The title Buddha is given to a person who is an enlightened being. It comes from the root BUDH in Sanskrit, meaning “to know”. Buddha is a person who understands the truth, he is a finder and a proclaimer of the truth. The historical Buddha that we know of is called “Siddhartha Gautama” Gautama, being his family name. He was born in 563 B.C ( now believed to be 623 B.C) His father was Suddodana and the mother was Mahamaya. At the time of the birth, the father called various famous astrologers to the palace to ask about the child’s destiny. Although all the people who were there agreed that he would either be a very great ruler or a very great sage, one of the ascetics there was quite convinced that he would be the future Buddha. There are new views expressed now which locate the birth and parinibbana of the Buddha in Sri Lanka. King Asoka’s supposed pillar edict in Lumbini has now been proven to be a fabrication of Anton Furer who was later dismissed by the Government of India.
Before we come into an analysis of the four Noble truths we should have some idea about the meaning of the word “Dhamma”. Four Noble truths will also come under this Dhamma. The word Dhamma comes from the root word “Dara” which means uphold and this covers the fundamental rules operating in the universe and also the rules of righteousness or ethical element and all these are contained in the “Dhamma”.
Dhamma is called the medicine of all the medicines in the world, manifold and various, there is none like the medicine of Dhamma.
Buddhists are taught there are various great qualities of the ocean found in the Dhamma. They say that the great ocean slopes and inclines and there is no sudden precipice since the great ocean gradually shelves. The great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt. This is the sixth wonderful and marvelous quality of the great ocean. This is how they speak of the greatness of the Dhamma or the great teachings and they also believe that the Dhamma is to be realized by the wise and not by the foolish……
Prof.Lakshman’s talk on History and Culture of Sri Lanka which also contains details of Buddha’s three visits to Sri Lanka.
Click to read Mahavamsa– Mahavamsa is an important Buddhist document of the early history of Sri Lanka, beginning near the time of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. As it often refers to the royal dynasties of India, the Mahavamsa is also valuable to historians who wish to date and relate contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent. It is very important in dating the consecration of the Maurya emperor Asoka, which is related to the synchronicity with the Seleucids and Alexander the Great.
Some deeper questions for doctoral students.
- What is Alayavijnana? Is it the same as citta, manas or vijnana? Why is citta defined as mano-centered vijnana?
- Is vitakka present in jhana. This is the subtle aspect of ‘thought’ that is carried over into jhana, when the coarse aspect, the verbalization, is left behind….Click to read
- How do we remedy emotional imbalances in Conative, Attentional , Cognitive and Affective states?
Recommended reading for doctoral students
- Buddhist Suttas
- Suggested reading
- Buddhist Publications
- Buddhist Resources
- Therevada Tipitaka
- Celebrity Buddhists
- Buddhist e-Library
- Future of Buddhism
- The Buddhist Society
- Stupas in Sri Lanka
- Following Buddha’s footsteps
- Meditation Centres in Sri Lanka
- Buddhist Literature Collection
- Cambridge Buddhist Centre
- Buddhism and Modern Science
- Click -Buddhism & Science Video
- Buddhist Philosophy of Science
- Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
- Lankavatara Sutra
- Shurangama Sutra
- Buddhist Nirvana
- Journal of Global Buddhism
- Buddhism Dr.Ambedkar
- The real Buddhist culture
- Buddhism practical issues
- Buddhist Vipassana Fellowship
- Buddhist Directory-Sri Lanka
- Understanding Ven Nagarjuna
- Stanford Resources on Abhidhamma
- Buddhism- Abhidhamma resources
- Thousands of monks practicing TM
- Buddhism- Temple of Tooth Relic Sri Lanka
- Buddhism-550 Jataka Stories- Sinhala
- University of Berkeley Resources
- The authenticity of the early Buddhist texts– Is the Buddhist textus receptus authentic?
………It just happened that during the age in which the word of the Buddha was preserved in writing, Buddhism had flourished and spread to several countries, becoming their state religion. Each country created an official version of the Pali Canon of its own and took care of it from generation to generation to ensure that it would remain unadulterated and complete. A case in point is Thailand, where there were rehearsals conducted in the reigns of King Tilokaràja (or Tilakaràja) of the Lanna Kingdom and King Rama I of the present Rattanakosin period.
In each recension of the Pali Canon, the participants will bring together the different versions from all the countries involved and cross-check them to see whether there are any discrepancies in wording down to the letter.
Theravàda Buddhism is, therefore, legitimately proud that the original Buddhism has been preserved. In contrast, as has been universally recognised by Buddhist scholars and academia worldwide, no matter whether they profess Mahàyana, Theravàda, or Vajrayàna Buddhism, the Mahàyàna sutras of the âcàryavàda school were composed later, not preserving the original, authentic teachings. The majority of these scriptures are now lost. As a result, it has been acknowledged that the most complete, original teachings of the Buddha that are still available today can only be found in the Pali Canon of Theravàda Buddhism……..Pali Canon by P A Payutto
In the early nineties, I met Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bikkhu Nyanaponika at the Forest Hermitage Kandy after which I completed the research in 1999 comparing Buddhagosa’s Vissudhimagga with Karl Bath’s Dogmatics dealing with sin vs suffering. Featured Publications: Other Publications and Research: Religion Blog
………...I will touch on meanings that highlight Buddhagosa’s and Barth’s understandings of the fallen state of life, especially as we see differences between them.
This concerns a crucial aspect of contextual meaning as examined earlier, how we know about Unsatisfactory nature and sin. For Barth knowledge of soteriological wrong is unequivocally derived from knowledge of the soteriological solution. Knowledge of Jesus Christ precedes knowledge of sin just as the Word spoken in Jesus Christ precedes everything that has come into existence, including the introduction of sin into creation. A relationship of priority, we might even say, causality exists here. Jesus Christ is prior to everything else God in Barth’s theology and this knowledge causes or gives rise to an awareness or knowledge of sin…………………
Buddhism and the God-idea,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994)
Buddhism in a Nutshellby Narada Thera (1982)
A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (1994)
A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (Excerpt — Introduction only)ed. by Bhikkhu Bodhi (1993)
The Progress of Insight: A Modern Treatise on Buddhist Satipatthana Meditationby Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (1994)
Seeing Things as They Are,by Nyanaponika Thera (1994))
Forest Hermitage, Udawattekelle, Kandy, Sri Lanka whee I met Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Sin Vs Suffering comparing Karl Bath’s Dogmatics with Vissudhimaga
A usual observation is that comparison is the fundamental way to gain an understanding of anything. Succinctly, all knowledge is comparative. This dissertation illustrates, in an intentional and explicit way, this observation with the claim that comparative inquiry evinces insights and truths that non-comparative inquiry does not. The difficulty of this claim is twofold: first, it would be difficult, if possible, to study something non-comparatively with the purpose of showing what is not learned in the process. Thus there is no counterpoint against which to contrast the knowledge gained from this comparative study….
Visuddhimagga is the ‘great treatise’ on Theravada Buddhist doctrine written by Buddhaghosa approximately in the 5th Century in Sri Lanka. It is a manual condensing and systematizing the 5th century understanding and interpretation of the Buddhist path as maintained by the elders of the Mahavihara Monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is considered an important Theravada text outside of the Tipitaka canon of scriptures even though many Hindu and Patanjali concepts have also found its way into the manual which appears to have distorted the original hela meanings.
Monism: Advaita Vedanta
Advaita Vedanta is probably the best known of all Vedanta schools. Advaita literally means “not two”; thus this is what we refer to as a monistic (or non-dualistic) system, which emphasises oneness. Its first great consolidator was Shankara (788–820). Continuing the line of thought of some of the Upanishadic teachers, and also that of his own teacher Gaudapada , Shankara expounded the doctrine of Advaita – a nondualistic reality. By analysing the three states of experience (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) he exposed the relative nature of the world and established the supreme truth of the Advaita: the non-dual reality of Brahman in which atman (the individual soul) and brahman (the ultimate reality expressed in the trimurti) are identified absolutely. His theories were controversial from the start and some of his contemporaries accused him of teaching Buddhism while pretending to be a Hindu. However, many more see Adi Shankara drawing from the monist concepts that were visibly ingrained in formerly existing texts, those pre-dating Buddha, like the more abstuse sections of the Vedas as well as the older Upanishads, several of which are conservatively and thus reliably dated as far back as 1000 BCE, if not 1500 BCE.
Subsequent Vedantins debated whether the reality of Brahman was saguna (with attributes) or nirguna (without attributes). Belief in the concept of Saguna Brahman gave rise to a proliferation of devotional attitudes and more widespread worship of Vishnu and Shiva. Advaita Vedanta is strictly grounded in a belief that the ultimate truth is nirguna Brahman. The Vishistadvaita and Dvaita schools believed in an ultimately saguna Brahman.
Qualified Monism: Vishistadvaita Vedanta
Ramanuja (1040 – 1137) was the foremost proponent of the concept of Sriman Narayana as the supreme Brahman. He taught that Ultimate reality had three aspects: Ishvara (Vishnu), cit (soul) and acit (matter). Vishnu is the only independent reality, while souls and matter are dependent on God for their existence. Because of this qualification of Ultimate reality, Ramanuja’s system is known as qualified non-dualism.
Dualism: Dvaita Vedanta
Synthesis: Acintya Bheda – Abheda Vedanta
Caitanya (1486–1534), a devotee of Krishna, proposed a synthesis between the monist and dualist philosophies by stating that the soul is equally distinct (bheda) and non-distinct (abheda) from god, and that this, although unthinkable (acintya), is experiencable in devotion
I have had the opportunity of examining many meditation techniques, especially TM and being trained by the best teachers worldwide.
Transcendental Meditation, Self-actualization, and Psychological Health: A conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis Alexander, C. N., Rainforth, M. V., & Gelderloos, P., Journal of Social Behavior & Personality, 6(5), 189-248, 1991.
Presents a lifespan model of development based on the Vedic psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This model proposes that systematic transcendence, as cultivated through the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program, will promote self-actualization (SA). Statistical meta-analysis is presented of 42 studies on the effects of TM and other forms of meditation and relaxation on SA. The effect size of TM on overall SA was approximately 3 times as large as that of other forms of meditation and relaxation. Factor analysis of the 12 scales of the Personal Orientation Inventory revealed 3 independent factors: Affective Maturity, Integrative Perspective on Self and World, and Resilient Sense of Self. On these 3 factors, the effect of TM was 3 times as large. The magnitude of these consistent differential effects suggests that systematic transcendence is the key factor. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Some of the best centres I have visited for training.
MAHARISHI EUROPEAN RESEARCH UNIVERSITY, VLODROP, HOLLAND
MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY IOWA , USA
RISHIKESH IN THE HIMALAYAS
Amity College – Florida is a University Member of the International Association of Buddhist Universities. The International Association of Buddhist Universities, IABU, is an international forum for institutes of Buddhist higher education to network, understand, and benefit from the richness and variety of the multinational Buddhist tradition. All major State Universities of Sri Lanka are members of IABU.
The International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABU) was founded during the UN Day of Vesak celebrations at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok in 28 May 2007/ 2550 by Buddhist universities as well as secular universities engaged in Buddhist studies from more than twenty nations and regions. It is “an international forum for institutes of Buddhist higher education to network, understand and benefit from the richness and variety of the multinational Buddhist traditions”.
International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABU)
IABU Office, 2nd Floor, IBSC Building,
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