Buddhism key knowledge

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Last updated: May 16, 2022
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Theravada belief about the nature of the Buddha
historical and non contactable, teacher not god
Therevada belief about images of the Buddha
reminders of the buddha and help focus of spiritual qualities
Theravada belief about the Buddha as a role model
a principle rather than a person and has authority as an advanced spiritual being
Denise Kush quote of nirvana and the buddha
the buddha gave us the map to nirvana but we must get there ourselves
Mahayana belief about nature of the Buddha
remains active and can be accessed through meditations and visions
Mahayana belief about images of the Buddha
images are "infused with the power of the being they represent"
buddhist belief about compassion
compassion for all living things not just humans
skilful means
upaya kusala
unskilful means
mahayana sutra about upaya kusala
parable of the burning house
the wisest disciple of the buddha in therevadan tradition
mahayana attitude towards him
believe he is the voice of the inferior tradition
presentation of him in the lotus sutra
counterpoint to the wisdom of the teacher
the buddha teaching about skilful means
adapt teachings to suit the receiver
3 refuges definition
the buddha the dharma the sangha
3 refuges explanation
sources of authority for all buddhists
quote about suffering and clinging
categories affected by clinging are suffering
Buddhist scripture the quote is from
samyutta nikaya
4 sights
what the buddha saw when he left the palace
old man, sick man, dead man , holy man
4 noble truths
what the buddha realized from the 4 sights
first noble truth
all life involves suffering
fourth noble truth
the way to overcome suffering is the eightfold path
3 types of dukka
dukka dukka, viparmina dukka, sankara dukka
first meaning
plain suffering like childbirth,grief,death
suffering as a result of change and transience of life
suffering due to conditioned existence, subtle and fundamental
definition of canon
a collection of scriptures that hold authority
description of pali canon
a collection of Buddhist scriptures that contain teachings of the buddha
significance of pali canon for therevada buddhists
holds more significance than it does for other sects
split into 3 sections
vinaya pitaka sutta pitaka abhidhamma pitaka
role of first
contains rules and regulations for monks and nuns 227 for monks 311 for nuns
role of second
contains stories and teachings of gotama buddha
significance of the second section in relation to the buddha
it is buddhavacana which means word or doctrine of the buddha
role of third
contains philosophical discourses and scholarly commentary
importance of the pali canon
insight into core teachings, used in worship and recitals, gives guidance in daily life
limits of the pali canon
outdated sexist abhidhamma not accessible oral tradition limited scope 45 years
pali canon and sutras are specific to different tradtions
pali canon = therevada sutras= mahayana
mahayanan buddology
the trikaya doctrine
trikaya defintion
three bodies of the buddha
3 manifestations
nirmanakaya sambhogakaya dharmakaya
nirmanakaya translation
form body or transformation body
nirmanakaya definition
the physical manifestation of an enlightened being seen in physical form of the 5 aggregates
nirmanakaya example
the historical buddha was already enlightened and chose to take on human form
nirmanakaya explanation
buddhas show living beings the path to enlightenment as an act of compassion
sambhogakaya translation
enjoyment body
sambhogakaya definition
the dimension of energy and light in which enlightened beings can choose to dwell
sambhogakaya example
sukhavati pure land of amitaba
sambhogakaya explanation
spiritual body which mahayana buddhists can pray to
dharmakaya translation
truth body or dharma body
dharmakaya definition
the complete realisation of truth and reality
dharmakaya example
buddhas description as tathagata - one who has become the dharma
dharmakaya explanation
pure, formless and within everything but we cannot perceive it as we are stuck in delusioned reality
the therevada tradition only accepts one of the trikaya to be true
buddhist belief about impermanence
everything in existence is impermanent
common symbol for impermanence
buddhist belief about change
happens on 2 levels, gross and momentary
gross level of change definition
change that is obvious seasons weather decay
momentary level of change definition
imperceptible subtle change
quote about impermanence
all conditioned things are impermanent
scripture the quote is from
the three marks of existence
dukka anicca anatta
importance of anicca
when we forget anicca, we become attached which causes dukka
the relationship between nirvana and anicca
understanding anicca is necessary to achieve nirvana, but nirvana is the only thing unaffected by anicca
mahayana development of anicca
concept of sunyata emptiness
mahayana belief on what types of emptiness are
emptiness of self, emptiness of all phenomena , supreme emptiness
emptiness of independent self means?
all sentient beings are interconnected
emptiness of all phenomena means?
all things lack an independent self not just sentient beings
supreme emptiness
the understanding that all things are not independent of each other
dependent origination
qualities of the self
impermanent and conditioned
what does acceptance of impermanent self stop?
clinging and craving to 5 aggregates
and this helps us reach?
Indian scholar that founded the middle way philosophy
middle way philosophy description
middle way between believing things really exist and nothing exists
ultimate truths of the middle way
emptiness and interdependence
nirvana literal translation
refers to extinguishing the fires of the 3 poisons which are?
greed hatred ignorance
Buddhist belief about perception of nirvana
beyond human perception
therevada buddhists believe in 2 types of nirvana
nirvana and parinirvana
nirvana definition
in life with residue
nirvana is achieved but what remains?
physical body
what does this mean in terms of karma?
no karmic seeds but yes karmic results
parinirvana definition
after death no residue
parinirvana means person is free from (1)?
the last fruit of karma (body)
the cycle of samsara
goal of the therevada buddhist
ultimate liberation and freedom from samsara
goal of the mahayana buddhist
become a bodhisattva
to help others achieve enlightenment
by choosing to do what?
continue in the cycle of samsara
mahayana belief about karma and bodhisattvas
they are free from karma
so they are able to?
use their bodhicitta to choose their rebirth
positive metaphors for nirvana (1)
relieves fever of passions
medicine that puts an end to all suffering
negative descriptions of nirvana
extinction cessation
Buddhist text that deals with the nature of nirvana
80th dilemma of king milinda
written as a dialogue between king milinda and a buddhist philosopher
king milinda ask nagasena to?
explain nirvana
nagasena says this is?
nagasena proceeds to use analogies to describe qualities of nirvana (1)
as the lotus is untarnished by water nirvana is untarnished by evil dispositions
like cool water that removes the heat and thirst of desire
mahayana buddhist belief about nirvana and samsara
both exist within the framework of the two truths
the two truths
conventional truth and ultimate truth
ultimate truth on nirvana and samsara
they are empty of independent nature and therefore share the same nature
conventional truth on nirvana and samsara
they are different and are defined as opposites
Nagarjuna quote about nirvana and samsara
there is not the slightest difference between the two
mahayana buddhist view on nirvana and buddhahood
nirvana is a temporary goal on the road to full buddhahood
parable to explain mahayana concept of two stages of nirvana
parable of the phantom city
mahayana concept of nirvana and buddhahood
it is within everyone
meaning that nirvana is?
fundamentally accessible to all
nirvana key definition in the mahayana tradition
freedom from samsara attained through the realisation of anatta
buddhahood in the mahayana tradition
development of nirvana
in relation to anatta?
realisation that anatta extends to all phenomena
in relation to sunyata?
realisation that sunyata is in the nature of all things
mahayana sutra concerning fundamental emptiness
the heart sutra
therevadan buddhist purpose of life
become an arhat
arhat literal translation
worthy one
buddha quote about arhats
an arhat is free from moral defilements
what is an arhat ?
perfected person who has overcome the 3 poisons
arhats and rebirth
arhats will no longer be reborn when dead
the pali canon recognizes 4 stages to becoming an arhat
stream enterer, once returner, non returner , arhat
stream enterer description
seen the dhamma, first direct insight into selflessness, dropped the 3 fetters
3 ties (fetters)
attachment to self view, attachment to rites and doubt about the buddha
once returner description
partially enlightened person, has weakened the fourth and fifth fetters
4ht and 5th ties
sensual desire and ill will
non returner description (in relation to the ties)
first 5 ties cut off but higher 5 ties remain
non returner description cont.
the worst hindrances like hatred and greed drop away but a trace of self remains
arhat (worthy one)
path is complete any residual trace of self falls away
meaning arhats have overcome what?
the 10 fetters
the nature of the arhat path
solitary journey
mahayana buddhist ultimate aim
full buddhahood
a bodhisattva is?
a person dedicated to attaining perfect buddahood to compassionately help others
a bodhisattva combines the qualities of?
prajna karuna kusala
skilful means
upaya kusala
mahayana belief about who has buddha nature
all sentinet beings
The buddha nature needs stimulation to begin the bodhisattva path
arising of bodhicitta
bodhicitta translation
awakening mind
bodhicitta commitment
they are dedicated to the liberation of all beings
once the bodhicitta is aroused
the person undertakes vows
how many bodhisattva vows are there?
development of bodhisattva path
following the 6 perfections
first perfection
sincere desire to benefit others without selfishness
second perfection
developing selfless compassion
third perfection
able to withstand and accepting the truth of suffering
fourth perfection
courageous effort to realise enlightenment
fifth perfection
cultivate the mind
sixth perfection
direct realisation of sunyata
after the first 6 perfections, later?
four more were added
prominent bodhisattva
belief about his compassion
named the bodhisattva of compassion as so much karuna
his female aspect is called?
quote about buddhism and the lack of self
there is no primary substance to remain constant
scholar who said this:
rupert gethin
anatta definition
no self
relationship with anicca
anatta is the personal expression of anicca
analogy of a tree
the existence of a tree is not dependent on the continued existence of its parts
conditioned existence
everything comes into existence through causes and conditions
buddhist vision of the nature of reality
dependent arising
the dalai llama's explanation of dependent arising
all events in life are so intimately linked with the fate of others
5 aggregates or khandas are described as?
bundles of fuel that burn the fires of dukka
first aggregate
rupa / form
material aspect of existence made up of physical elements
second aggregate
vedana / feeling
bodily and mental feelings, positive negative and neutral
third aggregate
sanna / perception
mental labelling recognition and interpretation
fourth aggregate
sankharas / formations
mental formations and activity including karma
fifth aggregate
vinnana / consciousness
making sense of what we perceive
analogy in the questions of king milinda
analogy of a chariot
logic of the analogy
applies reductionist analysis to inanimate objects
a chariot relies on the sum of its parts for its existence
humans rely on the khandhas
as the khandhas are constantly changing so?
there can be no permanent self
samsara definition
cycle of life death and rebirth
buddhist belief about samsara and human action
good actions lead to positive rebirths and experiences and vice versa
karma literal translation
what is karma not?
a system of reward and punishment
pictoral way to understand samsara (mahayana)
the wheel of life
circle 1
three poisons
greed anger and ignorance represented by animals
cockerel, snake, pig
circle 2
shows people going to good or bad realms
circle 3
6 realms of rebecoming
circle 4
12 links of dependent arising
holding the wheel
yama is?
lord of death and monster of impermanence
6 realms of becoming
god, demi god , human, animal, hungry ghost, hell
only realm from which you can reach enlightenment
human realm
scholar harvey says its a?
marvellous opportunity for spiritual growth
realm of demi gods who are?
angry beings constantly at war
dominant karmic cause of this realm?
godly realm is blissful but?
there is no motivation to reach nirvana
dominant karmic cause of this realm?
animals realm dominant karmic cause?
description of the hungry ghosts realm
hungry ghosts suffer severely from unfulfilled desires
hungry ghosts dominant karmic cause?
hell realm description
unimaginable suffering
hell realm karmic cause?
anger / hatred
hell realm is different from Abrahamic religions because?
it is temporary until karmic merit is redeemed
who gave an office block analogy for samsara?
Damien Keown
interpretations of samsara
could be completely psychological
different karmic actions contribute to metaphysical existence
Mark Epstein :
"the entire wheel is a representation of neurotic suffering"
the dalai llama is an honorary title for?
the 14th rebirth of avalokitesvara
who was the bodhisattva of?
infinite compassion and mercy
very important in mahayana traditions but also?
recognised in therevada tradition
the current dalai llama is where?
living as a refugee in india after fleeing tibet
political roles
political figurehead for tibetan freedom
moral virtue
good moral conduct =
good karmic merit
the eightfold path gives guidelines on good moral conduct
right action right livelihood right speech
4th noble truth = overcome desires =
overcome dukka
5 precepts
abstain from killing
abstain from taking what is not given
abstain from sexual misconduct
abstain from wrong speech
abstain from intoxication
these aren't hard rules, more like?
practical guidelines
who should follow the 5 precepts?
everyone who follows the buddhist path
monks have a further 5 precepts to follow e,g
buddhist ethics teachings are never
unintentional killing of an insect is?
morally neutral
intention is critical as it impacts?
karmic result
animals karma as a result of intention is not as intense, as their minds are clouded by ignorance
e.g lion killing zebra for food is unaware of the suffering it is inflicting
(mahayana) 6 perfections/ paramitas are a part of good moral conduct as they help you become a bodhisattva
generosity morality patience energy meditation wisdom
mahayana buddhists use upaya to know ?
the right action to help beings towards liberation
free will and moral responsibility -
how do buddhists view freedom?
soft determinism
karma would be unfair if there was not?
free will
parable of the poisoned arrow explained how ?
worrying about whether you are free or not is a waste of time
suffering is not overcome by?
contemplating freedom
kusala actions
wholesome actions as healthy intention
akusala actions
unwholesome as come from 3 poisons
buddhist cardinal virtues
araga adosa amoha
no selfish desires
non violence
loving kindness
what story demonstrates that non violence is stronger than violence ?
ahimsa and application to
embryos and abortion
cycle of samsara means what for existence?
no beginning or end
so conception is?
the point of rebirth
all life is scared
including foetuses
also impacting foetuses chance of reaching enlightenment
harvey quote
abortion goes against the concept of
so there would be ?
negative karmic consequences
vinaya monastic code in the pali canon -
forbids monks and nuns assisting in abortions
motivation is important as selfish reasons=
worse karma
universal consensus among Buddhist ethicists about preventing abortion =
education about birth control and contraception
tibetian view =
abortion wastes a precious human rebirth
but the dalai llama says :
"abortion should be approved or disapproved of according to each circumstance"
japanese ritual to counteract negetive karmic effects of abortion
mizuko kuyo
literal translation
water child memorial service
application of ahimsa to
first precept
abstain from killing
killing pests =
bad karmic results
but you can counteract this by doing karmically fruitful deeds, e.g
farmer killing crop pests to feed community
Theravada views on vegetarianism
rare but admired
monks and nuns shoudl accept meat in alms bowls
buddha referred to meat given this way as blameless
size and intelligence of animal killed matters
more bad karma for killing elephant than ant
but it is better to kill one large animal (cow) than many small animals (chickens) when
providing food
mahayana view on vegetarianism
disagree the buddha allowed eating meat
sutra in which he condemned the practice
lankavatara sutra
consequently vegetarianism is required in?
the bodhisattva precepts
however for cold Nepal climate and Japanese fishing villages, vegetarianism may be?
buddhists are against extreme treatment of animals e.g
factory farming ,bloodsports ,zoos for entertainment not conservation
however, in some cases it is permitted to use animals for human benefits
medical experiments, xenotransplantation, pets
ahimsa in application to
war goes against the first precept and principle of
but buddhists have been prepared to use violence in
self defence
the buddha on conflict
hatred never ends through hatred
definite opposition to
weapons of mass destruction
the sangha definition
lay sangha supports bhikkus by?
providing food clothing and accommodation
lay people receive in return from bhikkus (monks and nuns)
spiritual guidance
monastic life
(therevada) monks take part in their community
alms rounds
(therevada) viharas contribute as
community centres, schools, banks
so they benefit ?
the whole community
(therevada) monks and nuns have a unique opportunity to work towards enlightenment
lay people cannot achieve enlightenment
(mahayana) monks and nun do not have to
cut ties with family
(mahayana) lay people can also
achieve enlightenment
the sangha in thailand has ?
religious and political roles
role of sangha council
mediates between royalty and govt, consulted in legal changes
thai sangha provides education programmes
historically was only option for educating children
thai sangha undertakes ceremonies
blessing unions, blessing homes
to be ordained as a monk or nun, you have to have at least 10 monks or nuns to perform the ordination, as a result
ordination of nuns died out in thailand
instead of nuns, women become
mae chis
but this is controversial because
less karmic merit for helping a mae chi than a nun
disucssion with thai govt about whether
nuns ordained internationally could be recognised in thailand
voiced by who?
qualities of the thai monastic life
communal, disciplined , ordered
importance of chores and cleanliness for
improving medative state
controversial buddhist monastery
watt phra dhammakaya
global members?
3 million
what tradition?
what do they refer to themselves as?
the face of modern thai buddhism
what do they say their aim is?
revive traditional buddhism using modern technology
the abbot
controversy about the abbot?
in hiding for money laundering allegations
their main emphasis is on?
money and donations
the accounts are kept?
abbott compared himself to a ?
god like figure
people may keep in their homes?
which may have ?
images and offerings
therevada shrines always contain images of the buddha, but mahayana shrines may have an image of a?
what may be attached to monastries?
temples and stupas
offerings include?
flowers water incense
therevada acts of devotion/respect in temple ?
remove shoes, dress in white, sit with feet tucked
bhikkus may?
recite sermons
chanting purpose ?
prepare the mind for meditation
basis for therevada chants
pali canon
basis for mahayana chants
wide range of sources
importance of chanting
focus for meditation, shared religious commitment, calming
chants selected based on?
chants can also be used for?
and can also generate?
karmic fruitfulness
can calm down?
angry people or ghosts
2 main festivals
wesak and parinirvana day
variations in features based on?
culture and tradition
when is wesak celebrated ?
what does it celebrate ?
birth enlightenment and death of the buddha
how may Buddhists celebrate?
releasing caged birds or paper lanterns
what does parinirvana day celebrate?
buddhas release from samsara through death
how may buddhists celebrate?
reading scriptures visiting temples lantern festivals
why is parinirvana day different from wesak?
more reflective as buddhists consider their own mortality
hand gestures
examples of what there might be mudras for
generosity meditation fearlessness
main mudras can be used to?
represent points in the buddhas life
mudras vary based on tradition- example
dhyana mudra
how does it vary (therevada)
thumbs placed against palms
thumbs pointing upwards
images of the buddha and bodhisattvas
what do sculptures remind Buddhists of
aspects of the buddhas life and teachings
therevada belief about statues and images
inspiration and reminders
mahayana belief about images
images are said to have a spirit or soul
mahayana belief about statues
statues will have organs made inside them as seen as living entity
practiced by?
monastic and lay buddhists
what do you need in order to meditate ?
a teacher
buddha quote on meditation teachers
saw it as the "most powerful external factor" to gaining enlightenment
meditation is not?
therevada meditation/mindfulness is not?
'floating away'
what is it instead described as?
thorough and undistorted observation
4 aspects of mindfulness
simple awareness
protective awareness
introspective awareness
deliberately formed conceptions
meditative concentration
right effort + right mindfulness leads to
right concentration
2 types of meditation
samatha and vipassana
samatha meditation aim
calmness and tranquility
vipassana meditation aim
insight to stop spiritual ignorance
to achieve enlightenment and follow to eightfold path you need to develop?
both types
5 hindrances to meditation
desire, ill-will, lethargy, restlessness, fear of commitment
4 types of modern meditation
concentrative generative receptive reflective
significance of worship?
guidance, realise dharma, increased understanding, community
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