Document 7325352

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Buddhism
Story of the Buddha
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What kind of story is this?
– Is it about a hero, or an “everyman”?
– Does it remind you of any other stories?
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Discuss your favorite detail of the
story
– What do you think it means? Does it
express an aspect of Buddhist belief?
Siddhartha Gautama
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Born ca. 563 BCE
– Context: asceticism in India and Nepal
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Life story: Classic story of a quest
– How is it unusual?
– How does it typify human experience?
– Four Sights
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why are these shocking to Siddhartha?
– Enlightenment
– Teaching others (45 yrs)
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Presents “middle way”
Ideal of enlightenment
Not a god
Narrative
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Used in religion:
– To reveal
– To teach memorably, personally
– To alter relationships, cultivate empathy
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“Religion is my story being shaped by
another story” (L. Cunningham, J. Kelsay)
– Life itself has a narrative quality
– Certain stories are paradigms, like the Exodus or
story of Buddha
– Applying the story to one’s life distinguishes
mere history from an experience of the sacred
Myth
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Type of narrative
Answers questions about how people relate to
sacred reality and to their world
– Origins
– Identity
– Purpose
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Universal in scope, often in setting
Deals with universal truths
– Its meaning is not primarily about history (particular time
and place) or science (empirical) but what is true
universally (at all times and places)
Four Noble Truths
1.
2.
3.
4.
Life is suffering (dukkha)
Suffering is caused by desire
Ceasing desire will bring an end to
suffering
Do this through the Eightfold Path
Eightfold Path
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
views
intent
speech
conduct
livelihood
effort
mindfulness
concentration
Right views
Right intention
Right concentration
Right speech
Right mindfulness
Right conduct
Right effort
Right livelihood
5 Precepts of Right
Action/Conduct
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Do
Do
Do
Do
Do
not
not
not
not
not
kill
steal
lie
practice sexual immorality
take intoxicants
Triple Gem
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I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha
Doctrines
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Samsara: cycle of rebirth (Smith:
transmigration)
– Governed by karma
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Impermanence
Interdependence
No self
Nirvana
Development of
Buddhism
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No clear successor after the Buddha’s
death
Theravada: most traditional
Mahayana: most adapting
Zen: branch of Mahayana
Theravada Buddhism:
The Way of the Elders

Older form; more conservative (conserving)
– Scriptures: Pali canon
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SE Asia (Thailand)
Focus on individual effort
– Strong emphasis on monasticism, Sangha
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Universe is not friendly (no gods to help)
– Meditation used, but not prayer
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Wisdom is highest virtue
– Ideal: arhat (“worthy one” who has extinguished desire)
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Buddha is an exemplar, not a god
Mahayana Buddhism:
The Big Raft
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More liberal (innovative)
– Scripture: Pali canon PLUS Lotus Sutra
– more open on inclusion of women
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“Big raft”: Focus on laity, all people
– Priests serve laity, can marry
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More a sense of power in the universe
– Offer reverence for gods
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Focus on compassion
– Ideal: Bodhisattva who helps others
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Buddha a savior, god-like
– offer prayer and worship
Zen Buddhism
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Most common form in West
focus on emptying, even of most sacred teachings
– critical of verbal reliance, conceptions
– remarkably self-critical
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Focus on “experiential perspective radically different
from the ordinary” (Smith, 132)
practices:
– zazen (seated meditation),
– koan (problem/riddle) [reason is limited, have to use other
forms of knowing; Smith, 134]
– leading to satori/kensho
Zen Oxherding Pictures
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Illustrate stages of spiritual growth
– Herdsman = worldly “self”
– Ox = true nature
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http://www.sacredtexts.com/bud/mzb/oxherd.htm
Buddhist Mandalas
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Focus on center
Aid to meditation
Also found in Hinduism, Jainism
Rich in symbolism
– Concentric circles and squares
– Figures: Buddhas, spirits
– Natural elements
– Color

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