buddhism world religions chapter 4. buddhism arose in india
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World ReligionsChapter 4
Buddhism arose in India
However, it differs starkly in that It begins with one man
What Buddhism teaches is the discoveries of this man about the nature of reality and human life
Born in about 563 B.C., he belonged to a wealthy family.
His father ruled a small area in northern India (present day Nepal)
Stories tell of a sheltered and happy childhood
His parents kept him protected from any sufferings of the outside world
The Four Passing Sights
Gautama leaves his palace one day, and passes a decrepit old man on the road.
He had never seen old age
And realized that everyone, including himself, was destined for this
On another ride, he saw a sick man
And realized that disease existed.
On a third ride, he sees a dead body in the road
and becomes aware of death.
How can we enjoy life with so much suffering?
We get old, we get sick, and we die.
Having seen these sights, Gautama knows he will never be satisfied with the world of luxury again.
The fourth sight
Gautama sees a religious ascetic, and asks him what he is doing.
This man has chosen to lead a homeless life of solitude and self-denial.
The man replies that he is seeking salvation from this world of suffering, and then goes on
This sight fills Gautama with hope –
There is a means of overcoming his despair.
And he leaves his palace forever, secretly riding to the edge of a forest, exchanging clothes with his servant, and beginning a mendicant life of austerity and poverty.
Buddhists call this
The Great Going Forth – the moment when Gautama begins his quest.
Gautama joins others, and learns their ways.
He eventually joins a group of five others who practice extreme asceticism.
Each day they would only eat one piece of fruit, one sesame seed, and one grain of rice.
Gautama almost dies from starvation, and is rescued by a young woman who offers him
rice and milk.He realizes that extreme
asceticism – denial and hatred of the body – will not lead to enlightenment anymore than immersion in luxury.
He realizes that there is a Middle Way
One that rejects indulgence, but does not reject the body.
Gautama vows to sit under a fig tree and not to leave until he has found complete and
But a tempter comes – Mara the god of death – who is afraid Gautama might
succeedAnd first takes the form of
Kama – desire – in the guise of three voluptuous women
Gautama is unmoved.
Then temptation comes as death
He assails Gautama “with hurricanes, torrential rains, and showers of flaming rocks, but Gautama had so emptied himself of his finite self that the weapons found no target to strike and turned into flower petals as they entered his field of concentration.” (Huston Smith)
Then Mara challenges Gautama’s right to even do this
Gautama touched the earth with his right fingertip, whereupon the earth responded, thundering, "I bear you witness" with a hundred, a thousand, and a hundred thousand roars. (Huston Smith)
Gautama has overcome the distractions of desire and fear
And begins a process of deep meditation, descending through deeper levels of awareness.
The First Watch
Gautama sees all of his past lives
The Second Watch
He is given the “Divine Eye” – the capacity to see the deaths and births of all living things
He discovers the Four Noble Truths
The Fourth WatchBy discovering the Four Noble Truths – he achieves enlightenment –
Now Gautama has become the Buddha.
The BuddhaWhen the Buddha start to wander
around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being.
They asked him, "Are you a god?" "No," he replied. "Are you a reincarnation of god?" "No," he replied. "Are you a wizard, then?" "No." "Well, are you a man?" "No." "So what are you?" they asked, being
very perplexed. "I am awake."
The term Buddha comes from the Sanskrit budh
Which means to awaken
Buddha stays under the tree for many days, experiencing freedom
And now Mara comes back once more to tempt him…
Your experience will be so difficult for others to grasp – just give up,
and pass into nirvana
Nirvana means a state of eternal bliss and release from this world.
Who could be expected to understand truth as profound as that which the Buddha had laid hold of?
How could speech-defying revelation be translated into words, or visions that shatter definitions be caged in language?
In short, how show what can only be found, teach what can only be learned?
Why bother to play the idiot before an uncomprehending audience?
Why not wash one's hands of the whole hot world — be done with the body and slip at once into Nirvana?
The argument was so persuasive that it almost carried the day.
At length, however, the Buddha answered, "There will be some who will understand.” (Huston Smith)
Buddha, filled with compassion,
Returns to the world to teach.
He finds his five former companions, and gives his First Sermon at Deer Park, where he teaches them the Middle Way and the Four Noble Truths.
45 years Buddha teaches
He establishes the first Buddhist Sangha
A monastic community
During the year
Buddha and his followers would spend 9 months teaching,
And then spend the three months of the rainy season in meditation.
At the age of 80, Buddha becomes ill from eating a meal of spoiled
food.His last words:“All the constituents of being are transitory;Work out your salvation with diligence.”