Buddhism - Lesson 1

Emergence of Buddhism 1

Definition of Buddhism and a description of how it began and its present status as a world religion.

Lesson 1
Watching Now
Emergence of Buddhism 1

The Voice of Dissent

Part 1

I. The Emergence of Buddhism (part 1)

A. Introduction

1. Buddhism as a World Religion

a. Context of the course

b. Statistical overview of 21st century Buddhism

2. Defining Buddhism

A religious and intellectual movement founded in N. India by Śākyamuni Gautama Siddhārtha in the 6th C. B.C.E. which teaches the Dharma - ‘eternal truth about reality’ - and whose followers believe provides complete liberation from all suffering.

B. Historical Emergence of the Buddhist Dissent

1. The Early Life of Siddhārtha Gautama

a. Birth in Lumbini, Nepal

Hinduism background #1: “caste” system

Hinduism background #2: Four Stages of Life

Terms to know from lecture #1:

Śākyamuni Gautama Siddhārtha
Brāhmin / Kshatriya / Vaiśya / Śūdra

Four Important Places of Pilgrimage (the first is in Nepal, the rest are in N. India):

Lumbini (birth site)
Bodhgaya (enlightenment beneath Bodhi tree)
Saranath (turn the wheel of Dharma, first sermon, taught four noble truths, first monastery)
Kushinagar (death, entry into Nirvana, cremation site)

All Lessons
Class Resources
  • Definition of Buddhism and a description of how it began and its present status as a world religion.

  • Experiences in Siddhartha Gautama's life, and how they led the teachings that resulted in the formation of Buddhism.

  • The First Sermon of Buddha

  • Description of the five aggregates and the foundational doctrine of Buddhism.

  • Therevada emerged as the preserver of the Way of the Elders. The three jewels of the Therevada are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

  • The three insights of Mahayana Buddhism are that Buddha taught secret truths, the Buddha was a divine being and a dharmic concept, not just an earthly figure, and Gautama was not the only Buddha.

  • The Mahayana Sutras include the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, Lotus Sutra, Heart Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra and the Lankavatara Sutra.

  • A bodhisattva is an enlightened one who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others.

  • In Buddhism, actual objects of worship and adoration are ultimately illusory and superseded by true enlightenment. (This lecture begins in the outline, point IX. The Rise of Buddhist Philosophy, point D, #2. The lecture covering IX, points A, B, C and D #1 is not available, but Dr. Tennent is planning to record it.)

  • Two invocational Mahayana Buddhist Schools are Chinese “Pure Land” Buddhism and Japanese “Pure Land” Buddhism.

  • Chinese and Japanese Meditative Buddhism includes Zen Buddhism.

  • Buddhist mudras are hand gestures which have physical and spiritual significance. Family ties in a shame-based culture may often place significant social pressures on a person considering converting from Buddhism to Christianity.

  • The incarnation means that Jesus is both fully God and fully man and came to earth as God in the flesh.

  • The doctrines of transmigration and reincarnation are central to Buddhism and provide no assurance for Buddhists of their ultimate spiritual destination.

  • Buddhism and Christianity have fundamental theological differences.

  • Guest lecturer, Todd Johnson, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, founder of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

This course is an overview of the religion of Buddhism. We are missing four lectures which cover the points in the outline: the rise of Buddhist philosophy, Vajranyana Buddhism, Korean Buddhism and Buddhism in America. Dr. Tennent will record these lessons the next time he lectures on Buddhism.