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Learning intentions

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  1. Learning intentions The Sangha — the Aryasangha; lay Buddhists; monks and nuns; Western Buddhist communities. (Therevada and Mahayana understandings of the Sangha should be addressed)

  2. Criteria for success • Describe what Buddhists understand by ‘taking refuge’ and how they take refuge in the Sangha. • Describe what the Sangha is. • Explain the significance of the Sangha to Buddhists. • Explain Therevada and Mahayana understandings of the Sangha.

  3. Sangha Mind Map • As we go through the presentation, create a mind map of the Sangha • You will need to consider the difference between Theravada and Mahayana • You will need to consider lay people and monks • You will need to consider Arhats and Bodhisattvas

  4. Lay Buddhists Lay people: ordinary, everyday Buddhists who follow the teachings in a varying degree of strictness. Someone who has taken the 3 Refuges and set enlightenment as their ultimate goal in life.

  5. Lay Buddhists By taking refuge in the sangha lay Buddhists acknowledge the vital role the community plays. Practically, this leads to behaving respectfully with their behaviour, offering food, clothing, medicine etc. for or education, advice, moral guidance, aid for weddings, birth/death rites etc.


  6. Lay Buddhists (T) In Therevada only a male monk may become enlightened so a lay Buddhist in the Therevada tradition must aim for a better samsaric rebirth. In this sense they will be probably be a Sotapanna – ‘stream entrant’, much less likely would be to be a Sakadagmi – ‘once returner’.

  7. Lay Buddhists (T) To do this they must attain as much positive karma as they can in this life in the hope of a better rebirth, closer to that of a male monk. This is accomplished by giving alms etc. There are also less rules and moral expectations imposed upon them.

  8. Lay Buddhists (M) In Mahayana anyone can become enlightened (in fact some believe you are already – tathagatagarbha). Furthermore, enlightenment can happen very suddenly (zen satori) and accomplished within a lay Buddhist’s lifetime. The goal for them, therefore, is enlightenment now.

  9. Lay Buddhists (M) Some traditions in Mahayana do not have a specific hierarchy so in many cases the life of monastics and the lay Buddhists can appear to crossover. In most cases though there is a clear student – teacher relationship. Overall there is less focus on the male monk as the ideal and more upon individual potential.

  10. In what ways can Therevada Buddhism be said to be selfish?

  11. Monastics • Monks and nuns: called bhikkus and bhikkunis. • Ordained members of the Buddhist community who follow rules rigorously and spend much time meditating and studying dharma. • Devotion to attaining enlightenment.

  12. Monastics • Primary role is to maintain Buddhism as a livingreligion... • study scripture • practice meditation • teach Dharma • perform ritual and ceremony • act as role models • offer advice according to Buddhist values

  13. Monastics (T) • Strictly adhere to rules and expectations outlined by historical Buddha 2500 years ago. • Can come from any of the 4 stages to Arhat. • Traditional role fulfilled – hierarchy established. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRHkivEzCfw

  14. Monastics (M) Huge variety here e.g. Pure Land Buddhism (Japan): no monks exist at all. Priests instead who are allowed to marry and have families, take jobs and earn money. Live as householders and perform duties on certain occasions only.

  15. Monastics (M) • Others stick more closely to ‘Therevada model’. • Possibility of enlightenment as lay Buddhist is key point here. • Check out ‘a day in the life’ of a Zen monk and make a list of similarities & differences with a Therevada monk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pllQ_-ZxEA&feature=related

  16. Make a link… Where do you seek ‘refuge’, and why?

  17. Monastics (M) ... and Tibetan Buddhists... 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C8rJewTzuM&feature=related 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfx8QMWZasY&feature=related 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3640p_XuEQ&feature=related 4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyYLH_HaLrg&feature=related Hacky sack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr3hBFppt3g&feature=related

  18. The Aryasangha • Aryasangha: a subgroup within the monastics of elite / leaders (most commonly male). Enlightenment achieved.

  19. The Aryasangha (T) • In Therevada these people are enlightened beings - Arhat. • They have followed the teachings of historical Buddha and can help as skilful teachers. • Must be male monks.

  20. The Aryasangha (T) • Progressed through 4 stages after many lifetimes – previous life was a Sakadagmi or ‘once returner’ and born as an Anagami before becoming an Arhat through meditation. • At bodily death they enter paranirvana and escape samsara.

  21. The Aryasangha (M) • In Mahayana it is argued that enlightened beings go a stage further towards a Bodhisattva. • Monks / lay Buddhists consider themselves very fortunate to spend time with them. • The belief is that they have vowed to remain and help others.

  22. The Aryasangha (M) • In some varieties of Mahayana there is no emphasis on hierarchy or Aryasangha! • In others a hierarchy is clear e.g. In Tibetan there is the Dalai Lama. • They are seen as ultimateguides to escape samsara.

  23. TRUE / FALSE Is this statement TRUE or FLASE? (T/F on Show-Me Boards) The Aryasangha fits with the historical Buddha’s teachings.

  24. You will be numbered.. No. 1 - Describe the Buddhist ideal of the Arhat. 6KU No. 2 - What is a Bodhisattva? 6KU

  25. Aryasangha (Therevada) Arysangha (Mahayana) Lay Buddhists (Therevada) Lay Buddhists (Mahayana) Attain a better samsaric rebirth. Aim to become Arhat. Aim to become Bodhisattva. Male. Dalai Lama. Enlightened. Real-time test

  26. Identify the monk! Is this monk from the Therevada or Mahayan tradition? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUYoAn9pnJE

  27. Homework for Monday, 10th March… • What is the Sangha? 4KU • “The Sangha benefits only monks and nuns, not the laity” • Do you agree? 8AE • - 20 minutes-

  28. RANK ‘em! Rank the 3 Jewels in terms of which is the most important… Buddha Dharma Sangha