Buddhism A Therapy for Living from One Who “Woke Up”
The Life of Gautama Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, was born into the warrior caste. His father ruled over a small region of northern India. Siddhartha led a pampered life, but the Four Passing Sights ( an old man, a diseased man, a corpse, and a mendicant), caught his attention and disturbed him. Siddhartha discovered the Middle Way, the central teaching of Buddhism. This way rejects both extremes of sensual indulgence and asceticism. He and his followers formed the sangha, or Buddhist community.
Three Marks of Existence Anatta - there is no ultimate reality, no essence underlying existence, nothing exists beyond the present moment. The essence of Buddhism is that there is no essence. Anicca - The world is constantly changing - “impermanence” Dukka - suffering is part of the human condition and the first of the Four Noble Truths
The Dharma Buddhist teachings may be difficult to understand, but because they are based on the insights of a human being, they are potentially understandable to anyone. Buddhism emphasizes the development of wisdom rather than faith. Buddhism reacted against Hinduism in some respects: philosophical speculation was rejected as was the institutional form of Hinduism. Also, the teachings of Buddhism were written available in an accessible language rather than solely in Sanskrit.
Three Rafts to Cross the River Theravada Buddhism - focuses on the teachings of the Buddha rather than on the Buddha himself. Adherents of Theravada practice the Noble Eightfold Path, which emphasizes meditation. Arhats are the ideal type in Theravada, whom all strive to imitate. Mahayana Buddhism - focuses on the Buddha himself, celebrating him as a divine savior. Salvation comes through the infinite grace of the compassionate Buddha. Vajrayana Buddhism - “fights fire with fire.” It harness the energy of desire and turns it against itself to propel the individual towards enlightenment. Tibetans practice this.
Key Buddhist Terms Samsara - because of a lack of self, rebirth consists of the transference of a bundle of energy, which is patterned according to one’s karma. Four Noble Truths are the central teachings of Buddhism. Tanha - word that describes selfish desire Noble Eightfold Path sets forth a life of moderation. Nirvana - final death of the body Arhat - precedes nirvana and is a person who is awakened, transformed and characterized by compassion.
Dalai Lama Born Lhamo Thondup on July 6, l935 in a small village in Tibet to farmer parents, the fifth of seven children. He is the fourteenth Dalai Lama - the name meaning “Oceans of Wisdom.” He has lived more than twice his life in exile in India. China invaded Tibet in l950. The thirteenth Dalai Lama died in 1933, so a search began for his reincarnation.
The embalmed body of the previous Dalai Lama turned from south to northeast, so the search party headed in that direction; meanwhile a monk had a vision of a monastery much like the one near the Dalai Lama’s village. When the search party arrived at Lhamo’s village, they came to his mud and stone house where he passed a series of tests. He named the monk leading the search and he picked out several objects that had belonged to his predecessor.’ The young boy was proclaimed the Dalai Lama and brought to the monastery in Lhasa, Tibet’s Holy City.
The Dalai Lama was three years old so a regent ruled Tibet until he was old enough to take over. He began a spiritual education which still continues. He studied by himself in a 1000 room palace. He found his life mission at the age of 15 when Tibet was invaded by the Chinese. The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He is a very popular figure. He has been a world renown speaker and the plight of the Tibetans has been the subject of Hollywood movies. He is also a respected author - ex - The Art of Happiness.
The Dalai Lama is concerned about Americans experimenting with Buddhism, believing that people should follow their own traditional practices. Though his public life is overwhelming the Dalai Lama maintains an ascetical and celibate existence. -he gets up at 3:30 a.m.and goes to bed about 8:30, after drinking a cup of tea and watching TV - usually a wildlife program. The Dalai Lama frequently travels to the U.S. He was in Mpls..and spoke to sold-out crowds at the U. of Mn. in May of 2001. Another interesting tidbit-Buddhists do not eat meat killed by Buddhists, but will eat it if it is killed by others. The Dalai Lama eats meat several times a week. His favorite hobby--fixing watches!