PHILOSOPHY 304
Stadelmann

BUDDHISM - THE MIDDLE WAY


Introduction: Problem of Unity of Buddhism is more complex than that of Christianity.

  1. Origin from 560 B.C. to 487 B.C.

  2. No unity of doctrine - not doctrinally oriented (ethics and methods - unity)


India - religion of magic and miracles - Gods and heavens without number - magic and processions - It failed.

Tibet - Ancient - Bon-Tantric Buddhism - human sacrifice

Tibet - Contemporary Lamaism - Human - God, Dali Lama

China - Buddhist also Confucian or Taoist

Japanese - Buddhist also Shintoist

Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia - Nat - worship of demons and nature spirits/Nat figures became part of Buddhist mythology.

Hindu India - Buddha incarnation of Vishnu/Jesus also tenth avatar of Vishnu.


I. Council of Kashmir Lead to Formal Division Into Two Groups - A.D. 120

Hinayana - (Theravada)

Mahayana

Small Way

Great Way

(Several Sub-Groups)

100 Sub-Schools

Indonesia

Nepal

Burma

Tibet

Thailand

Mongolia

Cambodia

China

Laos

Japan

Viet Nam (Also some Mahayana)

Korea

Individual Enlightenment

Universal Enlightenment

Conservative Stress on Letter of Law

Progressive - Stress on spirit, write new scripture when needed.

Scholastic

More devotional and emotional

Negative in Conception of Nirvana

Nirvana is/(Full enlightenment unobtainable/positive and personal

Formally Monastic

More stress on Household life.

Spiritualistic Individualistic

Altruistic Aspect of Buddhism/positive conception of service (not same as Christian positive view) Help others obtain Nirvana. Has Bodhisattvas.

Buddha - Human obtained enlightenment

Buddha has three personalities (Defied) Reality/Wisdom and compassion = God Head

Human Body = Son

Doctrine for followers = Holy Spirit


"He who sees me sees the Dhamma"


Reality of Buddha always enlightened.

 


II. Element of Unity

Aim at Enlightenment

Reproduce spiritual experience of Buddha.

Whatever leads to enlightenment is good/raft is not important except to get to the other shore - do not take raft with you. Utterly pragmatic.

No appeal to logical doctrine but to spiritual life.

Do not determine doctrine to be true, but experience to be true.

How do you know the experience in true/Test it by Buddha's life.

 


III. What was the spiritual experience of the Buddha and the enlightenment that he experiences?

Siddartha Guatama/Born in Northern India between 560 B.C. and 487 B.C.

Wealthy - married a princess - had a son

Dissatisfied with life after viewing the four passing sights.

  1. An old man.

  2. A diseased man.

  3. A dead man.

  4. A calm monk.

At twenty-six, left home and family, became Hindu monk - read at the Vedas, all discipline, all fasting, could touch backbone from stomach (no peace of mind).

After six years, while under the bo tree, he gained peace of mind and enlightenment. For fifty years he taught others the way to enlightenment.

 


IV. Middle Path - The road to enlightenment.

  1. Rejection of "self-indulgence" which is unworthy, vain, and fit only for the worldly minded -(Man does not seek to gratify himself. This does not simply apply to gluttony; all capitalism, savings, etc. are rejected).

  2. Rejection of self-mortification, which is painful, useless, and unprofitable - You don't see many Buddha that are thin.
        The cause of suffering is desire; eliminate all desire including the desire to eliminate desire. You just don't go and say, by George I am going to eliminate desire - like an American would do it. This just substitutes one desire for another.


V. Four Noble Truths - (Suffering)

  1. Birth is attended with pain, decay is painful, disease is painful, death is painful, union with the unpleasant is painful, painful is the separation from the pleasant, and any craving that is unsatisfied, that, too, is painful. In brief bodily conditions which spring from attachments are painful.

  2. Origin of Suffering - It is the craving for the gratification of the passions, the craving for a future life, and the craving for happiness in this life.

  3. Destruction of suffering - (Note pre-occupation with suffering). It is the destruction in which no passion remains, of this very thirst, it is the laying aside of, the being free from, the dwelling no longer upon this thirst.

  4. The way which leads to the destructions of sorrow: The noble eight-fold path.

    1. Right views

    2. Right aspirations

    3. Right speech

    4. Right behavior (by the practice of loving kindness, I shall never return in

    5. Right livelihood renewed births. I have even now attained Nirvana).

    6. Right effort

    7. Right thoughts

    8. Right contemplations

 


VI. Who gave Buddha this experience under the bo tree? Did Buddha have a God? Trueblood - No

A. Hinayana

No personal, intelligent creator and ruler of the universe. Gautama, become the Buddha, the enlightened one, by realizing the impersonal law of cause and effect, of becoming and passing away. There is neither matter of soul not spirit, only the law of becoming and passing away.

No soul is to be reborn, rebirth can be brought to an end.

B. Mahayana

Buddha as divine did not experience enlightenment here, but rather this is symbolism. Buddha is the God in the human form of Guatama, revealing the path to enlightenment to the people.

 


VII. Nirvana has two types - under the bo tree, and at death

1st - Elimination of desires (Both branches recognize this) (Para-Nirvana)

2nd - At death - Complete extinction, ultimate goal (Nirvana) Unknown state -

"Why has the Lord not explained? Let me ask you a question, O King and as you see fit, so explain it. What think you, o king? Have you an accountant or reckoner or estimator who can count the sands of the Ganges, and say so many grains, or so many hundred, thousand, or hundred thousands grains? No reverend one. Have you an accountant who can measure the water of the ocean, and say so many measures of water, or so many hundred, thousand, measures? No reverend one. And why? Reverend one, the ocean is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable, even so, O king, that body by which one might define a Tathagata is relinquished, cut off at the root, uprooted, like a palm tree, brought to nought, not to arise in the future. Freed from the designation of a body, a Tathagata is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable, as the ocean."

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VIII. Way of Karma

Problems of pain and evil, (rebirth & eventually escape to nirvana.)

This develops in Hinduism. Why do the good suffer?

The next life or an eventual life directly rewards or punishes for past lives.

Queen Mallika - Ugly, but rich/In past life gave alms to monks-but was spiteful and sulky.

Karma eventually works itself out. Moggallana the great - deceived his blind parents and robbed them, but in another life became the disciple of the Buddha. Everyone expected he would have a happy end. But he was beaten and his bones were broken to little pieces, no piece bigger than the size of a little grain of rice.

This is not a doctrine of good works - Good deeds as well as bad deeds must work themselves out - The goal is withdrawal from desires, good or bad.

Kisa Gotami - Finds true meaning of karma.

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IX. Ethics

Not simply for Monks, but for all followers.

Two main features of application

Practical System

5 moral rules

1. Refrain from killing

2. Refrain from taking what is not given

3. Refrain from wrongful indulgence of passion

4. Refrain from lying

5. Refrain from intoxicants

Spiritualizing Hindu Practices

Example (Worshiping the six quarters. N.S.E.W. Nadir and Zenith)

East Mother and Father - I will cherish them and do them service, and maintain offerings to departed spirits.

South Duties to teachers

West Cherishing and being faithful to wife

North Devotion to friends

Nadir Caring for friends and servants

Zenith Caring for ascetics and Brahmins

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X. Four stages of implementing the four truths. The first three stages are for all; the last stage is for the holy man.

1st Destroy three bonds -

  1. belief in permanent self problem - then what is reincarnated - In Hinduism is the soul in a new body. In Buddhism it is the karma - the metaphysical entity - the good and evil actions of previous lives).

  2. doubt

  3. trust in good works and ceremonies

(If you die in this stage you are reborn in a state of suffering and destined for enlightenment).

2nd Having destroyed the three bonds you now

  1. reduce passion (including hatred) malice

  2. reduce confusion of mind

(If you die in this state, you return but once more).

3rd All five lower bonds are destroyed.

  1. belief in permanent self

  2. doubt

  3. trust in good works

  4. sensuality (passion)

  5. malice

(If you die in this state, you are reborn in higher existence than a man and obtain Nirvana there).

4th If still on earth you are not a layman.

Eliminate the five higher bonds.

  1. desire for a world of form

  2. desire for a formless world

  3. pride

  4. haughtiness

  5. ignorance


XI. Moral Rules for Monks *Typical

Lesser Moralities

  1. Killing living things (elephants, horses, cows). Some eat many living things. It differs from national group to national group.

  2. Do not use stick or knife.

  3. Compassion for welfare of all living things. (Not like Christian compassion).

  4. No thieving.

  5. Chastity.

  6. Speak the truth, do not break promise.

  7. No slander.

  8. No harsh language.

  9. No frivolous language - clear and to the point.

  10. Eat on time, do not see dancing, give up garlands, perfume, high beds, gold, silver, buying and selling.

Middle Moralities

Destroy no seedlings, do not store up food or possessions, do not see spectacles, no animal fighting, no army maneuvers, no games of chance, no gambling, no cosmetics, no shampooing, no religious arguments, do not serve the king as a messenger or in any capacity.

Great Moralities

No interpretations of signs of body, portents, dreams, no foretelling of astronomical events, famines, epidemics, luck days, and the use of spells.