What is it that you want above everything else?
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What is it that you want above everything else? What do you truly desire in your life? Is it absolutely essential for you to have this? What happens if you don’t get it?. Hmmm…. Buddhism. Religions of South Asia. Indian Subcontinent. The essence of Buddhism.

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What is it that you want above everything else?

What do you truly desire in your life?

Is it absolutely essential for you to have this?

What happens if you don’t get it?

Hmmm….


Buddhism


Religions of South Asia


Indian Subcontinent


The essence of Buddhism

  • The “middle way of wisdom and compassion.”

  • 2,500 year old tradition.

  • The 3 jewels of Buddhism:

    • Buddha, the teacher.

    • Dharma, the teachings.

    • Samgha, the community of monks.


Siddhartha Gautama(563-483 BCE)

  • Born in NE India (Nepal).

  • Raised in great luxuryto be a king.

  • At 29 he rejectedhis luxurious life toseek enlightenmentand the source ofsuffering. Why?

  • Lived a strict,ascetic life for 6 yrs.

  • Rejecting this extreme, sat in meditation, and found nirvana.

  • Became “The Enlightened One,” at 35.


What is the fundamental cause of all suffering?

Desire!

  • Therefore, extinguish the self, don’t obsess about oneself.


Four Noble Truths

  • There is suffering in the world. To live is to suffer. (Dukkha)

    • The Buddha found this out when he was young and experienced suffering and death in others.


Four Noble Truths

  • The cause of suffering is self-centered desire and attachments. (Tanha)


Four Noble Truths

  • The solution is to eliminate desire and attachments. (Nirvana = “extinction”)


The Jedi Warriors of Star Wars

Reminiscent of ….


Supposed to remain calm

Never give way to extreme emotions

Practice self-denial including never getting married

Desire leads to Attachment

Attachment to Jealousy and Fear

Fear leads to Hate

Hate leads to the Dark Side of the Force

Jedi instead dedicated themselves to meditation and training which they were supposed to use for selfless dedication to others.

Jedi-Buddhism Analogy


Anakin Skywalker

Lived by his passions despite his Master Obi-Won Kenobi’s teachings.

Fell in love, secretly married, and was misled by the Dark Side to using his emotions to make him more powerful

Ultimately, Anakin gives way completely to the Dark Side and becomes…


Four Noble Truths

  • To reach nirvana, one must follow the Eightfold Path.


Eightfold Path

Nirvana

  • The union with the ultimate spiritual reality.

  • Escape from the cycle of rebirth.


Part of Eightfold Path (Right Concentration)

Use it to reach Nirvana (which means to extinguish or blow out – like blowing out a flame)

Realization that a person is not a self but combination of materials that is part of the universe (universalization)

All selfish desire is extinguished.

Meditation


Buddhist Art and Architecture


Early images depict him as a robed monk.

Curl of hair between eyebrows shown as a dot.

Cranial bump (enlarged spot on top of head covered with hair)

Large earlobes from earrings when he was Prince Siddhartha

Sometimes, wheel (Eightfold Path) imprinted on palms and soles of feet.

Buddha in Art


Meditation mudra– hands overlapping, palms facing upward

Earth touching mudra – calling on the Earth to bear witness to his enlightenment

Wheel of Law or Teaching mudra – right thumb and index finger touching

Fear Not mudra – right hand up, palm out as gesture of protection

Mudras – Symbolic hand gestures


His birth at Lumbini from the side of his mother Queen Maya

Achieving buddhahood while meditating under a boddhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India.

Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath

His attainment of nirvana

Scenes from Buddha’s Life


Buddha’s head :

2c Pakistan


Standing Buddha Offering Protection

Red sandstone image

Made in late 5th century

The serene expression and contemplative gaze show the Buddha’s spirituality

Embodies the qualities of inner calm and stillness, the products of supreme wisdom

Strong youthful body with active stance represent his strength as a universal ruler


The raised right hand is in the abhayamudra gesture, which dispenses fear and provides followers of the religion with reassurance

Skull protuberance depicts enlightened wisdom

Halo behind head emphasizes the religiosity of Buddha


Buddha – 19c Thailand


Buddhist art in India

Sanchi Stupa


Great Stupa at Sanchi


The Great Stupa of Sanchi

is located in Sanchi, India.

Stupas are Buddhist monuments in India, and are generally domes that cover relics of Buddha and his followers.

The Great Stupa of Sanchi is the oldest and largest Stupa, and also one of the best preserved. It is a pilgrimage site.

The Stupa is decorated on the outside with four gates, each adorned with elaborate symbols and scenes from the life of Buddha.


The Southern Gate has images from Buddha’s birth.

The Eastern Gate shows Buddha’s Journey to Nirvana.

The Northern Gate show’s scenes from Buddha’s life with multiple incarnations.

The Western Gate Shows Buddha undergoing temptation.

SN

EW


Diagram of a Stupa


Buddha was cremated; his ashes were separated into 8 reliquaries.

The Indian king Ashoka, built 8 stupas throughout his kingdom to bury the reliquaries.

A stupa is NOT a tomb; it is a reliquary mound. People cannot enter the mound.

People perform clockwise circumambulation around the mound to achieve harmony with the cosmos.

Stupas


A stupa is a three-dimensional mandala or diagram of the universe.

It is aligned according to the cardinal points with toranas (gateways) at N, S, E, and W sides.

The harmika is the stone fence separating the realm of the gods.

The yasti is the pole the represents the axis of the universe connecting the world with the dimension of the gods.

Stone fence encloses entire structure to separate this holy area from the world.

Stupas continued


Mandala: Wheel of Life Motif


Mandala: Wheel of Life Motif


Buddhist Altar


Types of Buddhism

  • Therevada Buddhism

  • Mahayana Buddhism

  • Tibetan Buddhism

  • Zen Buddhism


Theravada Buddhism

  • The oldest school of Buddhism.

  • Found in southern Asia.

  • The monastic life is the best way to achieve nirvana.

  • Focus on wisdom and meditation.

  • Goal is to become a “Buddha,” or “Enlightened One.”

  • Over 100,000,000 followers today.


Theravada Buddhism


Mahayana Buddhism

  • The “Great Vehicle.”

  • Founded in northern Asia (China, Japan).

  • Buddhism “for the masses.”

  • Seek guidance from Boddhisatvas, wise beings

  • Goal: Not just individual escape from the wheel, but the buddhahood of all humanity.


Mahayana Buddhists would regard Theravadan Buddhism as too narrow in focus as it is about individuals seeking enlightenment all for themselves (private buddhas).

Mahayana Buddhists believe that unlimited compassion must be practiced to all beings

Bodhisattvas are enlightenment beings who help with this; unlimited in number; they exist in this world but without attachments.

Mahayana vs. Theravada Buddhism


Mahayana Buddhism


Seated Boddhisatva – 16c Bhutan


boddhisatva


Tibetan Buddhism

  • The “Diamond Vehicle.” [Vajrayana]

  • Developed in Tibet in the 7c CE.

  • A mix of Theravada and Mahayana.

  • Boddhisatvas include Lamas, like the Dalai Lama.

  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead[Bardo Thodol].


The DalaiLama


Zen Buddhism

  • The “Meditation School.”

  • Pure Land Buddhism (Amitabha)

  • Seeks sudden enlightenment [satori] through meditation, arriving at emptiness [sunyata].

  • Use of meditation masters [Roshi].


Pure Land or Zen Buddhists say prayers and meditate in the hope that when they die Amitabha Buddha will transport them to the Pure Land of Infinite Light and Life where Nirvana is assured.

Amitabha Buddha


Why do you think Buddhism evolved in East Asia (Mahayana, Zen or Pure Land Buddhism) differently than South Asia (Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos)?

Think of traditional religious beliefs of East Asians (Mulan and ancestors, Japan and Shinto)


Buddhism in America (1999)


Distribution of Buddhism Centers in the US, 2001


Relieve Stress & Meditate:Get a Mantra !

Om...mani...padme...hum...

Hail to the jewel in the lotus!


10th Annual western buddhist monastic conference

California, 2004


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