Buddhism Lesson- 1 By Dr. Roman Saini
A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. Emergence of Buddhism The Life of Buddha Scriptures of Buddha The Four Noble Truth The Theory of Karma The Eightfold Path Principle of Dependent Origination Rejection of Soul: Concept of No-Soul Concept of God in Buddhism Sects of Buddhism Philosophical Schools of Buddhism The Bodhisattva Distinct Features of Buddhism Buddhist Councils
A. Emergence of Buddhism Buddhism originated as an alternative tradition to the excessive importance given to rituals and sacrifices in Vedic tradition in ancient time. It was also a reaction to the gross neglect of the social problems of the time, as well as a revolt against the hegemony of the Brahmins in the society The main causes of emergence of buddhism can be classified as follows: 1. Social Causes 2. Economic Causes 3. Religious Causes . . .
1. Social Causes; A Brahmin centered, caste based, hierarchical set up was prevalent in the society. The authority to interpret the scriptures was vested with the Brahmin. Temples, which were the centres of social life, were controlled by them. . . Laws of pollution were strictly imposed upon the people of the lower caste Tribes and Dravidians were out of the caste structure.
2. Economic Causes: Agriculture and cattle rearing were the main source of wealth and livelihood for the people. Brahmins found out ways and means to exploit the lower sections in the society Kings were made to perform yagas, yajnas, and digvijayas through which the Brahmins benefited a lot. The ordinary people had to contribute a major portion of their income to the kings, Brahmins, and temples. . . . .
3. Religious Causes: Mode of worship, rituals, and religious ceremonies were interpreted by the Brahmins to suit their interest. The Vedas, Aranyakas, Mimamsas and Upanishads were written to perpetuate the hegemony of the Brahmins. Metaphysical speculations were at their zenith, which was the prerogative of the educated class. Exploitation by the higher castes and the suffering of the ordinary people . . continued unabated.
B. Scriptures of Buddhism Though Buddha himself wrote nothing, the early writings of his teachings were in the Pali and Sanskrit languages. Buddhist scripture is known as Tripitaka (Sanskrit) or Tipitaka (Pali), Three Baskets or Three Traditions. . . They are following: 1. Vinaya pitaka (Disciple), 2. Sutta pitaka (Discourse), and 3. Abhidhamma pitaka (Doctrinal Elaboration)
C. Life of Buddha Buddha lived in 566 B.C. to 486 B.C He was called as Gautama or Siddhartha, but later came to be known as the Buddha or The Enlightened One' He was born into a wealthy Kshatriya family, in Lumbini, at the foothills of Nepal. Gautama's father Suddhodana, a Kshatriya of the Sakya clan, was the king of Kapilavastu (present day Nepal), and his mother was Mahamaya. She had a dream, while on her way to her parents' home, that a white elephant entered her womb, and later Gautama was born at Lumbini.
Therefore, a white elephant is an important symbol for Buddhists even today On the seventh day of his birth his mother died, and his father married his mother's sister, named Mahaprajapati Gautami. . . . She brought up Siddhartha with love and affection Gradually, he was called after his step-mother, 'Gautamiputra' (son of Gautami) or Gautama' (go-cow/bull, tema-the best; the best cow or bull). . At the age of twenty nine, while he was travelling out of the palace, he had four encounters which left a lasting impact on him. He saw an old decrepit man, a sick man, a corpse in a funeral procession, and a peaceful and serene ascetic wandering alone. . .
The first three sights disturbed him, whereas the fourth one gave him hope and peace. . . After that one night he left home and wandered around for many years. e He studied yoga and meditation from two hermits o Udraka Ramaputra o Alara Kalama At the age of 35, during meditation under the Bodhi tree (the tree of wisdom), on the bank of the river Niranjana at Bodh-Gaya (near Gaya in modern Bihar), Gotama (Gautama) attained Enlightenment. In the beginning, he was reluctant to share his experiences with any one for fear of being misunderstood. . .
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