into those his constituent parts would be resolved at death, which was utter finality: ‘When the body dies both the fool and the wise alike are cut off and perish’. In life then a man should seek the maximum of pleasure possible. possible. 31 32 33 ...
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