Early Buddhism

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Early Buddhism by Mind Map: Early Buddhism

1. Story of The Buddha

1.1. Siddhartha Gautama - Prince- escaped – saw sickness, age and death- he turned to yogi’s  and to the Jains– this did not give him a deep understanding (the only thing he discovered was his craving) - followed the 'middle way' - he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree for several days and saw the answers to the question of suffering and gained enlightenment.

2. Historical/social/political/religious background Buddha

2.1. Great period of social  and economic change - The Buddha lived in India's second period of urbanisation

2.2. Estate system

2.2.1. Brahmins (priests), Warriors (power), Commoners (producers), Servants

2.2.2. Urbanisation - this system was under threat - new class of people (administrative, paid soldiers, merchants, foreigners etc.)

2.2.2.1. Responses

2.2.2.1.1. Brahmins - Keeping the old system but building  on it. Very successful - Caste system we still see in India today

2.2.2.1.2. Wandering Ascetics (whose ranks the Buddha would join). - There's something basic in every human being unadulterated by estate or caste. - we are all capable of wisdom and virtue.

2.2.2.1.3. Carnithers - 'The Buddha spoke, not merely to this or that condition, to this or that estate, but to the human condition as such.'

2.3. Buddha and the Yogis

2.3.1. Buddha achieved the ultimate goal of meditation 'the planes of nothing'

2.3.1.1. 'this teaching does not lead to dispassion, to fading of desire, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge of meditation, to awakening, to realise; it leads only to the meditative planes of nothingness.'

2.3.1.2. Buddha was sympathetic with the teaching that salvation must be sought from within

2.3.1.3. But, the final goal must be different - a changed in the quality of thought and feeling, not in meditative effort

2.3.1.3.1. Development of Insight Meditation

2.4. Buddha and the Jains

2.4.1. Jains - the self can be found through self mortification

2.4.1.1. The Buddha practised this 'But all he has to show was his ribcage'.

2.4.1.1.1. Middle Way

3. The 4 noble truths

3.1. The Truth of Suffering (Dukkha) (life is suffering)

3.1.1. Suffering of pain and of change (impermanence)

3.1.2. Human condition is unsatisfactory and unfulfilling

3.1.3. Buddha argues - not pessimistic or optimistic, but realistic

3.2. The Truth of Arising (Samudaya) (suffering is caused by craving)

3.2.1. Craving fuels suffering in the way that wood fuels fire

3.2.2. 3 main forms of craving and desire

3.2.2.1. Craving for gratification of senses (tastes, sensations, sights, sounds)

3.2.2.2. Thirst for existence (the instinctual will 'to be' - drives us to new experiences)

3.2.2.3. A thirst to destroy (self denying/ self destructive behaviour)

3.2.3. The Truth of Arising - Dependent Origination (explains how craving and ignorance leads to rebirth in a sequence of 12 stages)

3.3. The Truth of Cessation (Nirodha) (suffering can have an end)

3.3.1. Nirvana (quenching/ blowing out), free from the obsession of me & mine, the extinguishing of greed, hatred and delusion.

3.4. The Truth of the Path (Magga) (there is a path that leads to the end of suffering)

3.4.1. The 8 Fold Path - The middle way - steering the course between indulgence and austerity.

3.4.1.1. Right understanding (of the Buddha's teaching)

3.4.1.2. Right resolve (commitment to the Buddha's teaching)

3.4.1.3. Right speech (truth)

3.4.1.4. Right action

3.4.1.5. Right livelihood

3.4.1.6. Right effort (gaining control of thoughts and cultivating positive states of mind)

3.4.1.7. Right mindfulness (constant awareness)

3.4.1.8. Right meditation (deep level of mental calm)

4. Dependent Origination

4.1. Craving and ignorance lead to rebirth in a sequence of 12 stages. (shown in the wheel of life)

4.1.1. Ignorance. Habits, Consciousness, Physical embodiment of consciousness, 6 senses, engagement with sense objects, sensation, desire, clinging, becoming, birth, suffering/old age/ death.

4.1.2. Beings are trapped on the wheel - main issue of buddhism - how this can be stopped.

4.2. Everything has a cause and all is related between cause and effect

4.3. Karma - you sow what you reap, you reap what you so

4.4. Rebirth

4.4.1. How can you have rebirth with no soul? - dependent origination.

4.4.1.1. The causal connectivness of life does not stop with death - this life is a configuration of causes which pass on through to the next.

4.5. Sense of self

4.5.1. Does the teaching about no self undermine morality and karma? - no

4.5.1.1. Individuals create themselves and their lives though participating in dependent origination

4.5.1.2. Keown - 'Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a  destiny.'

5. Ethics

5.1. Buddhism - an answer  to the question of the best kind of life for man to lead.

5.2. Foundation in the Dharma (part of the 8 fold path)

5.3. Karma - the ethical implications of Dharma

5.3.1. Keown - 'Karmic  actions are moral actions'

5.4. 5 precepts of minimum obligation (layman)

5.4.1. Non violence

5.4.2. Not to take what is not freely given

5.4.3. Not to engage in sexual immorality

5.4.4. Not speaking falsely

5.4.5. Avoidance of intoxicants

5.4.6. There are a lot more, but they are guidelines. You can take on more on festival days or for set periods of time.

5.5. Monasticism

5.5.1. 227 different rules of restraint

5.5.2. Lay and monastic are different as they have different aspirations in Buddhism

5.5.2.1. Lay - hoping for a better rebirth

5.5.2.2. Monks - hoping for enlightenment and then nirvana

6. Monasticism

6.1. Early sources - four-fold order (monks, nuns and devout make and female followers)

6.2. Buddha taught his monks to travel out of compassion for the world and to preach the dharma

6.2.1. During the rainy season there were complaints that monks trampled the young rice crop so Buddha permitted them to stay in one place. But monks could not build dwelling places so were completely reliant on the community.

6.3. Clothing

6.3.1. Important symbols of detachment and a humble way of life.

6.3.2. Laity gifted the saffron material to them

6.4. Alms giving

6.4.1. Monks do not work or have any money, they rely on the lay community for food

6.4.2. Go from door to door on alms rounds once a day.

6.4.3. giving alms was one of the best ways for laity to achieve merit.

6.5. Separate and distinct from the lay community but also completely reliant on them.

7. Atta

7.1. Everything in existence is subject to change and cessation - there cannot be a soul

7.2. The doctrine on not-self

7.3. Person hood (uses the example of a chariot in 'Questions of King Milinda) Personhood is a conventional, but not a real truth.

7.3.1. A chariot is not a pole, an axle, wheels etc. A chariot is a designation, a conceptual term, a name that  we give when all these things come together. A person is just the same - lots of different parts which we give one name.

8. Karma and rebirth

8.1. Context - Brahmins and early Jains

8.1.1. Brahmins (good karma is produce by practises sacrifices and rituals, fruits of this follow from this life to the next

8.1.2. Early Jainism (all karma is bad as all action is liable to injure other living beings)

8.1.3. Buddhist doctrine is different because its based on ethics

8.2. 6 realms of rebirth

8.2.1. Hell

8.2.2. rebellious gods

8.2.3. animals

8.2.4. human

8.2.5. hungry ghosts (greed)

8.3. Good deeds result in upward movement within the 6 realms - not punishment though - individuals are the sole author of their fortunes

8.4. karma = action (moral)

8.5. By freely choosing an individual shaped his character - 'sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.'

8.6. Some consequences are felt life-times ahead - rebirth

9. Dharma

9.1. Nothing of the dharma was written down in the Buddha's life  - there were three ways of learning - listening, reflecting, spiritual practise

9.2. 3 months after the Buddha's death - first attempt to formalise teaching (but not written down - oral transmission, communal recitation)

9.2.1. 1st Buddha council (Council of Rajagrha) (486/368BCE - disputed)

9.2.1.1. Two categories of teaching

9.2.1.1.1. Sutta (general discourse of the Buddha)

9.2.1.1.2. Prescriptions of the lifestyle of a monk

9.2.1.2. Transmission by the Buddha's assistant, Ananda, recited most from his memory .

9.2.1.2.1. Dharma was transmitted to the community in and final state

9.2.2. Task of the sangha to pass knowledge down - teacher to pupil.

9.3. 80 BCE Dharma is written down due to invasion and famine - concern that dieing monks would mean the loss of the canon.

9.4. Mahayanna Buddhism (emerged 100BCE - 100CE)

9.4.1. Open view of revelation / 2nd turn of the wheel of Dharma (even more authentic to what had come before)

9.4.1.1. New scriptures given authority through 3 means

9.4.1.1.1. 1) they were inspired utterances from the still existing Buddha

9.4.1.1.2. 2) they are products of the same perfect wisdom as the basis of the Buddha's own teaching

9.4.1.1.3. 3) the Buddha hid these teachings in a serpent realm until they could be recovered through meditative powers

10. Nirvana

10.1. Ultimate awakening/ liberation/ blowing out of passions and frustrations of existence.

10.2. the end

10.3. 8 fold path is the path to enlightenment

10.4. Buddha talked about in metaphor as it is beyond our understanding

10.4.1. fire metaphor

10.4.1.1. Everything is on fire - fires fuelled by passion, hatred and greed. Nirvana is the quenching of this fire.

11. Meditation and Mindfulness

11.1. v.core to Buddhist practise, but not originally Buddhist

11.2. Buddha had two teachers of Yogic meditation and he reached the 'plane of nothingness' - but this was not fruitful. But salvation must be sought from within - meditation is a tool par excellence.

11.3. Calming Meditation (of the yogis) - applying mindfulness to an object.

11.4. Insight Meditation - calming meditation is not enough, you need both. The goal is not tranquility but penetrating and critical insight.

11.5. Mindfulness is at the heart of Buddhist meditation  - the process of bearing something in mind, with clear awareness - 'not floating away'.

11.5.1. Instead of reaching 'the planes of nothingness', you are more grounded in morality than ever before.

11.5.2. 4 bases of mindfulness

11.5.2.1. Physical body (breathing, posture, awareness of the bodies impurities and the inescapable nature of death)

11.5.2.2. Emotions and feelings and sensation (the passing of these)

11.5.2.3. The intellect (awareness of our state of mind

11.5.2.4. Buddhist Dhamma