Buddhism

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96000
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Buddhism
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2011-08-03 04:14:47
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buddhism HSC syllabus wesak bioethics dalai lama
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  1. Dalai Lama
    • - Mainly associated with Tibetan Buddhism
    • - However his status has raised the profile of Buddhism in the Western world; Congressional medal, Nobel Peace prize, UN address

    Fostering of Tibetan Culture

    • After Chinese invasion he led an exile to India, established schools, monasteries, university to preserve Tibetan knowledge and culture
    • 80,000 in exile with him

    Modern Changes/Social Issues

    • Modern science must take precedence over ancient religion
    • Stance on abortion – Ok in some circumstances. “I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”
    • Stance on homosexuality. Ok, but not for Buddhists

    Ecumenism

    • Met with Pope and other religious leaders
    • States multiple religions are necessary to accommodate different people

    Public Image

    • Through travelling to Western countries has led to heightened profile of Buddhism
    • Large increase in Buddhist affiliates
    • Greater Global understanding of Buddhism

    • Congressional medal, Nobel Peace prize, UN address
    • Criticisms

    • Supported CIA training a resistance, Buddhism stresses non violence
    • Pre invasion Tibet was feudal à ‘Slaves’

    Conclusion

    At large XIV Dalai Lama has had many positive impacts however sometimes has sacrificed key beliefs on the altar of convenience
  2. Bioethics
    Five Precepts

    • Abstain From:
    • - Killing Living Beings
    • - Taking what is not given
    • - Engaging in sexual misconduct
    • - Speaking Falsely
    • - Taking drink and drugs that confuse the mind

    • First precept prevents euthanasia and abortion
    • For abortion this is less clear as there may be debate regarding whether a foetus is a ‘Living Being’
    • One Buddhist scholar describes pregnancy as “The correct analysis of pregnancy from a Buddhist perspective is not that the foetus is part of the mother but rather that one individual is temporarily housed in another”

    While precepts are not strictly speaking prohibitions, they are very influential on Buddhist adherents

    Karmic Teachings

    • Karmic teachings are basis of Buddhism
    • - Harmful acts lead to bad karma
    • - Compassionate acts lead to good karma
    • Killing a human is worst karmic action
    • Abortion leads to negative karma for:

    • Mother
    • Foetus
    • Doctor
    • Foetus is denied chance to enter human realm, only realm where enlightenment is attainable

    • Merit Transfer ceremonies
    • Many women after abortion participate in merit transfer ceremonies to transfer the good karma of an action to the aborted foetus
    • In Thailand offerings of incense, flowers and money are common
    • In Japan shrines to the Boddhisatva Jiso Bodatsu, associated with young children and the dead, are dedicated to aborted foetuses

    • The XIV Dalai Lama
    • In relation to abortion “I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”
    • In line with his general social stances, on his website he claims ancient religions must bow to modern science
    • These teachings make abortion more acceptable among Tibetan Buddhists
    • Places more emphasis on individual conscience

    Vinaya

    • Laws that govern conduct of Sangha
    • 227 offences, 9 levels of punishment, 4 result in immediate expulsion from Sangha, taking of human life is one of these
    • Makes clear that Buddhism opposes euthanasia and abortion as they are taking of human life
    • Buddha specifically prohibited his monastic followers from administering abortions
    • Vast majority of Buddhist monks/nuns opposed to abortion/euthanasia
    • Many lay Buddhists feel that the Sangha are out of touch


    Eightfold Path

    • Must follow for enlightenment
    • “Right Action”
    • Combined with other teachings teaching against abortion/euthanasia
    • Ignoring this leads to rebirth again and continuation of Dukkha
  3. Wesak
    History

    • Also known as: Visakah Puja; Vaishaka; Buddha PurnimaVisakha Bucha; Wesak; Saga Dawa
    • Unofficially know as Buddha Day
    • At time of Taurus full moon
    • Celebrates Birth, Enlightenment and Death of Buddha
    • Most holy time in Buddhist calendar
    • Public holiday in many Asian countries: Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and so on.
    • Decision to celebrate Vesak as Buddha’s birthday was made official at first meeting of World Fellowship of Buddhists in Sri Lanka in 1950

    Celebration

    • Followers expected to assemble in temples before dawn for raising of Buddhist flag and singing hymns in praise of triple gem: Buddha, Sangha, Dharma
    • Followers make offerings of incense sticks, flowers and candles at statues of Buddha
    • Reminder that just as beautiful flowers may wither and candles and incense burn out so too may human life decay
    • Birds, insects and animals released ina symbolic act of liberation
    • Adherents encourages to avoid killing and eat vegetarian food for the day
    • In Sri Lanka all slaughter houses and liquor shops are shut for 2 days by Government Decree
    • Some Buddhists will wear white robes and spend entire day in temples
    • Buddhists are expected to listen to talks given by monks, who recite verses recited by Buddha when he was alive
    • Special efforts to makeothers happy, particularly aged, homeless, sick
    • Distribute gifts and cash to various charities
    • Do useful activities

    • Decorating and illuminating temples
    • Creating artworks of scenes from Budha’s life for public display
    • Provide vegetarian meals for temple goers

    Eight Precepts

    Normally 5, extra 3 on holy days to train themselves in morality, simplicity & humility

    • Not to kill
    • Not to steal
    • Not to engage in improper sexual activity
    • Not to indulge in wrong speech
    • Not to take intoxicating drinks and drugs
    • To abstain from taking food at unreasonable times
    • To refrain from sensual pleasures such as dancing, singing and self-adornment
    • To refrain from using high and luxurious seats in order to practice humility.

    Honouring the Buddha

    • Before death the Buddha told his followers that the correct way to honour him was to strive to follow the Dhamma
    • Followers honour him by trying to lead noble lives

    Thailand

    • During seeding and ploughing
    • Day Buddhists atend temple and sermons
    • Night Monks lead lay people in procession to shrines
    • Each person carries flowers, three glowing incense sticks, and a candle

    Sri Lanka

    • National holiday
    • Lamps lit and placed in windows
    • Significance Buddha as remover of darkness
    • Presence of Royal Family à connects religion and state

    Burma

    Watering of the Bo tree

    • Tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment
    • Capturing fish in small ponds and lakes, as dry season is begginning, release in fresh water

    Buddha as a model for all Buddhists

    • Comemorate and explore 3 important events in the Buddha’s life. Birth, Enlightenment, Death
    • Recognotion of his importance as a role model for all Buddhists, lay and monastic to emulate


    Life

    • Celebrated just prior to rains and during planting à New life and fertility
    • Birds, insects and animals released in a symbolic act of liberation
    • Reminder that just as beautiful flowers may wither and candles and incense burn out so too may human life decay
    • Capturing fish in small ponds and lakes, as dry season is beginning, release in fresh water

    Fresh start on road to enlightenment

    • Normally 5 precepts, extra 3 on holy days to train themselves in morality, simplicity & humility Adherents encourages to avoid killing and eat vegetarian food for the day
    • Determination to follow Buddha and Dhamma
    • Buddhist flag and singing hymns in praise of triple gem: Buddha, Sangha, Dharma

    Bodhi Tree

    • Watering of Bodhi tree in Burma reminds of enlightenment
    • Reinforces the 4 noble truths

    • Dukkha – Suffering
    • Caused by desire for material possessions, greed –
    • Cessation of Dukkha – Enlightenment/Nirvana
    • Path to cessation of Dukkha – 8 fold path

    Celebration of enlightenment

    • There is an end to suffering
    • Provides hope for adherents
    • Ordinariness of Buddha’s death reinforces that this is available to normal people, not elite or deities.
    • Buddha had a very natural death
    • Last words. “All things are impermanent – Strive on with dilligence”

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