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SOR II

Syllabus Summary

Buddhsim
Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Syllabus - Buddhism
1. XIVth Dalai Lama
1) Explain the contribution to the development and expression of Buddhism
of XIVth Dalai Lama
2) Analyse the impact of this XIVth Dalai Lama on Buddhism.

2. Bioethics
1) Describe and explain Buddhist ethical teachings on bioethics

3. Wesak
1) Describe Wesak
2) Demonstrate how Wesak expresses the beliefs of Buddhism
3) Analyse the significance of Wesak for both the individual and the
Buddhist community

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

XIVth Dalai Lama

Syllabus Point 1.1 – XIVth Dalai Lama


Explain the contribution to the development and expression of Buddhism of XIVth
Dalai Lama

Syllabus Point 1.2 - XIVth Dalai Lama


Analyse the impact of this XIVth Dalai Lama on Buddhism.

Generally
 Mainly associated with Tibetan Buddhism
 However his status has raised the profile of Buddhism in the Western world
o 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
 % of Australian Buddhists

Public Image
 Through traveling to Western countries has led to heightened profile of
Buddhism
 Large increase in Buddhist affiliates
 Greater Global understanding of Buddhism
o Congressional medal, Nobel Peace prize, UN address

Criticisms
 Supported CIA training a resistance, Buddhism stresses non violence
 Pre invasion Tibet was feudal  ‘Slaves’

Conclusion
 At large XIV Dalai Lama has had many positive impacts however sometimes
has sacrificed key beliefs on the altar of convenience

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Bioethics

Syllabus Point 2.1 - Bioethics


Describe and explain Buddhist ethical teachings on bioethics

Five Precepts
 For lay people
 Abstain From
o Killing Living Beings
o Taking what is not given
o Engaging in sexual misconduct
o Speaking Falsely
o Taking drink and drugs that confuse the mind
 First precept prevents euthanasia and abortion
 For abortion this is less clear as their 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 id part f the
mother but rather that one individual is temporarily housed in another”
 Buddhists class life as the presence of a consciousness:
o Karmic being ready for rebirth
o Sperm
o Egg
o Known as Gandhabba
 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:
o Mother
o Foetus
o Doctor
 Foetus is denied chance to enter human realm, only realm of ix Buddhist
realms from which enlightenment is attainable
 Merit Transfer ceremonies
o Many women after abortion participate in merit transfer ceremonies to
transfer the good karma of an action to the aborted foetus
o In Thailand offerings of incense, flowers and money are common
o In Japan shrines to the Boddhisatva Jiso Bodatsu, associated with
young children and the dead, are dedicated to aborted foetuses

The XIV Dalai Lama


 Head of Tibetan Buddhism

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

 Very influential on adherents of that strand


 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 hey 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

Acceptance of Lifespan
 Tied to Karmic Teachings
 Karma determines time of death/rebirth
 Interference can lead to negative karma
 Famous Bodhisatva, Buddadasa, refused to allow doctors to prolong his life
 Applies for abortion/euthanasia but also brings to light the less contentious
issue of organ transplant
 Acceptable practice, donation of organs as a compassionate act can even give
positive karma

Random Quote
 “In the simplest terms it [Abortion] is the intentional destruction of a karmic
being” D. Keown

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Wesak

Syllabus Point 3.1 - Wesak


Describe Wesak

History
 Also known as: Visakah Puja; Vaishaka; Buddha Purnima
Visakha 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

Mahayana celebrate birth/enlightenment/death on separate days


Check this with Welshy

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

Eight Precepts
 Normally 5, extra 3 on holy days to train themselves in morality, simplicity &
humility
o Not to kill
o Not to steal

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

o Not to engage in improper sexual activity


o Not to indulge in wrong speech
o Not to take intoxicating drinks and drugs
o To abstain from taking food at unreasonable times
o To refrain from sensual pleasures such as dancing, singing and self-
adornment
o 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  connects religion and state

Burma
 Watering of the Bo tree
o Tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment
 Capturing fish in small ponds and lakes, as dry season is begginning, release
in fresh water

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Syllabus Point 3.2 - Wesak


Demonstrate how Wesak expresses the beliefs of Buddhism

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Syllabus Point 3.3 - Wesak


Analyse the significance of Wesak for both the individual and the Buddhist
community

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  New life and fertility
 Birds, insects and animals released ina 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 begginning, 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
o Dukkha – Suffering
o Caused by desire for material possessions, greed –
o Cessation of Dukkha – Enlightenment/Nirvana
o 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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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Instructional Verbs

Account Account for: state reasons for, report on. Give an account of: narrate a
series of events or transactions
Analyse Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and
relate implications
Apply Use, utilise, employ in a particular situation
Appreciate Make a judgement about the value of
Assess Make a judgment of value, quality, outcomes, results or size
Calculate Ascertain/determine from given facts, figures or information
Clarify Make clear or plain
Classify Arrange or include in classes/categories
Compare Show how things are similar or different
Construct Make; build; put together items or arguments
Contrast Show how things are different or opposite
Deduce Draw conclusions
Define State meaning and identify essential qualities
Demonstrate Show by example
Describe Provide characteristics and features
Discuss Identify issues and provide points for and/or against
Distinguish Recognise or note/indicate as being distinct or different from; to note
differences between
Evaluate Make a judgement based on criteria; determine the value of
Examine Inquire into
Explain Relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident;
provide why and/or how
Extract Choose relevant and/or appropriate details
Extrapolate Infer from what is known
Identify Recognise and name
Interpret Draw meaning from
Investigate Plan, inquire into and draw conclusions about
Justify Support an argument or conclusion
Outline Sketch in general terms; indicate the main features of
Predict Suggest what may happen based on available information
Propose Put forward (for example a point of view, idea, argument, suggestion)
for consideration or action
Recall Present remembered ideas, facts or experiences
Recommend Provide reasons in favour
Recount Retell a series of events
Summarise Express, concisely, the relevant details
Synthesise Putting together various elements to make a whole

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Essay Structures

Wesak Variations

In General
 Celebrates birth enlightenment and death
 All on same day
 Full moon in May
 Practiced since at least 1st century

Variations
Thailand
 Monks lead candlelit processions
 Elders attend celebrations during day
 Workers return to celebrations at night
 Each person carries flowers and 3 incense sticks

Sri Lanka
 National Holiday
 Lanterns, Buddha as remover of darkness
 Presence of Royal Family, connects religion and state

India
 Prayers, sermons, non stop recitation of Buddhist scriptures
 Buddhists have ritual bath and wear white
 Reaffirm 5 precepts

Conclusion
 Happens just prior to rainy season
 Assosciation of fertility and Buddha

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Analyse the impact of XIV Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) on Buddhism

Intro
 Mainly associated with Tibetan Buddhism
 However his status has raised the profile of Buddhism in the Western world
o Congressional medal, Nobel Peace prize, UN address

Body 1 – 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

Body 2 – 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 o homosexuality. Ok, but not for Buddhsits

Body 3 – Ecumenism
 Met with Pope and other religious leaders
 States multiple religions are necessary to accommodate different people
 % of Australian Buddhists

Body 4 – Public Image


 Through traveling to Western countries has led to heightened profile of
Buddhism
 Large increase in Buddhist affiliates
 Greater Global understanding of Buddhism
o Congressional medal, Nobel Peace prize, UN address

Body 5 – Criticisms
 Supported CIA training a resistance, Buddhism stresses non violence
 Pre invasion Tibet was feudal  ‘Slaves’

Conclusion
 At large XIV Dalai Lama has had many positive impacts however sometimes
has sacrificed key beliefs on the altar of convenience

12
Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Wesak

Intro
 Most important Buddhist celebration
 Celebrates Birth, Enlightenment and death of Buddha
 All believed to have happened on same day, full moon in may
 Since at least the 5th century AD

How it is celebrated
 Lights
 Offerings

Birth of Buddha
 Born into privilege however retains his mind to attain enlightenment

Buddha’s Enlightenment
 Giving up material possessions and finding a path that eliminates suffering
 Beacon of hope for Buddhists
 Ultimate goal
 Paying homage to Buddha for discovering the eightfold path to enlightenment

Celebrate Parnibanna – Passing into Nirvana


 No miraculous or magical transformation, normal death
 Freed from wheel of life and death
 Through Darma eternal happiness can be found

Adherents
 Reiterate determination to:
o lead noble lives
o develop minds
o Practice love and kindness
o Bring peace an harmony to humanity

Bringing happiness through


 Gift distribution, to homeless
 Helping aged and sick

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Describe and explain Buddhist ethical teachings on Bioethics


Intro
 Ethical teachings drawn from many sources
 Some Bioethical issues have very strict teachings, others do not

Body One – First Precept


 Forbids taking of life
 Importance of 5 precepts in Buddhism
 Clearly forbids euthanasia
 Need clarification for - abortion Quote 1
 “The correct analysis of pregnancy from a Buddhist perspective is not that the
foetus is a ‘part’ of the mother but rather that one individual is temporarily
housed in another”
 Conscious being

Body Two – Karmic Teachings


 Basis of Buddhism
 ‘Don’t cause harm’ – Ambiguous
 Killing of a human is the worst Karmic wrong
 6 Realms

Body Three – XIV Dalai Lama


 Publicly challenged traditional teachings
 Quote “There are cases where there can be an exception”
 Mainly affects followers of Tibetan Buddhism

Body Four - Vinaya


 Governs the monastic Sangha
 277 offences in Vinaya, 9 levels of punishment
 Taking life one of 4 offences  expulsion from Sangha
 Buddha personally banned monks from administering abortions

Body Five – Eightfold Path


 Path to enlightenment
 Main guidance for Buddhists
 ‘Right Action’
Body Six – Acceptance of life span
 Tied to karmic teachings
 Extraordinary means of prolonging life heavily discouraged as is artificial
shortening of life
 Doesn’t let karma run its course
 Buddhadasa refused to allow doctors to prolong his life
 Brings to surface another issue
o Organ transplants
o Generally consensus is that it is OK
o Even seen as act of compassion, positive karma
Conclusion
 Many different ethical authorities

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Joe Dore Studies of Religion II
Buddhism

Questions From Specimen Exam 2007

Mark
s
Question 1 — Buddhism (15 marks)
(a) List THREE contributions to Buddhism of ONE 6
significant person or school of thought
(b)Describe the main teachings of Buddhism on ONE of 6
the following areas:
• Bioethics
• Environmental ethics
• Sexual ethics
(c) Examine ONE significant practice within Buddhism, 3
other than daily prayer, drawn from:
• Pilgrimage
• Temple Puja
• Wesak

Question 1 — Buddhism (20 marks)


Evaluate the contribution of ONE significant person or school of
thought on adherents in Buddhism.

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