Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings

Buddhist Beliefs and Teachings
Articles
16



hello and welcome to my new video for aq a religious studies a as you'll see this latest video video is on Buddhism and beliefs and teachings so I've got to apologize from two points of view first of all I can all apologize if Buddhism isn't one of the comparative religions that you're studying secondly I apologize to any Buddhist or British scholars out there who are going to wince at my pronunciations but anyway let's move on okay so Buddhism is quite an old religion it predates Christianity by about 500 years as most of you will know from your studies it was founded by Siddhartha Gautama who having become enlightened became known as the Buddha as a young man Siddhartha led a life of luxury he was brought up in a palace and he was isolated from the outside world and it's suffering pradhan me because his father feared that he would become a holy man which obviously he did the other thing to say about it is that it doesn't have the glow same global spread as Christianity although there are Buddhists all around the world and the majority of those Buddhists are based within sort of Asia and Southeast Asia ok so I've already mentioned that Siddhartha Gautama grew up in a palace you can read the sort of backstory about that sure you are aware of it but basically the story goes that having grown up in a palace he left the palace at the age of 29 and in a single encounter or a series of encounters we're not quite sure he saw the four sites and those sites are old-age illness death and the holy man now all of those sites had a profound influence on Siddhartha and as I say he decided ultimately that he would reject the life that he had previously led and that he would leave the palace and renounce all his worldly goods okay so after leaving the palace and he's left behind his family he's got a wife an ER and a young child he decides that he is going to become a holy man and he decides that the best way of going about this is to lead what's known as an ascetic life be careful not to confuse a setec with aesthetic they're two different things but basically this is a life where he rejects all worldly goods and he leads a kind of life of spiritual purity and it's quite a difficult it's quite a difficult and extreme way of life to pursue but anyway he also decides to practice meditation now during the course of this sort of process that he's going through he discovers that this life of denial and extreme suffering is not very good for you it merely leads to his his death so what he does is he undergoes a period of re-evaluation and thinks about what would cause an end to the suffering that he has previously observed and he concludes that you should follow what's known as the middle way now we'll get on to talking about that later on but obviously you need to be aware that the middle way is a central aspect of the Buddha's teachings so having adopted this middle-way siddhartha practices meditation again meditation is a key feature of Buddhism above which I'm sure you're very much aware he sees this as a way of attaining the wisdom of enlightenment now enlightenment means that he obviously overcomes the barriers to seeing the world as it actually is and during the process of enlightenment he gains that insight into the world how it is and obviously you know the role of suffering etc within that world during this period of kind of intense meditation we're told that the Buddha is visited by Mara an evil demon who attempts to stop him achieving enlightenment however he kind of is able to reject those attempts and again you might want to look at sort of comparisons with Jesus being tempted by the devil and you know when he's in the wilderness but I'll leave that to you so Siddhartha becomes enlightened over three different periods and these are called the three watches of the night during these three different periods he becomes aware of not only his past lives but the cycle of life and death and the cause of suffering and following that he becomes the Buddha he gains his enlightenment and he's joined by those people that he has previously meditated with they called the five ascetics and they are followers of the Buddha his first five followers if you like disciples case following his enlightenment the Buddha talked about the nature of existence these are sometimes regarded as kind of universal truths or laws now in an ancient language parley they're known as the Dharma and in Sanskrit similar lists sort of similarly pronounced rather but slightly different spelt so Dharma in short these are the Buddhist teachings now I'm afraid to say there's no real way of getting around it but you're gonna have to learn words which are going to be quite unfamiliar the only way of really learning these is by kind of repetition and using them unfortunately as I say there is no easy way of remembering them and I know that students tend to sort of struggle with them so the Dharma are the second of the three refuges they're also called treasures and jewels of the three the first is the Buddha and the third is the Buddhist community or what's known as Sangha right so one of the Buddha's sort of ideas is that of dependent arising and it's the Buddhist vision of the nature of life it basically states that things are dependent on one another now again you're going to have to try and remember what these concepts look like so in this regard I would suggest that a school for example my school Nicholas Chamberlin basically is only a school because it's dependent on having students and it's also dependent on having teachers if either of those or didn't exist then it wouldn't be a school you can also see this in the Tibetan Wheel of Life this process is shown in a cycle of life and death called samsara in this case the world in which people are reborn depends on their or karma and for Buddhists the goal is to try to break out of this cycle and to achieve nirvana now again you'll see these words I'm using the version of these words which is used in the in the GCSE textbook that we have again you might find that they are slightly different but differently spelt in the books that you used but be aware of them and try not to get them confused with other similar sounding words which belong to other religions okay so in Buddhism there are three characteristics that mark our lives the first of these marks is something called dukkha or suffering and for Buddhists suffering can be seen in three ways there's the kind of conventional idea of suffering which is pain and discomfort you know you're ill you don't feel too happy about it that's one version of suffering and the second is change and that could be things like I don't know you know changing your life circumstances or you know something like moving from one school to another and leaving all your friends behind the third is attachment now on the face of it it would seem that that might be attachment to a particular object a person etc however it seems in Buddhism to be slightly more complicated than that and is basically a kind of general dissatisfaction within life of which kind of attachment to objects people etc could be part of that and could cause suffering ok the second mark is something called Anika or impermanence basically the Buddha teaches that we want stability in our lives we like to think that we have stable lives but we also have to accept that there's an ever-changing world and when we realize that we can't have stability in this changing world that things move on things change etc that in itself becomes a cause suffering the third mark is that of an art or basically there's no fixed self or soul now Buddhist think that human beings are comprised of what's known as five aggregates bits and pieces that make us who we are and these are form sensation perception mental formations and consciousness as people we're basically constantly changing we might have an identity but this isn't fixed and again you might want to think about your own life and how you as a small child are very different from now from you as now you know being teenagers and are you the same person well yes and at the same time no you're obviously very different from when you were when you were three or four so again some sort of concepts for you to to think about okay so one of the most important thing within Buddhism is this thing called the Four Noble Truths and these are seems the kind of core elements of Buddha's teachings now we're going to also as we have done in Christianity encounter two kind of major groups within Buddhism I'm going to talk about those in a little more detail but the first group is Theravada Buddhists who understand that the four truths are a key to gaining enlightenment and out's Theravada Buddhists you're kind of more traditional Buddhists I don't want to do it but I guess if we were to draw a comparison we might sort of say they are kind of like you know the sort of more traditional Buddhist that we might find a comparison with Adam and Catholics and Christianity and the other hand there are mayanna Mahayana Buddhists there again pronunciations let me down but basically they believed that the Four Noble Truths are important but there also has to be an emphasis on other teachings for example compassion now you'll need to know the distinction between those two Buddhist groups so that's something which you will have to go back and look at and understand in quite some detail okay so we've already looked at dhikr and the acceptance that suffering exists so the second noble truth is something called ten how cravings but it describes three types of different cravings that human beings have cravings for things that please the senses for example you might have a craving for chocolate do you need chocolate the answer is no but you have a craving for it because that's what you desire at that particular moment in time craving to become something that you are not so every Saturday we're faced with people appearing on that the shows like The X Factor who are obviously craving fame and fortune and then disappointed when they realize they've got no talent and then craving for non-existence a craving for non-existence might sound a bit weird but it's craving for things so for example you might have done something which is embarrassed you in front of your friends and you wish that moment could go away and never happened so there are three types of craving in addition to these in Tibetan Buddhism there are also three poisons that cause suffering there's a look at a picture on the screen which you can see and they denote these three poisons so there's ignorant switch is pictures as a pig greed and desire which is a cockerel and anger and hatred which is a snake okay so in general terms the end goal of Buddhism is that basically you should be able to overcome suffering and the Buddha teaches that you can overcome suffering by letting go of craving things now as I say you know we'd go back to the middle middle way middle path here and it doesn't mean to say that you should stop craving things you know but it recognizes that you might want things I mean in this case you might want a new phone although pretty sure but it wasn't aware of mobile phones now the one thing you should do is enjoy it and accept that it will not last think about that you know in terms of craving and again I you know I think it's an interesting concept because how many of us want a new mobile phone receive a new mobile phone only to be told that there's another version coming along and we want that basically mobile phone company's business is perpetuated by cravings for the latest sort of you know mobile phone the Buddha also says that you should understand that some things offer deeper satisfaction so you know things like craving a mobile phone you might get enjoyment from that mobile phone but you would get fun a deeper satisfaction from say a meaningful friendship or relationship okay so one of the key things that Buddhists aim towards is gaining Nibbana or nirvana basically a Buddha or enlightened being has in has by attaining Nibbana or Nirvana extinguished the flame of the three poisons all the causes of greed and craving so they've kind of overcome that greed that craving etc and because of that they're able to enter this state of Nirvana or as the same Nirvana either spelling will do okay good eames Buddhism is quite a practical religion if we want to call it that and it suggests secure cure for suffering basically the Eightfold Path the Eightfold Path provides a series of ways in which Buddhists should behave in order to overcome suffering and ultimately to achieve enlightenment these practices are often grouped into three categories called the threefold way so there's a kind of eight characteristics that you adopt and those are subdivided into three categories and the three categories are ethics so basically how you should behave meditation and wisdom and you can see from the diagram what they are so having the right mindfulness right intention right speech right action etc again you might want to remember those I'll try to remember at least some of them just in case they've come up within the exam okay now previously stated that there were different groups within the Buddhist tradition Buddhism is the same as most major religions in the sense that kind of you know over time groups have splintered off and have created their own kind of traditions the first disease is Theravada Buddhism it's one of the oldest schools of Buddhism and considered a rather kind of traditional form of Buddhism it's mainly practiced in Southeast Asia so countries like Thailand Cambodia mine ma in terms of its monastic tradition we'll look at that in my video which I'll do at some point on Buddhist practices but it's monastic tradition basically the monks it focuses on meditation and following rules such as not owning anything not having sexual relationships and not offending anyone now women can be ordained as priests although that seemingly is dying out within this tradition and some people within the tradition would suggest that it is only men who can gain enlightenment so that if you want to gaming like the monk you have to read be reborn as a man but as I say we'll have a look at that when I make a video on Buddhist practices in contrast there's the may hi Jana tradition think I might have said it right but who knows and that basically represents a number of different different groups so you can see some zen buddhist monks and they are part of that tradition unlike Theravada Buddhists who regard the Buddha as a historical figure mayanna Buddhists believe he continues to interact with the world and the pay's in visions and through meditation etc mayanna Buddhists basically place an emphasis on something could suddenly utter all the concept that everything he's ended interdependent they also believe that in the concepts of something called Buddhahood and Buddha nature basically those two concepts suggests that everyone has the potential to be a Buddha inside them remembering that there is the the Buddha that we talked about and Buddha which is and then like and state so you have the potential everyone has the potential within them to have gained a state of enlightenment and to gain something as I say called Buddhahood right now there are two particular kind of aspects that you need to be aware of again I think this might have come up the exam this year and this year took about 2018 which are in Theravada Buddhism there is something called our hat maha is basically a perfected person who's achieved enlightenment something that all good Buddhists should be aiming towards in contrast may hey Jana I can't say it may hey Ana Buddhists and see our hats as someone who's on the path to enlightenment that hasn't quite gained enlightenment instead for Mahayana Buddhists the ideal is to become a bodhisattva that's basically an lighten person who decides to remain in the cycle of samsara the cycle of life and death basically in order to help others and they do so by focusing on the six perfections things like compassion etc having put the six perfections here again you might want to read about six perfections and learn those but there is an awful lot of content here that you've got to learn and as I say some concepts which might not necessarily be too familiar to you okay the last form of Buddhism that I'm going to talk about is Pure Land Buddhism Pure Land Buddhism is again part of the Mahayana tradition and is the most popular form of Buddhism in Japan it's based on faith in what's known as the Amitabha Buddha remember Buddha means enlightened one so we talked about the Buddha but other people other religious people have the potential of becoming a better basically Amitabha Buddha is a king who rejected his worldly goods and decided to become a monk and in doing so he created a paradise or Pure Land called a Sukhavati but gaining entry to Sukhavati Pure Land Buddhists believe that they will be taught by the Amitabha Buddha directly and as a consequence it then becomes far easier to gain enlightenment it's quite interesting because this is a very distinct from other forms of Buddhism because instead of focusing attention on your behavior and conduct there's a focus on having faith in the Amitabha Buddha now it doesn't take much imagination to think that because that involves faith rather than personal conduct quite a lot of people prefer it because it allows you to to escape your behavior and actions and focus on something else rather than your own behavior okay so hopefully what I've done is have given you an overview of Buddhist beliefs I hope that this has proven to be useful and obviously my next videos will be on Buddhist practices

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