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Buddhism. Story of the Buddha. What kind of story is this? Is it about a hero, or an “everyman”? Does it remind you of any other stories? 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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Story of the buddha l.jpg
Story of the Buddha

  • What kind of story is this?

    • Is it about a hero, or an “everyman”?

    • Does it remind you of any other stories?

  • Discuss your favorite detail of the story

    • What do you think it means? Does it express an aspect of Buddhist belief?


Siddhartha gautama l.jpg
Siddhartha Gautama

  • Born ca. 563 BCE

    • Context: asceticism in India and Nepal

  • Life story: Classic story of a quest

    • How is it unusual?

    • How does it typify human experience?

    • Four Sights

      • why are these shocking to Siddhartha?

    • Enlightenment

    • Teaching others (45 yrs)

  • Presents “middle way”

  • Ideal of enlightenment

  • Not a god


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Narrative

  • Used in religion:

    • To reveal

    • To teach memorably, personally

    • To alter relationships, cultivate empathy

  • “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


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Myth

  • Type of narrative

  • Answers questions about how people relate to sacred reality and to their world

    • Origins

    • Identity

    • Purpose

  • 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)


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Four Noble Truths

  • Life is suffering (dukkha)

  • Suffering is caused by desire

  • Ceasing desire will bring an end to suffering

  • Do this through the Eightfold Path


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Eightfold Path

  • Right views

  • Right intent

  • Right speech

  • Right conduct

  • Right livelihood

  • Right effort

  • Right mindfulness

  • Right concentration


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5 Precepts of Right Action/Conduct

  • Do not kill

  • Do not steal

  • Do not lie

  • Do not practice sexual immorality

  • Do not take intoxicants


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Triple Gem

  • I take refuge in the Buddha

  • I take refuge in the Dharma

  • I take refuge in the Sangha


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Doctrines

  • Samsara: cycle of rebirth (Smith: transmigration)

    • Governed by karma

  • Impermanence

  • Interdependence

  • No self

  • Nirvana


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Development of Buddhism

  • No clear successor after the Buddha’s death

  • Theravada: most traditional

  • Mahayana: most adapting

  • Zen: branch of Mahayana


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Theravada Buddhism: The Way of the Elders

  • Older form; more conservative (conserving)

    • Scriptures: Pali canon

  • SE Asia (Thailand)

  • Focus on individual effort

    • Strong emphasis on monasticism, Sangha

  • Universe is not friendly (no gods to help)

    • Meditation used, but not prayer

  • Wisdom is highest virtue

    • Ideal: arhat (“worthy one” who has extinguished desire)

  • Buddha is an exemplar, not a god


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Mahayana Buddhism: The Big Raft

  • More liberal (innovative)

    • Scripture: Pali canon PLUS Lotus Sutra

    • more open on inclusion of women

  • “Big raft”: Focus on laity, all people

    • Priests serve laity, can marry

  • More a sense of power in the universe

    • Offer reverence for gods

  • Focus on compassion

    • Ideal: Bodhisattva who helps others

  • Buddha a savior, god-like

    • offer prayer and worship


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Zen Buddhism

  • Most common form in West

  • focus on emptying, even of most sacred teachings

    • critical of verbal reliance, conceptions

    • remarkably self-critical

  • 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


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Zen Oxherding Pictures

  • Illustrate stages of spiritual growth

    • Herdsman = worldly “self”

    • Ox = true nature

  • http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mzb/oxherd.htm


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Buddhist Mandalas

  • 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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