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Buddhism as a Way of Life. Rels 120 – Religion, Spirituality & Health 18 October 2013. Contemporary Buddhism. Meditation and the cultivation of the mind Ordination Sacred places and objects of worship 3 contemporary Buddhist practitioners Aung San Suu Kyi Thich Nhat Hanh

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buddhism as a way of life

Buddhism as a Way of Life

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Rels 120 – Religion, Spirituality & Health

18 October 2013

contemporary buddhism
Contemporary Buddhism
  • Meditation and the cultivation of the mind
  • Ordination
  • Sacred places and objects of worship
  • 3 contemporary Buddhist practitioners
    • Aung San SuuKyi
    • ThichNhatHanh
    • The Dalai Lama

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meditation in the quest of the buddha to find meaning in life
Meditation – in the Quest of the Buddha to find meaning in life
  • Leaves five companions
  • Sits emaciated beside a ficus (date) tree (the Bodhi tree)
  • Given a dish of rice and barley
  • Continues to meditate

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as siddhartha meditates
As Siddhartha meditates
  • Realizes his capacity for insight (prajna)
  • Extinguishes all desire and ignorance

→ awakening, enlightenment (nirvana)

  • Remains in state of nirvana for 7 weeks, receiving offerings

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  • Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation
  • “If you are breathing, you can meditate,” says Sharon Salzberg, Buddhist teacher
  • http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/by-topic/sharon-salzberg-on-meditation/8119/

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2 basic forms of buddhist meditation
2 basic forms ofBuddhist meditation
  • Shamatha meditation
  • “calm abiding”
  • “stabilizing meditation”

Focus on a single object of concentration

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  • Most commonly, focus on the sensation of breathing
    • Breathing in through the nostrils
    • Rise and fall of the abdomen – not the upper chest
    • Slowly breathing out

Vipassana meditation

  • “profound mindfulness”
  • “anchor” one’s awareness to one’s immediate experience in the moment

“When walking, just walk. When sitting, just sit.”

  • Deep concentration with a stable mind (not distracted)
  • “observe” without obsessing, reacting or judging
  • Become aware of the 3 marks of existence
    • Impermanence
    • Suffering
    • no independent self or soul

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walking meditation
Walking meditation

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three refuges three jewels
Three Refuges / Three Jewels

To become a follower of the Buddha, persons affirm their commitment to:

  • The Buddha
    • “I go for refuge in the Buddha”
  • The Dharma
    • “I go for refuge in the teachings”
  • The Sangha
    • “I go for refuge in the community”

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social relationships
Social Relationships
  • Monks and nuns lived in sanghas
    • Received teaching, meditated and studied
  • Lay people / householders
    • Provided food and necessities for the monks and nuns
  • Leaders of the sanghas
    • Provided teaching; kept discipline in the sangha; led rituals for monks, nuns and lay people; administrated lands and properties
  • No individual leaders were authoritative

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wat doi saket thailand buddhist monk ordination
WatDoiSaket, Thailand: Buddhist Monk Ordination
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxwnmgBd80s

“Our friend Michael ordained as a buddhist monk at WatDoiSaket. AtmaSeva's team was here to witness this important event. Learn more about the buddhist ordination process and discover DoiSaket's beautiful temple and buddhist monks.”

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sacred places places of pilgrimage
Sacred Places &Places of Pilgrimage

Four places of pilgrimage identified by the Buddha:

  • The site of his birth – Lumbini
  • The place of his enlightenment – Bodh Gaya
  • The site of his first discourse – Saranath
  • The place of his death – Kushinagar

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lumbini the birthplace of the buddha
Lumbini – the Birthplace of the Buddha

The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism.

The Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death.

  • http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/south-asia/nepal/lumbini/ashokan-s-pillar/sphere-flash.html
  • http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/south-asia/nepal/lumbini/up-mayadevi-temple/sphere-flash.html
  • http://www.world-heritage-tour.org/asia/south-asia/nepal/lumbini/prayer-flags/sphere-flash.html

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“Lumbini, set in the fertile plains of Nepal’s Terai region, is universally regarded as the place where Buddha was born.  As one of the most sacred sites significant to Buddha’s life and path to enlightenment, the Sacred Garden of Lumbini has been a center of pilgrimage for devout followers from as early as the 3rd century B.C.E.”

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  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1071/
http www ourplaceworldheritage com custom cfm action whsite whsiteid 666

Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha

12 PHOTOS of the Site

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bodh gaya the place of gautama s enlightenment
Bodh Gaya – the place of Gautama’s Enlightenment

The Bodhi Tree


Bodh Gaya is the small town in the centre of the Buddhist universe, the Navel of the Earth.

In the middle of the town is the Mahabodhi Temple with the Bodhi Tree behind it. This is where the Buddha experienced Enlightenment and spent the next seven weeks.

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mahabodhi temple
Mahabodhi Temple

Temple of Great


  • Buddhist stupa located in Bodhgaya, India (currently in the hands of Hindu nationalists)
  • Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002

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http www indiainimages com blog 2010 03 bodh gaya mahabodhi temple the great awakening temple
http://www.indiainimages.com/blog/2010/03/bodh-gaya/Mahabodhi Temple (the "Great Awakening Temple")

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Very near Varanasi on the River Ganges in India


  • Preached his first sermon to his previous 5 companions
  • First sanghaestablished

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kusinara the place where the buddha lay down and died also called kushinagar
Kusinara:The place where the Buddha lay down and died– also called Kushinagar

“Buddha asked His disciples thrice if there were any remaining perplexities concerning the doctrine or the discipline. Receiving silence, He gave them the famous exhortation - "Impermanence is inherent in all things. Work out your own salvation with diligence". Then, passing through the meditative absorptions, Shakyamuni Buddha entered Mahaparinirvana. The earth shook, stars shot from the heavens, the sky in the ten directions burst forth in flames and the air was filled with celestial music. The master's body was washed and robed once more, then wrapped in a thousand shrouds and placed in a casket of precious materials.”

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In the Nirvana Temple at Kusinara

the place of the great passing away
The Place of the Great Passing Away
  • During archaeological excavations in the mid 1850s, the remains of ten different monasteries on this site have been found
  • These monasteries date from the fourth century to the eleventh century
  • Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple, when rediscovered, were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest

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contemporary buddhists

Contemporary Buddhists

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aung san suu kyi
Aung San SuuKyi

This woman is an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

  • The 66-year-old spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to military-ruled Burma.
  • In 1991, a year after her National League for Democracy (NLD) won an overwhelming victory in an election the junta later nullified, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • In April 2012, she ran in a by-election and won by a huge majority
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11685977

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thich nhat hanh
  • One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today
  • He is a poet, and a peace and human rights activist – nominated for the Nobel Peace prize in 1967
  • Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he became a monks at the age of sixteen
  • During the Vietnam War he helped local villagers suffering under bombings and other devastations while continuing to adhere to the contemplative life meditation
  • ThichNhatHanhhelped to found the “engaged Buddhism” movement
  • In 1982 he founded Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile in France, where he continues his work to alleviate suffering of refugees, boat people, political prisoners, and hungry families in Vietnam and throughout the Third World.

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the dalai lama
The Dalai Lama

Drepung Monastery, Tibet

  • Born in 1935 – the 14th Dalai Lama
  • Prior to the most severe Chinese invasion, fled into northern India
  • Has always been seen as spiritual and political leader of an independent Tibet
  • Recently appointed LobsangSangay as political leader; http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/08/08/dalai-lama-new-tibet.html

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the dalai lama1
Prior to the Chinese invasion, fled into northern India

travels worldwide


consults with religious and political leaders

continues to be seen as spiritual leader of an independent Tibet

protests Chinese occupation of Tibet

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The Dalai Lama
the nobel peace prize 1989 the 14th dalai lama
The Nobel Peace Prize 1989The 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

He was born in a small village in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Kundun, meaning The Presence.

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living with compassion
Living With Compassion

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

  • Leader of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Currently living in exile in Dharamsala, India

“What is the purpose of life? … I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy … It is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”



Dalai Lama Talks about Compassion, Respect (2:34)

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