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Scrap Notes #2: Buddhism

My Thoughts On: November 17th, 2003

More from my scrap notes archive. This is a summary of Buddhism I researched for a original part of my old Oracle website, the Religion Info Center, a couple years ago before I ever got this domain name. I was hoping to do more like this, but then dedicated my efforts elsewhere.

Buddhism Religion Info Center compilation-

General philosophy/history-

Buddhism originated sixth century B.C. by founder Siddhartha Guatama. Siddhartha, a prince born in the region now known as Nepal (to the Shakya clan) lived a life of seclusion due to his royal lineage. Eventually as he grew of age he realize the suffering of life outside his own home was great, if not commonplace. The philosophy of Buddhism originated after Siddhartha left his home to practice Asceticism in hopes of finding a solution to human suffering. While meditating, Siddhartha learned a technique of mind where he could focus all his capacity into achieving the resolution to his goal, in so achieving a "higher conciousness" where all ignorance was removed from reality, and it's true nature was exposed. After recieving this vision, around the age of 35, Siddhartha adopted the title of Buddha (stemming from Budhi, meaning "wake up", Buddha is the "Awakened One"). Now "awake" to the reality of the world, he taught a process of "enlightenment" to help all people attain the inner sight to "awake" to the same truth. The primary structure of Buddhism rests on the principle of the 4 Noble Truths. These truths center the individual into understanding suffering for what it really is, and, in so, help the individual to understand how to resolve it. Paralleled to the tale of Buddha Guatama seeing the sick man, the diseased man, the corpse and the monk, the 4 Noble Truths are what Buddha first preached after his enlightenment, and they are the basic principles of Buddhism. These things which must be recognized to begin the path of enlightenment are:

1. Suffering exists- Everything that has been created is changing. Because it is always changing, there is no ultimate image to it, everything is of "no-self", making it ill, impertanant, and imperfect. It will eventually cause suffering, in the same way every man will eventually become ill. It is the 3 marks of existance, pain (illness, imperfectness, degradation), impermance (not permanent, always changing), and egolessness (soulessness, without self, without a eternal form) that make up recognizing that suffering is perhaps the only constant to this reality.

2. Suffering arises from the attachment to desire- All things based on the ignorant is tainted, delusionary. When desire is attached to our struggle to survive, it places our suffering in the hands of all the changing ill, impertanant, and egoless conditions in life (which exist as we recognized above). Eventually suffering will become of this, just as the diseased man's suffering came from his eventual illness.

3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases- When the ill is removed from reality, all that is left is the true image, Nirvana (the state where one is free of Karma, and free of necessity). The goal of recognizing how suffering behaves is to move toward a state where we see suffering is unnecessary, and that state is Nirvana. Suffering ceases there, much in the same way as when the removal of the dying man's will to survive brings about the end of his suffering. Although, the Buddhist philosophy is more prone to finding that relief within life, of course.

4. Freedom from suffering is possible when practicing the "Eightfold Path"- When you realize that ending this illness is to achieve Nirvana, you are ready to begin. Following the practice dictated by the "Eightfold Path", you will reach a state of mind where the desires attached to the impertanant are removed, much like the Monk finding inner peace in his sanctuary.

The Eightfold Path is the next system of measures that help one achieve enlightenment in this Buddhaic practice. Each of these help expand your wisdom (panna), your morality (sila), and your practice of meditation (samadhi), and if followed properly with conviction, one can be free of all suffering. Basically, the goal of the Buddhist is to constantly perfect this method until they achieve their enlightenment. The Eightfold Path as it pertains to these aspects of life is:

Aspects to expand Wisdom-

The "Right View"- this first step of the Eightfold Path simply means knowing the 4 Noble Truths, to have the "right view" is to know this basic philosophy behind enlightenment

The "Right Thought"- the "right thought" is to follow the path of enlightenment with the motivation to become enlightened, this means that you must have the will to learn before you can expect enlightenment to come

Aspects to expand Morality-

The "Right Speech"- to speak without frivolous talk, to speak only addressing what is important in life, "enlightenment" and helping others to achieve "enlightenment", is the use of "right speech"

The "Right Action"- this means to be abstinant from evil acts, which are generally basic human morals, the definitive guidelines are specified in the religion

The "Right Livelyhood"- this is simply to live with good habits, rituals, worship

Aspects to expand Meditation-

The "Right Effort"- to try to keep your mind in a state of good thinking, positive thought

The "Right Mindfulness"- to see all ill things as ill

The "Right Contemplation"- to strive to seek one single mental focus which will help you delve beyond all reality

Buddhism seeks to have the individual become a "Buddha" like Siddhartha Guatama did 2,500 years ago. A "Buddha" is not a god, a idol, or any other image. Buddha Guatama is worshipped only for his contribution to Buddhism, he is not worshipped like men worship gods, but like men worship men. "Buddha" is simply "The Way" to enlightenment, and each individual's way may be very different, but ultimately the goal leads to the same "true" reality.

General facts-

Buddhism has approximately 300 million followers worldwide, and many divisions of sects and other practices. Meditation is a predominant practice, along with the pursuit of the 4 Noble Truths. Buddha Guatama is worshipped in most sects. Other beliefs of Buddhism are- Karma, Reincarnation (successive). The major divisions of Buddhism are-

Thervada (Hinayana) Buddhism:

Literal title- School of Elders, Small Vehicle

Main focus- Four Noble Truths

Buddha Guatama

Meditation

Dominant Regions- South East Asia

Mahayana Buddhism

Literal title- Large Vehicle

Main focus- Four Noble Truths

"Divine" Buddha Guatama

Meditation

Bodhistattavas

Dominant Regions- China

Japan

Korea

Subdivisions- Pure Land School

Tian Dai (China) or Tendai (Japan) Buddhism

(Confucianism influence)

Chan (China) or Zen (Japan) Buddhism

(Daoism Influence, Main focus- Meditation, Teacher-Student dialogue, Chanting)

Vajrayana Buddhism

Literal title- Diamond Vehicle

Main Focus- Meditation

Chanting

Enlightenment in one lifetime

Tibetan gods and demons

Religious visualizations

Philosophical debate

Ritual

Yoga

Tantric Sex

Dominant Regions- Tibet

General Information/Vocabulary-

The Four Lofty States Of Mind:

(also known as brahmavihari, when all these are honed one can reach the highest spiritual level)

1. Metta: love, benevolence, making others happy

2. Karuna: compassion, the will to free others from suffering

3. Mudita: sympathetic joy

4. Upekkha: facing life with tranquility, not allowing the negative aspects of life affect yourself more than the good

The Five Skandhas:

(the development of opinion and sensation, perception etc., formation of the Buddhist concept of ego)

1. Skandha of Matter (form)

2. Skandha of Sensation

3. Skandha of Perception

4. Skandha of Concept

5. Skandha of Conciousness

Buddha:

individual path of enlightenment, a form where enlightenment is attained, Buddha can be different things to different people, it is not a specific or direct entity

Koan:

logistic question, to help understand the "ultimate reality", bringing about a better conception to the path of enlightenment that Buddhist practicioners follow, it can be a saying, a question, a teaching, a story, etc.

Zen (Ch'an in China):

practice stressing meditation as the quickest and most enlightening path to Buddha

Dharma:

secular/divine/cosmic law, teaching of the Buddha, the Way, a central concept of Buddhism

Karma:

Buddhist law of cause and effect, entailing positive and negative energy

Nirvana:

state where one is free from Karma, and free from all necessity, the goal of Buddhism

Tao:

The ultimate principle, the truth, the source of reality, what most Buddhists seek to understand

Prajna:

intuitive wisdom, insight into emptiness, the true nature of reality, what most Buddhists practice having

Shunyata:

emptiness, without essance

Hara:

belly, gut, where the spiritual essence resides on a individual

Samsara:

succession of rebirths

Hinayana:

"Small vehicle" North Buddhist term for South Buddhism of Southeast Asia

Mahayana:

"Great vehicle" Northern Buddhism of China, Korea, Japan

Dokusan:

private seclusion of the master and student in the master's room, main element of Rinzia Zen

Roshi:

venerable teacher

Mondo:

dialogue about Buddhism

Inka:

master's seal of approval that the student is finished with training

Mushin:

complete freedom from dualistic thinking, "no-mind"

Samadhi:

a collected concentration where the subject is no different from the object

Shikantaza:

precise unsupported means of meditation

Makyo:

mysterious apparation, vision or dream during meditation

Zendo:

meditation hall

Kensho:

self-realization, seeing oneself's true nature

Jiriki:

"one's own power" refering to their own ability to achieve enlightenment

Satori:

a state of intuative enlightenment, particularlythe enlightenment experienced by the Buddha

Bodhisattva:

a enlightened being that will not enter Nirvana until all other beings are saved

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