Buddhism: Buddhism Buddhist Symbol: The Dharma Wheel represents the Noble Eightfold Path, which are the core beliefs of Buddhism. Where and When Buddhism Began: Where and When Buddhism Began Buddhism began in India approximately 2,500 years ago. Buddhism’s roots are in Hinduism, because the person who established Buddhism was a Hindu prince before he became “the Buddha” (or “Enlightened One”) and broke off from Hinduism to form a new religion. Founder of Buddhism: The 1st Leader of Buddhism: Founder of Buddhism: The 1 st Leader of Buddhism The Hindu prince’s name was Siddhartha Gautama. According to Buddhist tradition, Siddhartha Gautama received a revelation from God when he was 35 years old, and then he began teaching the religious ideas that developed into what is now called “Buddhism”. Siddhartha lived approx. 2,500 years ago (born 563 B.C.E.). Founder of Buddhism, cont’d: Founder of Buddhism, cont’d Siddhartha Gautama was born into the royal family of a small kingdom in the Himalayan foothills. Giving up a life of luxury in his palace to seek the true purpose of life, Siddhartha first tried the path of severe asceticism, only to abandon it after six years as a futile exercise. He then sat down in meditation beneath a banyan tree until he achieved enlightenment. That is when he is said to have received his revelation from God - and become “the Buddha”. More Buddhist Leaders - Asoka: More Buddhist Leaders - Asoka Asoka (Ashoka) was the next great leader of Buddhism. He was an emperor in India, who was a prince of the Mauryan dynasty. Asoka was a very influential and powerful warrior. When he converted to Buddhism in the 3rd century B.C.E., most of his subjects throughout his entire empire also converted to Buddhism. This was the turning point when Buddhism began to expand throughout Asia - and grow into a major religion. Beginning in 254 B.C.E., Asoka had monumental edicts on Buddhism carved into rocks and caves throughout his empire. Asoka is also credited with building 84,000 shrines to commemorate key events in the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Indian actor, Shahruhk Khan, in the 2001 movie “Asoka”. More Buddhist Leaders, cont’d: More Buddhist Leaders, cont’d Buddhist monks – These are men who, like the first 5 followers of Buddha, dedicate their lives to the study and practice of their religion, usually in a cloistered environment, such as a monastery. It is a great honor for a family to have a son who is a Buddhist monk, and many send their sons at a very young age so that they will receive a good education as they grow up. Similarly, Buddhist nuns live in a nunnery and also devote their lives to study and worship, while receiving an education. Buddhist monks in Tibet Buddhist nuns in Tibet Buddhist Sacred Texts: Buddhist Sacred Texts The Tripitika (meaning the "Three Baskets”) – These are the sacred texts of Buddhism. They are called the “Tripitika” (a Sanskrit word) because they are made up of three major sections or “baskets” of sacred Buddhist scripture: The Sutta-pitika , which contain all the sermons or talks given by the Buddha. The Vinaya-pitika consists of the teachings of Buddhist monks and stories of the lives of famous monks (biographies). Finally there is the Abhidhamma , which contains the systematic analysis of the teachings found in the Sutta-pitika and Vinaya-pitika collections. Central Beliefs: Central Beliefs Four Noble Truths: Sorrow is universal. Everyone experiences sadness and suffering. Sorrow and suffering are caused by greedy desire, or cravings, for things. The cure for sorrow is to eliminate greedy desire and seek enlightenment. The way to seek enlightenment is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path. Central Beliefs (continued): Central Beliefs (continued) Noble Eightfold Path: Right concentration or meditation Right understandings or views Right directed thought or intentions Right speech Right action or conduct Right livelihood or occupation Right effort Right mindfulness The Noble Eightfold Path is also called “The Middle Path” (or “The Middle Way”), meaning that a person who follows these spiritual guidelines does not have to “go overboard”. Rather than being an ascetic (one who gives up every comfort of life) or by being overindulgent (one who enjoys too many of life’s comforts), instead a person can choose to live a comfortable, but moderate life style. Nirvana: Nirvana is the “enlightenment” or “perfect peace” that an individual reaches after many lifetimes of trying to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, so that they never have to reincarnate again. It’s like the idea of “heaven”.) Buddhist Sects: Buddhist Sects There are 5 main sects of Buddhism. Hinayana Buddhism – This is an early name for Buddhism. This is the most traditional form of Buddhism. They see the Buddha as a great religious teacher. This form of Buddhism developed into Theraveda Buddhism. Theraveda Buddhism – This sect prevails in Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar), and emphasizes the meditative life as the way to break the cycle of death and rebirth. This sect has 5 million devotees, worldwide, in the 21st century, and is growing. Buddhist Sects (cont’d - pg. 2): Buddhist Sects (cont’d - pg. 2) Mahayana Buddhism – Mahayana Buddhism arose at the beginning of the Christian era. It exhorts the individual not merely to attain personal nirvana*, but to become a trainee Buddha (or bodhisattva ) and so save others. Mahayana Buddhism is practiced in China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet. Zen Buddhism – In the 6th century CE, Mahayana Buddhism spread to China. From China, it spread to Japan where it became established by the 12th century CE as Zen Buddhism . This Japanese form of Buddhism stresses salvation through enlightenment. To achieve enlightenment, one must engage in long periods of silent meditation and self-discipline. By the 1980’s, Zen Buddhism was followed by more than 7 million households around the world. Buddhist Sects (cont’d – pg. 3): Buddhist Sects (cont’d – pg. 3) 5. Tibetan Buddhism - Tibetan Buddhism is a religion in exile, since the nation of Tibet was conquered by the Chinese in 1959. Tibetan Buddhism combines the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism with teachings from an ancient Tibetan religion called Bon. Dalai Lama – The best known face of Tibetan Buddhism is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled the Chinese occupation of his country. The Dalai Lama is the head of the Buddhist religion of Tibet – and the head-of-state of the nation of Tibet in exile. The current Dalai Lama is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who travels the world to help resolve conflict. He is pictured with President-elect Obama in 2008. Places of Worship: Shrines, Temples, & Stupas: Places of Worship: Shrines, Temples, & Stupas Buddhist shrines are private places of worship in Buddhist homes. Buddhist Temples – are public places of worship. The pagoda style temple to the right is on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, United States. Bodnath Stupa* is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Katmandu, Nepal - and rich in Buddhist symbolism. : Bodnath Stupa* is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Katmandu, Nepal - and rich in Buddhist symbolism. (*Whether it’s large or small, a “stupa” is considered a sacred place, where some of the Buddha’s ashes are said to be interred.) Tibetan Prayer Flags: Tibetan Prayer Flags Tibetan prayer flags are colorful flags inscribed with auspicious symbols, mantras, or images. It is believed that the wind carries the sacred prayers and beneficial energy across the countryside, bringing luck and happiness to everyone in the vicinity. Tibetan Prayer Wheels: Tibetan Prayer Wheels A prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel on a spindle made from metal, wood, stone, leather, or even coarse cotton. Traditionally, a sacred phrase is written in Sanskrit on the outside of the wheel – or on a slip of paper within the wheel. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning such a wheel will have the same effect as orally reciting prayers. Holy Days: Buddhist Calendar for 2011: Holy Days: Buddhist Calendar for 2011 Feb 8 or Feb 15 – Parinirvana day (aka: Nirvana day) This is a Mahayana Buddhist festival, marking the anniversary of Buddha's death, when he reached the age of 80. Parinirvana is celebrated by some Buddhists on February 8 th and by other sects on Feb 15 th . Feb 18 - Magha Puja day Fourfold Assembly or Sangha Day. Marks the day Buddha addressed a meeting of 1250 adherents, an indication that his religion was growing and spreading. April 18 - New Year festival for Theravada Buddhists, celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April Holy Days: Buddhist Calendar for 2011 (cont’d): Holy Days: Buddhist Calendar for 2011 (cont’d) May 17 – Wesak or Buddha day The most important of the Buddhist festivals. Wesak celebrates the Buddha's birthday, and, for some Buddhists, also marks his enlightenment and death. Jul 15 - Asala- Dharma Day The anniversary of the start of Buddha's teaching, that commemorates the first sermon he gave after his enlightenment: the “Deer Park Sermon”. Dec 8 - Bodhi Day - On Bodhi day some Buddhists celebrate Gautama's attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India.