Buddhism

A buddhist friend of mine in Sri Lanka, Anil held a lesson about Buddhism for me in Skype.  This page is based on that lesson. He helped me to get an idea what Buddhism is and to navigate around  in all the Buddhist sites around. I created this page as a Buddhist mind map where I can come back to find details. The page  is still not a final version, It may even contain errors.

Content

SRI LANKA –
A THERAVADA BUDDHIST COUNTRY

Lanka has been part of Buddhist history from the earliest days and is today the culture with the longest continuing tradition of Buddhist practice.  (Source)

Stupa temple in Kalutara where many buddhists go to meditateImage result for kalutara dagobaGautama Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhi)
while meditating underneath a Ficus religiosa in Bihar, India.

Bodhi tree Ficus religiosa in Sri Lanka

A branch of the original tree was rooted in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka in 288 BCE and is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi; it is the oldest flowering plant (angiosperm) in the world. Read more in The Kalutara Bodhi Trust.

Buddhism

Good lesson about Buddhism by James Powel (from about 4:33)

Einstein said “if there is any religion that could respond tho the need of modern  science, that wuold be  Buddhism” (Source: https://www.quora.com )

Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around the ancient Kingdom of Magadha (now in BiharIndia), and is based on the teachings of Siddh?rtha Gautama[note 1] who was deemed a “Buddha” (“Awakened One”[4]). Buddhism spread outside of Magadha starting in the Buddha’s lifetime. (Source: wiki)

The buddhist flag

Image result for buddhist flagImage result for buddhist flag

Siddharta_Gautama – the Buddha

Tallest Buddha Statue of Afghanistan Revived by lasers

World-famous Buddhas of Bamiyan resurrected in Afghanistan

 

” Most accept that he lived, taught and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara (c.?558 – c.?491 BCE, or c. 400 BCE),[9][10][11] the ruler of the Magadha empire, and died during the early years of the reign of  the successor of Bimbisara”. (Source: wiki)
Read more at http://www.notablebiographies.com/Br-Ca/Buddha.html

Read the book “Siddhartha Gautama” in Internet Archive

Read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Variety of Buddhism schools

“Therav?da is only one of eighteen plus schools of Buddhism that precedes Mahayana. As the only surviving representative of that variety of Buddhism in the world today (primarily in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand), Theravada is certainly the most dominant.” (Source:  Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies )

Related image
Buffhist schools.
click on the image to see the source and enlarge 

Name Symbol
Mahayana  53.2%
“Great Vehicle”to reach Buddhahood
Buddha inside lotus 
Sravakayana
“vehicle of the hearers”
a branch of Mahayana.
known as “Indian Buddhism”
Early disciples of Buddha who Follow the Hinayana path 
to reach “Arahant“/”Arhat” 
 
Adiyana
“the early vehicle of the hearers”
pdf
 
Zen 
a branch of Mahayana
? Zen
Thai Buddhism
with Hindu influences
 
Theravada,  35.8%
“teaching of the elders”

school of the elder monks.

Pali Canon holy book

Vajrayana   5.7%
Thunderbolt Vehicle The Buddhism of Dalai Lama
 Vajra

 

The Lotus – the national flower of india

Buddhist geomap

Taoism

Taoism is described by some as a kind of Zen without the nosuffering methods of Buddhism. It is connected somehow  with Konfucianism and is practiced in among others South Korea.

Taoism = Zen – Buddhism – Konfucianism

Buddhist psychology

Buddhism offers a way to eliminate factors in the subconscious  that cause suffering. In fact a psychoanalytic approach. if you clean up your subconscious from these, you reach  Nirvana and wont have to rebirth after death. Of course this is very difficult but is a goal for every practicing Buddhist. 

According to Sutta Pitaka the second division in the book Pali Canon these are there four planes of liberation

Four stages/planes of liberation

accordding to Source: Ñ??amoli & Bodhi (2001), “Middle-Length Discourses”, pp. 41-43.

About Buddhist philosophy

http://www.buddhanet.net/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebirth_(Buddhism)

A Sri Lankan book explaining Buddhism

abhidhamma

 

Samsara – the wheel of life

“Samsara in Buddhism refers to the cycle of life, which includes

  • birth,
  • living,
  • death and
  • returning to life.

The term can be literally translated as “continuous movement.” Samsara is the continually repeating cycle of birth and death, where beings cycle through six realms of existence. This concept is closely related to the ideas of karma and Nirvana.”

“Your personality exists in your present life, and some aspects of it are passed on to the next life. You are similar to, but not exactly the same as, your previous self

(Source: https://buddhists.org )

2016-05-29-1464480051-5720319-wiki.jpg

https://buddhists.org/buddhist-symbols/samsara-in-buddhism/

Karma
Karma is the Buddhist version of the law of cause and effect. It teaches that whatever you reap in life is what you sow. ”
( Source: https://buddhists.org )

Nirvana

“Nirvana is the eternal state of being where Karma and Samsara no longer exist. It represents the end of desire, suffering and individual consciousness. Until Nirvana is reached through enlightenment, the cycle of Samsara is repeated over and over. ” (Source: https://buddhists.org ) Nirvana is maybe reached when you after many years of meditation practice, reach the full enlightment “arahant” status in the four stages of Liberation

Arahant

Arahant (as written in Pali, and Arhat as written in Sanscrit are buddhists who have reached Nirvana and therefore wont live a rebirth.  These buddhists have reached far along the path of Enlightenment, but may not have reached full Buddhahood, the goal of Mahayana buddhists

Buddha and 400 Arahant statues in Shanyuan Temple (???), Liaoning Province, China. (Source: wiki)

The Eightfold Path to enlightment 
(click on image)


(Source Site on reddit.com with  enlarged image )

Buddhist meditation methods

Before looking at meditation methods, I recommend to take a look at  the Eightfold path to enlightment above. One must know that meditation alone is not enough to reach enlightment. In between your meditation sessions you need to follow these eight paths. Click on the eigth path image above learn to learn about these.

Your life is like climbing a mountain. If you do not take care of your body and mind you get disoriented and fatigued making it more difficult to reach the top of the mountain. 

  • Approach to deal with suffering 

According to Dalai Lama one of the most effective approach to deal with suffering is found in A Guide To The Bodhisattva’s Way Of Life ( “The good heart: a Buddhist perspective on the teachings of Jesus “page 54 )

I have tried different kinds of meditation.  I have followed guided meditation sessions in two mobile Android apps:

  • Headspace
  • Insight timer

I am actually practicing  Hatha yoga at my gymn. You can read about different yoga types in www.doyogawithme.com/types-of-yoga. The Buddhist meditation is very different. I It is like driving a car, knowing how the car works and knowing  where I am going with my car.

I like very much the recomendations of the Tibetan monk Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. He made meditation easier for me.
HINT! Click on the Youtube to listen to it from there. If you do it Rinpoches other videos follow. Sit down an start looking at this first Rinpoche video. Viewed in Youtube more video follows authomathically in Youtube,  explaining various aspects of Buddhist Yoga, like happiness, awareness, anxiety, awareness etc.

Very good guided online meditations by teacher I followed are found at  http://buddhistpage.com/meditation/meditation-by-teacher/ like this one below led by Ajan Brahm. 

Comments about it: when I were interrupted by sounds outside my apartment, I reminded myself about breathing (Rinpoches learned me that in the previous video and I went back doing this several times. During the minutes of silence in the videos I were catched talking with my mind, (something that is recommended not to do in the video below as you have to stay in the present). So again I had to go back with breathing and leave talking with my mind. I felt marveleously relaxed after this video.  (HINT: you may skip the first 3 minutes)

Cosmic energy and where to meditate

MY good friend in Sri Lanka recommended me these explaining practice Youtube videos. You can optimize the results of your meditation following these Sri Lankan meditation advices.

“About the cosmic energy and its value

Spiritual Reality – Part 1 Cosmic Energy and Meditation

Spiritual Reality – Part 3 Pyramid and Pyramid Power

“Sri Lankan Pyramids” – temples like Kalutara dagoba on the west coast of Sri Lanka are like pyramids,are good to meditate in.

Image result for kalutara dagoba

Is Buddhism is a religion?

MerriamWebsters rdefine religion t like this

“a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices”

In Merriam Websters, Buddhism is one of many religions:

any people turn to religion for comfort in a time of crisis.There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. ( Source: Merriam Websters )

According to my Sri Lanka friend, Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy.

Here are a few citations from 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicholas-liusuwan/is-buddhism-a-philosophy-_b_10176992.html

“Buddhism is still considered to be a religion by the majority of the public” 

“Buddhism does have religious aspects.”

“The most “religious” aspects of Buddhism are probably the Buddha’s discussions of the afterlife and the various realms of existence.”

“Buddhism does actually have a clear belief system on the afterlife

2016-05-29-1464480051-5720319-wiki.jpg
“The Wheel is divided into five or six realms, or states, into which a soul can be reborn. It is held by a demon. Around the rim are depicted the twelve stages of dependent origination. This gallery will explain the parts of the diagram”
( Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/galleries/bhavachakra/)

“While the Buddha did discuss some metaphysical aspects of reality that people would often associate with religion, he made it clear that the most important aspect of Buddhism is how you practice, not what you know

My conclusions so far

Buddhism is in my opinion not a revealing ism with a prophet that regards itself as a messenger of a God. The sacred book Pale Canon is the written teaching of Gautama Siddharta, a human that explored himself the way to enlightment in India.  

Buddhism does not impose its own believes, ethics  and practices to others. It is not requiring you to abandon any other doctrine. You can be a Zoroastrian, Christian or Muslim while following Buddhist principles and methods. A part from the issue of reincarnations, believes and ethics are non in conflict with Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam.  Reincarnation is not an issue in Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. The Buddhist ethics (like the Eihtfold path) is very much similar to the Zoroastrian and Christian etics.

Do Buddhists believe in God?

Some Buddhists believe in God but for Buddhism this is not an important issue. The main focus is on the method even if Buddhists have metaphysic opinions about death and reincarnation.

Looking around in Internet,  I found this article that deal with the same question:

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/do-buddhists-believe-in-g_b_859658.html

Some citations from these articles.

“teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, used to say that people could practice Zen meditation and also believe in God”

” it is a stretch to call Zen meditation “prayer,” or to describe its purpose as a method “to reach our divine nature.”

Travel in Buddhist Tibet

Site with good films and photos. http://itibettravel.com/#single/0

The Mongol Ogotai built Karakorum 

I am reading Conn Iggulden “The conqueror serie” the third book “#Empire of Silver” about kahn Ogotai , the grandson of Djenghis Khan who built Karakorum. Ogotai had Christian and Muslim translators for his library and a buddhist advisors Yao Shu as well as chinese engineers. they were religiously tollerant allowing e.g. muslim warriors to take minutes to do their prayer. The buddhist advisor Yao Shu may have been the mind behind  the stupas on the surrounding Karakorum wall.

Image result for karakorum stupas

Maybe a cosmic energy was better than high walls to protect the city. Maybe also to protect Ogotai that had a week hearth and died young despite the his Shaman efforts and his brothers sacrifice. 

Buddhist Mongolia

According to the national census of 2010, 53% of the Mongolians identify as Buddhists  (wiki note 7)

Image result for Mongol archer

The buddhist advisor Yao Shu mentioned above did also train the Mongol warriors during all his life. It is remarkable that the Mongol archers were as one body  with their horses and arches. They were feared by armies from Asia to Europe.  I am curious if  Eugen Herrigels book  “Zen in the art of archery” from 1958 can tell me something more about this technique.

Can you become a Buddha? (with Jamaican Moojii)

 As a Christian I have discovered
Buddhism to be helpful to become a better Christian

Buddhism like Zoroastrianism gives me metaphysic answers to questions about life and death. But I also learned that Buddhism offers me a method to become a better Christian, not subject to anger, trivial sentiments and desires and to become a better in being humil , loving and tollerant with my next.

I looked around in Internet for similar experiences and found among others these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-j-stabile/christian-faith-enriched-by-buddhism_b_2117483.html

I find it interesting what the author Susan said about her Buddhistic practicing effects.

  • “The first is recognizing the importance of a regular prayer practice, by which I mean not only attending Mass or other communal liturgies, but daily time in solitude with God.”
  • “The Buddhist teachings on cherishing others over the self helped me embrace Christian humility.”
  • “Buddhism was an integral part of my spiritual path.”

TERRY C. MUCK in “Jesus Through Buddhist Eyes- Meet the bodhisattva from Nazareth” says about Dalai Lama:

“So his book, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus, merits consideration by Christian readers.

Get an account in archive.org and
click on the image below to read his book.

DI like  page 52 about his view on suffering, casuality and on Christian theology.

Dalai Lamatalks  about Christian veneration and faith on this page:

http://www.wisdompubs.org/blog/201603/dalai-lama-reflects-faith-buddhism-and-christianity

The Role of Women in Buddhism

I recommend this analysis from Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

This video tells about the Life of Tibetan Buddhist nuns at Dolma Ling Nunnery near Dharamsala

Buddhist Sources

kinberg.net