Buddhism Review Project. By: Patra, Quinn, Kyle, Andrea and Ken . Essential Questions. What is the human condition?
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By: Patra, Quinn, Kyle, Andrea and Ken
-Humans are caught in Samsara: the endless cycle of existence, characterized by maya (illusion), tanha (craving), and hatred/aversion leading to dukkha (suffering or unsatisfactoriness)
- To a favorable or unfavorable birth after death
- To enlightenment through entering Nirvana/nibbana
-To Bodhisattvahood (Mahayana Buddhism)
-acknowledging the Three Jewels: Buddha, dharma, and sangha
- accepting the Four Noble truths
- following the Middle Way/ the Noble Eightfold Path
- following the precepts consistent with a lay or monastic way of life
-developing wisdom and compassion
- following the path of the Bodhisattva
Lifetime Rituals and Rites of Passage
- It is called the Tipitaka/Tripitaka or "Three Baskets" because it includes the Vinaya Pitaka or "Basket of Discipline," the Sutta Pitaka or "Basket of Discourses," and the Abhidhamma Pitaka or "Basket of Higher Teachings"
- Compiled at the First Buddhist council following the Buddha's death
-Used by both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists, though Theravada believes that it was passed down orally from the Buddha to the five arhats while Mahayana argues that the Pali Canon was recited by the arhats but other scriptures are attributed to the bodhisattvas and all are the words of the Buddha.
-Scriptural knowledge and wisdom (panna/prajna) are important pursuits
-Read in Pali, closely related to the language which the Buddha spoke
-Collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form
-Regarded as one of the most widely spread and best known Buddhist scriptures, most translated Buddhist text
-Prajnaparamita literature "The Perfection of Wisdom"
-Diamond Sutra sets forth the doctrines of Sunyata (emptiness) and Prajna (wisdom), emphasizes the practice of non attachment.
-Heart Sutra emphasizes emptiness, and is one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures.
-Sukhavati literature describes the "Pure Land" in which the Buddhas reside
-Lotus Sutra teaches the identification of the historical Buddha with the Transcendental Buddha, and is the basis for Zen and Sociopolitical sects of Buddhism.
-Texts often in Sanskrit, which was used India as Buddhism developed
-Vajrayana Buddhists read sacred texts in Tibetan and developed and extended body of texts, though much has been lost
- Tibetan Buddhist canon includes Mahayana texts in Tibetan along with other tantric texts
-Divide into "translated words", which are works directly from the Buddha, and "translated treatises", which includes commentary on the translated words
-In Thailand, local texts written in the Thai language have been composed to summarize the teachings of the Pali Canon
Origin of Doctrines
Theravada Buddhism: Believes that the doctrines came from Siddharth Gautama himself.
Mahayana Buddhism: Also believe in the influence of Buddha, but also take into account the teachings of prominent Boddhisattvas
(i.e. Avalokitesvara who embodies the compassion of all buddhas).
The Three Jewels: Also known as the Three Treasures, are what Buddhists seek to look toward for guidance which are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
The Four Noble Truths: Said to be the very first teachings that Buddha explained after he reached enlightenment, which are dukkha(suffering), Tanha(craving) and avijja(ignorance), understanding how to avoid and remove dukkha from ones life, and the path to the ceasing of dukkha aka the Noble Eightfold Path(right view, intention,speech, action,livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration)
The Five Precepts: the commitment (moral ethics) of Buddhists to abstain from harming liviing beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication.
The Three Marks of Existence: anicca(impermanence), dukkha(suffering), anatta(non-self).
Basic Beliefs cont.
Skandhas: the five functions or aspects that constitute human being, consisting of form or matter, sensation, perception, mental formations, and conciousness
The Three poisons: ignorance, desire, and aversion
Theravada Buddhism: Since they hold to the belief that one must reach enlightenment for themselves w/out the reliance of gods or higher powers, monks are seen to be held at highest esteem and aim to reach nirvana, whereas those who are not monks seek their paths to nirvana by becoming a layperson and hoping to achive merit and progress to become a monk.
Mahayana Buddhism: Also has great esteem for monks, but also claims that anyone can reach nirvana regardless of direct participation in the Sangha aswell as aim for Buddhahood.
Tibetan Buddhism: believe in a system of lamas who are reborn(system mainly in yellow hat school).
Schools of Thought
Thereavada Buddhism: "Way of the Elders", reflects the belief that ther most closely follow the original beliefs and practices of the Buddha and the early monastic elders.
Mahayana: "The Great Vehicle" refering to the path of seeking enlightenment for the benefit of all sentinet beings.
Theravada: The original teachings of the Buddha state that there is only birth, death, an rebirth into samsara(the cycle of life). Tanha (Desires) causes suffering(Dukkha) therefore karma and rebirth. Enlightenment releases one from samsara and defeats maya(illusion). The body is made up of Five Skandhas.
Mahayana: Also believe in the cycle, but also include bodhisattvas, those who attain Nirvana not for oneself but Buddhahood fro the sake of others.
Cosmogony and Cosmology
Theravada Buddhism: cycle of existence
Mahayana Buddhism: Not are there only Buddhas here on earth, but also other realms have Buddhas as well. Lokas (31 planes within 3 realms)
Deer Park Monastery
Buddhism is a religion that can be practiced independently, but is more common to be worshiped and engaged in as a group or sangha.
In a sangha (school of monks, nuns or other group of followers) different forms of meditation are practiced:
Breathing Meditation: concentration on slowing and pacing breathing, focusing on every motion and sensation each inhale and exhale brings while being able to stay mindful of being in the moment and maintaining awareness of the sounds around you.
Walking Meditation: Walking slowly with another friend, follower or your sangha so as to be moving as one being instead of many separate, individual people. Involves breathing meditation and also a more heightened awareness of your environment and exactly how you are connected to the earth- the way your foot arches as you step, point of connection between your feet and the ground as well as how it seems to support you and keep you balanced.
Eating Meditation: Eating meditation involves being mindful of where your food came from, appreciating it and noticing how you break it down as you chew it slowly. During a meal at a sangha (or home of any Buddhist who utilizes this practice) there is a period of silence to recall the day's events and eat (slowly chewing food at least 30 times) while considering mindful/engaging thoughts(smiles may be exchanged between people), followed by a time to converse with others quietly and discuss new thoughts or ideas before having another short moment of silence.
Theravada (traditional): males are required to join a sangha and live in a monastery for a duration of their lives, though they are welcome to leave the sangha whenever their stay is finished (monastic life is not permanent if wished). Though women are allowed to live in a monastery with the males, they are sent to pray separately and the nuns are sometimes seen as lower than the monks because of some connections of women leading to temptation and 'suffering'. This is mainly in Asia, whereas in the West female Buddhists are more likely to be treated equally (though the sect of Buddhism still depends on how much equality and leniency they are shown). They are also thought to be more superior because of the Buddha's past lives were all men.
Mahayana (more lenient and accepting): Both men and women attend daily prayer and perform rituals together- there is no segregation or division amongst them. Women are seen as very significant (much like in the Tibetan sect) and even have female Bodhisattvas (taras).-comp. West to Southeast Asia coping w/ modernization
The quest for justice in a land of pacification
•Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ran nation of Democratic Kampuchea murdered nearly 2 million innocent political rivals, non-Cambodians, Muslim Chams, and Buddhists for the sake of ensuring a secure “socialist” society.
•This occurred from 1975-1979 in Cambodia and small parts of Vietnam.
•Some top officials of the Khmer Rouge were prosecuted by a UN ran trial in 2009.
•Many are suspected to still be living or hiding in Cambodia and surrounding Indochinese nations.
•Numerous collaborators of the regime, such as complacent civilians, are also untouched by the Cambodian justice system.
•Cambodia’s population is 95% Buddhist and the majority of those Buddhists practice Theravada Buddhism.
•Cambodia is also a center for Buddhists culture as a whole, not just Cambodian Buddhists.
•Hundreds of Buddhist temples reminiscent of Buddhism’s antiquity lie in the jungles and fields of Cambodia.
•One of the Buddha’s main titles was “He who can forebear”. This alludes to the common practice of suppression of redemption amongst Buddhists across Asia.
•Thus, it would be against Buddhist behavior to prosecute the Khmer Rouge leadership, even in the face of the latter’s atrocities.
•Theravada Buddhism is also far more “orthodox” in terms of mirroring the behavior of the Buddha, in comparison to other Buddhist sects of the world.
•The Cambodian Genocide occurred more than 30 years ago, yet only a few Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried and jailed.
•The lack of speed on behalf of the prosecution can lie in the fact that many Cambodians do not revolve around a set justice system, due to the Cambodian ideals of pacification and forbearance (both Buddhist in source).
•The question lies in whether the Cambodian Buddhists should set aside their cherished religious values for the purpose of justice.
•It is hard for a Westerner to envision the difficulty in this idea of justice, yet it is ever present in the Cambodian Buddhists who survived the onslaught of the Khmer Rouge.