Buddhism: Text, Image, and Practice

             

from V&A                                                      Emaciated Buddha at BM

                             

Discussion topics:

  • Buddha, as the awakened one: The four nobel truths ; the path of asceticism; “Like a lion seated in teh midst of oxen”; how does buddha arrive at compassion?; role of prophecy? compare buddha’s journey to Odysseus and Aeneas; What is meditation? What is the role Buddha for Buddhist practitioers? The images of Buddha, what is significant about when he become personified?
  • Compare, Paul, Lucretius and Buddha’s messages/teachings/philosophy of ‘salvation’
  • guided buddhist meditation, 15 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GSeWdjyr1c
  • Guided meditation, part I and part II, 10 minutes each. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LubRXuFFmH0
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gpQ21CJmQw
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5 thoughts on “Buddhism: Text, Image, and Practice

  1. Ye Hua
    Buddhism: what touches me most is Siddhartha’s compassion to suffering and all miserable things. His compassion leads to his seeking, seeking a way to escape the rebirth, the repeating cycle of suffering. Finally, his nirvana enlightens people to be detached from the material world. to find the middle way between extreme ends: the extreme sorrow and the extreme desire. This notion is practical in daily life in order to attain peace, since you do not care, you do not feel pain.

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  2. In the modern era, Buddhism is seeing a massively increased audience in the Western World. There are over 70 Buddhist Centers in the city of London alone. I believe that such an increased audience in the secular world is due to the personalized guidance it offers to the individual. It gives an individual the guiding steps to self-improvement through meditation and acceptance of the dharma. It is finding your own salvation, through your own path and learning. So is Buddhism truly a religion, or more of a philosophy? It certainly looks and feels like a religion, doesn’t it? To me, it is more of a philosophy. On a historical aspect, religions have inspired war and division . Buddhism, on the other hand; is the use of reason and logic. It inspires inquiry and contemplation within the individual that does not require the need of a supernatural deity. You create your own path, and Buddhism serves as that helping hand.

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  3. Meditation:
    I found that the meditation was extremely relaxing. I thought that I would have a hard time letting go of other thoughts and just concentrate on my physical self. Normally, I cannot concentrate on one thing for very long or if I am trying to relax, my mind starts to wander and I start to think to much. This time around, I was really able to just meditate.
    I find the teachings of Buddha and Buddhism extremely interesting and I really like the ideas and ideals that come form Buddhism. I have grown up somewhat with the teachings of Buddhism – not to the full extent, but a little bit. I like how we need to develop a state of mind of compassion and friendliness towards others and other living things. It is something that I feel everyone should develop even if they are not Buddhist.
    Also, I agree and like Buddha’s teachings on love rather than Paul and Lucretius’. Buddha states that it is all within you and nothing outside is going to help you with that while Paul states that through love law is fulfilled and given by God. I think more on the lines of what Buddha teaches that no prophet, God, or outside force will give you what you want. You have to do it for yourself because it is already within you.

    Hannah Rudolph

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  4. Having been raised a Buddhist, the life story of Siddharta Gautama has long been ingrained in my mind. Having said that, the complexities of Buddhism never fail to baffle me or challenge my curiosities. 

    One of the aspects of Buddhism that I favor is the simple ness of the Eightfold Path. It is a clear guideline as to how we should live as human beings. No ambiguity. No second-guessing. It isn’t blind faith. It is knowing that by practicing the Right Way of life, you can be at ease and not struggle with worries, fear and anxiety. 

    An important part of Buddhism is meditation, whereby the significance of inhalation and exhalation is emphasized–and can bring about profound inner changes. This is another aspect of Buddhism that I like: to learn how to be aware of oneself, to not struggle with anything but just derive strength from calmness. It isn’t ignorance or apathy. In a sense, it is rising above petty matters. 

    Sue Zheng Teow (Kristina)

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  5. The idea of Buddhism became much clear after discussing the Daosim in Tao Te Ching. The two themes seemed to have a lot in common especially in the notion of giving oneself in, and enduring. The nature is the source of its learning, where letting everything be in its initial posture, things can be in their best possible states. Also another interesting connection I found between the two was through the consideration of doing while not doing and being while not being. In buddhist teaching, the meditation is a key factor. The notion of sitting still and thinking – the act of doing within yourself while looking as if you are not doing anything but sitting. In fact, it is harder to sit still and continuously think than wandering around in real life. It is very similar to the Daoism when it emphasizes the importance of being a part of nature and acting accordingly – then the return will be given to you naturally. It is different because Daoism does not focus on sitting still and thinking, but rather act naturally and flow in the nature. However, the notion of non-doing and non-being, while you are actually doing to flow in nature or meditate to continuously think and reflect, emphasizes the importance of humble nature of the two beliefs.

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