Buddhism World Status • Buddhism: 360 million • 6% of world population • Fifth largest world religion • Christianity 32% • Islam 22% • Hinduism 15% • Secular/Non-religious 14%
Buddhism • Origin • History • Main Tenets • Worldview • Differences with Christianity
Origin of Buddhism • Began in the 7th century BC • Buddha is a title signifying “The Enlightened One” or “The Awakened One” • Title given to Siddartha Gautama who was born in 563 B.C.; died 483 B.C. • Biography of his life does not appear until several hundred years later • His life was the last of 500 reincarnations
Origin of Buddhism • Siddartha Gautama was born into a wealthy family, some propitious signs accompanied his birth • Father protected him and groom him to be a king. • Father allows him to take a chariot ride but decrees all poor and suffering be hidden however the gods assume human form so he sees an old man near death, a man disfigured by disease, a funeral procession of decomposing body, and a monk who has renounced the world. • Decided to forsake his status and wealth and seek the meaning of life at 30 years old – Vedantic tradition.
Origin of Buddhism • First quest for enlightenment • Under the mentoring of two Brahman hermits, Alara and Uddaka • They were unable to tell him how to put an end to the cycle of rebirths • Second quest for enlightenment • Asceticism with five companions • Decided that self-mortification did not lead to self-realization but only enfeebled body & mind
Origin of Buddhism • Enlightenment obtained • Devoted himself to the simple life of intense mental discipline • After prolong meditation after seven years while sitting under a fig tree received the answer to his quest • Decides to share his way of enlightenment and begins to preach • Converts five followers & family • Legend has him ascend into heaven but died after eating spoiled pork given as an offering • Buddhists would probably say that words cannot truly describe Prince Gautama’s enlightenment
History of Buddhism • Collection of Teachings and Split • First council of followers shortly after his death collected his teachings • Called “Tripitaka,” lit. meaning “three baskets” • Second council (~ 380 B.C.) • Some argued for a greater role for the laity • Less strict discipline • Split between Theravada and Mahayana (~ 200 B.C.)
History of Buddhism • Theravada Buddhism • Name derived from an expression meaning “tradition of the elders” • Retained emphasis religion centered on monks • Also called Hinayana (little raft) in distinction to Mahayana • Height of Theravada was in 3rd century B.C. • Now mainly in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia • Most other areas have Mahayana Buddhism • Mainly a religion for monks
History of Buddhism • Theravada Monks (bikhus) • Only ones who can obtain nirvana • They the focus of religious practice • Laity’s primary religious work is to support the monks • Ordination • Shave head and put on orange robes • Vow to follow the Ten Precepts
History of Buddhism • Theravada Monks Ten Precepts • Not to take a life • Not to steal • Not to commit sexual immorality • Not to lie • Not to drink intoxicating beverages • Not to eat in excess or after noon • Not to attend entertainment, e.g. dancing, singing, drama • Not to decorate one’s self or use cosmetics • Not to sleep in high or wide beds • Not to touch any gold or silver
History of Buddhism • Theravada Monks Life • Usually live in a monastery • Most of day in meditation • Object of meditation on the total impermanence of all existence • Focus to avoid being distracted • Begging for food in the morning • When monk attains “full realization” he is an “arhat” or holy man. • At death enters nirvana • Buddha is perfect in all his incarnations and arhat isn’t
History of Buddhism • Buddhas • Twenty five Buddhas • All came to teach the same way of enlightenment • Idea emerged there is a Buddha in the final stages of preparation to come to earth. • Called Maitreya • A Bodhisattva i.e. “Buddha-in-the-making” • He will usher in a golden age of enlightenment for all
History of Buddhism • Theravada Buddhism & the Laity • Secondary participants • Goal is to live a good life • Follow the first five of the ten precepts (special occasions will follow eight) • Store up merit (good karma) for a better incarnation • May even earns some time in heaven between incarnations • Universe consists of many levels and higher levels are states of bliss worthy of pursuing but not nirvana • Recitation of “Three Refuges” • I seek refuge in the Buddha • I seek refuge in the Dharma (duty as in following teachings) • I seek refuge in the sangha (order of bikhu or monks) • Care for the monks (bikhu)
History of Buddhism • Theravada Buddhism & the Laity • Three main obligations: • Recitation of “Three Refuges” • I seek refuge in the Buddha • I seek refuge in the Dharma (duty as in following teachings) • I seek refuge in the sangha (order of bikhu or monks) • Care for the monks (bikhu) • Food, material for clothing and other necessities • Care for the temples • Usually erected by lay peoples contributions • Statue of generous donor with monk robe place in temple • Traditionally, contribute by buying gold leafs to be added to statue of Buddha
History of Buddhism • Theravada Buddhism & the Laity • Position of Buddha statue hands • Left hand open and on lap • Right hand direct to the earth • Calling on earth to witness to his Buddhahood and steadfastness (other positions, e.g. teaching, protecting) • Folk religion • Laity deify Buddha and worship him • Knowledgeable Buddhist do not claim they worship him • Storing Merit • Can become a bikhu for a period of time • Rite of passage in puberty rites
History of Buddhism • Mahayana Buddhism • Means “big raft” because it accommodates large number of people, monks and laity • Innovations • Sunyata (void) is interpreted as “absolute compassion,” Benevolent compassion is the ultimate motivating force of Mahayana Buddhism • Multiplication of divine beings • Lotus Sutra and other scriptures • Other schools
History of Buddhism • Mahayana Buddhism’s Innovations • Multiplication of divine beings • Multiple Buddhas and Bodhisattvas • Manushi Buddhas – achieved enlightenment on earth • Died and in Nirvana so not accessible • Dhyani Buddhas – attained enlightenment in heaven • Have not died and are accessible • I.e., Amithaba of the Pure Land School • Bodhisattvas – many Buddhas-in-the-making • In Mahayana mythology these are divine beings in heaven who forgo entry into nirvana until “the last soul is redeemed from hell” which is the lower levels of incarnation. • Available in heaven with much merit stored up to assist people in need
History of Buddhism • Mahayana Buddhism’s Innovations • Lotus Sutra and other scriptures • Proliferation of Mahayana writings • Lotus Sutra has the highest stature • Core teachings attributed to Gautama (Called Sakyamuni [sage of the sakya clan] to differentiate him from other Buddhas) • Sakyamuni was a manifestation of the true celestial Buddha • All human beings have potential to reach Buddhahood • References to specific Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by name • Asserts that Hinayana is only for selfish uncaring people
History of Buddhism • Mahayana Buddhism’s Innovations • Other schools • Tendai (rationalist) • Pure Land (compassionate) • Zen (intuitive • Nichiren (chanting) • Vajrayana (lamaist of Tibet) • Shingon (combination of Tendai and Vajrayana) • Ryobu (combination of Shinto and Shingon • See Winfried Corduan’s chart, p. 230
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Tendai (rationalist school) • Provide compromise between variations • Organized by Chinese monk, Chih-I • 6th century A.D. • Teachings • Superiority of Lotus Sutra – inspired scripture • Unity of reality – all reality is equally a part of Buddha’s nature • Reality is sunyatta and maya at the same time • Universal salvation – all people will attain Buddhahood • Because all are a part of the same Buddha nature • Meditation to receive true insight into true reality
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Pure Land Schools (multiple) • Buddha Amida (Japanese name for Dhyani Buddha) • Mythology has Amida while going through his incarnations overwhelmed with human suffering that he vows to provide a way of salvation for all people. • Became a Buddha and was able to provide salvation • Created a paradise in western regions of heaven (pure land, Buddha field, or western paradise)
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Pure Land Schools (multiple) • Anyone who trusts in Buddha Amida can enter at death • In paradise anyone can reach nirvana (equivalent) • Some schools say must recite nembutsu (I bow down to the Buddha Amida) to enter paradise • Jodo-shin-shu (Japan) recite nembutsu only to express gratitude • No demands on followers other than to show Amida their thankfulness • Worship performed by clergy, services have chanting, meditation, and adoration
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Zen Origins • Arose in 6th century A.D. in response to Tendai’s rationalist speculation • Claims its origin come from Gautama (as do they all) • Essence of it is enlightenment without words or explination • Story of Buddha standing before his pupils waiting for him to teach, one pupil, Mahakasyapa understood and smiled and just looked at him. • Traditional founder is Bodhidharma, Indian monk that emigrated to China a thousand years after Mahakasyapa • Cut off eyelids and meditated at wall for three years and hit on head and then gained enlightenment
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Zen Schools • Two major schools in Japan, Master Soto & Master Rinzai • Soto saw enlightenment gain gradually • Rinzai saw a lengthy preparation time then gained abruptly • All Zen schools • Clear one’s mind of conceptual clutter that impedes insight • D. T. Suzuki summary of Zen • Special transmission outside of scriptures • No dependence on words or letters • Direct pointing to the soul of man • Seeing one’s nature & attainment of Buddhahood
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Zen Scriptures and experience • Platform Sutra – not considered authoritative nor source of belief • Zen knowledge only transmitted from master to pupil and he can only direct him to see what he can see • Enlightenment referred to as “satori” • Satori is when “a person has direct, unmediated insight into the self, the world and truth” (Corduan, 233).
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Zen Enlightenment • “Dualistic thinking” hinders enlightenment – meaning making distinction and classifying things according to rational categories. • Categories – what is real, what is really real, and what is not really real • Zen accepts reality as it is given (or perceived) • Four ways to satori • Zazen meditation – cross-legged, straight back, focus on thought provided by master
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Four ways to satori • Zazen meditation – cross-legged, straight back, focus on thought provided by master • Mondos – stories of past great Zen masters and how they received enlightenment so pupil can learn how he may gain enlightenment • Koans – conundrums—riddles without answers (they supposedly carry the answer in them after one stops thinking analytically) • “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” • “Does a dog have Buddha nature?” • “How crooked is straight?” • Cultural activities such as art, martial arts, haiku poetry
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Nichiren Shoshu (Soka Gakkai) • Founded by Japanese monk Nichiren from Tendai school • 13th century • Determined all other traditions wrong • Return to Sakyamuni and “true” Buddhist teaching • Nichiren was persecuted and about to be executed but a natural disaster free him, good omen so gather disciples • Split into many sub-schools
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Soka Gakkai • Nichiren Shoshu means “the true Nichiren” • Revived in 1930s in Japan as Soka Gakkai – “society for the creation of values” • Most popular after Pure Land Buddhism
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Soka Gakkai Teachings • Enlightenment available to everyone regardless of previous incarnations and current status and can be achieved in just a few years • Ten states of life must be traveled from lowest to highest • Person’s state at death determines his karma and thus his next incarnation • Those who attain Buddhahood finish incarnations
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Soka Gakkai Ten States of Life • Hell, anger, animality, hunger, tranquility, rapture, learning, realization, Bodhisattva, and Buddhahood • Progress from worst of human experience to physical, mental and then pure consciousness of enlightenment • Key to enlightenment • Chanting (diamoku) “I bow down to the beautiful teaching of the Lotus Sutra” • Gohonzon – piece of paper with diamoku worship when copy brought out at the temple (original in Japan) • Improve physical life by putting in harmony with universe • Lay movement, no priests, interested in social justice
History of Buddhism • Other Schools of Mahayana Buddhism • Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) • Means “diamond vehicle” • Considered the third division of Buddhism • Also known as Lamaism • Sublime philosophy and meditation • Folk more concerned with magical practices to control evil spirits
Tenets of Buddhism • Relationship to Hinduism • Gods have no place in teachings and are themselves in need of enlightenment • Accepted samsara, karma, and ultimate (though the later is different) • Some Hindu schools hold the atheistic view of Brahman • Eliminated the caste system and the Vedas as authoritative • This is what was against orthodox Hinduism
Tenets of Buddhism • Four Truths • Truth of suffering – all forms of existence are subject to physical and mental suffering • The cause of suffering is desire – desire for possession and selfish enjoyment of every kind, particularly the desire for separate, individual, existence. • Suffering ceases when selfish desires are denounced and ceases • The eightfold path leads to enlightenment
Tenets of Buddhism • Eightfold Path – path of perfect detachment also known as the “middle way” because it avoids both self-indulgence and self-mortification • This path leads to the cessation of suffering • This path allows a person to escape from the cycle of rebirth • To accomplish this task was a fulltime commitment so formed an order of monks
Tenets of Buddhism • The Eightfold Path • Right Views • Right Desires • Right Speech • Right Conduct • Right Mode of Livelihood • Right Effort • Right Awareness • Right Meditation
The Eightfold Path • The Right Views • This involves acceptance of the four truths and a resolute rejection of unworthy attitudes and acts, such as covetousness, lying and gossip.
The Eightfold Path • Right Desires • The thoughts are to be free from lust, from ill-will, and from cruelty. Free from desire from selfish possessions. Desire for achieving highest ends.
The Eightfold Path • Right Speech • Ones speech should be plain and truthful, abhorring lying, tale-bearing, and harsh or vain talk. Words must be gentle, soothing to the ear, penetrating to the heart, useful, rightly timed, and according to the facts.
The Eightfold Path • Right Conduct • To follow this path one must practice charity and abstention from killing any living thing, from stealing, and from unlawful sexual intercourse. • “While morality forms the basis of the higher life, wisdom completes it.”
The Eightfold Path • Right Mode of Livelihood • This path requires harming no one and being free from luxury. Each must take up work which will give scope to his abilities and make him useful to his fellow men.
The Eightfold Path • Right Effort • Press forward in four directions: 1) avoid increasing evil; 2) overcome evil; 3) develop meritorious conditions (detachment, investigation of law, concentration, & rapture); 4) bring meritorious conditions which already exist to maturity and perfection.
The Eightfold Path • Right Awareness • Four fundamentals of awareness: • Contemplation of the transitory nature and loathsomeness of the body • Contemplation of the feelings of oneself and others • Contemplation of the mind • Contemplation of phenomena
The Eightfold Path • Right Meditation • Concentration on a single object with all hindrances overcome • Purpose is to be purified from all distractions and evils and filled with rapture, happiness and equanimity. • Ultimate goal is to pass beyond sensation of either pleasure or pain into a state transcending consciousness, ultimately attaining full Enlightenment (state of perfection)
Tenets of Buddhism • Main purpose of Buddhism • Escape from suffering • Escape from cycle of rebirth • Reach Nirvana – cease to exist or realize one’s self-extinctedness; Nirvana (lit. “blown out”– unconditional state of liberation, release from the cycle of rebirth-redeath determined by karma • No ultimate reality (Brahman) behind illusion but nothingness (sunyata – the void). • No Atman (No soul in people) • Karma – in Buddhism the actions of body or mind which produce a fixed consequence for the present life or the future life.