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Basics of Buddhism part 1

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by

Lisa Smith

on 12 September 2013

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Transcript of Basics of Buddhism part 1

Foundation
The Basics of Buddhism
THE BUDDHA SAYS:
IN ORDER TO FIND TRUE HAPPINESS, WE MUST REALIZE THAT:

THERE IS SUFFERING, RATHER THAN
"I AM SUFFERING"

WE CANNOT ESCAPE THIS FACT. WE ARE NEVER FREE FROM SUFFERING, BUT THROUGH DIAGNOSING THE SOURCE OF OUR SUFFERING AND SEEKING "TREATMENT" FOUND IN BUDDHA'S PHILOSOPHY, WE CAN BE FREE FROM SUFFERING.
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS CAN BE CATEGORIZED AS FOLLOWS:
THE FIRST TWO:
THE TRUTH OF SUFFERING
AND
THE TRUTH OF THE ORIGIN (CAUSE) OF SUFFERING
ARE RELATIVE TO BIRTH AND DEATH; THE BOTH OF THESE, WE KNOW, CAN CAUSE SUFFERING IN VARIOUS WAYS. SUFFERING IS A ENDLESS CYCLE; THE CAUSES OF SUFFERING LEAD TO SUFFERING AND SUFFERING PRODUCES THE CAUSES OF SUFFERING, WHICH PRODUCES MORE SUFFERING. THIS CYCLE OF SUFFERING IS REPRESENTED BY A CIRLE CALLED
THE SAMSARA
.

THE SECOND TWO:
THE TRUTH OF THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
AND
THE TRUTH OF THE PATH TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
IS SYMBOLIZED BY AN UPWARD MOVING SPIRAL. IT IS NOT A ENDLESS CYCLE (SANTINA 28).

THE BUDDHA'S PHILOSOPHY
LIKE A DOCTOR, WE MUST LEARN TO DIAGONSE WHAT AILS US, WHAT PREVENTS US FROM TRUE HAPPINESS AND ENLIGHTENMENT. WE DIAGNOSIS BY USING THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS:
DUHKHA - THE TRUTH OF SUFFERING
SANUDAYA - THE TRUTH OF THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING
NIRODHA - THE TRUTH OF THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
MARGA - THE TRUTH TO THE PATH TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING
CAUSE AND EFFECT IS CENTRAL TO THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
THE TRUTH OF SUFFERING:THERE ARE TWO CATEGORIES OF SUFFERING
PHYSICAL SUFFERING:
BIRTH (CAUSED BY CHILDBIRTH AND THE GATEWAY TO OTHER SUFFERING)
SICKNESS
OLD AGE
DEATH (SANTINA 32)

MENTAL SUFFERING COULD INCLUDE:
SEPARATION FROM LOVED ONES
CONTACT WITH WHOM WE DISLIKE OR WHO DISLIKE US
FRUSTRATED DESIRE WHEN WE CANNOT OBTAIN WHAT WE WANT (SANTINA 33)

DO WE EVER EXPERIENCE HAPPINESS? OF COURSE WE DO, BUT YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT HAPPINESS IS IMPERMANENT (CALLED ANITYA). "EVERYTHING WITHIN THE UNIVERSE WAS SEEN BY THE BUDDHA AS HAVING BOTH A BEGINNING AND THEREFORE NECESSARILY AN END TO ITS EXISTENCE." EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING; NOTHING STAYS THE SAME (SKILTON 28).
DIAGNOSE THE CAUSE OF YOUR MENTAL SUFFERING
CRAVING OR DESIRE (TRISHNA OR RAGA) FOR:
PLEASANT EXPERIENCES,
MATERIAL THINGS,
ETERNAL LIFE,
ETERNAL DEATH,
A PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO WHAT WE WANT, AND
WANTING MORE (SANTINA 34-36).

WE ARE NEVER SATISFIED WITH WHAT WE HAVE!


CRAVINGS
CHASING THE PLEASANT OR TRYING TO PROLONG A PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE CAN LEAD TO NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES, LIKE ABUSE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS.
THE DESIRE FOR MATERIAL THINGS (A BETTER CAR, HOUSE, ETC.) CAN LEAD TO SUFFERING BECAUSE OF THE NEED TO PROTECT THESE POSSESSIONS AND ACQUIRE MORE.
CRAVING ETERNAL LIFE CAN BE THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING
CRAVING ETERNAL DEATH, THE DESIRE FOR ANNILHILATION, NON-EXISTENCE (E.G., SUICIDE)
IS CRAVING ALONE THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING? NO! BECAUSE AT THE FOUNDATION OF CRAVING IS IGNORANCE (AVIDYA), OR RATHER THE IGNORANCE OF SELF (SANTINA 35-36).
IGNORANCE OF SELF
IGNORANCE IS NOT SEEING THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE OR FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF EXPERIENCE OR LIFE:
WITHOUT THE RIGHT CONDITIONS
WITHOUT THE RIGHT TRAINING
WITHOUT THE RIGHT INSTRUMENTS
WE ARE UNABLE TO SEE THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE.

THE IGNORANCE OF SELF, OR FAILING TO UNDERSTAND
THE NON-SELF OR THE NOT-SELF
, CONTRIBUTES TO SUFFERING (SANTINA 35-36).

OK, SO WHAT IS THE NON SELF? AH, THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY...
Week 2 - ENG 101
Professor Lisa Smith
HINDUSISM STATES THAT HUMAN BEINGS HAVE A SOUL AND THIS STATIC SOUL, UPON WHICH HAS RECORDED ALL YOUR EXPERIENES AND DESIRES, TRANSMIGRATES TO A NEW BODY UPON REINCARNATION.

HOWEVER, THE BUDDHA SAYS:
ALL THINGS NEVER STAY THE SAME; WE ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING.
THE WAY WE WERE TWO MINTUES AGO IS NOT THE SAME AS WE ARE RIGHT NOW.
THE WAY WE ARE AS A CHILD IS NOT THE SAME AS WE ARE IN OLD AGE.
OUR EXPERIENCES CHANGE US FROM DAY TO DAY, MINUTE TO MINUTE.


CONCEPT OF THE NON-SELF
THE BUDDHA ACKNOWLEDGES WE DO HAVE AN ESSENCE, WHAT MAKES US UNIQUELY "US." WE ARE REAL, WE EXIST, BUT WE ARE NOT STATIC:
While we are a relatively enduring pattern, we are also constantly changing: learning, developing, maturing, declining. We also change depending on the situation we find ourselves in. We behave differently at work, at home, in the bar, and in the zendo ("Self and Non-self" para. 4).
ADDITIONALLY, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED AND ARE CONSTANTLY MAKING EXCHANGES WITH OUR ENVIRONMENT IN SOME WAY. THESE EXCHANGES CONTRIBUTE TO OUR IMPERMANANCE OR THE NOT-SELF.

SO IF WE ARE IGNORANT OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN FLUX, IF DO NOT ACCEPT THAT IMPERMANENCE, IT WILL LEAD TO SUFFERING BE IT MENTAL OR PHYSICAL.
BY ITSELF, IMPERMANENCE DOES NOT LEAD TO SUFFERING, ONLY THE FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND IT.
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