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The Middle Way
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  1. The Middle Way Based on Basics of Buddhism by Pat Allwright Presented by Linda Myring & Jay Williams

  2. A Short History of Buddhism

  3. Shakyamuni’s Teaching • Taught for over 40 years, according to the circumstances and understanding of the people he met. • Taught that suffering was the result of attachments. • In the last eight years of his life he taught the Lotus Sutra.

  4. Lotus Sutra • Purpose of the Lotus Sutra was to enable all beings to enter into the Buddha way. • “Honestly discard expedient means” he discarded his previous teachings which had been preparatory. • Did not “attain Buddhahood” in this lifetime, but rather in remote past. • Explained that all beings are manifestations of Buddhahood, but did not leave a “method” to reveal it.

  5. Nichiren Daishonin • 1222, born in Japan as the son of a fisherman. • Studied at local temple since 12 • Entered the priesthood at 16

  6. Nichiren Daishonin • 1253 at 32, declared Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the correct teaching • 1279, inscribed the Dai Gohonzon, dedicated to the happiness of all mankind.

  7. Nichiren’s Teaching • Declared that the Lotus Sutra is supreme amongst Buddhist teachings. • It teaches that everyone without exception has Buddhahood. • It reveals that life is eternal. • He was able to “read between the lines” and declare the ultimate teaching. • He revealed the fundamental law of universe which is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and taught a specific practice for all people to attain enlightenment.

  8. Attachments & Desires • Early Buddhist teachings taught that suffering was caused by clinging to attachments, such as people, things. • Too extreme, not possible because you must have desires (eat, sleep, sex) to live. • This ultimately leads to a denial of life.

  9. The Middle Way • ‘Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and non-existence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the reality of all things’

  10. Kutai, Ku - truth of non-substantiality or spiritual aspect of life Ketai, Ke - truth of temporary, physical, or material existence Chutai, Chu - truth of the middle way, that force or energy that binds and harmonizes ku and ke. Not three separate things. It does not mean to steer a middle course between extremes; It means to unify and transcend duality. Unification of the Three Truths (Threefold Truth)

  11. Life Cycle of a Tree • Ku - truth of non-substantiality. The way the tree changes each season, its life span, health. • Ke - truth of temporary existence. Its outward physical appearance at each stage of the cycle. • Chu - the tree itself.

  12. Human Beings - a Person • Ke - The way a person looks. • Ku - The person’s mind or spirit. • Chu - The middle way or entity of the person’s life. The true self or universal self.

  13. Western Dualistic Thinking • European fairy tales rarely have ‘baddies’ turning into ‘goodies’. • Buddhist literature has many fables in which demons turn into gods.

  14. When Enlightened … • Ke - The physical aspect of our lives is transformed into compassion. • Ku - The mental aspect is transformed into wisdom to improve the quality of life for everyone. • Chu - Becomes the source of life-force itself, unified with the life-force of the cosmos.

  15. The Greater Self • “Buddhist teaching strives to discover the greater self and, instead of suppressing or eliminating the smaller self, to control and direct it so that it can contribute to the growth of a better world civilization.”