introduction to tibetan buddhism

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Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. One of the world’s most complex religions. Tibetan Buddhism. It borrows from many faiths. It evolves. It is practiced at many levels. It has no definitive canon of scriptures. . It has many branches and spokespersons. . Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

Introduction to Tibetan BuddhismOne of the worlds most complex religions

Tibetan Buddhism

It borrows from many faiths.It is practiced at many levels.It evolves.It has no definitive canon of scriptures. It has many branches and spokespersons. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

Buddhism is an Asian religion that has roots going back thousands of years. For 13 centuries before entering Tibet, Buddhism had absorbed beliefs and practices from other religions.Because it borrowed so much from other faiths, Tibetan Buddhism became one of the worlds most complex religions.From Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism spread across Central Asia, from the Himalayas to Siberia (600s 1900s).In the late 20th century, Tibetan Buddhism has gained adherents and fans all over the world.

It has many ingredients. The ingredients come from many places.The combination makes something very different than the ingredients alone.Every region has its own style/blend.Its not always easy to know whats in it.The ingredients are added over time.Everyone makes it differently.

Structure: Tibetan Buddhism is like Stew

Start with the broth: Shamanism

Original religion of Tibet (Bn)Similar to Shamanistic beliefs elsewhere with particular Tibetan applications and namesFlavors every other ingredient that is added later. Found in different forms everywhere in the world.African witch doctorAnimism (spirits inhabit inanimate objects)Revival of interest today

Cosmology of Shamanism: Spirits

The worlds are inhabited by spirits.Many are disinterested in us.Some wish to do us harm.We must appease the spirits to protect ourselves.

Lifelong office - usually involuntaryPerforms sacrifices and ritualsProtects the people from spiritual powersTakes trance journeys into spirit worldPossessed intermittently by a spiritGets advice from spirit world to solve community issues (weather, hunting, animals, illness)

Cosmology of Shamanism: The ShamanWhy is Shamanism important?

Built into world view/cultureThe broth of Shamanism infuses/flavors all of Tibetan Buddhism.Shamanism is especially strong at the folk level.Uneducated ordinary persons dont understand the theory. Many of the practices of Tibetan Buddhism can only be explained by understanding Shamanism.

Shamanistic practices in Tibetan Buddhism

Sacred mountainsTrees (Sacred Groves)Piles of carved stonesSpirit housesSpringsFire offeringsCircumambulation -direction is clockwise (Bn circumambulation is counter-clockwise)Drums, chantingDivination, oracles

Meanwhile meat is being prepared for the stew: Buddhisms Hindu background

Not one coherent, dogmatic religionMany scriptures, but no single creed, spokesperson, or leadership structureAs much a way of life as a religionThe practical often outweighs the theoretical.

Hinduism 101The Advaita Vedanta School

Brahman: an impersonal entity which underlies and pervades the universe. All things share this common ground of existence. All apparent reality is an emanation of Brahman.Since all that is real is Brahman, this philosophy is a monism.The World as Illusion: Since all is ultimately one, our sense that we exist separately is an illusion (maya).

Hinduism 102Advaita Vedanta contd.

Human beings, their experiences, and lives are all a part of maya, the illusion. Reincarnation: Every sentient being has a soul (jiva), which at death is reborn into another body.Karma: Natural law that determines your next life. Good actions Good Rebirth (e.g., wealthy, high caste)Bad actions Bad Rebirth (e.g., low caste or animal)Present state (suffering or comfortable) results from actions in previous lives.

Hinduism 103Advaita Vedanta contd.

Deep inside of us, each of us has a true Self, called Atman.Atman is identical with Brahman. Thus, we are all ultimately the one non-dual Brahman-Atman.

AtmanBrahmanAtman = BrahmanTATTVAMASIMore meat for the stew: The experience of the Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama was born in approximately 560 BC in present Nepal. He retained many foundational beliefs of Hinduism (karma, reincarnation (in adapted form), need for release).He also reacted against Hinduism.

More meat for the stew: The experience of the Buddha contd.

The rituals and deities of Hinduism could not solve the problem of suffering.Neither living in luxury nor the practice of Hindu asceticism gave answers to the problem of suffering.

He finally found his answer in Bodh Gaya by discovering the Middle Way and by denying that there is a True Self, as in the Hindu Atman.Buddha developed the Four Neoble Truths

1. All of life is filled with suffering.2. Suffering is caused by desireattachment to the things of this world. 3. Freedom from desire brings freedom from suffering. 4. The Eightfold Path is the way to be set free from desire and suffering. The Eightfold Path

Right KnowledgeRight FeelingRight SpeechRight ActionRight LivingRight EffortRight InsightRight MeditationSteps to Enlightenment or How do you become a Buddhist?

I take refuge (my only hope is) in:The Buddha - his enlightenmentThe Sangha - the fellowship of BuddhistsThe Dharma - the teachings of Buddha

Different forms of Buddhism developed right from the start.

A series of early councils attempted to set the course for all Buddhists. The councils actually highlighted the contrast between the stews that various Buddhist groups were cooking up.So, different groups had their own ideas on how to prepare the meat for the stew.

The Theravada School

Meaning: Tradition of the Elders.Last remainder of several early schools classified as HinayanaSmall vehicle.Enlightenment for the few: the monks. Laity gains merit by supporting the temples and monks.

The Theravada School contd.

Closer than other schools to what Buddha taught. Anatta (An-atman): There is no self. Dependent Origination: Impermanence of everything. Individual efforts, meditation Long path to enlightenment Found in Sri Lanka and most of Southeast Asia

Mahayana School: Greater Vehicle (for the practice of the many)

Enlightenment becomes available in theory to all sentient beings. As Mahayana Buddhism spread, it combined with other local beliefs, resulting in various forms.Found particularly in East Asia

Mahayana Concepts

No inherent existence: Denial of "inherent existence" of anything, thus passing beyond true monism. Everything is Sunyata, Emptiness. Rapid enlightenment:Theravada Buddhism was a strict pathway for the dedicated few, usually requiring many lifetimes to achieve enlightenment.Mahayana Buddhists claims that one can gain enlightenment in a single lifetime.

Mahayana Concepts, contd.

Bodhisattvas. Belief in beings, who function akin to messianic saints. They are ready for Nirvana, but have postponed their own final enlightenment in order to liberate other beings from suffering and rebirthWorship of Buddhas: Multiple Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Hindu gods were added to the Buddhist spirit worldRelative and Absolute Truth: Since nothing exists on its on its own, nothing absolutely true can be said about anything in itself.

Vajra can mean Thunderbolt or Diamond.It serves to cut quickly through illusion or spiritual obfuscations. Esoteric form of Buddhism based in Mahayana BuddhismIt started as Tibetan Buddhism , and then was exported by the Mongols to Mongolia, Siberia, and China. From there it spread to Korea and Japan (as Shingon). Independently, it has found in Nepal, Bhutan, and India.Vajrayana: The Diamond VehicleAdd more spice to the meat: Tantrism from India

Originated in7th 10th centuries AD in Nepal and IndiaClaimed a short path to enlightenment one lifetimeUse of chant, sexual ritual, and occult practice (spiritism)Mudras: Magical gestures that call on deitiesMantra: Phrase repeated over and over (Om Mani Padme Hum is used by Tibetans)Meaning: not important, although different mantras call on different deitiesPurpose: to enter an altered state of consciousness (trance-state) to connect with a deity

Tantrism, contd. Mandala: Mystical art form for meditation and communication with spiritsDeity yoga: Practitioners visualize themselves as a particular deity and their surroundings as the deitys mandala. They identify with the qualities of the deity and perceive the bliss of the deity. At the same time they do it all only for the sake of others (Compassion wishing that all be set free from suffering)

Tantric Tools:

Protector Deities: Spirits that protect BuddhismThangkas: Images of Buddhas and Boddhisattvas used in visualizationsHuman Bone Implements: bowls and others implements used in rituals

Tibetan Buddhism: The meat drops into the broth

Buddhism enters Tibet from China and Nepal in the 7th century A.D.The meat: a form of Mahayana Buddhism, seasoned with Tantricism, springing from the teachings of Buddha as a reaction to Hinduism.The broth: Bn, the indigenous, Shamanistic religion of Tibet.

Many varieties of stew

There is not one form of Tibetan BuddhismMany different schools have developed

Gelugpa School - Yellow hats

Made head of all schools by MongoliansLeader: 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin GyatsoSpokesperson for Tibetan Buddhism in the WestWinner of the Nobel Peace PrizeLives in exile in IndiaReincarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (Avalokiteshvara - Chenrizig in Tibetan)Through the influence of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism has grown in popularity around the world particularly in the West

Practicing Tibetan Buddhism - Three reasons/ways to eat the stew

Gain enlightenment:This is the goal of only a small group of the elite monks and some western Buddhists. They understand the ph


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