2 Background of Buddhism The “middle way of wisdom and compassion”Derived from Hinduism, but rejects certain beliefs and practices of Hinduism.A 2500 year old tradition that began in India and spread and diversified throughout the Far EastA philosophy and spiritual practice followed by more than 300 million peopleBased on the teachings of the Buddha
3 How does Buddhism differ from Hinduism? Buddhism rejects…Authority of the ancient Vedic textsThe Vedic caste systemThe Vedic and Hindu deities—Buddhism is not deisticThe efficacy of Vedic worship and ritualThe concept of Brahman—Buddhism is not theistic
4 Who was the Buddha? Born Siddhartha Gautama – of noble caste in India, 563 B.C.E.Raised in great luxury to be a kingEmpathy for the suffering of others; at age 29, rejected the life of luxury to seek enlightenment and the solution to sufferingFollowed a strict ascetic lifestyle for six yearsRejected this extreme, sat in meditation, claimed to achieve Nirvana – an awakening to the truth about life, becoming a Buddha, the “Awakened One”at the age of 35Spent the remaining 45 years of his life teaching others how to achieve the peace of mind he had achieved
5 What did the Buddha teach? The Four Noble Truths:Suffering Exists (Life is Suffering): Humans sleep away their lives in self-centered preoccupations; this self-centeredness only leads to pain, misery, sorrow, and unfulfillment.Desire Causes Suffering: The need to refer all things to ourselves causes suffering. We suffer because our ego dupes us into believing that we need what we desire. Not an illusion, but attachment to the impermanent.Cessation of Desire Brings the Cessation of Suffering: Rather than absorb everything into the ego for our own pleasure, we must allow our connection with reality to cause an outward flow – a universal compassion toward all living creatures.The Eightfold Path Leads to Cessation of Desire: The observance of the Eightfold Path is at the heart of the Buddhist life, and leads to Nirvana, enlightenment and liberation from detachment.
6 What is the Eight-Fold Path? Wisdom: seek truth and resistself-centerednessRight motivationRight understandingMoral discipline: respect all life and work for the good of othersRight speechRight actionRight livelihoodMental discipline:free the mind of egocentrismRight effortRight mindfulnessRight meditation
7 What do Buddhists believe? Rebirth (reincarnation) results from attachments (karma)Nirvana is a peaceful, detached state of mindAchieving Nirvana means escape from the cycle of death and rebirth, samsaraOnce Gautama Buddha died, after 80 years of life in this world, having achieved Nirvana and teaching multitudes his way of life, he ceased to exist as a distinct being, no afterlife; join into the great cosmic energy.Buddhism is non-theistic: Buddha is not the Buddhist God – he is just a revered teacher
8 Buddhist MetaphysicsDukkha: life in this world is filled with sufferingAnicca: everything in this world is impermanentAnatman: the self/soul is also impermanent – there is no eternal, unchanging self (“no soul” – no atman)Suffering is a state of mind – achieve a balanced, peaceful, detached state of mind and suffering can be extinguished (Nirvana)
9 What are some Buddhist texts? Tripitaka (the Pali Cannon) – the “Three Baskets”:Vinaya (“discipline”) – rules for monastic lifeSutta (“discourse”) – sermons of the BuddhaAbhidhamma (metaphysical “teachings”)Dhammapada – collected sayings of the BuddhaOther texts used by specific schools
10 What is the Buddhist Self? There is no continuous, unchanging self; no “atman.” Self is an-atta, “no-self:”merely a name for various sensations, thoughts, and actionsan illusory source of suffering, desire, and vanitytemporal and ceases to exist at death.Only aspects of empirical self survives death, mental elements (abstracted from self-consciousness or ego), not the entire personality; this energy, if not liberated, is reborn until it reaches nirvana.