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Unformatted text preview: BUDDHISM: INTRODUCTION Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha (560-480 BC) • Shakyamuni – “of the Shakya tribe” • Born in Lumbini, Nepal • King Ashoka erected a stone pillar in his honor in 250 BC Jatakas – birth stories of the life of the Buddha • Gautama was a prince o Prediction that he would either be a great king or an ascetic monk o Gautama’s father did not want him to become a monk, so he protected him from knowing much of life Until one day, Gautama saw an old person, a sick person, a dead person and an ascetic Father tries to distract Gautama with dancing girls But Gautama decides to leave his wife and child to seek enlightenment • For 6 years, he experiments with different ways, including intellectualism and mysticism, but it does not help him attain enlightenment o Neither pleasures nor asceticism are fulfilling => the middle way o Sat under the Bo tree (tree of knowledge) in ponderance o Attained Nirvana Deer Park in Benares (currently Sarnath, India) • The 5 ascetics that saw Gautama in the weakened state came again to see him • Gautama’s first sermon o Four Noble Truths All life is suffering • Birth, aging, sickness, death • Moments of temporary joy Suffering originates in craving or desire • Illusion that there is a self o No soul / atman • Personality is composed of 5 skandhas/states of being that are constantly changing: o Matter/form o Senses o Perception o Psychic dispositions o Consciousness To stop the suffering, stop the craving • Stop craving through Eight-fold Noble Path o Right views o Right intentions o Right speech o Right conduct o Right livelihood o Right effort o Right mindfulness o Right concentraion • Eventually attains a following, most from the kshtriya caste => dvpt of the sangha (monastic community) o Sangha rules: Yellow robe Shaved head Daily meditation Begging bowl for food => reliance on others Subscription to the statehood: “I take refuge in the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha” Dharma – the Buddhist law Ten Precepts • First five – for all men and women o No killing o No stealing o No unchastity o No lying o No intoxicating liquor • Second five – for monks and nuns o Eat moderately, but never in the afternoon o No looking at dancing o No ointments/ornaments o No high/broad beds o No gold Death of the Buddha - Rajagriha (currently Kusinara, India) Six Buddhist Councils – tells us of the split b/w the Theravada and the Mahayana First (484 BC) – after the death of Buddha at Rajagriha • Since the Buddha did not leave any writings, there was a problem of how to determine the teachings of the Buddha • Divided the writings into the Tripitaka (Three Baskets) o Vinaya – conduct; rules of discipline of Buddhist order of monks/nuns o Sutta-pitaka – “basket of servant/discourses” 5 discourses attributed to the Buddha – long, medium, connected, progressive, minor o Abhidamma – “basket of scholasticism”...
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2010 for the course HIST 120 taught by Professor Witek during the Fall '08 term at Georgetown.
- Fall '08