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From Hinduism to Buddhism

From Hinduism to Buddhism

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From Hinduism to Buddhism

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  1. From Hinduism to Buddhism Freedom of the individual against the caste system of India

  2. Republican conception of reincarnation • Individual creates his own environment in Greek and Indian Republics • Hence Plato’s story of the soldier Er on reincarnation: we choose our own lot in life. • Hence Hindu Advaita Vedanta: we determine our karma through our ignorance of our true nature as divine beings

  3. Brahman as the Essence of the World • I am the fresh taste of the water; I • The silver of the moon, the gold o’ the sun, • The word of worship in the Veds, the thrill • That passeth in the ether, and the strength • Of man’s shed seed. I am the good sweet smell • Of the moistened earth, I am the fire’s red light, • The vital air moving in all which moves, • The holiness of hallowed souls, the root • Undying, whence hath sprung whatever is . . .

  4. Combine Pantheism and Monotheism: Panentheism “In Me are all existences contained, Not I in them!” (BhagavadGita) • 1) Pantheism: God is everything; everything is God • 2) Monotheism: there is one God, separate from the world He/She creates. • Combine 1 and 2: Panentheism: • 1) the world is the expression of God in time/space, • 2) yet God also remains the conscious Unity in all expressions: Matter, Life, Mind, and Spirit (evolution of God)

  5. Emanationism “They comprehend not, the Unheavenly, How Souls go forth from Me; nor how they come Back to Me.” • 1) Soul (Aspect, Part of Brahman) goes forth into forgetfulness: devolution of spirit into matter) • 2) => Karmic existence in samsara (illusion of time and space) • 3) Return to consciousness of inner divinity (moksha): Sat-Chit-Ananda or bliss consciousness of being) • Can be attained even now: evolution of spirit in matter

  6. Why does God create? • God knows Him/Herself, but does not experience what it is to be God. • To experience something requires first not being it. • E.g., to experience joy requires sorrow • Hence, to experience Him/Herself, God must become (pretend to be) not-God: • > Brahman as the great Magician creates the divine play of Lila/Maya

  7. Neo-Kinship and the unity of God and the World • 1) Ancient kinship > animism • =>pantheism • Hinduism absorbs animistic hunter-gatherers • 2) Evolution of polytheism (=> avatars) and monotheism does not reject animism • > 3) Panentheism (“Pan” = all; “hen” = one) • Compare to Akhenaton, Zoroaster: other forms of animistic monotheism: dualistic (there is something outside of God) • But Brahman is non-dualistic: both Day and Night, Light and Dark, Good and Evil • Like the Dao

  8. East and West • Panentheism • Non-dual (“advaita,” no separation) unity of God and world • expressescontinuity with early beliefs of kinship society (neo-kinship) • Monotheism of the West and Middle East: • God is above and outside of nature (separation of God and world) • in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam • reflects legalistic break from ancient kinship

  9. Path to True Self • Krishna is an “avatar” because Krishna realizes his true being as Brahman • Ordinary human (Arjuna) fails to understand this • Hence Arjuna is caught up in cycle of birth and death (Samsara) and Illusion (Maya) • To find peace/joy/bliss: find your real Self • This is God’s own experience of being God in/as you (your true self, Atman)

  10. Hinduism and Buddhism: Two Entwined Paths in Indian History • (1) Hinduism reflects the Caste System • Individual is a member of a neo-kinship (caste) system • (2) Buddhism rejects the Caste System • Freedom of the individual from caste oppression • (3) Hinduism learns from Buddhism: • What is the true meaning of caste? • (4) Buddhism learns from Hinduism: • Spiritual kinship, compassion for others: from Theravada to Mahayana Buddhism

  11. Origin of Buddhism • The monks were “intellectually and spiritually free. Decisions were made through group discussion, perpetuating the pattern of the early republics of the north Indian hills.” Spodek 286

  12. Buddha and Caste • Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE) • Father: Kshatria warrior of a republican tribe, the Shakyas • Hence: “Shakyamuni Buddha” (see images p. 240, 298: not Chai Shen, Chinese god of wealth, with round stomach) • Abandons Kshatria caste duty • Sangha, Dharma – not caste rules • = Karma and rebirth without caste • Film: Little Buddha, with Keanu Reeves

  13. 1 Early Buddhism • Challenges external religion of Brahmins: • Late Vedic religion: Ritualistic, beliefs or dogmas are stressed; • Buddhism focuses on personal experience • Buddha studies Vedanta philosophy of Upanishads • Rejects caste rules • Rejects worship of polytheistic gods and ritual practices • Recreates republican spirit after demise of republics and against hierarchy • =Challenge to Hinduism (compare Confucianism and Daoism)

  14. 2 Hinduism evolves • Vedanta philosophical doctrines turn Vedic religion into philosophy (compare to Plato) • Rejects polytheism: one God in all things • Gods are manifestations of one Brahman • Bhakti personal devotion • Experience of God—not just belief and rituals • Buddha is incorporated into Hindu system

  15. 3 Buddhism evolves • Mahayana separates from individualistic Theravada (Hinayana) • Buddhism becomes a social religion • Doctrine of the Bodhisattva • e.g., Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama—incarnation of Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion • Final goal of world history: salvation of all humanity • =“soteriological” religion • Like Hindu vision of a return of all to the Source

  16. 4 Final outcome • Buddhism dies out in India; is destroyed. • What’s the difference? • Muslim state,1000-1200, attacks Buddhism as polytheistic/atheistic • Buddhism is strongly established in Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Tibet

  17. 3) Basic ideas of Buddhism • 1) Against worship of polytheistic gods • The gods too need enlightenment • (Recall Socrates on the gods) • 2) No “self” (anatman)= no permanent ego • Denies reality of the “little self” or ego • 3) Universal interconnection of all things (“dependent origination”) • = Go with the flow

  18. Basic ideas continued • 4) Karma > rebirth > spiritual progress > liberation • Of individual in Theravada • Of all humanity in Mahayana • 5) “Buddha nature” is in all individuals • = the higher part of ourselves, our true self. We are all potential Buddhas (enlightened ones) • “If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.” (Lin Chi, 9th century) • 6) Four Noble Truths • 7) Middle Way

  19. First Noble Truth • Life is “suffering” (Dukkha) • 1st Dukkha: childbirth, sickness, old age and death • 2nd Dukkha: difficulty of changing circumstances: impermanence of things • 3rd Dukkha: impermanence of self (ego) • Five Skandas of Buddhist psychology

  20. Five Skandas (Conglomerations) • 1) A conglomeration of form • Changes in our physical characteristics: strength, height, weight, etc. • 2) a conglomeration of of feelings or sensations; • 6 senses (includes sensual mind) • 3) a conglomeration of perceptions • Our likes and dislikes

  21. 4) a conglomeration of intentionalities or willings; (decisions, goals) • > conflicting karmic consequences • 5) a conglomeration of consciousnesses: • vary with the senses

  22. 2nd Noble Truth: Cause of Dukkhas • “Tanhi”: attachment, craving, clinging • We cling to things: try to make the impermanent permanent • Money, romance, career, slim/muscular figure • TV commercials • What is valuable is outside us; = we are worthless • Different from natural desires

  23. 3rd Noble Truth: Release from Tanhi: Go with the flow • = We cause our own suffering • By changing our minds we release ourselves from dukkhas • Overcome dualistic view of world: • observe, allow the changes • > peace, “Nirvana”: Buddha nature

  24. Universal interconnectedness • Nagarjuna: “dependent origination” or universal interaction: • we are one with the universe • atonement for bad karma is at-one-ness • Recall history of animism • The inner spirit or Buddha self is not separate from nature, from the world around us.

  25. 4th Noble Truth: the Eightfold Path • 1. Training in wisdom: • right views, understanding • right mindedness • 2. Training in practical life and ethics: • right speech, • right action, • right livelihood • 3. Training in meditation: • right effort • right attentiveness • right concentration

  26. Middle way • Live a normal life, between extremes • Of sensuous indulgence • And religious denial • Without clinging or attachment

  27. Origin of Zen Buddhism • Buddha gives a “silent sermon” • He holds up a flower and says nothing • The monks stare at him, uncomfortably • One of his monks, Mahakasyapa, suddenly smiles • He is enlightened • His smile was handed down to 28 successive masters of “Zen”

  28. Jewel in the Lotus