Buddha, Gautama was born in the 6th cent., that time in world history that the philosopher Karl Jaspers called that Axix Age. (Socrates b 469 BC) He lived at the height of free intellectual activity in India. The Upanishads (8th-6th BC) redefined religion from the cultic-sacrificial religion of Vedic Brahmanism to a quest of the inner life in individual discipline (yoga) and meditation. The Brahmans had characterized life as samsara, the cycle of rebirth, and had insisted that the proper performance of Brahmanic rites would guarantee one's rebirth in favorable circumstances. The Upanishads introduced new themes into India's religion, such as karma or action, rebirth is determined by karma. And yoga or discipline that breaks the chain of samsara; break through the impermanent to the eternal element.
The biographies of the Buddha's life only go back as far as 1st 100 AD.
Siddhartha (he who has achieved his goal) Gautama Warrior (Ksatriya)
Early Life- Intelligent, active life.
Married age 16 to 16 year old cousin, possible more than 1 wife, at least 1 son.
At age 29 Siddartha was driven to have a homeless life.Legend of this saw a
decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man, an ascetic, or holy beggar.
Six years before his enlightment.
This is extremely important, personal experience not sacrificial rites became the primal element in Buddhist thought.
Deer Park “Sermon of the Turning of the Wheel” (Dharma)
4 Stages of Awareness:
1.detachment but discursive thought
2.detachment but free of thought
3.joyful peace but mindfully conscious
4.neither anguish nor joy, clarified
3 Stages of Knowledge:
1.Recollection of all his former lives- ignorance and darkness dispelled
2.Purified divine vision- He saw all beings as they pass away and are reborn, determined by their ethical and moral lives.
3.Knowledge of things as they are.
4 Noble Truths
1.All life involves suffering.
2.Cause of suffering is the ignorant craving or thirst for life.
3.This cause- desire, can be eliminated
4.The Eightfold Path
8 Fold Path
4.Right bodily action
Middle Path:1.Extreme between self-indulgence and mortification.
2.Extremes between an internal soul and that it is cut off at death.
Anatta- nonself doctrine
Persons= 5 states of events
5.states of consciousness
Yoga, Ascetic life, self-denial
A) Actions should be controlled by the 5 precepts
1.Refrain from taking life.
2.Refrain from taking what is now given.
3.Refrain from wrong sex.
4.Refrain from drugs (substances which obstruct self-awareness)
B) 4 Divine Dwelling Places
1.Friendliness2.Compassion3.Sympathy and Equanimity
Literally blowing out a flame but not extinction.
Not mystical/no union- gods exist but are impermanent
Sangha- Monks and Nuns (Deer Park Sermon)
Relics, statuary, paintings
The key to Buddha’s teaching is in his single-minded vision of suffering, rooted in ignorant craving.If this root is cut, the tree of suffering will die.What is left is not extinction but the bliss of Nirvana.
Buddha rejected the Brahmanic pantheon, also Bakkti.Buddha believed that there was no substantial soul of other realities in the world. -- Everything is transitory, impermanent.There is no being, only becoming.
The chain of Dependent Origination:
Out of:1. Ignorance2. Imagination3. Self-consciousness4. Name5. Form6. 6 senses7. Contact8. Feeling or emotion9. Craving10. Attachment11. Becoming or appearance and 12. Rebirth.
Buddhism also sought way between detachment and compassion, and between believing that the soul is an abiding substance and that it ends in death.
Please note that one finds here a fundamental question of both Eastern and Western religious and metaphysical thought.This is the issue of imperfect differentiation and plurality.This question takes on significant proportions when it is placed in a religious context.In this arena the question becomes “How can there be a single tranquil peaceful source of being out of which springs all restless, imperfect beings.
After Buddha, he left a legacy of oral tradition and the institution of the Sangha, monks and nuns.These persons had withdrawn from the frettes of daily life to practice a simple life of contemplation.Over a period of centuries this institution underwent several practical and philosophical transformations, sometimes as the result of council meetings.The third such council was convened in 240 in Paliputra and sponsored by King Ashoka, 3rd King of Maurya dynasty.Here Buddhism became a universal religion and not simple an Indian movement.Ashoka sent missionaries including his son to Cylon, to many distant places.It was also at this time that the 2 great schools of Buddhism began to emerge; Theravada (Cylon and SE Asia) and Mahayana (Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan).
Theravada- Lesser Vehicle; also Hinayana
Made living in begging, thus monk and layman bound in mutual obligation.
Teaching & ExampleFood & Shelter
BHAKTI – loving adoration of the Buddha, past and to be
BODHISATTVA (note the relationship with the emergence of this doctrine with karma and how the theory of salvation.)GRACE
MAHAYANNA – 3rd BCE Universal Buddha-hood of all things“Greater Vehicle”
Theravada – “Doctrine of the Elders”
Hinayana – “Lesser Vehicle”
Tibet, China, Korea & Japan
Mahayana – The Big Ferryboat or Greater Vehicle
It began to be conceived that the Buddha was divine, as were all the Buddha’s, past, present and future.These Buddha’s assist individuals in their attempt to realize their own Buddha nature.Buddha-hood is humanity’s proper end, and since all things in reality are Buddha-things, all things potentially and actually are saviors of the world.
Bodhisattva – one indifferent, compassionate, remaining at the threshold of nirvana for the comfort and salvation of the world.They possess an inexhaustible power to save.Potential perfection is being radiated out all the time.
“A guard I will be to them who have no protection, a guide to the voyager, a ship, a well, a spring, a bridge for the seeker of the other shore.”
Another interesting point to note, in connection with compassion is a Buddhist emphasis on action.Unlike classical logic practice in which knowledge is won in otillness – the way of knowledge is action.
In typical instruction, the pupil must trust the teacher.The pupil will contemplate different, paradoxical statements of the wisdom of the other shore; he or she will be asked to perform certain tasks, to exhibit certain characteristics in situations in which he or she will be placed.Thus, the path of knowledge is not, in the first instance, one of criticism, but of transformation.It is as if the pupil is assigned a role such, through acting out, comes to realize the truth in the role.Knowledge is the reward of action.By performing every action while avoiding every impulse of the ego to self – aggrandizement and display – the Buddha to be will eventually become free of the dark karmic force and will be bathed in the brilliance of nirvana.
One assumes, also, that perfection is not something added or acquired from without, but rather, it is the very thing that is already potential within as the basic reality of the individual.Thus, all living things are potential Buddha’s and hence one must see this in all living things – the criminal and the virtuous human and the ants are to be regarded, respected, and treated as potential Buddha’s.The realization is like polishing a gem or cleaning a dirty mirror.One must purify the physical body through yoga, then the subtle body is purified.
The basic world – source is like the sun, obscured by a cloud.The sun is everywhere present, even if we know it or not.However, what is the cloud.Often, a second force, next to the sun, had to be introduced and related.Buddhism says, beyond the cloud, there is no abiding substance – “All is without self.”
Everything in the world is mutually conditioned.Intrinsically, all things are “empty,” to be realized through direct experience.This includes the notion that everything is qualified by consciousness.