TOPIC 4 HOW TO KNOW ABOUT BUDDHISM

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TOPIC 4
HOW TO KNOW ABOUT BUDDHISM
 
 
INTRODUCTION
If we want to know about Buddhism, we should realize that we are religious researchers who are always objective and open-minded. So, they must realize all positive or negative matters exactly. In other words, they must understand any problems in the right view.
          Buddhism guided everyone to qualify personal morality and how to live peacefully. Particularly, Buddha taught everyone how to be an Arahan, a Bodhisattva, and a Buddha in order to liberate Samsara (Rebirth). Buddha said: “I already became a Buddha. All living beings will be Buddha in the future because all living beings had Buddha natures. Therefore, if they study and practice Buddha`s teachings, then they will be enlightened in the future.
If you want to research religions in general or Buddhism in particular, You can research them through 3 items as following: I) History of Buddhism; II) History of the belief-object in Buddhism; III) Buddha Dharma (Buddha`s teachings).
 
SUMMARY
I – History of Buddhism
1) History of Buddhism; 2) History of the founder; 3) Who was the belief object?
II – History of the belief object in Buddhism
1) Buddha`s history; 2) Buddha`s practice; 3) Buddha`s ability
III – Buddha Dhamma – Buddha`s teachings:
1) About the truth; 2) About cause and effect law; 3) About Samsara - Rebirth; 4) To pay gratitude of parent; 5) To qualify personal moral ethic; 6) How to create good karma; 7) How to live peacefully; 8) How to liberate Samsara; 9) How to be an Arahan, a Bodhisattva, and a Buddha.
 
I –History of Buddhism:
1) When was Buddhism established?
According to Mahayana Buddhism History, Buddhism was established on 08/12 Lunar calendar (Chinese calendar) 594 BC at Bodhgaya village, Gaya city, Patna capital, Bihar state, India.
2) Who was the founder of Buddhism?
Buddhism was established by Prince Siddhattha. He practiced Samatha and Vipassana meditation and became a full-enlightened one – a Buddha. He got a Dharma name as Sakyamuni Buddha.
Prince Siddhattha was born in the seventh century BC, date 15/04 Lunar calendar, 624 BC, in Kapilavastu kingdom (Now in Nepal). His father was Suddhodana; Queen was Maha Maya; His wife was Princess Yasodhara; The son was named Rahula. At age 19, He did enlighten that life was temporary. Because, no one could escape the suffering of old age, sickness, and death. Therefore, He left the kingdom and looked for zen masters. He did meditation for 11 years. In the end, He enlightened the truth of life and the truth of the mind under Bodhi tree in the sixth century BC, on 08/12 Lunar calendar 594 BC at Bodhgaya village, Gaya city, Patna capital, Bihar state, India. From that date, He established Buddhism.
3) Who was the object of Buddhism?
The belief object of Buddhism was also Prince Siddhattha. He did meditation and became a Buddha. He got Dhammaname as Sakyamauni Buddha. He not only was a founder of Buddhism, but also Buddhist followers worshiped him as a Dharma Master. The Buddhists considered him as a holy one who they could pray for favors. Who is a Buddha?
I - Buddha was the enlightened one:
Buddha was the enlightened one. He was enlightened to the truth of life and the truth of mind (Buddha-nature).
1) Secular truth (the truth of life):
Buddha taught that life is misery. Man has 2 sufferings as mental sufferings and physical sufferings.
a) The suffering of mind - Mental sufferings: 1. Do not satisfy as wishing is suffering; 2. Separation from a loved one is suffering; 3. Being close to the enemy is suffering.
b) The suffering of the body - Physical sufferings: 1. The suffering of birth; 2. The suffering of old age; 3. The suffering of sickness; 4. The suffering of death.
2) Truth of true mind – Buddha-nature:
True mind is no defilement, no suffering, no greed, no hatred, no delusion; True mind is peaceful, purity, stillness also known as Nirvana.
Buddha taught about the law of cause and effect and the law of impermanence. These are the general principles of the human universe. These principles are the truth of life.
II - Buddha was a liberated one:
The Buddha practiced meditation and attained Nirvana. He could liberate samsara. The liberated one who wants to live or to die as wishing.
III - Buddha was a peaceful one:
Buddha was a peaceful one because He practiced meditation and entered Samadhi (High concentration).
IV - Buddha is a great wisdom one:
Buddha taught human beings how to remove sufferings from greed, hatred, and ignorant. He guided human beings on how to become an Arahan, a Bodhisattva, and a Buddha.
V - Buddha is a great compassionate and kind one:
He vowed to save all living beings. He did not punish anyone or He sent anyone to hell. On the contrary, He vows to go to hell to save all living beings.
 
II – History of Buddha:
1) History of belief object – Buddha in Buddhism:
 
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BUDDHA!
 
More than 2500 years ago in the Kapilavastu kingdom, India had a king named Suddhodana and Queen named Maya. Kapilavastu is located between the border of present-day Nepal and India. The Buddha's historical relics have been unearthed and recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
One day, the Queen was dreaming and saw a six-tusk white elephant creeping into her right hip. She brought the omen and told the court priests. Everyone guessed that this was a good omen. After that, she got pregnant with a crown prince. According to traditional Indian custom, when a wife gives birth, she goes to her mother's house. Therefore, when the date of birth is coming, the Queen goes to her motherland to give birth. On the way back to her motherland, the Queen passed through the Lumbini forest where there was a garden of Sorrowless flowers. According to Indian legend, this flower blooms once every 1000 years. Therefore, the Queen stopped here to enjoy the flowers. She raised her hand to pick flowers. Suddenly, she gave birth to a Crown Prince. Prince was born under the Sorrowless trees in the Lumbini garden on April 15 Lunar Calendar, 624 BC.
 

Lumbini garden
The Father King was named Prince Siddhartha. Seven days after the prince’s borning, the Queen passed away and was born to Tavatimsa heaven. Therefore, her sister Maha Pajapati, made herself an aunt-mother to nourish the Prince.
The Prince grew up learning smoothly. He talented in subjects in all aspects. Especially, the Prince loves so much all people and animals. As a child, Prince often prefers to sit quietly alone. When grown at age 16 in the year 608 BC, the prince married Princess Yasodhara. The couple had a son named Rahula.
          One day, the Prince asked his father to visit outside of the gate. When he arrived at the first gate, the Prince suddenly saw an old man with a cane going very miserable and the Prince asked the servant: "Why is this man so old?" The servant replied: "Dear Prince! Whoever was born and then they also have to suffer so old age, no one escaped that at all. "At the second gate, the Prince saw a sick person lying there. He asked the servant, "Why is this man so sick?"  The servant replied: "Dear Prince! No one can escape the disease. Even the kids will also be sick. Next to the third gate, the prince witnessed a dead person. Prince asked the servant: "Why was this man dead?"  The servant replied: "Dear Prince! Everyone has been born. They must get older and they must be sick. Illness is the cause of death. Death is the end of human life. Even you can not escape this death, too.”  Finally, reaching the fourth gate, the Prince met a monk. The Prince asks the monks: "For what do you practice meditation?" The monk replied: "Dear Prince! Meditation can help us escape from the suffering of birth, old age, illness, and death, and it helps us liberating rebirth (samsara) ". After listening to the monk`s teaching, the Prince enlightened that life is temporary. For that reason, the Prince decided to return to the royal court. He asked his father, King, to leave home to seek the Zen master; but the father did not agree, because the king had only one son as crown prince to the throne.
Eventually, the prince escaped from the Kapilavastu kingdom to seek a zen master. At that time, he was 19 years old, on the 8th February of the lunar calendar in the year 605 BC. He learned and practiced Samatha meditation with two Zen masters Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta for five years. He attained all samadhi states in the heavenly realms of Rupaloka and the heavenly realms of Arupaloka. After that, He practiced vipassana meditation for 6 years with 5 dharma brothers as Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama Kulika, and Assaji at the Uruvela village, Gaya city, Bihar state. He meditated all the time. Thus, the Prince forgot to eat, to sleep, and finally, He exhausted. Fortunately, there was a girl named Sujata. She offered milk to the Crown Prince, while the Prince had been exhausting. Miss Sujata was the first donor to Buddha.
On the 8th December Lunar calendar in the year 594 BC, at the age of 30, the Prince meditated under the Bodhi tree and became Buddha with dharma-named Sakyamuni Buddha at Bodhgaya village, Gaya city, Patna capital, Bihar state, India (the Magadha Kingdom before ).  
          Enlightened Stupa                    Bodhi tree
After his enlightenment, he went to Deer Park at Sarnath, Varanasi city and He taught the first lecture "Four Noble Truths" for the five dharma brothers Kondanna. After listening to the four Noble truths, They enlightened the truth of life and the truth of the mind. They attained Arahanship. The Four Noble Truths was the first Dharma lecture.
 
 
                                 Chawkhandi stupa                       Sarnath garden
Next, He went to Rajagriha, Magadha kingdom (Rajgir city, Bihar state) the reign of King Bimbisara and Queen Vihara. Buddha gave refuging in the triple Jems for King Bimbisala. This was the first king who took refuge in the Triple Gems by the Buddha. After that, the Bimbisara king donated land to Lord Buddha to build up a Venuvana monastery. This is the first Buddhist monastery.
Anathapindika was a rich man, very holy help to the misery and loneliness peoples. He lived in Sravasti by King Pasenadi reigned at the time. He made offerings to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery at Sravasti. This was the second monastery where Buddha was established for Sangha study.
Mrs. Maha Pajapati is a form of Buddha's aunt. She was ordained in Vaishali, along with 500 followers. She was the first Nun. She established Nun Sangha here.
After enlightenment, Buddha preached Dharma to the kings and to every class in society for 49 years. He established the Triple Jems (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) and completed the perfection of the Buddhist propaganda. He went to Kushinagar, capital Pava, Malla Parish. He entered great samadhi and settled Nirvana under the Sala tree. He entered Nirvana at the age of 80, on the 15th February Lunar calendar in the year 544 BC. The Buddhist calendar is calculated from this year. Example: The western calendar year 2021 + 544 BC = Buddhist calendar 2565.
 
 
           Nirvana stupa                   Lying Buddha status
 
 
Burning stupa
 
Maha Kassapa was the first disciple who is transmitted by Buddha`s robe and bowl. He was a Sangha leader. After Lord Buddha entered Nirvana for 100 days, He chaired the organization of Sutra aggregation at Saptaparna, on the Vaibhara Mountain, in Rajagriha, Magadha Kingdom. This is the first Sutra aggregation.
Ananda is the attendant of Buddha. He helped Venerable Maha Kassapa to review all Buddha`s teaching at the time of the first Buddhist Sutras aggregation. He was the second disciple to be transmitted the lord Buddha`s robe and Bowl from Venerable Kassapa in the Zen lineage tradition. The zen patriarch continued transmitting “The robe and bowl ceremony” together until  Hui Neng. He was the 33rd patriarch in Zen Buddhism.
The Buddhist Monks later established the Nalanda Buddhist University at Nalanda, Rajagriha, Magadha Kingdom (Rajgir city, Bihar state). This was the first international Buddhist University in India.
 

Nalanda University
In the third century BC, Indian Buddhism was transmitted across other countries by the Ashoka king. This is the first King who propagated Buddhism abroad.
2) - Buddha`s practice:
          Buddha practiced 3 points. These were a) To practice Sila – Precepts; 2) To practice Samatha meditation; 3) To practice Vipassana meditation.
a) – To practice Sila:
Practicing Sila is to stop our bodies from creating bad karma.
Example: No killing
          Anyone do killing, then polices will put them in prison. If Anyone keeps Sila, then they are free for that. So Buddha`s Sila guided everyone to avoid doing any evil.
b) – To practice Samatha meditation:
          Practicing Sammatha meditation can get peaceful and high concentration - Samadhi
c) – To practice Vipassana meditation:
          Practicing Vipassana meditation can get wisdom and can become a Buddha.
3) – Buddha`s ability:
          Buddha had the ability to guide human beings becoming an Arahan, a Boddhisattva, and a Buddha by the practice of meditation. Because He said that everyone also had Buddha-nature.
 
III – Buddha Dhamma - Buddha`s teaching:
Lord Buddha taught human being 1) About the truth; 2) about cause and effect law; 3) about Samsara - Rebirth; 4) To pay gratitude of parent; 5) To qualify personal moral ethic; 6) How to create good karma; 7) How to live peacefully; 8) How to liberate Samsara; 9|) He aim to be an Arahan, a Bodhisattva and a Buddha.
1) Buddhism of the truth:
          Lord Buddha enlightened two truths. 1) The truth of life; 2) The truth of the true mind.
Example:
a) The truth of life: Since Lord Buddha was a prince; He did enlighten that life was temporary. Because no one avoids the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death. This is the truth of life.
b) The truth of true mind: Lord Buddha did meditation and got Samadhi (High concentration) and wisdom. Then He enlightened that the mind was no rebirth, pure, peaceful, stillness, named as Nirvana. This is the truth of the true mind.
2) To know about Cause and effect law:
          Lord Buddha taught: “You create a bad cause; you will get a bad effect. You create a good cause; then you will get a good effect”. Human beings create a lot of negative and positive causes; therefore there are big differences between people to other people.
          You commit a killing crime; then the police put you in the prison. Even though, you trust any God absolute. He could not remove you from the prison. He could not replace you sitting in the prison. Because that is justice and that is cause and effect law. The holy person did not commit crimes. How can He be punished in the prison? You created crimes; then you must get punished.
3) To know about Rebirth (Reincarnation):
          Lord Buddha taught: “After death, human beings will be rebirth again in the six realms. These are God realm, Human being realm, Halv God realm – Demi-God, Hell being realm, Hungry ghost realm, and animal realm”. You will be rebirth after death because you had created a lot of negative and positive karmas. All those karmas had come from your mind.
4) To pay gratitude to parents:
You had been born by your parent; you had been taken care of your parent; you had been educated and supported by your parent. So the parent was your historical source. So you have to respect and pay gratitude forward to your parent. If you did not do that, Who do you wish to worship?
You have to take care of your parent and you make them happy. These are to pay gratitude toward your parent. Buddha said: “This is a foundation of human morality.
5) Do not do any evils to qualify personal moral ethic:
If you want to qualify your personality, then you should not do any evil. How to do that? You have to keep 5 precepts.
* 5 precepts are as following:
1) no killing; 2) no stealing; 3) no sexual misconduct; 4) Not to lie; 5) No use of alcohol.
          Lord Buddha taught human beings to keep 5 precepts is to qualify their personal moral ethic.
6) Do good doing in order to create good karma:
1. To perform compassion to all living beings such as to be free-living beings and do not eat them.
2. To perform compassion to human beings by practicing giving and benefit others.
Lord Buddha taught human beings to practice giving is to create good karma.
7) How to live happily and peacefully:
          Lord Buddha taught everyone how to live happily and peacefully. If you have a lot of thinkings and worries; then how can you be happy? Most of the sufferings came from greed, hatred, and ignorance, etc. Those are reasons that you have to remove them all. Then you will be happy, peaceful, and pure. Being pure is without sufferings, greedy, hatred, and ignorance.
          Example: To practice Samatha meditation is to attain Samadhi – High concentration. Then you will have happiness, peace, and purity in your mind.
8) To liberate Samsara:
          Lord Buddha taught that life had both happiness and suffering. But both two were temporary because the end of life was death. So human beings would be rebirth forever. The Samsara was great suffering. In this case, anyone would like to liberate samsara. Then you can learn and practice Lord Buddha`s teaching.
9) How to be an Arahan, a Boddhisattva, and a Buddha:
          If you would like to liberate the sufferings of Samsara, you have to be an Arahan, a Bodhisattva, and a Buddha.
a) Arahan is a person who enlightened the truth of life and the truth of the true mind, And He also attained Nirvana; He could liberate the suffering of samsara. Nirvana is no rebirth. Nirvana is peaceful, a silent state of the mind. He practiced Sila - precepts, samadhi – high concentration and wisdom.
b) Bodhisattva and Arahan are the same enlightened ones. But Bodhisattva vows to enter samsara in order to rescue all living beings.
c) Bodhisattva practiced to become a fully enlightened one and wisdom; then He becomes a Buddha.
 
* Summary:
We all could not escape the sufferings of greed, hatred, and ignorance, the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death, the suffering of samsara. How can we be happy forever? We would like to have true happiness and peace. Then we must remove all sufferings in our minds. All sufferings are gone. Nirvana will appear in our minds.
Lord Buddha said: “I was a Buddha already; all living beings can be Buddha in the future because all living beings have already Buddha-nature. If they study and practice meditation. Then they will be future Buddhas”. Lord Buddha had the ability to guide everyone to become a Buddha.
To be ignorant is a living being; to be enlightened one is a Buddha.
 
Namo Sakyamauni Buddha!

 

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