The author of this paper aimed to understand the early Buddhism community in its entirety by examining the individual episodes in the "Mahavagga". There is a remarkable experience of the psychic power between the Buddha and the Brahmins. They are both aware of coming across of psychic forces that entered the way to the Buddhist Community. Using the brahmins mythology as a instrument for missionary work, the early Buddhism brings people close to Buddha's community. The (...) class='Hi'>Buddha visited Uruvela-Kassapa and took lodging for the night where the sacred fire was kept, in spite of Kassapa's warning that the spot was inhabited by a fierce Naga. The Buddha, by his magical powers, overcame, first this N ganad then another, both of whom vomited fire and smoke. Kassapabeing pleased with this exhibition of iddhi-power, undertook to provide the Buddha with his daily food. The Buddha spent the whole rainy season there, performing, in all, three thousand five hundred miracles of various kinds, reading the thoughts of kassapa, splitting firewood for the ascetic sacrifices, heating stoves for them to use after bathing in the cold weather, etc. Still Kassapa persisted in the thought, "The great ascetic is of great magic power, but he is not anarahant like me." Finally the Buddha decided to startle him by declaring that he was not an arahant, neither did the way he followed lead to arahantship. Thereon kassapa owned defeat and reverently asked for ordination. The Buddha asked him to consult with his pupils, and they cut off their hair and threw it with their sacrificial utensils into the river and were all ordained. Nadi Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa were ordained with their pupils. At Gay sisa the Buddha preached to them the Fire Sermon, and they all attained arahantship for the early Buddhist Community. The episode of Uruvela Kassaps in the Mahavagga text ultimately idealizes the power of psychic and the start of the community. It is probable, even at the time when the episode were written, that as a matter of fact every one, in ordinary daily life, spoke imply the vernaculars in a much more simple and natural state of society. It is the Mahavagga authors, when addressing a cultured public at a date when the vernaculars had become the paramount literary language. Another point is that though brahmins take part in the religious and philosophical conversations of those early tims, and in the accounts of them are always referred to with respect, and threaten with the same courtesythat they always themselves extended also to others, yet they hold no predominant position. The majority of the ascetic, and the most influential individuals among them, are not brahmins. That is only a matter of course will be the obvious subjection. The Mahavagga texts I quotes, if not the work of bitter opponents, were at least composed under India bramins influence, and are prejudiced against the brahmins. (shrink)
In the past decade or so there has been a surge of monographs on the nature of ‘Buddhist Ethics.’ For the most part, authors are concerned with developing and defending explications of Buddhism as a normative ethical theory with an apparent aim of putting Buddhist thought directly in dialogue with contemporary Western philosophical debates in ethics. Despite disagreement among Buddhist ethicists concerning which contemporary normative ethical theory a Buddhist ethic would most closely resemble (if any), 1 it is arguable (...) that all Buddhist ethicists (like all Buddhists) embrace and endorse the Four Noble Truths as a framing assumption. That is, a Buddhist ethic will (1) typically assume that we fallible .. (shrink)
A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article proposes that, despite endless debates within Zen Buddhism between quietist tendencies (“sitting quietly, doing nothing”) and the instruction to act in the world (“go wash the dishes”), Zen has always held a nondualist approach that denies any contradiction between these seemingly distinct ways. Zen has never really seen them as distinct. The article does survey, however, several quietist sources for Zen in early Indian (...) and Daoist thought and practice, and it also surveys the debates between these and more activist tendencies. Raz goes on to show how these became unified in a nondualist approach in the writings and teachings of prominent Chinese and Japanese teachers from the beginning of Zen (Chan) in China down to the twentieth century. (shrink)
The rich and interconnected universe of Śākya Mchog Ldan’s views, including those on the buddha-essence, cannot be limited to or summarized in a few neat categories. Nevertheless, the following two interrelated ideas are crucial for understanding Śākya Mchog Ldan’s interpretation of the buddha-essence: 1) only Mahāyāna āryas (’phags pa) have the buddha-essence characterized by the purity from adventitious stains (glo bur rnam dag).
This article attempts to define karma as both action and the effects of action. In terms of the effects or fruits of action, the effect of action upon the mind is the focus; thus, the idea of "effect" is primarily defined as psychic residue and is compared to Freud's notion of memory traces. In addition, action that produces karma is said to be accompanied by the "pulling" feeling of volition (cetanÄ). Some comparisons are then made between cetanÄ and the theories (...) of Karen Horney in Western psychology vis Ã vis her view of the neurotic's compulsive, driven feelings. The article also has a more ethically oriented side. Often, the karma doctrine is believed to be the only causal factor responsible for one's present condition, and thus, a person's unfortunate circumstances: sometimes this notion leads to blaming a person for his or her misfortune. This article seeks to discover whether or not this idea truly has scriptural backing. Lastly, the article explores the issue of whether or not one must always live out the entirety of the effects of one's actions or if it is possible to purify or eliminate actions' effects before they come to fruition. For this question in particular, the article examines both TheravÄda and MahÄyÄna thinking. (shrink)
Philosophy of the Buddha is a philosophical introduction to the teaching of the Buddha. It carefully guides readers through the basic ideas and practices of the Buddha, including kamma (karma), rebirth, the not-self doctrine, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, ethics, meditation, nonattachment, and Nibbâna (Nirvana). The book includes an account of the life of the Buddha as well as comparisons of his teaching with practical and theoretical aspects of some Western philosophical outlooks, both (...) ancient and modern. Most distinctively, Philosophy of the Buddha explores how Buddhist enlightenment could enable us to overcome suffering in our lives and reach our full potential for compassion and tranquillity. This is one of the first books to introduce the philosophy of the Buddha to students of Western philosophy. Christopher W. Gowans' style is exceptionally clear and appropriate for anyone looking for a comprehensive introduction to this growing area of interest. (shrink)
“One should always cherish some ambition to do something in the world. They alone rise who strive.” is the great wording of Dr.Ambedkar. There are two fundamental types of human nature. Creative and possessive. Creative humans use human intellect for creative endeavors which enriches human thought; knowledge and wealth thereby contribute to the development of human heritage for the posterity. Possessive people, on the other hand do not believe in the use of human intellect for creative purpose. Gautam Buddha, (...) Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, Kabeer, Ravidas, Tukarama, Krantiba Jotirao Phoolay, Periyar and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar they all belong to the great class of Ceative humans called as Humanists in Indian context. Here we studies Ambedkar’s views related to humanism and Buddhism. (shrink)
Malcolm David Eckel takes us on a contemporary quest to discover the essential meaning behind the Buddha's many representations. Eckel's bold thesis proposes that the proper understanding of Buddhist philosophy must be thoroughly religious--an understanding revealed in Eckel's new translation of the philospher Bhavaviveka's major work, The Flame of Reason. Eckel shows that the dimensions of early Indian Buddhism--popular art, conventional piety, and critical philosophy--all work together to express the same religious yearning for the fullness of emptiness that (...)Buddha conveys. (shrink)
In this clearly written undergraduate textbook, Stephen Laumakis explains the origin and development of Buddhist ideas and concepts, focusing on the philosophical ideas and arguments presented and defended by selected thinkers and sutras from various traditions. He starts with a sketch of the Buddha and the Dharma, and highlights the origins of Buddhism in India. He then considers specific details of the Dharma with special attention to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology, and examines the development of Buddhism in (...) China, Japan, and Tibet, concluding with the ideas of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. In each chapter he includes explanations of key terms and teachings, excerpts from primary source materials, and presentations of the arguments for each position. His book will be an invaluable guide for all who are interested in this rich and vibrant philosophy. (shrink)
Aiming to complicate this story, Dan Arnold confronts a significant obstacle to popular attempts at harmonizing classical Buddhist and modern scientific thought: since most Indian Buddhists believe that the mental continuum is uninterrupted ...
This reconciliation of the dialectical and contemplative approaches to the buddha-essence is related to and closely resembles Shakchok’s reconciliation of the two approaches to ultimate reality advocated respectively by Niḥsvabhāvavāda (ngo bo nyid med par smra ba, “Proponents of Entitylessness”) system of Madhyamaka and Alīkākāravāda (rnam rdzun pa, “False Aspectarians”) system of Yogācāra. These approaches in turn are connected respectively to the explicit teachings (dngos bstan) of the second dharmacakra (chos ’khor, “Wheel of Dharma”) and the definitive teachings (nges (...) don, nītārtha) of the third dharmacakra that he also presents in a reconciliatory manner. In the same way as the teachings of the last two dharmacakras, as well as the Niḥsvabhāvavāda and Alīkākāravāda systems that derive from them, come to the same point, the dialectical and contemplative traditions also come to the same point. This point is the above-mentioned naturally pure primordial mind luminous by nature, the ultimate reality. In Shakchok’s opinion, application of non-affirming negations is a powerful tool for accessing direct realization of that reality, while its identification as primordial mind (ye shes, jñāna) is important for maintaining that realization and turning it into the basis of unfolding positive qualities on the path to buddhahood. When in the passage above Shakchok says that the two traditions are not contradictory, and when he reconciles the two last dharmacakras together with Alīkākāravāda and Niḥsvabhāvavāda, he is not arguing that their words are non-contradictory. They obviously are! Nevertheless, those systems are non-contradictory in terms of complementing each other in getting access to and maintaining realization of the ultimate reality of primordial mind. (shrink)
Indian Buddhist sources speak of five sins of immediate retribution: murder of mother, father, an arhat, drawing the blood of a buddha, and creating a schism in the monastic community. This category provides the paradigm for sinfulness in Buddhism. Yet even these sins can and will, be expiated in the long run, demonstrating the overwhelmingly positive nature of Buddhist ethics.
For those seeking an answer to this question and to understand Buddhism as an important part of the world's religious and cultural heritage, Philosophy of the Buddha is an excellent introduction and guide.
Routinization is a term invented by Max Weber to describe events after the death of a charismatic religious leader. It has become widely used in the humanities in a variety of contexts. The death of the historical Buddha produced the first known instance of extreme routinization, in which the charisma of the founder is transmuted into a system of teachings that are themselves invested with authority, quite separate from the charisma of any individual within that tradition. This article examines (...) the Sāmagāmasutta and the Gopaka-Mogallānasutta, two texts from the Majjhima Nikāya. These texts, when read together, show us just how the Buddha prepared the way for the extreme routinization that would take place in the community, and how the early Buddhist monks reacted to this. In the Sāmagāmasutta, the Buddha prepares for the power vacuum after his own death by setting up procedures by which the monks will be able to govern themselves without relying on a single charismatic leader. The Gopaka-Mogallānasutta describes events after the Buddha’s death and indicates that the Buddha’s instructions had been followed faithfully. Taken together, these two obscure texts frame the far more famous Mahāparinibbānasutta and provide it with valuable context. This discussion is followed by a consideration of how Buddhism ended up reverting to more conventional patterns of routinization as it expanded. (shrink)
We're all given the same twenty-four hours a day. We can spend our time feeling hurried and harried, overwhelmed by chores and demands, distracted and burned out . . . or we can awaken to Buddha Standard Time, the realm of timelessness where every choice, every action, and every breath can be one of renewal and infinite possibilities. Buddha Standard Time shares one of the great realizations of Buddhism, an insight that anyone can learn to apply. The (...) minutes and hours of our days do not simply march from future to present to past. Rather, each moment is intersected by a fourth dimension. By learning to live in this dimension-Buddha Standard Time-we reduce the amount of stress in our lives and find greater focus, fulfillment, creativity, and even wisdom. Drawing on Tibetan Buddhism and other great wisdom traditions, as well as on neuroscience and holistic traditions, renowned teacher and national bestselling author Lama Surya Das shares real world examples, practical exercises, and essential techniques. The pace and pressure of today's world feels relentless. That is why, now more than ever, we need the ancient wisdom contained in Buddha Standard Time. Far from being at the mercy of time's demands, we will finally realize that we have, in fact, all the time in the world. (shrink)
The three works brought together in this collection explore Buddhism as a rich source of literary legend, an austere ethical guide, and a contemporary philosophy very relevant in the modern world in view of the resurgence of interest in the Buddha and his philosophy. Matthew T. Kapstein in his Introduction provides a concise historical overview of Buddhism in India and the renewal of interest in the Buddha s teachings and also situates the works in their proper (...) contexts. Gautama Buddha by Iqbal Singh views the life of the Buddha in the context of the eventful age in which he lived, keeping in mind the significant connection of the personality of Gautama and his understanding of the nature of human experience and destiny, the deeper problems of our age. The Dhammapada or the path of virtue is the founding text of Buddhist teaching. The verses of the Dhammapada are believed to have been the utterances of Gautama the Buddha himself. Presented here in both Pali and English this classic edition was translated, edited, and annotated by S. Radhakrishnan, one of India s foremost philosophers. The Philosophy of Religion by Arvind Sharma interrogates key philosophical issues such as the nature of evil, belief or disbelief in God, human destiny, immortality, karma, and reincarnation, from the perspective of Buddhist philosophy and compares them with the tenets of the Western-dominated philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Nihilism and Buddhism: 1. Nietzsche as Buddha; 2. Nietzsche as anti-Buddha; Part II. Suffering: 3. Amor Fati and the affirmation of suffering; 4. Nirvana and the cessation of suffering; Part III. Compassion: 5. Overcoming compassion; 6. Cultivating compassion; Conclusion: toward a new response to the challenge of nihilism.
A confluence of increasing interest in popular culture as a source for religious inspiration and the growing interest, both popular and scholarly, in zombie-fiction bring together several possibilities for scholarship in the context of religious studies. This paper will present one aspect of the zombie-craze in the light of Buddhist philosophy. The Buddha taught that the illusion of self-ish-ness, and resulting attachments, are the greatest hurdles to achieving nibbana. Through meditating on the decomposing corpse, Buddhists may come to realize (...) the Ten Impurities of the Body, and so come to grips with the impermanence of the self. I will illustrate how George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, recognized as the watershed film of the modern zombie sub-genre, unintentionally conveys the Buddhist teachings of dukkha (suffering by attachments), anatta (no-self), and anicca (impermanence). (shrink)
The modern hospice movement is generally understood to have begun with the founding in 1967 by Cicely Saunders of the St. Christopher's Hospice in the United Kingdom. As the movement has grown, it has inspired Buddhists in Asia to rediscover and revive their own traditions around death and caring for the terminally ill and the bereaved that date back to the time of the Buddha. In Asia and the West as well, we are witnessing the work of several groups (...) attempting to apply Buddhist teachings and practices in modern medical settings or develop new institutions for holistic care based in Buddhist values. This paper draws on research conducted by the Ojo and Death Project established in 2006 by the Jodo Shu Research Institute (JSRI) in Tokyo, that is to be published in a volume by Wisdom Publications under the title, Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved: Global Perspectives edited by Watts and Tomatsu (2012).1 It shows some of the innovative work that Buddhists in Asia and the West are doing in the area of caring for the terminally ill and, also, the bereaved, explores issues that can be seen especially well in the Japanese context, and reviews shared fundamental issues that emerged across the whole range of organizations studied over the first five years of this research programme. (shrink)
This article looks at what is genuinely new in the Buddhist transnationalism of the modern period. It examines the history of Buddhist councils and synods from the early gatherings after the demise of the Buddha to the Buddhist World Council in the twentieth century. These often international events followed a role-model, defined by the first three councils, of creating and handing down an authoritative version of the Buddha's teachings (dhamma) while they could also lead to a ?purification? of (...) the monks' order (sangha) if monks sticking to divergent textual traditions were expelled from the sangha. Despite their importance, however, councils have received rather little attention in scholarly literature. This article takes a fresh look at Buddhist synods with a focus on those convened since the mid-nineteenth century. It explores how the latter sought to comply with inherited forms and functions, while at the same time becoming innovative in order to adapt Buddhism to its modern environment. (shrink)
Buddhism traces its origin to the teachings of the historical figure of Gautama, the Buddha. Buddhist system addresses perennial human concerns and articulates profound insights into human nature and thus provides a practical context against the back ground of which it is possible to unravel the meaning of lives. Different branches of this school developed various scriptural traditions. Among them early Buddhist thought branched out into diversity of orders, schools of thought and teaching lineages. Wisdom and compassion are (...) the distinctive marks of Buddhism and this strife-tormented world is in dire need of these qualities. Buddhism not only talks about these qualities, it also illustrates the way how to acquire the same. Post-modernism which is a movement in different fields, culture, philosophy, literature, and arts etc. claims to decentralize the importance of reason. There are many post modern thinkers like, Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze, Guattari, Levinas who worked in their own way and they discerned a shift in the art and culture of their societies from a distinctively modern phase to a postmodernist phase. Considering these observations this paper is motivated by two questions. On the one hand, one is constantly intrigued by the vast treasures of early Buddhist heritage; on the other hand, one is perplexed by the post modern deconstructive method which has some point of similarities with early Buddhistthought. In between these two lines of thinking this paper tries to argue that the better our understanding and appreciation of this ancient legacy of Buddhist treasures becomes, the more able we will be to grasp the lines of post-modern thinking. There are certain concepts of Buddhism namely, language, writing, desire, suffering, death which are all important issues to the post-modern thinkers. The present paper is an effort to high light some of these concepts against the back ground of early Buddhist traditions. (shrink)
Essential Buddhism, the fundamental teachings of the historical Buddha and the core of all major branches of Buddhism, is psychology, not religion or philosophy. Essential Buddhism is described from a psychological perspective and interrelated with Western psychology in general, and cognitive science, behaviour modification, psychoanalysis, and transpersonal psychology, in specific. Integrating Buddhist psychology and Western psychology yields a more comprehensive psychology and more powerful therapies.
This paper argues that the central philosophical movement in the complex history of Buddhism that originated with Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha and carried on by Nāgārjuna (among other later Buddhist philosophers) shares some common themes with the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey. These themes are the rejection of traditional metaphysics as definitive of philosophy, a return to the correct understanding of the nature of experience, and a particular view about the conduct and nature of philosophy. Dewey is used (...) to illuminate such controversial problems in the Buddhist tradition as why the Buddha is silent about metaphysical questions, what it means to say that everything is anitya, and how we are to understand Nāgārjuna's key concepts of prattyasamutpāda and únyatá. (shrink)
Finnigan (200x), in the course of a careful and astute discussion of the difficulties facing a Buddhist account of the moral agency of a buddha, develops a challenging critique of a proposal I made in Garfield (2006). Much of what she says is dead on target, and I have learned much from her paper. But I have serious reservations about the central thrust both of her critique of my own thought and about her proposal for a positive account (...) of a buddha’s enlightened action. Curiously, in another fine paper (Finnigan and Tanaka 200x), Finnigan and her co-author have anticipated much of what I will say in reply. I will rely in part on that second paper in my reply to the essay that appears in this volume. (shrink)
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