Buddhism. World Religions 101: Understanding Theirs So You Can Share Yours by Jenny Hale

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1 Buddhism

2 Buddhism: A Snapshot Purpose: To break the cycle of reincarnation by finding release from suffering through giving up desire How to earn salvation: Break the cycle of rebirth. Salvation is nirvana, or becoming one with the universe Deity: while gods of other faiths are acknowledged, they are not needed Buddhism is more of a lifestyle than a faith. Buddhas can hear and answer prayers but no gods are worshipped Worship: Puja, discipline, meditation Very self-driven by a person s own level of discipline Because Buddhism is a lifestyle, it is cross-cultural

3 History Buddhism began out of Hinduism It rejects the authority of the Vedas (as does Jainism) Buddhism stresses the Middle Way not extreme asceticism, devotion and discipline required to practice Buddhism declined in India over time but is still very strong in Southeast Asia

4 Siddhartha Gautama The Buddha Lived during the 6 th century BCE Was born a prince and was raised totally protected from all suffering It was prophesied that Siddhartha would either become a mighty king or a spiritual leader, so his father decided to protect him in order for him to become a great king At 19, Siddhartha married and had a son By age 30 he began to notice suffering in the world He realized he could not stay surrounded by youth and beauty forever

5 He left the palace and wandered looking for release from suffering He became an ascetic and fasted lived on a single grain of rice per day He sought discomfort to find relief but could not find enlightenment He gave up asceticism to meditate He meditated under a fig tree until he achieved enlightenment (40 days, during which he was tempted) He became known as The Buddha (Enlightened One) During his meditations he saw the cycle of death and rebirth and how people are stuck in it People are driven by tanha desire, thirst, craving

6 Tanha causes karma When he ceased to desire enlightenment, he found it He began to travel and found 5 ascetic friends He began to teach that extremes were not good and all should live by the Middle Way 5 ascetics followed him and formed the first Sangha Buddhist monastic order

7 Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching others he died at age 80 He believed that women and persons of any caste could achieve enlightenment Being a Buddhist monk is still incredibly important and seen as a life worthy of respect Monks are identified by shaving their heads and wearing yellow robes I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in dharma, I take refuge in Sangha. Laypeople give gifts of food, clothing, and other necessities to monks

8 Teachings of Buddha Many Hindu traditions are good The gods are subject to reincarnation so no need to worship them (atheistic) People live in a state of anatman non-soulness What is called a soul is actually the physical body, feelings, understanding, will and consciousness Release from reincarnation is based only on your works

9 The 4 Noble Truths 1. All life is suffering. Birth hurts, death hurts, getting sick and old hurts, not getting what you want hurts. 2. Suffering is caused by your cravings and desires. Wanting to be successful and happy causes pain. 3. Ending of suffering is possible give up all passions and cravings 4. Following the Eightfold Path will end pain

10 The Eightfold Path 1. Right understanding of reality. Explore and accept the 4 Noble Truths and the Eightfold path with an open mind. 2. Right Thought. Renounce desired no hating anyone or anything 3. Right Speech. Don t lie, no idle chatter or gossip. 4. Right Actions. Don t kill any living creature only take what is given to you, not bad sexual acts, no stealing, gambling, or drinking 5. Right occupation. Get a job that won t harm anyone.

11 6. Right Effort. Be perfect do all you can to make sure you have no evil habits or character traits. 7. Right Meditation. Be observant, alert, and free from desire or sadness. 8. Right Concentration. Enter the four degrees of meditation by concentrating.

12 The End Game The goal of Buddhism is to extinguish tanha and be released from the cycle of rebirth into nirvana by following the Eightfold Path and understanding the 4 Noble Truths through meditation Monks regard Buddha as an arhat or saint Anyone who achieves release can become an arhat Buddha-dharma-sangha

13 Buddhism Changes After Buddha died, his followers debated the meaning of his teachings They spilt into 2 (and later more) groups, declaring each other heretics Within each group there are many schools of belief

14 1. Theravada the exclusive way; aka Hinayana focuses on meditation, Buddha as an example, southeast Asia, text: Tripitaka 2. Mahayana the expansive way, Buddha is a savior, northern & central Asia, texts Tripitaka, Sutras, including Lotus Sutra & Heart Sutra 3. Tibetan Buddhism led by the Dalai Lama, use prayer wheels (tantric), texts Tibetan Book of the Dead (says there are 49 days between death and rebirth) 4. Zen Buddhism branch that is big in the western world. Zen means meditation in Japanese

15 How to share Christ with a Buddhist Explain grace that God freely gives, out of his love for us, salvation through his Son we can t work our way into salvation Explain the need for a Savior that we will never achieve perfection nor should we try that Christ s death on the cross paid for all our sin That God wants us to spend eternity with him not as part of the universal soul, but as part of his family; a beloved child of God

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