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Buddhism: Major Doctrines

by Barnhill, David L. last modified Feb 07, 2014 10:24 AM

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

1. The problem: suffering (dis-ease).

2. The cause: desires (thirsting).

3. The ideal: nirvana, the end of suffering & desires.

4. The process: the Eightfold Path; meditation of various kinds; monasticism, itinerancy, or solitude.

 

FIRST NOBLE TRUTH

  • “All life is suffering.” Duhkha.
  • We are always dissatisfied, anxious.
  • Even when we think we are happy, underneath we “live lives of quiet desperation.”
  • “Dis-ease.”

 

SECOND NOBLE TRUTH

  • “Desires cause suffering.” Trsna.
  • Not just nasty or selfish desires. Any desire to change the world. Even the desire to do well or help others or save the planet.
  • This dominates our psyche: thirsting.
  • Craving for things; aversion to things; attachment to what we have.

 

THIRD NOBLE TRUTH

  • “Extinction”: the end to suffering and desires. Nirvana.
  • Basic attitude: equanimity, tranquility & openness.
  • Psychology/Ontology: unity with reality and all things interwoven.
  • Consciousness: direct perception and oneness with object of perception.
  • Action: not based on desires > spontaneity.
  • Emotions: no emotions, or undisturbed free flow.

 

FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH

  • “The Eightfold Path.” Includes morality, wisdom, and meditation.
  • Main technique: meditation. Break the control of our ADD mind so we can experience reality with undisturbed openness.
  • Meditation can take many forms, including art.
  • Often requires break from normal life: monasticism, wayfaring, or reclusion.

 

REALITY: INTERRELATEDNESS

  • Emptiness.” Not empty of reality, but empty of “thingness”: independence and permanence.
  • All things are radically interrelated. Everything comes into being by mutual co-arising and exists in mutual conditioning.
  • “Interbeing.”
  • An unbroken field of being, with distinctness retained, like a gravitational field.

 

REALITY: NONSELF

  • We have desires (and thus suffering) because we are deluded about reality. We believe there is a “self” separate from the world-out-there.
  • Because we are separate from the world, there are things to want and to fear.
  • Enlightenment comes when we realize there is no self/other dichotomy, there is no gap between consciousness and reality.

 

REALITY: IMPERMANENCE

  • Nothing in permanent.
  • Two basic formulations:
  • >> Everything will pass away and go out
  • >> All things are in flux every moment
  • Thus attachments and desires are deluded and lead to suffering.

 

BUDDHA NATURE

  • Fundamental Buddhist doctrine that developed and changed over time
  • Early notion: we have the potential to become Buddhas (enlightened)
  • Later development:
    • we all ARE Buddhas: "original enlightenment"
    • the phenomenal world is the Buddha

 

CONSCIOUSNESS
  • Related to the notion of nonself. No self that "has" consciousness (versus Descartes' "I think therefore I am")
  • Denies the dichotomy between subjective consciousness and objective reality. Instead: "direct perception."
  • Ideal of "seeing things as they are," which involves perception devoid of the subject/object split and desires and dis-ease

THE VALUE OF NATURE

  • Nature is valued highly.
  • But our response to the value of nature problematic.
  • Nature can help lead us to enlightenment, or it can be a source of attachment.
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by Barnhill, David L. last modified Feb 07, 2014 10:24 AM