Lecture 9 - 21.10.10

Lecture 9 - 21.10.10 - 21st October 2010 SEAS 1 Lecture 9...

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21 st October 2010 SEAS 1 – Lecture 9 Buddhism in Southeast Asia Historical Origins of Buddhism Basic Teachings Four Noble Truths : Life is Suffering. Suffering comes from desire. Ending desire can end suffering. The eight-fold path is the way to end desire (and thus suffering). Eight Fold Path : Three Key Concepts : o Cycles of rebirth : Samsara, carried from Hindu tradition, idea that when people die they are reincarnated. It is an endless cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism is how to get out of Samsara. o Nirvana : The end of Buddhism is Nirvana, a state of perpetual bliss. It is the ultimate extinction of the part of you that is carried through the cycles of Samsara. If you can eliminate every sense of who you are, you can get out of this cycle and reach Nirvana. o Karma : The understanding that the actions and thoughts that you have in your lifetime have an influence over the form of your reincarnated life. You need to be reincarnated in such an enlightened state that you are close to Nirvana and can get out of the cycle of Samsara. Buddha : he was not a god but rather a real person. It shows that ordinary people can achieve Nirvana too because Buddha, an ordinary person did it as well. Also, because Buddha was an ordinary person, he also experienced Samsara but his spiral was in an upward direction towards Nirvana. This developed a rich oral tradition of his previous lives called Jataka. They are stories in the Buddhist world to tell you what the right thing to do is. It allows people to follow in his footsteps and achieve Nirvana like Buddha. Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism Basic Differences : A doctrinal split several centuries after Buddha’s death. Key elements of Mahayana Buddhism (Vietnam) : Mahayana means the “greater vehicle” which is more all-encompassing. It means that it can include many different views of Buddhism and was more accommodating to different interpretations of the texts. Boddhisatva – someone who achieves enlightenment but chooses to stay behind to help others achieve Nirvana too. This is the central element of Mahayana and there are many recognized Boddhisatvas. They are more open in accommodation to different approaches and they think that everyone can achieve Nirvana in a single lifetime, they do not think you have to go through infinite lifetimes to achieve this. Mahayanas become more magical and ritualistic, heavily influenced by folk traditions. Another key element is that in a very popular part of their tradition is Pure Land tradition, where there is a heaven to which you can aspire to. You can get to this heaven simply by saying you put your trust in a Boddhisatva. From there you can move to Nirvana if you want. There is no religious hierarchy, it is fairly open and not institutionally rigid. This tends to be found
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2011 for the course SEAS 1 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at UCLA.

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Lecture 9 - 21.10.10 - 21st October 2010 SEAS 1 Lecture 9...

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