Buddhism - Lesson 2

Emergence of Buddhism (Part 2)

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

Lesson 2
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Emergence of Buddhism (Part 2)


In this course, you will gain an in-depth understanding of Buddhism, including its historical background, key concepts, and major branches. You will explore the life and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, and learn about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Additionally, you will examine the differences between the major branches of Buddhism, such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and learn about various Buddhist practices and beliefs, including meditation, karma, rebirth, and the role of the Sangha. Lastly, you will study how Christians can bring hope to Buddhists by sharing the truths of God's character and the salvation of His Son. 



Dr. Timothy Tennent


Emergence of Buddhism (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


So that was the fact that I forgot my is from the warrior caste. He has this prophecy about his either becoming a robe announcer or some religious teacher or becoming a great ruler. There's some attempt to keep him sheltered from any thing that might make him separate from his family. And so all of this is building up to this tremendous, what you might call the Damascus Road experience kind of thing. For Siddartha Gautama, a major turning point in his life where he goes on a chariot ride outside of the confines of the palace. So this is his first opportunity to actually see the world. Now, there's many variations of the story. This is generally called the four sites. And if you look on your handouts on the fourth term, you'll see that term there, the four sites. So the four things that he sees in some of the traditions of this story, these are four successive journeys on horseback or on chariot. And other times it's told as a single experience in one trip, which is how I will relay the story. But the main thing is this is called the four sites. Now, essentially, you need to identify the four things that Siddartha got to seize was changes his life and forces him into what is known as the first great renunciation. So he goes out and the chariot ride, and in the process of writing out, he's now in contact with the real world as much so the ordinary people out in the society, if you ever, you know, it's hard for us in a way to fully relate to this because our society actually does shelter us in its own way from various things. You might see if you go out on the streets, but yet the rise when you're in a place like India or Nepal and you go out into the streets and you walk around, you see amazing things, you see a lot of human suffering and a lot of things that you may be sheltered from if you grow up in an affluent neighborhood that's set apart a gated community or whatever.


So in a way, it's like somebody has gone out of their gated community and they're actually go down into inner city Boston or some other great city of the world, and they're going to see things they've never seen before. This is exactly what happens to the Godman. So the first sight he has, he sees somebody that is very old. He sees an old man that cite number one. Now, the traditional conversation he has goes like this. He asks the charioteer, who, of course, naturally being a warrior, he would never ride his own chariot. So he's being driven along by one of his servants. And he says to the charioteer, Good charioteer, Who is this man with white hair? He supports himself with a staff in his hand, his eyes peeled, veiled in the words drooping eyes, and there his limbs are relaxed and bent. Is this some transformation in him or is this his original state or their chance? In other words, what caused this person to look like this? He's seen his first old person. So the charioteer says this is called old age. Old age has broken him down. Old age is the murderer of beauty, the ruin of vigor, the birthplace of sorrow, the grave of pleasure, the destroyer of memory, the enemy of the centers. For he to this old man. At one time, he sucked milk in his infancy from his mother. He to crawl on the ground as a toddler. He eventually became a handsome youth. He had a family. He was strong. And now, in the same order of nature, he has now reached this state of old age. And so God was surprised. And he says, Well, does this happen to everybody? Does everybody go through these stages? Again, this is a different sequence of stage life.


He is not heard before, understood before. He says, no, no, no. This is strikes down everybody indiscriminately. It doesn't matter if you're a Brahmin or you're a shoe draw. Old age comes to everybody. So the God is very, very concerned. So he tells the man, Let's turn back. We must go back to the palace for how can I take pleasure in my life? And then what's around me if I know that old age will someday rule in my. Mind and ruin my body. So he turns back, he sees yet another man, and this person is sick and he has his first sighting of somebody in sickness and in pain. This also strikes him a similar conversation about sickness. You know, of course, in tradition here's got mad in his early twenties and apparently he's never been sick before. Certainly this is the story of the they would tell. So he ask about sickness and pain and he finds out, as with the other, that everyone eventually encounters sickness and pain in their life. The third encounter. The third sighting, of course, is the most shocking of all. He cites a dead person. Not unusual at all to to cite a dead person in the eastern world. That much more rare in our society. But I have seen several times in my life people who just died and they were just laying there and there's nobody to pick them up for some time. So he sees a person who had died like that. And he's deeply disturbed by these three sightings and he's about to go into despair. So meanwhile, he's making his way back to the palace and he suddenly turns and sees the fourth person. Now he's seen old age. He's seen sickness is in death.


And finally, he sees a person that is a senior person. He sees somebody who is in that stage there, a person who as I actually I shouldn't say for sure there is some debate among the Buddhist about whether he saw a cineaste and or a forest dweller, because the way he describes the person, it could actually be either. But he definitely saw somebody who had forsaken the household or life. That's the most important thing. Probably a son, Yasin. He sees a man there who is meditating and who seems to have a very serene look of peace in his life. And he was amazed by this. And so he says, Who is this fourth man? And they tell him, Well, this is someone who has renounced pain and renounced pleasure in search of truth. He is a world renounced or is somebody who has become an esthetic in search of truth. And he seems so peaceful. This really amazed the Buddha, our Siddartha Gautama. And these are known as the four sites, because this is the first time that he becomes encountering the harsh realities of the world. This becomes very central to the whole Buddhist vision, actually, is how they assess the human condition. The inevitability of sorrow and suffering and pain says rooted back in kind of this seminal story about Siddhartha gotten his famous chariot ride. So they basically take a relatively simple ride where he sees a few people that are more or less in various stages of their life and death. And that becomes kind of a paradigm of what all of us pass through. We all pass through a period of vigorous strength, the way he was go through periods of sickness, you know, old age, eventually death. So this is like a paradigmatic kind of thing where he essentially, you might say his life passes for his eyes, where he recognizes this cycle upon which everything follows.


And this cycle is can best be seen as a circle. And what he would later learn, though he does not know at this point that this cycle of life. Has a term for it in Hinduism, which becomes drug driving burden for Buddhists as well as how to break it out of it. This wheel is actually presented as a wheel is called the Wheel of Samsara. This turning of a wheel of samsara is the main image of Buddhism, and it's drawn directly from Hinduism. In fact, if you look at Buddhist iconography, it often involves a picture of a wheel. And the idea is that this wheel is turning. Birth, life, old age, suffering. Death, rebirth. Life. Suffering, death. You know, your costs of being reborn again. This is the whole idea of reincarnation. Is is often called. That's accepted by both Hindus and Buddhist. So you have the idea of you are stuck in this cycle going through the cycle of birth, life, death, and you cannot escape it. So this wheel of suffering is called the Wheel of Samsara. And this is the context out of which Buddhism is trying to find a way to break out of the wheel of samsara. If you take the Hinduism class, we would spend weeks and weeks and weeks discussing how the Hindus prescribe the way to break out of the wheel of samsara. The Buddhist have a very different perspective on how to get out of it. But this is part of the same assessment of the problem. So the Wheel of Samsara is kind of the symbol of the harsh realities of life. The question of human suffering, all of those kind of issues are wrapped up in the mysteries of life and Buddha. I've got my has this inner imperative to go out in search of the answer.


So at this young age, he decides to do what the prophecy said that he might do, and that is take hold of the lotus flower, as it were, to go out and find it, meditate on the true meaning of life. So you have this famous verse from one of the collections of the Buddhist discourses by Zema Nakai, where he says, In the spring of my life, despite the tears shed by my parents, I shaved my head, put on robes, renounce my home and became a homeless monk. This is known as the first great renunciation. You notice again, that's one of the terms on the back of your handout, because this is a very critical theological paradigm in Buddhism that is certainly key to the Theravada vision, the Mahayana challenge, but certainly the original Buddhist vision is that in order to be enlightened, in order to have true insight into the meaning of the universe, you must follow the life cycle of the Buddha, which means that you must also renounce the world and you must become a booker or a beggar. So this is something that the Buddhist value and it's known as the first great renunciation. He cut his hair. He gave his jewelry away. It's a story a little bit like in France of Assisi. He traded his clothes with a wandering beggar. And I'm not sure I put this on the terms. I did not. But one of the terms. Oh, yeah. This is in the last that's the last time on the list. You'll see there the term become vhi k k h u. I will take a moment here to explain why I sentence put terms in parentheses. The word Vico means a beggar. It does not mean a beggar.


Maybe in the way we would use the word in the West. It means somebody who has chosen to give up their possessions for the sake of becoming a wandering mendicant wandering beggar who relies on the alms giving or the generosity of others to live. This is a very high ideal in the East. So if you go to India, you'll meet both kinds of beggars. See, as a distinction. The two you'll meet the beggar, the truly poor, hapless person who has no job, has no activity in life, no recourse but to beg. And they'll have rags and they'll just be destitute. And there could very well be a shoe driver or a Dalit who will, especially if you go to a place like any American type place, like if you go to Delhi and you go to McDonald's or something, they have now about 15 McDonald's in Delhi. You did you ever eat at McDonald's in Delhi? It's a vegetarian. McDonald's. Okay. Even McDonald's had to. All to India, but they have a vegetarian McDonald's there, and their primary burger is called the Maharaja Mac rather than a Big Mac in need of change, even the mighty multinational corporation. I had a friend who said to me this past summer he went to McDonald's and he said, he has this thing. He likes eating McDonald's all over the world and he has placemats on McDonald's everywhere. And he brought them back from, you know, the biggest one in the world is in Red Square in Russia and all that. So he's has he's been to all these he's a mission professor like me, you know, So, you know, he's got nothing better to do this time than go around eat McDonald's all over the world. So he never been to India before, So he went to this McDonald's and he ate it.


And he said, you know, he says, I have been to I don't know how many dozens of McDonald's all over the world for four continents. And every McDonald's taste exactly the same. You know, a Big Mac in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a Big Mac in Russia. A Big Mac in the US is the same. It's a Big Mac is a Big Mac is a Big Mac. He's the first is the first McDonald's I ate where the the food tastes like the country. It's in this because it has like a curried vegetable Maharaja Mac it's really amazing. Anyway so when you go to those places you're inundated with beggars who because they know that Americans are Westerners, will go to those kind of restaurant and you're completely surrounded by them begging for money. That kind of beggar you have in any city in the world. But this is a different kind of beggar. And people who grow up in the culture quickly recognize the difference. If other people who come from good families, who have good upbringings, education, etc., but they have chosen to announce the world, they will generally wear certain robes like a saffron robe covered road where they will and they carry a little basket around. And this is telling you that they have become beggars by choice and they are relying upon your offerings to sustain them. So it is not unusual at all if you're especially in a holy site where you are a place of pilgrimage, you know, where people go at the Ganges River to see hundreds of these people that are there begging or whatever, and they will be get your offerings. And if you give them offerings, they will. You're supposed to get good karma. Our blessings in your life.


If you give money to a like a street homeless person who actually needs the money, that's bad karma. It's not good to give to them unless they die. If they die, they will cover their dead body with coins. But the actual living person needs money they won't give, but they will give to these people. So it is not unusual at all to find people in India that are teachers. The Brahmins, for example. I mean a true Brahmin today, there is many, you know, kind of a pseudo Brahmin, but a true Brahmin who follows the exact teaching of Hinduism will not take any money for their teaching. So if I was a Brahmin teacher in a school, I would refuse any salary and to the students who studied under me would be rather than me, you be in charge tuition, you would be compelled to give me an offering directly to support me in my teaching. Because you believe that are appreciated or got some out of it or whatever one to be interested. They had that done here so that you had no set tuition. You simply paid your professors for what you thought the course was worth. What That would be really amazing. Okay. Anyway, so this is a strong ideal within classic monastic slash Theravada Buddhism, the monastic kind of mentality that says we have no home of our own, we're wandering beggars and all this is that kind of category. And it goes back to the Buddhist first great renunciation, or he leaves his position in his family. So he goes, And what does he do? He of course, he had ask on this chariot ride. He'd ask the charioteer, This person is meditating or who is he? And he said to him, the the words which must have chilled the heart of his mother.


That man is a Brahman. Okay, so here we go back to our original four categories. Brahman sutra vice. You should draw. There's this tension between the Brahmans and the Patriots. Here's this chart. Real ruler who should be on top of the world, governing the world, ruling the world demanding that the. The Brahmins submit to him instead when he encounters suffering old age and he finds out even the great rulers go through suffering disease, death, excise, etc., then we are not the strongest people in the world. Our strength will fade away. And this Brahman here seems to be at peace. So actually, the Buddha submits in some way to this reality, at least at this point we haven't gotten to the second great renunciation yet. But the first great renunciation he submits himself to to Brahmins. Which brings me to what I was going to say earlier. On the back of the sheet, you'll see I have the word bku there and then in parentheses, because two and then up there earlier on that list I have the two Brahmins that he submitted himself to a lot of and who Dacca or he may say in Prince or Radha and Draka. This is one of the unfortunate realities of Eastern studies that would not be as true with traditional Western scholarship, that there has not been a proper agreement among scholars as to what to do when anglicized in names of people from this part of the world. So you have actually two traditions. One is to conform to the Sanskrit Pali language. The other is to conform to more modern way things. Anything is Anglicized. So because of that, you will find in your even in our own textbooks, some variation of spellings. So to clear up any misunderstanding, I have both the spellings there.


Just to be clear on this is not some other person or whatever, but these two names, there are a lot of right and a Dhaka represent the two Brahmins that he submits himself to again, most likely son. There are certainly are Brahmins and they are hermits, we would say, or, you know, meditative mendicant. And he learns certain techniques from them. Meditative techniques, according to tradition. A lot of I taught him a form of meditation which leads to the state of attaining the state of nothing. Nothingness. Dhaka taught him this certain meditative technique where he could attain to neither perception or non perception. These are different schools of meditation within Hinduism. So you have essentially within Hindu thought, you have various schools which teach certain kinds of meditation. So this is basically saying that Buddha Siddartha Gautama is becoming acquainted with some of the meditative techniques that were used by Hindus to achieve enlightenment. Yes, one was nothingness. The second one was what? One was nothingness. One was coming to the place where you cannot distinguish between perception and non perception. It's not important that you know that. What's important to know is that he's simply been exposed to different meditative techniques. This becomes very much a part of later Buddhism, especially in the West. You cannot help but be familiar with Zen Buddhism, or at least know the term Zen Buddhism is the Japanese school of meditative Buddhism. But China, if you're from the Chinese context, it's called Chan Buddhism, and India is called Diana. There's different terms for this, but these are meditative Buddhism schools. So in the West, the idea of meditation has taken on a very strong priority. Remember I told you there was those three ideals within Buddhism, morality, meditation and knowledge.


And so the meditative Buddhism has become propagated in the West more than other kinds of Buddhism. So it's important to recognize in the very beginning, you're having this ascetic renunciation. You're having this him learning meditative techniques. So he supposedly is mastering kind of the best that Hinduism has to offer. He's going to later forsake it to some degree, but he is certainly being exposed to, you know, kind of the high end Hinduism, Brahmin, ankle, Hinduism at this point. So he mastered these techniques. He mastered their various paths which, which they call various Damas. He was unsatisfied, though He was not satisfied with the fact that this could actually break this wheel of samsara. Again, the Brahmins taught him that if you meditate and if you renounce the world and go through this process because he's a sutra, he's allowed to go through the four stages of life, you will be reborn in your next life as a Brahman. So they're still telling him you yourself have no hope of being liberated, but maybe you can come back as a Brahman. So he is not satisfied with this answer because there's still dissent is still in him a bit. So he is not happy with this, but he studies on them for quite a long time. What is interesting, I guess in some ways is that in the Hindu worldview there is a great attempt for meditation to focus on realizing that your self is the same as the essence of the universe. Now that is something that relates to Hinduism. It goes beyond this course, but it is very critically important to how Hindus understand why you meditate. This is not something that Buddha ever mentions as what he learned from these ascetics. So it's interesting that some of the kind of ideals of the meditative techniques are missing there.


So it appears that there is definitely a challenge has been made to the Hindu vision here. And these could have been some Brahmans that were exploring other kinds of ideals within the Hindu worldview. But certainly everyone was agree that there was a desire to escape from the wheel of samsara. So Buddha goes on down and eventually he migrates to a place called Varanasi. And let me just actually give you some quotes from him. After meeting with these Brahmins. He says again in this promises material majima a.k.a this dharma, this teaching taught by RRO Dwarka does not lead to avoidance, to separation from desire to cessation that is, cessation of suffering or existence to peace, to wisdom, to truth, awakening to nirvana. Now, these are all terms and and words that we will explore later. These are all important words, and there's very precise terminology being used here that are part of the whole Buddhist struggle. But at this point, let's just make it the. This is here to basically say that he is not happy with the vision of asceticism. Extreme denial in achieving enlightenment. Now, according to this vision, here you see him breaking free from these two Brahmins and seeking out some other kinds of help. And so he travels to the heartland of Hinduism, which is Varanasi in ancient times, is called Kashi. It's called Benaras. And today it's called Varanasi. Varanasi is a very important place where the different river systems come together in India. It's the central point on the Ganges River where people come for pilgrimage. It is for Hindus. Varanasi, let me spell it for you. It actually should be pronounced Varanasi, but people don't do that. People have adopted Western pronunciation once that is called very widely, even India that he'll call it Varanasi.


It should be Varanasi. But anyway, Varanasi also called in ancient times, was called Kashi. And then later the British call it Benaras. This is all the same place. This is to Hindus, what Mecca is for Muslims or what Jerusalem is for Jews. This is the heart of Hinduism is in the city of Varanasi. This is where they cremate the bodies of people. This is where the early Vedic teachers supposedly had the sacrificial fire and all kinds of associated with this this town, the city. So this is actually symbolically showing Buddha traveling to the heart of Hinduism to study the best that Hinduism has to offer. So he meets these two Brahmins up in border the region of Nepal and India border. And he decides that he really needs to go to really the heart and find out what is the best that Hinduism has to offer. So he actually goes to Varanasi and he studies under five ascetics. And you can sit there on the hand out there. The names that are not important, but he goes and studies under these ascetics who teach him that meditation must be joined with extreme self-denial, self-denial to the point that there again, this is a bit of a hagiography, but a lot of belief that the Buddha lived on one grain of rice per day. Now, if you have been on I some of you I'm sure have done diets like, you know, Jenny Craig diet or whatever. This is a guaranteed to work. If you go down to one grain of rice per day, you will lose weight. This, by the way, explains why the Indian statues of the Buddha that you see in various places in temples and all they will be show you extremely emaciated Buddha because this is actually depicting him prior to his second great renunciation where he renounces these five esthetics.


And he says that this kind of extreme asceticism does not lead to enlightenment. The second great investigation is this one. This is actually just the beginning of the single renunciation. The search nation is essentially renouncing the extremism of biomedical approaches to knowledge, whether it be extreme meditation in our order in the draka, or more importantly, the extreme asceticism of the five esthetics. So what you have to actually see on a continuum in your mind, you have to see a content like this, because this is absolutely the most important abiding metaphor of Buddhism, is that Buddhism is called the middle way. That's how Buddhism perceives itself. And it goes back to this basic vision, the basic conception of of the Buddha, of the two renunciation. What you have here is he had been living in extreme wealth. Comfort. And he renounces that. That's the first great renunciation you announce as well. And he goes all the way to the other extreme of extreme asceticism. Self-denial. One grain of rice per day. This is all kind of metaphorically trying to give you the most dramatic picture of the Buddha's self-denial. So this is picturing the Buddha in a situation where he is extremely emaciated. Every bone in his body supposedly is showing through his skin and on and on and on and on. And he's at the very point of death. And even at the point of death, he does not feel like he has attained enlightenment, nor has he felt like that he's escape from the will of samsara or has any insight into how that happens. So in a sense, what he's saying is, listen, I have gone to Varanasi, I've gone to the heart of Hinduism, I have slept with this teaching. I have taken it with all the sincerity and vigor imaginable and it is not so.


He has the second renunciation where he comes back to what we would call the middle way in everything in Buddhism. And I mean, this is true for the whole of Buddhism. This is one thing you can actually count on as one of the great homogenizing elements of Buddhism is that it is always perceiving itself as the middle way between everything. And so this is part of the original vision of Buddhism. We're not a stream ascetics. We don't we. But yet we do announce the pleasures of this world. So there always between everything. When it comes to philosophical debates, the Buddhist have very cleverly, very clever. That's why it's so difficult to develop proper apologetics of Buddhism. They have very cleverly realized that in any philosophical debate there are two sides to everything. You have your Aristotle, you have your Plato, everything, and the philosophy. That's why you have two perspectives on everything. And all of life involves tension between two things. That's the way life is. And so, you know, there's tension between your family life and your study life. There's tension between eating too much, eating too little. Everything is this way. So Buddhism always takes the middle position in everything. They find a way to negotiate through every philosophical debate and find a middle path. And that actually is a very powerful technique and makes it very, very easy to fit into any society. Find out what are the polarities in that society, What are the points of tension? And find out. That's always a point of exploitation because everybody feels this tension and it seems to be resolved by the middle way. So Buddhism is not so much concerned with what these verities are, but always charting a path which shows somehow that they understand both of these.


So it goes back to the root of Buddhism in these first two renunciation of the Buddha between the first and the second. And it's at this point where he begins to branch out and discover the enlightenment of the middle way. Okay. Any questions about the two great denunciations or any comments? Okay. Today, we're going to continue on and at least get through his enlightenment. We're not going to study today the content of his enlightenment, but just explain kind of what happens after he does this. He eventually goes to a period where he eventually comes to a point of enlightenment. This, by the way, is found in your textbook in the opera, which describes his realization of this enlightenment through many a birth. I wandered in samsara. This is the wheel of some sort of birth rebirth, birth, rebirth, seeking but not finding the builder of the house who is building this house of sorrows, who is building this house of experiences that I'm having. Sorrowful it is to be born again and again. House builder. You are seen he has made this perception you shall build no house again. All your rafters are broken. You're ridged Paul is shattered. My mind has attained the unconditioned achieved is the end of craving. So the Buddha claims to have broken through this dilemma between the essentially the Qatari of vision of power and wealth, and the other tension of the biomedical vision of total asceticism and self-denial. And he is this is called the middle way of Buddhism. It occurs this insight occurs underneath a very famous tree known as the body tree. I mean, simply the tree of meditation or the tree of enlightenment. This is the picture of it. This is supposedly a still a suckered, original transplant from the original tree.


You actually will find several places in the world where they all claim they have branches from the original body tree they've planted and come up. And it's not unusual. And they'll see when pilgrims come, they will tie these offering little pieces of cloth as prayers. We'll look at this later in the course. But to this tree. So this is all very, very familiar. If you see these sites of a place of worship. So, according to tradition, he was seen under this tree meditating when he began to go through various stages of what in India is called Diana, what we call in the West. Zen is the Japanese word for it. In other words, stages of meditation. And on the back of the chart, you'll see Diana is simply just means a meditative trance or meditative fixation where you can ascend into various stages. Now, when if you are a Hindu, they will teach you that meditation is not just sitting there quietly with your palms upraised. But meditation is something where you go through various stages of it, and these stages lead you to higher and higher and higher insights and to ultimately you become one with Brahman. But in the case of the Buddhist vision, he is actually in this state where there are many temptations that come his way. And there's been so many paintings and murals and various depictions of this that you'll encounter when you now that you know this and you actually go out into the Buddhist world of of this demon god, Mara MHRA, who tempts him and sensual pleasure comes in all kinds of things, attack him. And Mara sends his three daughters to Siddharth, who got my to seduce him. And he is unmoved by any feelings of lost and so forth.


And he gradually ascends all of these four stages of Diana. The first stage is a complete detachment from your senses, so you no longer have the allure mount of your sight, your sounds, smells and so forth. Touch. Instead, you become detached from all of that. So any kind of sensory objects that would distract you from ultimate reality is detached from. And that becomes a huge point later in Buddhism. How do you go to a state where you're not no longer affected by your five senses? So he continues meditating. Beyond that, he goes to the second stage where his mind becomes completely. They focused on one point, a total centering of the mind. Again, capturing the mental capacities becomes a huge part of a later Buddhist experience. He then finally passed in the third stage of Diana, which is where your body, your whole body itself experience a complete detachment. You're unaware of anything about your body. Your body enters into a state of bliss and detachment apart from anything normal. And then finally, the fourth stage is that you are free from all of these dichotomies. We discussed the whole middle way. You become free from pleasure or non pleasure or free from elation or depression, hot or cold birth and death. All of these things do transcend all the dichotomies. And again, this is part of the whole middle way vision. Once you finally rise up through these four stages of Diana. And that's, by the way, a helpful thing to be aware of in throughout the eastern world of meditation. That's the same four stages that are traditionally taught in most meditative techniques in general. But when you get to the fourth stage, you enter into what's called the super knowledge, where essentially it's like you get downloaded certain kinds of knowledge.


And the Tibetan tradition, especially this is taken to a huge degree. The Tibetans believe, for example, that if you have one night of meditation where you can get to the fourth stage and you begin to go into the super knowledge stage, then you can actually pass through. You can like fast forward through all of your lifetimes. So if you were to say it takes a thousand lifetimes to get to where the Buddha got and, you know, being born and reborn, dying, born, reborn, and you finally, you gradually work your way out through lifetimes of austerity and meditation. And finally you get to the point of the Buddha's realization. You can in one night go pass through all of that. It's like, you know, you it's like a massive fast forwarding through all multiple lifetimes. So this is a very mystical it can be interpreted as a very mystical kind of experience where you are experiencing passing through lifetimes, you're experiencing all kinds of knowledge. And what they call super knowledge is that go beyond the sensual and things you normally gain through regular reflection. So one of the things he does, which by the way, leads us to one of our reflections is that in this period there are three things especially that happen to you when you experience the the windfall of super knowledge after the fourth stage. Diana One of it is that you can walk on water because if you walk on water, you are clearly moving beyond the state of being affected by gravity or non gravity. You know, the kind of normal laws of nature, as it were. So that becomes. Sevigny walk on water. One is that you are now no longer kept from understand the mind of other people.


So in normal life I don't know what you're thinking, but in this state, the thinking of someone else is known to you so you can know the mind of another person. You also can hear the voices. Divine Voices is very, very critical. Now this is what Divine Voices means. And Buddhism is very different than Christianity or other religions. But certainly this idea of having a divine voice speak to you where you hear the words of God. Now, that's why I'm pretty sure I have in the syllabus one of the choices I placed in there was the number five. We're a ways before this makes perfect sense, but certainly a little bit. Now you can see our Buddhist claim that Jesus was merely one of many enlightened beings they call these bodhisattvas, who, according to tradition, can, quote, become invisible, invisible, move through solid space, walk on water, has total power of his body, even, or death has miraculous powers. These are actually five of the things that happen to you in the super knowledge state. And these are all things that the New Testament records were found in Jesus. Jesus walked on water. Jesus seemed to know the mind of the people. God spoke to Him in divine voice. He passes through solid space as a direction, through the locked doors and all that. And so many, many Buddhists will read this account in the Bible and say Jesus was an example of a what? This point in class, just what we call a Buddha, an enlightened being. So therefore you have your Buddha, we have our Buddha. You know this. You can see how the whole thing plays out. So this becomes even this early story of Buddha. Begins to overlap with expectations that we have or not place, but the things that we read about our Lord.


So this is part of the Buddhist understanding themselves. And finally, he gets to the sixth super knowledge, the highest level of super knowledge where he is known as the top Agatha. This is found on the back of the chart. You'll see two terms there. One is called an Hour Hot. You may see it also is our hunt or the end sound? Are hunt or tathagata. The word our heart means a saint. The word tathagata means a perfected saint or a perfectly enlightened one. So Tathagata becomes a very important title for Buddhism, especially in the more historic branch. And you see this term, our heart is a very normal term for Buddhists in the monastic tradition, they're called aurochs. This is actually an eastern view of the word saint. Saints are used in the Sikh tradition, the Muslim tradition, the and the Hindu tradition not to refer to somebody who has attained some moral plateau, but often somebody who has engaged in some kind of new ethical insight or even because they deny themselves through asceticism. So the word saint, it kind of has a little broader application in the East. So once he has this realization of the super knowledges, then he becomes an enlightened being. And from here on out, he is known as the Buddha. I have here several slides to show you because this place where he was enlightened is called both Gaia, but Gaia, which is one of the four most important pilgrimage sites in Hinduism. This is the place where the body tree was and where he is enlightened. And you can see this is a tremendously large statue of the Buddha in this state of meditation. His hands are in a particular form, which we will look at later in the course they have.


Certain hand positions were very important in Buddhism, and this is the meditative form. So this is actually what he looked like symbolically, at least when he is going through these Diana's these stages of enlightenment, eventually receiving the super knowledge. Is it to this point that he travels back to Varanasi and he begins to teach the Dharma? This is called turning the wheel of Dharma, where he turns the teaching a sense out into the world. Again, you have this picture of a wheel, and so you have a picture of him. When he teaches, it's like he's turning a wheel and the teaching is flowing out of the wheel. So they often call this turning the wheel of Dharma. It'd be like saying he's turning the teaching wheel. It's a way of talking about the cycling of knowledge out into the world. And if you go down to Varanasi, this famous site, the most sacred site of Hinduism, you will immediately find that, in fact, it is the most sacred site of Buddhism as well. Varanasi is actually a city which is the convergence of these rivers. But just a little north of Varanasi is a place called Serra North. It's really kind of a part of the larger holy city. So technically it's in Sur north where he began this. And so this right here is the actual spot in India, in a state of utter Pradesh and up just all very, very close to the Ganges River, just a mile less than a mile from the Ganges River at this point where he first issued the teaching, which we'll call the Four Noble Truths, which we'll look at later. But this is a a stupa. A Stupa is a memorial erection of a monument to a certain sacred place.


I'll show you some of these here. If you go back from this spot, it looks like this. This is the stupa where he had he issued the teaching and they've now done archeological dig and uncovered the original Buddhist monastery called a Songhai. So this has been excavated now. And you can actually walk among these ruined. I've been there many times. And you can see this place where the first monastery was taken up in the same location they have. Here's another picture from the other side. You can see where they had quarters for the monks to live in all of that. This is some statues they have there in Varanasi, which are interesting to note. People ask the pilgrims and leave that the cloth here. But you have actually the Buddha here standing before the five ascetics. This is prior to the second great renunciation is depicting that time of his life. And actually there's one you can't see them two, three, four or five. These are five ascetics around him. After he renounces them, they are bowing down and they are acknowledging his greatness. This is like an idealized scene about Buddha transcending the greatest insights of Hinduism. You have him. Teaching his first disciples in this mural. Oh, here you have an idealized form of the Buddha. Instructing His very first disciples in that tradition is that these two Brahmin hermits came down, were part of this group. Well, fast forward just to take his slides and we'll come back to them more details later. But this is the place of Buddha's death. Khushi Nagar And this is where they claim that Buddha died at two different sites of this. This is a very famous pilgrimage site. And then they have a place that marks the place where he actually lived and died when he was 80 years old.


He taught his whole life and died of food poisoning at 80 years old. And so this is also Khushi Nagar. And they even have a place where traditionally his remains were cremated. This is in Kushi Nagar. And this is a point of pilgrimage. And there are several sites in north India where they have claimed they have parts of his remains and so forth that are there. Most of the slides there. Yeah. So what we'll do is at this point, we will stop and next time we'll come back and expose a little more carefully the actual teaching of the original seminal teaching of Buddhism called the Four Noble Truths. And then we'll go from there. Any questions or comments? Yes. Number four, have some significant photos. You've given the fact that just the without the four is the traditional number in Hinduism, which gets brought over into Buddhism as being a good like what would say, a round number around figure. And so it's not overly important because actually Buddhism is filled with list of everything imaginable. And so there are seven, there's ten that 20 that, so there are other numbers that come into plus four. But, you know, okay, we'll stop there and we'll come back next week.