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OfflineKremlin
life in E minor
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Early Indian Buddhism
    #2061048 - 10/31/03 05:24 PM (14 years, 27 days ago)

I believe that one of the most important things in life is learning and sharing knowledge.

On this basis, i wanted to make a post about Therravada Buddhism, its origins, its basics, etc.  I'm taking an excellent course on eastern religions, and it should be shared with others.  If people find this interesting, i can continue with others like Jainism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and other chinese thinkers like Mozi, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, Ch'an, etc.

--
Therravada Buddhism:

One of the 6th Century BC religions that arose out of Northeastern India after dissatisfaction and questions arose with the earlier Vedic traditions.

first off, all 6th century BC religions from India hold these things in common:

1)Samsara
-Wandering through different existences via rebirth
-each level is a prison, even the highest level
-endless circle

2)Karma
-Law of the cosmos, natural law
-Morally good = accumulation of good karma = good rebirth
-Buddhist heaven/hell are karmically neutral, meaning you do not produce karma in either place, you burn your current resevoir...so when you are in heaven and you run out of good karma, you are reborn in a lower tier because of any residual negative karma you had.
-you will always go up and down unless you find release, Moksha

3)No stories of creation

--
It is an ascetic religion, it has social access to all classes, and it focuses on practice rather than theory.

Siddhartha Guatama lived in the 6th centure BCE in Northern India.  He was the son of a King, and lived a life of luxury.  As legend goes he taked 3 trips to the park.  ON the first visit, he sees an old man for the first time.  On the second visit, he sees a gravely ill person for the first time.  On the third visit, he sees a corpse, which he has never seen before, nor has he thought of the concept of death.  He returns one last time to see an ascetic monk ( Muni ), and he leaves the palace for good because of his dissatisfaction with his life of luxury to pursue the same life.

He leaves his family and travels with Munis, but has no success in finding something he believes in, until he meditates under a Bodhi tree, and acquires "Threefold knowledge"
1)Karmic path - sees his entire history
2)Samsara - sees the nature of his karmic path
3) Four noble truths

He is now enlightened, and becomes the Buddha.

4 noble truths of Buddhism:
1) Existence is Dukkha
-translated as many things, "sorrow" fits well.
-even at height of pleasure, you know it will end
-anxiety because of this is dukkha
-nothing escapes change, this is dukkha, etc etc
-Ignorance about the self is dukkha

He says we have no self, and that thinking that you have a self is the greatest religious ignorance.  How can he explain our existance if we have no self?

the 5 skandhas:
1)Matter
-Body, sense organs, physical things
2)Feeling
-tone of interaction
3)Perception
-Feelings get categorized
4)Constructive Activities *Karma created here*
-Motivations, emotions (pleasure, desire)
5)Consciousness
-organizes other 4

We flash in and out of existance, and create ourselves in these 5 forms in this order each instant.  It is a difficult concept to grasp.

What gives the illusion of continuity to these?
-karma acts as an inertia of sorts, to keep it going, to keep the cycle of skahndas repeating
Think of a slow-mo shot of a baseball in path, Karma is the momentum to have the baseball continue on its path

If you take a ship, and replace every part of it, is it a different ship?  THat is the self.

2) Dukkha is caused by craving/desire/thirst
-"Chain of causation
1)Ignorance (of the 4 noble truths)
2)Psychic construction (tendencies of humans)
3)Consciousness
4)Physical Form (body now exists)
5)Senses
6)Sensory stimulation/contact
7)Sensation
8)Craving **
9) Attraction/Attatchment (why you stay in samsara)
10)becoming
11)rebirth
12)Aging/death in state of ignorance of 4 truths

Those steps are the cycle of being in this world according to Therravada buddhism, very similar to the skandha system.  If you can break ignorance or craving, you achieve Release, Moksha.

3)Craving can be destroyed
If you break the cycle you enter Nirvana, or "Burning out"
causal inertia will keep you around for a bit, but you will have no more karma production.

If there is no self, then what goes to Nirvana?
The buddha cannot answer this question, since it is based in ignorance
--This is a large problem for Therravada buddhism, concepts that are hard to grasp and explain lay favor to Mahayana Buddhism, which is an altered version that is more open and easier.

4)Eightfold Noble Path:
-Soteriological path of Buddhism, how do you eliminate craving?
-Set of rules about life and how to live it

Abidharma Metaphysics:

Everything is made up of "dharmas" in this world, or "pure particulars"
THey are pulsating in and out of existance.

Take a cup.  It is a collection of dharmas.  The problem with us, is that we classify it , and categorize it.  This causes us to attatch value, and thus create Karma.

We need to be able to see things for their "Thusness", without categorizing them (THink of the final scene of the Matrix in the hallway).

Problems with Therravada Buddhism:

1)You must achieve Nirvana in this lifetime, if you dont, then you are just going to get reborn again and have to deal with it again in another life.

2)You are either a Monk or a Layperson if you are associated with the practice.  Laypeople have accepted that they will not achieve nirvana in this lifetime, and have instead devoted their lives to helping the monks who are attempting it.

3)Complex metaphysics and ideas that are hard to grasp.  Removing the self from ideas of existence is extremely difficult to come to terms with, and Mahayana buddhism will attempt to deal with these problems when it comes around later.

So thats that, i hope people find this useful, and if not you can tell me to shutup :smile: 


--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


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OfflineKremlin
life in E minor
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Posts: 1,860
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Re: Early Indian Buddhism [Re: Kremlin]
    #2061053 - 10/31/03 05:26 PM (14 years, 27 days ago)

Forgot to post some sources if anyone is interested:

Ainslee T. Embree, Sources of Indian Tradition. Second Edition . Columbia university press, New York, 1988.

Enjoy.


--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
InvisibleMystical_Craven
mentally illpsychonaught

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 439
Loc: Earth
Re: Early Indian Buddhism [Re: Kremlin]
    #2061098 - 10/31/03 05:41 PM (14 years, 27 days ago)

post away my brother...if someone's not particularly interrested in one of those, there's bound to be someone else that is  :grin:


--------------------


"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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OfflineSpokesman
The HighPhilosopher

Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 847
Loc: New Jersey U.S.
Last seen: 13 years, 5 months
Re: Early Indian Buddhism [Re: Mystical_Craven]
    #2061655 - 10/31/03 10:08 PM (14 years, 27 days ago)

Yeah im actually very intrested on all those religions so post as many as you want, especially Hinduism and Confucianism. You explained it in a basic order for a beginner, i usually get lost on the huge explinations given in the books and the net. I think the idea of us not having a self is actually similar to the way i see life. And how we flash in and out of conciousness is a very cool concept.


--------------------


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OfflineKremlin
life in E minor
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Registered: 06/07/01
Posts: 1,860
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Last seen: 2 months, 2 days
Re: Early Indian Buddhism [Re: Spokesman]
    #2061755 - 10/31/03 11:07 PM (14 years, 27 days ago)

ok then tommorow i'll type up Mahayana and Hinduism

for now, gonna go get trashed for halloween -- have a good night all :smile:

--Kremlin


--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
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