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Buddhism

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Buddhism

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  1. Buddhism

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. 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

  7. Eightfold Path • Right views • Right intent • Right speech • Right conduct • Right livelihood • Right effort • Right mindfulness • Right concentration

  8. 5 Precepts of Right Action/Conduct • Do not kill • Do not steal • Do not lie • Do not practice sexual immorality • Do not take intoxicants

  9. Triple Gem • I take refuge in the Buddha • I take refuge in the Dharma • I take refuge in the Sangha

  10. Doctrines • Samsara: cycle of rebirth (Smith: transmigration) • Governed by karma • Impermanence • Interdependence • No self • Nirvana

  11. Development of Buddhism • No clear successor after the Buddha’s death • Theravada: most traditional • Mahayana: most adapting • Zen: branch of Mahayana

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Zen Oxherding Pictures • Illustrate stages of spiritual growth • Herdsman = worldly “self” • Ox = true nature • http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mzb/oxherd.htm

  16. 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