Religion Notes 03.14.11 - Religion Notes 03/14/11 The First...

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Religion Notes 03/14/11 The “First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma” Following his enlightenment, Buddha: -Remained seated under the tree -Contemplated the teaching -Considered whether or not to teach Buddha’s decision to teach: -It was an act of compassion for humanity -First teaching took place at Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares) -First disciples were his ascetic companions that left in disgust when he ate food earlier -First teaching = “The Turning of the Dharma Wheel” – Turning the meaning of the Dharma itself. “Revolution”. -Outlines the Buddha’s experience of the nature of reality and human existence Dharma: 2 nd of the Three Jewels -“Dharma” already well established in orthodox Hinduism -Buddha’s appropriation of dharma is a challenge to the authority of the varna-ashrama- dharma (class in accordance with duties). The Turning of the Dharma Wheel directly challenges these past understandings of dharma. -Buddha’s challenge: “I truly know, and can teach about the way things really are.” -To know dharma, you have to experience it. Dharma in Orthodox Hindu Context -From Sanskrit root dhr. – to hold, keep, or bind. It implies a sort of constancy of keeping or holding. Permanence. Refers to something like an eternal essence. Remains
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Religion Notes 03.14.11 - Religion Notes 03/14/11 The First...

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