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(12) World Religion: Buddhism
Transcript of (12) World Religion: Buddhism
Origins of Buddhism
developed out of the same period of religious questioning that shaped modern Hinduism and Jainism.
Siddhartha Gautama (nickname "the enlightened one"
- he was
born into a noble family
that lived in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal.
According to Buddhist legend...
to Buddhist legend, the baby exhibited the marks of a great man. A prophecy indicated that if the child stayed at home he was destined to become a world ruler. If the child left home, however, he would become a universal spiritual leader. To make sure the boy would be a great king, his father isolated him in his palace. Separated from the world, Siddhartha married and had a son.
Siddhartha never ceased thinking about the world that lay outside the palace, which he had never seen. When he was 29, he ventured outside the palace four times. First he saw an old man, next a sick man, then a corpse being carried to the cremation grounds, and finally a wandering holy man who seemed at peace with himself. Siddhartha understood these events to mean that every living thing experiences old age, sickness, and death and that only a religious life offers a refuge from this inevitable suffering. Siddhartha decided to spend his life searching for religious truth and an end to suffering. So, soon after learning of his son’s birth, he left the palace.
Siddhartha wandered through the forests of India for six years seeking enlightenment, or wisdom. He tried many ways of reaching an enlightened state. He first debated with other religious seekers. Then he fasted, eating only six grains of rice a day. (It was said that his stomach became so empty that by poking a finger into it, he could touch his backbone.) Yet none of these methods brought him to the truth, and he continued to suffer. Finally, he sat in meditation under a large fig tree. After 49 days of meditation, he achieved an understanding of the cause of suffering in this world. From then on, he was known as the Buddha, meaning “the enlightened one.”
Key Terms for Buddhism
: to lead a spiritual life- relating to the spirit or soul not the physical
: is a Sanskrit word which means "The Awakened One", one who is awakened to Reality, who understands true nature of the mind, the world, and all sentient beings.
: the awakening of the ultimate truth or the attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight
: is a place of perfect peace and happiness, like heaven. It is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person's individual desires and suffering go away.
: the ability to use the mind and think internally. Buddhists peruse meditation as part of the path to Enlightenment and Nirvana
s also led to the rise of two other religions:
Jainism and Buddhism.
Founder of Janism:
, who was born about 599 b.c. and died in 527 b.c.
believed that everything in the universe has a soul and so should not be harmed.
Example: They sweep ants off their path and wear gauze masks over their mouths to avoid breathing in an insect accidentally.
Jains today make up
one of the wealthiest communities in India
. Jains have traditionally
preached tolerance of all religions.
Because of this tolerance, Jains have not sent out missionaries.
nearly 5 million Jains in the world today live in India.
Two Branches of Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism was the first type of Buddhism to develop, so it is closest to the original teachings of the Buddha. It is more focused on individuality than other forms of Buddhism, meaning that is up to the individual to reach enlightenment. The individual uses meditation to reach enlightenment while still alive. Nirvana is the goal after death.
While Mahayana Buddhism still focuses on reaching enlightenment, an individual's purpose isn't to just pass into the perfect peace of nirvana; rather, a Mahayana Buddhist should come back to life after reaching enlightenment to help others. More people follow Mahayana Buddhism than any other branch.
Indian Depiction of Buddha
Chinese Depiction of Buddha
The Four Noble Truths
The Eightfold Path
Buddhism and Society
Buddhism in India
Trade and the Spread of Buddhism
The Buddha preached his first sermon to five companions who had accompanied him on his wanderings. That first sermon became a landmark in the history of the world’s religions. In it, he laid out the four main ideas that he had understood in his enlightenment. He called those ideas the Four Noble Truths.
Four Noble Truths
: are regarded as the central doctrine of the Buddhist tradition, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for all of Buddhist thought.
: (fourth of the four noble truths) is one of the principal teachings of the Buddha, who described it as the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkha) and the achievement of self-awakening.
Because of his
rejection of the caste system
, many of the Buddha’s early followers included laborers and craftspeople.
He also gained a large following in northeast India, where the Aryans had less influence.
Monks and nuns took vows (solemn promises) to live a life of poverty, to be nonviolent, and not to marry.
They wandered throughout India spreading the Buddha’s teachings.
The teachings of the Buddha were written down shortly after his death. ---Buddhist Sacred Texts:
(words and teachings of Buddha)
Buddhist sacred literature also includes commentaries,
rules about monastic life, manuals on how to meditate, and legends about the Buddha’s previous reincarnations
(the Jatakas). This sacred literature was first written down in the first century b.c.
Buddhism never gained a significant foothold in India, the country of its origin.
Several theories exist about Buddhism’s gradual disappearance in India:
One theory states that
Hinduism simply absorbed Buddhism
. The two religions constantly influenced each other. Over time, the
Buddha came to be identified by Hindus as one of the ten incarnations (reappearances on earth) of the god Vishnu
. Hindus, thus, felt no need to convert to Buddhism.
They believed it had already become a part of their own religion.
As important as missionaries were to the spread of Buddhism, traders played an even more crucial role in this process. Along with their products, traders carried Buddhism beyond India to Sri Lanka.
Buddhism followed the Central Asian trade routes, called the Silk Roads, all the way to China. From China, Buddhism spread to Korea—and from Korea to Japan.
Throughout human history, trade has been a powerful force for the spread of ideas.
Lets take a time out for mediation
For thousands of years people have used meditation to move beyond the mind’s stress-inducing thoughts and emotional upsets into the peace and clarity of present moment awareness. The goal is mindful awareness and expanded consciousness.