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Transcript of Buddhism Introduction
The Road to Nirvana:
A Lesson in Buddhist Concepts
The Lotus symbolizes the desire for purity in the midst of our sullied, temporal existence.
Buddhism emerges from Hinduism.
The birth of the Buddha was likely in the 6th Century BC
Like Islam, the basic precepts of Buddhism can be found in the lifestory of one man: Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha is the one who "woke up" (buddh)
The Birth of a Prince
Young Siddhartha was born as a Prince in present-day Nepal (likely of the Kshatriya caste)
He later became a vocal critic of the caste system
His birth and life story are legendary, thus perhaps not literal
He is said to have emerged from his mother's side, taken 7 steps (with a lotus blooming in each footfall), and declared that he was "born to be enlightened"
His father wanted him to become a King, not a holy man
The Prince begins to awaken...
Young Siddhartha is raised with privelege, but begins to feel there is more. He begs his father to allow him to see the kingdom.
His father relents, but prepares the way. The King's plans go awry; young Prince Siddhartha sees the
Four Passing Sights
Hope in the form of an ascetic
Siddhartha leaves his father, wife and infant son (
The Great Going Forth
) and joins a group of ascetics who recognize his unique qualities.
He learned several methods of meditation, including fasting nearly to starvation. He ultimately finds the effort to be fruitless and discovers the
(the line between all opposite extremes).
Siddhartha begins to formulate basic Buddhist beliefs such as the
Three Marks of Existence
– rather than finding an Atman inside, the Buddha finds anatta – no self. There is no ultimate reality within – no underlying essence.
– Impermanence. There is nothing static – all is change. The river is not flowing – the flowing (the change) IS the river. The self appears to be real and unchanging, but it is actually an ongoing flow of change – thoughts, physicality, perceptions, fears, hopes, etc.
– Suffering. As a result of anatta and anicca, there is suffering.
In an effort of supreme concentration, Siddhartha meditates, ascends through
, and reaches Nirvana (enlightenment). He is now the Buddha.
– He perceives his previous lives
– He acquires the “divine eye” which gives him the ability to observe the deaths and rebirths of all living creatures. He sees that nowhere is there any escape from death.
– He defeats ego, becomes the Buddha and discovers the Four Noble Truths.
The Buddha's followers return to him. He delivers his first lesson in the deer park in Sarnath, India.
The Buddha first teaches his lessons on the
Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
1. To live is to suffer.
2. Suffering is caused by desire. We suffer because we crave, desire and thirst for what is pleasant. Suffering also takes the form of attachment to ego/individuality:
Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 percent of everything you think and do is for yourself. But, there is no self (anatta).
3. Suffering can be brought to cessation
4. The solution to suffering is the
Right views- learn the Buddha’s teachings and the 4NT
Right intentions – abandon greed and hatred. Nurture generosity, friendship, insight and compassion.
Right speech – avoid gossip, lying, idle talk.
Right conduct - live morally
Right livelihood – abstain from occupations that harm others (selling alcohol, butchering, hunting, soldiering)
Right effort – be mentally alert and control the senses to be able to discriminate between wise and unwise actions
Right mindfulness – develop the mental focus required to meditate
Right meditation – ascend through the levels of trance until you ultimately reach a point of perfect tranquility, in which the sense of the individual has disappeared. Upon the death of the body, you pass into nirvana.