Asian Philosophy Lecture 5
Siddhartha Gautama 563- 483 BCE Buddha = The Enlightened One Buddhism began in India and spread from there to other parts of Asia and the rest of the world eventually. Current world population = 350 Million
Three Buddhist Insights • Everything is dependently co-originated. Nothing exists independently of everything else. • Reality is a constant flux of change. What we perceive as being our external reality is in fact an illusion. The real nature of things is not disclosed to us in our experience. • There is no self. What appears to us as a permanent substantial self that persists over time is actually an illusion.
Buddhism and the Four Noble Truths • The truth of what suffering is. Dukkha • The truth of the conditioned arising of suffering. • The truth that suffering can be eliminated by eliminating that which brings about the conditioned arising of suffering. • The truth that the way to remove the conditions that give rise to suffering is to follow the Middle Way, constituted by the Noble Eightfold Path.
The First Noble Truth: Suffering The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha) is this: birth is suffering; aging is suffering, sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering – in brief the five aggregates of attachment are suffering. Dukkha ≠ mere bodily pain Dukkha = suffering from the human condition Dukkha = unsatisfactory life Dukkha = not functioning well
Personhood and Selfhood When we look inside we only find: • Physical processes, which give all kinds of bodies their solidity, liquidity, their ability to transform various kinds of energy, and their ability to move and act. • Processes of sensation, which produce pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings. • Perceptual processes, which produce perceptions of material and mental objects through the sense of the mind. • Volitional processes, which produce impulses to action that enable a person to act in the world. • The processes of consciousness, which enable one to be aware of the presence of various objects and of consciousness itself. Person = the interrelated functioning of the constantly changing 5 processes. There is no permanent self!!!
Three Levels of Dukkha • Ordinary suffering of pain that comes from birth, death, and unpleasant things. • The suffering of change that comes from recognizing that things that are good can turn bad. • Attachment of the self to the processes of existence that gives rise to ordinary suffering and the suffering due to change.
Second Noble Truth: The Conditions The Noble Truth of the origin of suffering is this: It is this craving (trishna) which produces re-existence and re-becoming, bound up with passionate greed. It finds fresh delight now here and now there, namely, craving for sense-pleasures; craving for existence and becoming; and craving for nonexistence (self-annihilation). The origin of suffering is craving and desire and attachment! Not all desire is bad! Desire that is a function of greed and selfishness is bad! Desire for a separate permanent self causes bad craving!
Second Noble Truth: The Conditions What is the primary cause of craving? The desire for a permanent self that is separate from everything else and not dependent on anything else. The source of this desire is ignoranceor primal confusion. It is because we are ignorant or confused about what we really are that we fall into craving for a separate and permanent self.
Third Noble Truth: Freedom from Suffering The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering is this: it is the complete cessation of that very craving, giving it up, renouncing it, emancipating oneself from it, detaching oneself from it. The elimination of suffering caused by craving is called nirvana –extinguished. There is the possibility of nirvana with life –attaining the extinguishing of suffering within one’s lifetime. There is the possibility of nirvana without life – attaining the extinguishing of suffering by ending the cycle of rebirth.
Eightfold Path: Right View Right view requires seeing things as they are. Wisdom requires understanding things as they are and acting in accord with right understanding. Intellectual understanding is a lower form of understanding than that achieved through direct insight Direct seeing and insight require a complete illumination of things just as they are in themselves and not as limited by concepts and theories. Direct insight allows one to see dependent arising and the nature of dukkha.
Eightfold Path: Right Intention Right Intention requires acting always from love and compassion. To understandright intentionone must have the right view of what they ultimately are and how what they and others ultimately are requires one to act in a certain way. Because we are interdependent and there is no individual permanent self we must all act toward one another with compassion and love. Acting from compassion and love would allow us to bring about greater happiness and the elimination ofsuffering.
Eightfold Path: Right Speech Right Speech requires that we avoid all talk that will hurt either oneself or others, and to speak pleasantly in ways that will help overcome suffering. Prohibits: Lying and slander; Attacking a person’s character; Talking in a way that brings about hatred or jealousy; Harsh or rude talk, abusive language, gossip.
Eightfold Path: Right Action Right action requires: Not killing Not hurting Not stealing Not cheating Positively one should aim to promote peace and happiness
Eightfold Path: Right Livelihood Right livelihood extends right speech and action to one’s mode of making a living or earning income. One must avoid: (i) drug dealing, (ii) using or dealing in weapons, (iii) making and using poisons, (iv) killing animals; and (v) prostitution and slavery. One must promote: (i) attaining a sufficient means of life through one’s own efforts without engaging in fraud, trickery, or other kinds of wrongdoing; (ii) enjoying one’s rightfully acquired wealth; (iii) enjoying freedom from debt; (iv) enjoying the happiness that comes from being free of blame.
Eightfold Path: Right Effort Right effort requires • Preventing evil and unwholesome sates of mind from arising. • Getting rid of evil and unwholesome states of mind that already exist. • Bringing about good and wholesome sates of mind. • Developing and perfecting good wholesome states of mind.
Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness Right mindfulness requires being attentive to all of one’s activities. • Activities of the body. • Sensing and feeling. • Perceiving. • Thinking and consciousness. One must understand how their own mental states arise and what their content and character is like.
Eightfold Path: Right Concentration Right concentration requires focusing one’s consciousness. The idea is that right concentration allows one to deeply understand something. Ignorance can be eliminated through right concentration. Enlightenment can be achieved through right concentration. Right concentration allows one to understand their mental activities. One must purify their mental states through concentration.
Buddhism, Mind, and Well-Being On the negative Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering follows, As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart. On the positive Mind is the forefunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a serene mind, happiness follows As surely as one’s shadow.