2 November 2012 After the Buddha’s Death 3 months after the Buddha’s death, the 1st Buddhist Council was held (482 bce)




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Title2 November 2012 After the Buddha’s Death 3 months after the Buddha’s death, the 1st Buddhist Council was held (482 bce)
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Development of Buddhism

Rels 120: Religion, Spirituality & Health

2 November 2012

After the Buddha’s Death

  • 3 months after the Buddha’s death, the 1st Buddhist Council was held (482 BCE)

  • Ananda (companion and disciple of the Buddha for 25 years) could recite all of the Buddha’s teachings (sermons & discourses)

  • The Dharma was divided into sections, with an Elder and a group of students learning each section by memory

  • Following days of recitation, ensuring that there were no errors or omissions, the Dharma was agreed upon



Components of the Dharma

From the previous lesson:
  • 4 Noble Truths

  • The Eightfold Path to Enlightenment

  • The Three Refuges (or Jewels)

  • The Three Marks of Reality



Further teachings

Later – (5 precepts) + 3 more precepts:
  • Do not eat solid food after noon

  • Do not dance, sing, view entertainment, or wear garlands, perfumes or jewelry

  • Do not sleep on high or wide beds



Buddhist Councils

  • 2nd Council – 383 BCE

    • 1st split in the sangha, into 2 schools; one school insisted on strict adherence to the rules for monks; the other school allowed greater liberties with the rules for eating, begging, sleeping, etc.
    • 8 monks judged teachings for purity
  • 3rd Council – 250 BCE

    • During the reign of King Ashoka; great wealth
    • Divisions over corruption and conflicting teachings
    • Teachings approved at this Council became known as the “Teaching of the Elders” = Theravada school
    • Up to 18 “heretical” or “non-approved” schools were represented, including the Mahayana schools
    • 60,000 participants in total


4th Council – 29 BCE

  • Attended by many schools

  • Held in Sri Lanka

  • Entire Dharma was recited (over 3 years) by 500 monks

  • Differences discussed and choices made



Palm leaf manuscripts



5th Buddhist Council

  • 1871, in Burma

  • Full oral recitation of the Dharma (over 3 years) by 2400 monks

  • After deliberating about some textual revisions, the Pali text was inscribed on 729 marble slabs



Shrines containing the marble slabs http://www.allthingsburmese.com/Places_Mandalay.htm



6th Buddhist Council

  • 1954-56 in Burma

  • 2500 Theravada Buddhist monks from 8 countries recited Dharma

  • Texts were tested and approved, then translated into Burmese script

  • 2500th anniversary of the life of the Buddha



Lacquered Burmese Manuscripts http://www.tribaltrappings.com/AL_2.html



Expansion out of India

  • Buddhism spread throughout Asia, primarily through trade routes

  • Monasteries were established in villages and in forests

    • Monasteries provided schools and libraries, administered land and buildings, loaned money, practiced medicine, established shrines
    • Monks studied and meditated
    • Lay people provided food for the monks


3 Main Schools

  • Theravada

  • Mahayana

  • Vajrayana

Buddhism developed with significant diversity in practice among the schools
  • Also diversity within each main tradition



Chart from A Concise Introduction to World Religions, ed. by Oxtoby & Segal (OUP 2007), p.379



Theravada Buddhism

  • Takes a conservative approach, focused on preserving the teachings of the Buddha

  • Turned away from Vedic Ritual and the Hindu brahmin priesthood

  • Practises simplicity, meditation, and detachment from life and possessions

  • Today, Theravada continues this original pattern – “the way of the elders”

  • Found in Sri Lanka, Southwest Asia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia



Theravada (cont’d)

  • Lay people support monasteries

  • Monasteries only for male followers

  • No Theravada Buddhist nuns – no female ordination

  • In Thailand, where the government is officially Theravada Buddhist, the monasteries and male dominance is enforced by both government and religion



Theravadan teachings

Tripitaka = 3 groups (or baskets) of teachings
    • Rules and procedures for male monastic life in the sangha – ethical conduct
    • Sayings of the Buddha – from sermons or dialogues – meditation
    • More advanced teachings – wisdom/insight

8-spoked wheel of life –

Noble Eightfold Path

Mahayana Buddhism

  • Developed as Buddhism spread into China

  • More inclusive – accommodates wider diversity

  • Any person can achieve nirvanalay person, married/single, monks nuns

  • Less emphasis on asceticism – more devotions and rituals

  • Principle virtues = wisdom and compassion



Mahayana’s spread

  • Tibet, Korea, China, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia

  • Significant diversity and smaller schools within Mahayana

  • Bodhisattva = a person who delays his or her own enlightenment in order to compassionately assist other beings in seeking enlightenment

  • Bodhisattvas can be earthly or heavenly

  • Zen Buddhism is one school within Mahayana



Zen Buddhism

  • Emphasis on the 7th step of the Eightfold Path

  • Dhyana – meditation; sitting meditation - zazen

    • (Chan, Ch’an – Chinese; Zen – Japanese)
  • Practice seated meditation – like the Buddha

  • Practice silence, detachment, acceptance, distrust of symbols

  • See union with the universe

  • Enlightenment experience = satori experience of ultimate unity of self and universe

  • Manual work of the monks is an essential aspect of Zen



Laughing Buddha

  • Some Mahayana schools expect a 2nd incarnation of the Buddha

  • At this time, a future golden age will be inaugurated



Vajrayana Buddhism = the Diamond Vehicle

  • Most prominent form is Tibetan Buddhism

  • Tibetan Buddhism = combination of Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan shamanism

  • Centrality of enlightened awareness that comes like a flash or bolt of lightening

  • Also called the Thunderbolt Vehicle

  • Vajrayana sees Buddha nature in a multitude of male and female deities

  • Also includes Tantric Buddhist practices



Tibetan Buddhism

  • Spiritual leaders and gurus are called “Lamas”

  • Large monasteries developed in Tibet, surrounded by complex town civilizations

  • Monastic leaders also acted as political leaders for the Tibetan people for many centuries

  • Chief leader (executive head) is the Dalai Lama – considered to be a reincarnation of former gurus/lamas

  • All lamas emanate from the heavenly boddhisattva of compassion



Tibet invaded by China in 1959 – thousands of monks were massacred



The Dalai Lama

Drepung Monastery, Tibet

The Dalai Lama

Prior to the Chinese invasion, fled into northern India
  • travels worldwide

  • teaches

  • consults with religious and political leaders

  • continues to be seen as spiritual leader of an independent Tibet

  • protests Chinese occupation of Tibet



The Nobel Peace Prize 1989 His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama

The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

He was born in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama.

http://www.wildmind.org/metta/special-lovingkindness-meditations/war-meditation

“This meditation is called the “Karuna Bhavana.” Karuna is the Buddhist word for compassion, and Bhavana means development or cultivation. So the Karuna Bhavana is the practice of development of compassion.

“Compassion is what we experience when love meets suffering.”

Karuna = compassion

  • Also expressed in empathy, sympathy and kindness

  • Everyone is part of an ever-changing, impermanent universe

  • Being kind to others is being kind to oneself – demonstrates awareness of unity and interrelatedness

  • Great prayer =

May all creatures be well and happy
  • Goal of greater spiritual awareness = skillful means



Metta: Universal Loving Kindness Metta is based on a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things an attitude of the heart and mind that unconditionally seeks the well being of all the antidote to hatred or ill will

The Metta Bhavana meditation is a practice which helps develop an attitude of well-wishing towards all living beings. There are five stages to the meditation:

One develops an attitude of kindness, appreciation and well-wishing:
  • towards oneself - may I be well; may I be happy; may I be free of suffering

  • a good friend – may she/he be well; may he/she be happy

  • a person one doesn’t feel much connection with - may she/he be well; may he/she be happy

  • a person one dislikes - may she/he be well; may he/she be happy

  • all living beings – may all things be well; may they be free of suffering

http://www.clear-vision.org/Schools/Students/Ages-15-16/living-the-buddhist-life/metta-and-karuna.aspx

http://download.meditation.org.au/video.asp



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