1. Introduction; Historical Context

1. Introduction; Historical Context - Asian 382 Asian...

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Unformatted text preview: Asian 382 Asian Buddhism in China Buddhism, An Introduction (I, Historical Context) The Rise of Buddhism and Its source in India: Buddhism vs Vedaism-Hinduism India: 1) Consistence with the Vedic tradition a) Some shared fundamental concepts and categories: dharma­karma­samsara­moksa § dharma – law § karma – destiny § samsara – transmigration § moksa ­ liberation b) Introspectiveness: shared the introspective orien­tation (i.e. to seek the sources of human problems and the solutions to them from inside, rather than outside) — — presenting a stark contrast to the Wes­tern religious traditions c) placing a great deal of importance on dhyana (meditation, contemplation and visualization, etc.) Buddhism vs. Vedaism-Hinduism Buddhism 2) departure from the Vedic tradition a) presupposition of the existence of an ontological entity (Brahman) Epistemologically emphasizes the non­substantiality of the world and the ineffability of reality; b) Atman (self, soul; take soul as the individualized Brahman) anatman (non­self, a “religion without soul”) c) Ritualism (sacrifice is an efficacious way to invite the divine grace, which in turn guarantees one’s moksha [liberation]) anti­ritualism (rituals, sacrifices won’t bring about liberation) d) Metaphysics (very complicated metaphysical system) pragmatism (Classical Buddhism: human beings have more urgent concerns than metaphysical curiosity, but Sectarian Buddhism [Theravada and Mahayana] was also involved in intense metaphysical speculations) e) Devotion (preference of devotion to other forms of religious practice) sobriety (Buddhism emphasizes wisdom, the importance of seeing the truth) (II) The Buddha Sakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama, 563? - 483? BCE) Gautama, 1) family background: born to King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of Kapilavastu, a tribe in present­day Nepal, at the foot of Mount Range Himalaya 2) Turning the dharma­wheel: The Buddha ’s messages a) Fourfold noble truth (about life is painful, the causes of human pains, the cessation of pains, the way leading to the cessation of pains): b) eightfold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Tripitaka : “Three Baskets” of the Buddhist literature the 1) sutrapitaka: 1) sutrapitaka: section of scriptures 2) vinayapitaka: section of precepts, commandments 3) Abhidharmapitaka section of treatises IV) King Ashoka (d. 232 BCE) and the Spread of Buddhism the 1. Ashoka and His Conversion to Buddhism § Ashoka – The “King Free of Worry” of the Mauryan Dynasty §Unifier of India §Kalinga Campaign and His conversion to Buddhism Shocked by the carnage and suffering of war 2. The Ashokan Edict § His ambition to build a Buddhist Kingdom – the Rule of Dharma (The Buddha’s Teachings) §“All men are my paja [progeny and subjects].” 3. The Ashokan Buddhist Missionaries: Dispatching numerous Buddhist missionaries to many parts of India and the World (including China and Greece) IV) King Ashoka (d. 232 BCE) and the Spread of Buddhism (Continue) the 4. Political Use of Buddhism: To use Buddhism as the basis for the pursuit of a more sophisticated form of imperialist vision — > his strategy of replacing military force with moral suasion as a way to conquer the world 5. King Ashoka as a paradigm of “Buddhist Universal Monarch” (Cakravartin) ­ Three major emulators of Ashoka in China § Emperor Wu of the Liang (r. 502­549) § Emperor Wen of the Sui (r. 581­604) § Empress Wu (r. 690­705) (the only female emperor in the imperial China) V) Development of Buddhism: Division and Rivalry Division 1) Division & Development Theravada (Hinayana) Canonical Buddhism Sectarian (Classic Buddhism) Buddhism (18­20 sects) Madhyamika Mahasanghika (Mahayana) Yogacara Vajrayana (Esotericism) V) Development of Buddhism: Division and Rivalry (Continue) Division Hinayana vs Mahayana: A comparison See a chart of several points to compare VI) Expansion of Buddhism in Asia (two major routes) (two 1) Central India ­> Gandhara and Kashmir (Afghanistan) ­> Central Asia ­> China ­> Korea and Japan 2) Ceylon and southern India ­> Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, and Indo­China See map VII) Chinese Buddhist Pantheon VII) 1). Buddha §Sakyamuni: Sage from the Sakya clan §Maitreya: The Future Buddha §Amitabha: Buddha of Boundless Light of the Western Paradise §Bhaisajya­guru (W. Yao­shih, P. Yaoshi 藥藥藥 ): the Healing Buddha 2) Bodhi 藥 enlightenment)­sattvas (beings) §Avolokitesvra (W. Kuan­shih­yin, P. Guanshiyin 藥藥藥藥藥 ): ­ Deity of Great Compassion; §Manjusri (W. Wen­shu, P. Wenshu 藥藥 ): Great Wisdom; 藥藥藥 wutaishan 藥藥藥 wutaishan §Samantabhadra (W. Pu­hsien, P. Puxian 藥藥 ): Great Love and Perfect Activity; §Ksitigarbha (W. Ti­tsang, P. Dizang 藥藥 ): Great Vow to help and to deliver all beings Asia 382 Buddhism in China Buddhism Buddhism, An Introduction (II: Buddhist World of Meanings) 1. anataman (non-self, non-substance) 1. & sunya (emptiness) sunya 1) ego as the congregation of the five aggregates (skandha): §forms (material), § perception (sensation), § cognition (discursive thinking), § volition (will), § consciousness 2) pratityasamutpada (“dependent arising”) ­­ conditioned existence 1. anataman (non-self, non-substance) 1. & sunya (emptiness) sunya 3) “Can we walk into the same river twice?”­­ the universe as a constant flux §constant flux as a dynamic process ­­ neither being, nor non­ being, but becoming (both being and non­being) §permanence of the impermanence ­­ the unchangeable of the changes (i.e. everything is changeable, the only unchangeable is the fact that everything changes) 4) karma vis­à­vis an­ataman: acts without agent, a knotless net (a net without knots)? – actually a philosophical problem of how to demarcate the distinction between a seed and a bud that grows from the seed. => the identity of some thing is actually “superimposed” by human concepts on the basis of a piece of a process (II) Dukkha – Suffering Dukkha 1) A karmic result of human existence: The predestined, inevitable and intrinsic nature of suffering 2) “I am, so I suffer.”: Suffering as a constant state of human existence 3) The universality and unavoidability of suffering 4) Oedipus vs Mahādeva: Reflections on suffering by a comparison of a Greek and Indian tragedies by a. Two major types of tragedy and their natures § a tragedy depicting the necessary misfortune that occur through the exceptional wickedness of a character, a colossal accident or error. §a tragedy in which characters “are so situated with regard to one another that their position forces them, knowingly and with their eyes open, to do one another the greatest injury without any one of them being entirely in the wrong.” (A. Schopenhauer [1788­1860]): disaster can ­ and often does ­ arise out of the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. b) Oedipus as the example par excellence of the second type of tragedy (a summary of OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles [ca. 497/6 BC–406/5 BC], arguably the greatest Greek tragedian) http://www.theatrehistory.com/ancient/oedipus001.html Sins of Mahādeva Mahādeva Once long ago there was the son of a merchant from Mathurā called Mahādeva. With his father off in foreign lands, Mahādeva grows to manhood and “defiles” his mother. When his father returns, Mahādeva and his mother conspire to kill him, which Mahādeva does. Having fled to Paṭaliputra, mother and son seclude themselves. When a saintly monk recognizes him, Mahādeva, fearing their crime would be discovered, murders him. Later, finding his mother has been “unfaithful” to him, he kills her, too. Coming to regret these misdeeds, Mahādeva overhears a Buddhist monk reciting a hymn about how the karmic effects of crimes may be eradicated by cultivating goodness. He then visits the monk and convinces him to ordain him without the usual background investigation. 4) Oedipus vs Mahādeva: Reflections on suffering by a comparison of a Greek and Indian tragedies comparison c) The implications of the Mahādeva tale §) ignorance and desire as two primary sources for human sufferings §) no sin, no matter how heinous, cannot be redeemed; ==> all sinners are open to [self­]redemption §) suffering experiences constitute a powerful trigger for religious self­realization d) The Oedipus legend contrasted with the Buddhist tale of Mahādeva (a chart) ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2012 for the course ASIA/HIST 382 taught by Professor Chenjinhua during the Spring '12 term at UBC.

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