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Transcript of BUDDHISM
Exploring Buddhism: a major world religion
Intro to Buddhism
Definition: A way of living based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddah. The focus is on personal, spiritual development. Strive for deep insight and meaning of life; donot worship gods or deities.
Siddhartha Gautama was born about 563 BC in the village of Lumbini (north-eastern India).
His father was a wealthy ruler and his mother died a week after he was born so he was raised by his aunt.
THE 4 JOURNEYS
Journey 1 - he saw an old man
Journey #2 - he saw sick men suffering with illness
Journey #3 - he saw a funeral procession
Journey #4 - he saw a man of Hindu origin on a spiritual journey. The man had a shaved head, was a wanderer, wearing a yellow robe. The man's content life influenced Siddhartha after being first being confronted with old age, illness, and death.
The Banyan Tree
Siddhartha decided to embrace the life of wanderer but after six years was unsatisfied as he grew ill.
Buddah: The Enlightened One
With the revelation of the Four Noble Truths, Siddhartha gained enlightenment and knew that the reincarnations were over forever! He had finally overcome!
He resisted the temptation of the demon Mara to enter Nirvana immediately so he could spend the next 40 years teaching others of his experiences.
Siddhartha suddenly died of food poisoning at the age of eighty years old, in the town of Kushinagara.
The Four Noble Truths
1. Suffering Exists
Siddhartha Gautama Buddah: (Buddah means Enlightened One)
lived and taught in northern India in 563-483 BC. Buddah's main teaching was not theism but liberation from suffering.
There are approx. 350 M Buddhists worldwide.
His father was told Siddhartha would be either a great leader or a wanderer without a home. So, to direct him to leadership, Siddhartha was a pampered child.
Siddhartha married when he was 16 and had one son.
Siddartha was unsatisfied with his pampered life of wealth and luxury. At age 29, he embarked on 4 Journeys that led to 4 decisive experiences that would influence his thinking and teaching!
What are your thoughts about old age, suffering of illness, and death? How do you cope with these sobering realities?
Under a Banyan tree (Indian fig tree), Siddhartha achieved Enlightenment.
This came in three stages:
1. During the first watch of night, he found himself able to recall events of his previous reincarnations.
2. During the second watch, he understood the law that determines the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
3. During the third watch, the four noble truths were revealed:
1. The understanding of suffering
2. The source of suffering
3. The removal of suffering
4. The way to remove the suffering
dukkah means pain, death, suffering but also means imperfection, impermanence, emptiness.
Three types of suffering:
A. ordinary: birth, old age, sickness, death, failure, etc.
B. change: pleasant and happy feelings do not last forever (ie. marriage is happy but divorce is sad)
C. conditioned states: a mental or physical condition associated with matter, sensation, perception, mental formation, consciousness.
Life is suffering. Everyone experiences some form of suffering as stated in A, B, or C.
2. The Cause of Suffering
The cause of suffering is the desire to have or control things. All suffering is caused by a craving.
3. The End of Suffering
The third noble truth explains how suffering can be overcome. Get rid of cravings by patiently enduring problems without fear, hatred, or anger. The goal is to be free of all suffering a reach Nirvana.
The Fourth Noble Truth:
1. Perfect understanding
2. Perfect thought
3. Perfect speech
4. Perfect action
5. Perfect livelihood
6. Perfect effort
7. Perfect mindfulness
8. Perfect concentration
Buddhists believe in karma such that actions have influential consequences that our lives are conditioned by our past actions.
Buddhism teaches that consciousness continues after death and finds expression in a future life. Buddah preached that the soul goes through many incarnations before it finally sheds all of its karma and is united with the pure state: the pure state is called Nirvana.
Nirvana is the highest happiness (The Dhammapada, p. 204)
Nirvana is beyond time so there is no movement or aging or dying there. It is a state where all Buddhists aspire to where there is no suffering.
Differences Between Buddhism & Christianity
Buddhism: Nirvana, abstract void, an essence
Christianity: a self-existent, changeless, spirit person
Buddhism: an impermanent collection; matter, sensation, perception, mental formation & consciousness
Christianity: created in God's image, personal existence has value, human persons continue to exist after death.
roblem of suffering:
Buddhism: We suffer because we desire that which is temporary, which causes us to continue in the illusion of the existence of individual self.
Christianity: We suffer because of the consequences of sin. All desire is not negative.
The Solution to Suffering:
Buddhism: to cease all desires in order to realize the non-existence of self, thus finding permanence. To become aware of the Buddah (Enlightened One) within.
Christianity: To be forgiven by and reconciled with a personal God who desires a personal and intimate relationship with mankind. We find permanence in the immutability (unchanging nature) of God.
The Means of Overcoming Suffering
Buddhism: self-reliance; we must follow the path and accrue karmic merit. (Self-focus)
Christianity: Reliance on God; repent of our sins and trust the saving work of Jesus Christ! (Christ-focus)
Buddhism: to enter Nirvana where the self is extinguished. The ultimate outcome depends on the denomination of Buddhism.
Options: return to guide others; enter Nirvana, enter a pureland by way of which one can enter Nirvana.
Christianity: The existence of the individual survives death and Christians are fulfilled as they have eternal fellowship with a loving and personal God.
BUDDAH & JESUS
Buddah: never claimed to be God
Jesus: claimed to be God, exercised authority of God, demonstrated the power of God.
Buddah: never prophesied
Jesus: made many prophesies including "destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up"
Buddah: died and his body was cremated
Jesus: was crucified and resurrected from the dead and appeared to many
Buddah: claimed to point the way to where one could escape suffering and attain enlightenment
Jesus: claimed to be the way for mankind to receive salvation and enter eternal life (John 14:6)
Buddah: taught that the way to eliminate suffering was to eliminate desires
Jesus: taught that we should not eliminate desires but choose the right desires (Matthew 5:6)
The goal of Buddhist meditation is to empty one's mind of thought and desire.
DENOMINATIONS OF BUDDHISM
Theraveda: conservative, orthodox form
Believe that Enlightenment is only available for a few; not for everyone.
Thera means few
* Only one Buddah
* Attains Enlightenment mainly on one's own effort
Focus is more on self
Mahayana: liberal, practical form; believes enlightenment is available for all; believes bodhisattva help guide one's path. Buddhists who reah Enlightenment may choose to remain on earth and temporarily NOT go to Nirvanah so they may stay and teach others.
Mahayana means many
* May be many manifestations of The Buddah
* Others may help people attain Enlightenment
Focus is more on extending help to others
The major denominational split between Theraveda and Mahayana is based on the belief of who may enter Nirvana! Therveda = Few; Mahanaya = Many
Zen: Offshoot of Mahayana - A Chinese and Japanese form of Buddhism, more mystical in nature
* All human beings are Buddah and you have to discover this truth for yourselves.
This recognition is achieved by:
1. Meditation according to strict rules
2. Concentration on a koan
3. Under the supervision of a Zen Master
Bodhisattva:a person who attained Enlightenment worthy of Nirvana but who remains in the human world to help others
Dukah: suffering, emptiness, impermanence
Koan: a riddle with no rational answer used by Zen Masters to teach students important life lessons
Example: "When you listen to the sound of two hands clapping, there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
Siddartha Gautama's life time coincides with the time when the people of Judah were exiled in Babylon (remember OT studies?)
6% of world population is Buddhist (Barret, p. 25)
4. The Eight-fold Path: the way to remove the suffering
George Harrison interview: