Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 18

Buddhism Related Abstracts

18 Role of Monks in Civil Society and Democracy in Thailand

Authors: Chuenaarom Chantimachaiamorn

Abstract:

This study is an analysis of the roles of the Thai monks i.e. the Sangha in the development of the civil society, democracy and politics in Thailand. This study may be significant for determining the relation of Buddhism and its Sangha to the Thai society and polity. This study is based upon the documentary research from the sources of Pali Scripture, historical documents, and other publications and related matter, including with the interviews concerning political thought and role of high senior monk, scholarly monks and Dhamma-espousing monk who are well known and accepted by people in general for their political role in contemporary Thai society.

Keywords: Civil Society, Politics, Buddhism, role, monk, Sangha

Procedia PDF Downloads 230
17 The Embodied World — A Redefinition of "Emptiness" in Heart Sutra from the Perspective of Cognitive Science

Authors: Ke Ma

Abstract:

Through the long course of history, Buddhism has captivated generations of brilliant minds with its enlightening but elusive discernment. Far from religious dogmas, Buddhism not only represents spiritual revelation, but also logical reasoning.Among all of Buddhism’s concepts, emptiness is the most famous, and abstruse one. This word resulted from an inaccurate translation confuses both Buddhists and religious scholars who understand Heart Sutra based on its English version. In this essay, the idea of “emptiness” will be reinterpreted as “information,” leading not only to a clarification of the ideology of Buddhism, but also to greater correspondence between Buddhism concepts and cognitive science.

Keywords: Cognitive Science, Psychology, Religion, Buddhism

Procedia PDF Downloads 147
16 An Ecological Grandeur: Environmental Ethics in Buddhist Perspective

Authors: Merina Islam

Abstract:

There are many environmental problems. Various counter measures have been taken for environmental problems. Philosophy is an important contributor to environmental studies as it takes deep interest in meaning analysis of the concept environment and other related concepts. The Buddhist frame, which is virtue ethical, remains a better alternative to the traditional environmental outlook. Granting the unique role of man in immoral deliberations, the Buddhist approach, however, maintains a holistic concept of ecological harmony. Buddhist environmental ethics is more concerned about the complete moral community, the total ecosystem, than any particular species within the community. The moral reorientation proposed here has resemblance to the concept of 'deep ecology. Given the present day prominence of virtue ethics, we need to explore further into the Buddhist virtue theory, so that a better framework to treat the natural world would be ensured. Environment has turned out to be one of the most widely discussed issues in the recent times. Buddhist concepts such as Pratityasamutpadavada, Samvrit Satya, Paramartha Satya, Shunyata, Sanghatvada, Bodhisattva, Santanvada and others deal with interdependence in terms of both internal as well external ecology. The internal ecology aims at mental well-being whereas external ecology deals with physical well-being. The fundamental Buddhist concepts for dealing with environmental Problems are where the environment has the same value as humans as from the two Buddhist doctrines of the Non-duality of Life and its Environment and the Origination in Dependence; and the inevitability of overcoming environmental problems through the practice of the way of the Bodhisattva, because environmental problems are evil for people and nature. Buddhism establishes that there is a relationship among all the constituents of the world. There is nothing in the world which is independent from any other thing. Everything is dependent on others. The realization that everything in the universe is mutually interdependent also shows that the man cannot keep itself unaffected from ecology. This paper would like to focus how the Buddhist’s identification of nature and the Dhamma can contribute toward transforming our understanding, attitudes, and actions regarding the care of the earth. Environmental Ethics in Buddhism presents a logical and thorough examination of the metaphysical and ethical dimensions of early Buddhist literature. From the Buddhist viewpoint, humans are not in a category that is distinct and separate from other sentient beings, nor are they intrinsically superior. All sentient beings are considered to have the Buddha-nature, that is, the potential to become fully enlightened. Buddhists do not believe in treating of non-human sentient beings as objects for human consumption. The significance of Buddhist theory of interdependence can be understood from the fact that it shows that one’s happiness or suffering originates from ones realization or non-realization respectively of the dependent nature of everything. It is obvious, even without emphasis, which in the context of deep ecological crisis of today there is a need to infuse the consciousness of interdependence.

Keywords: Buddhism, environmental problems, deep ecology, Pratityasamutpadavada

Procedia PDF Downloads 142
15 Eradication of Mental Illness through Buddhism

Authors: Deshar Bashu Dev

Abstract:

In this modern age, most people in developed and developing countries are affected by mental illness. There are many mental illnesses, and their differing symptoms impact peoples’ lives in different ways. These illnesses affect the way people think and feel, as well as how they behave with others. Mental illness results from compound interactions between the mind, body, and environment. New technologies and sciences make the world a better place. These technologies are becoming smarter and are being developed every day to help make daily life easier However, people suffer from mental illness in every part of the world. The philosophy propounded by the Buddha, Buddhism, teaches that all life is connected, from the microcosm to macrocosm. In the 2,500 years that elapsed since the death of the Buddha, his disciples have spread his teachings and developed sophisticated psycho-therapeutic methodologies. We can find many examples in Buddhist texts and in the modern age where Buddhist philosophy modern science could not solve. The Noble Eightfold Path, which is one of the main philosophies of Buddhism; it eradicates hatred and ill will and cultivates good deeds, kindness, and compassion. Buddhism, as a practice of dialectic conversation and mindfulness training, is full of rich therapeutic tools that the mental health community has adopted to help people. Similarly, Buddhist meditation is very necessary; it purifies thoughts and avoids unnecessary thinking. This research aims to study different causes of mental illness; analyzes the different approaches to eradicate mental illness problems and provides conclusions and recommendations present solutions through Buddhism in this modern age.

Keywords: Mental Illness, Buddhism, Mindfulness, Buddhist practices

Procedia PDF Downloads 130
14 Buddhism and Innovative Sustainable Development

Authors: Sraman Sree Mattananda

Abstract:

This present article is an analytical research on ‘Buddhism and Innovative Sustainable Development.' The main purpose of researching is to the better understanding of many social science theories both in politics and in economics. And the understanding of both Buddhism and science is complementary in order to enable any individual to live a full and meaningful human life. How people can avoid conflict, socially, economically, politically and spiritually using Buddhist teachings for a sustainable development. The aim of studying is also to comprehend every human to be aware that peoples’ happiness and sorrow depends on the choices that they had taken to do what was perceptional right and wrong. Everything that happens does have a reason. This study will be supported by the supply of environmental knowledge, philosophy, and experience. Within the domestic and international cultures, this knowledge might provide a significant basis for the contemporary and the future world. Happiness and unsatisfactoriness of mind depend on the consequences of what we had already done. This is to give deep sense to adjust the nature of all that exists and desire not to attach to them and to liberate oneself leaving the reality as it is. An implicit of references will be drawn from the primary sources, secondary sources, internet sources, and other Scholar’s diamond writings, to prove the investigation of philosophical and theoretical analysis. After the investigation of philosophical and theoretical analysis, the article will demonstrate about, what Buddha advised the follows to stop over-exploitation and how to eradicate conflicts to gain a peaceful society. This will be a lively awareness in the approach to the understanding of the Buddhist view of reality and adopt with middle path. The last part of the article will concern with the Buddhist Challenge of sustaining the society and how Buddhist contemporary scholars interpret sustainable development issues. Mahatma Gandhi’s emphasize to use Buddhist Non-Violence will be demonstrating to gain peace, freedom, and security. Twelve things that concern us when we want to explore the issues of sustainability, demonstrated by A Little Book of Hope will be cleared. How individual hearts can implicate to the contemporary globe will be demonstrated to obtain healthy and practical environment. Finally, generating new awareness and care by minimizing the negative impact on earth resources will reduce the degradation of the planet which would pose a challenge to sustain Development.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Economic, Buddhism, Buddhist Ethics

Procedia PDF Downloads 114
13 The Connection of the Nibbāna with the Six Sense Bases

Authors: Wattegama Subhavi

Abstract:

A being is the working of the six sense bases. The sense bases are the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind. Buddhism describes what these sense bases are and how they work. These sense bases can be related to many of the philosophical and psychological teachings of the Buddha. One of the most important teachings of the Buddha is the Four Noble Truths. Buddhism explains that one who needs to attain Nibbāna must understand and realize these Four Noble Truths. These noble truths have a direct connection with the sense bases. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is Nibbāna. But there is no place or a special world called the “Nibbāna”. This paper describes that the noble truths can be identified within one’s own sense bases. The noble truth of suffering occurs within the functioning of the sense bases and the cause of suffering, “craving” operates inside the senses bases and the cessation of suffering, or Nibbāna is also experienced in the Sense Bases. Relevant material will be drawn for this paper directly from the Pāli canonical sources. The major finding is that the first three noble truths can be experienced through the six sense bases. The conclusion derived from the study is that the sense bases have direct relevance to Nibbāna, which is not to be conceived as another place or another dimension, but phenomena that can be experienced through one’s own sense bases, and that the other noble truths are also to be experienced in relation to one’s own sense bases.

Keywords: Buddhism, Four Noble Truths, sense bases, Nibbāna

Procedia PDF Downloads 62
12 The Direct and Indirect Effects of Buddhism on Fertility Rates in General and in Specific Socioeconomic Circumstances of Women

Authors: Szerena Vajkovszki

Abstract:

Our worldwide aging society, especially in developed countries, including members of EU, raise sophisticated sociological and economic issues and challenges to be met. As declining fertility has outstanding influence underlying this trend, numerous studies have attempted to identify, describe, measure and interpret contributing factors of the fertility rate, out of which relatively few revealed the impact of religion. Identified, examined and influential factors affecting birth rate as stated by the present scientific publications are more than a dozen out of which religious beliefs, traditions, and cultural norms were examined first with a special focus on abortion and forms of birth control. Nevertheless, connected to religion, not only these topics are crucial regarding fertility, but many others as well. Among many religious guidelines, we can separate two major categories: direct and indirect. The aim of this research was to understand what are the most crucial identified (family values, gender related behaviors, religious sentiments) and not yet identified most influential contributing religious factors. Above identifying these direct or indirect factors, it is also important to understand to what extent and how do they influence fertility, which requires a wider (inter-discipline) perspective. As proved by previous studies religion has also an influential role on health, mental state, well-being, working activity and many other components that are also related to fertility rates. All these components are inter-related. Hence direct and indirect religious effects can only be well understood if we figure out all necessary fields and their interaction. With the help of semi-structured opened interviews taking place in different countries, it was showed that indeed Buddhism has significant direct and indirect effect on fertility. Hence the initial hypothesis was proved. However, the interviews showed an overall positive effect; the results could only serve for a general understanding of how Buddhism affects fertility. Evolution of Buddhism’s direct and indirect influence may vary in different nations and circumstances according to their specific environmental attributes. According to the local patterns, with special regard to women’s position and role in the society, outstandingly indirect influences could show diversifications. So it is advisory to investigate more for a deeper and clearer understanding of how Buddhism function in different socioeconomic circumstances. For this purpose, a specific and detailed analysis was developed from recent related researches about women’s position (including family roles and economic activity) in Hungary with the intention to be able to have a complex vision of crucial socioeconomic factors influencing fertility. Further interviews and investigations are to be done in order to show a complex vision of Buddhism’s direct and indirect effect on fertility in Hungary to be able to support recommendations and policies pointing to higher fertility rates in the field of social policies. The present research could serve as a general starting point or a common basis for further specific national investigations.

Keywords: Women, Children, Religion, Buddhism, Fertility, Gender Roles

Procedia PDF Downloads 31
11 Metamorphosis of Caste: An Examination of the Transformation of Caste from a Material to Ideological Phenomenon in Sri Lanka

Authors: Pradeep Peiris, Hasini Lecamwasam

Abstract:

The fluid, ambiguous, and often elusive existence of caste among the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka has inspired many scholarly endeavours. Originally, Sinhalese caste was organized according to the occupational functions assigned to various groups in society. Hence cultivators came to be known as Goyigama, washers Dobi, drummers Berava, smiths Navandanna and so on. During pre-colonial times the specialized services of various groups were deployed to build water reservoirs, cultivate the land, and/or sustain the Buddhist order by material means. However, as to how and why caste prevails today in Sinhalese society when labour is in ideal terms free to move where it wants, or in other words, occupation is no longer strictly determined or restricted by birth, is a question worth exploring. Hence this paper explores how, and perhaps more interestingly why, when the nexus between traditional occupations and caste status is fast disappearing, caste itself has managed to survive and continues to be salient in politics in Sri Lanka. In answer to this larger question, the paper looks at caste from three perspectives: 1) Buddhism, whose ethical project provides a justification of social stratifications that transcends economic bases 2) Capitalism that has reactivated and reproduced archaic relations in a process of 'accumulation by subordination', not only by reinforcing the marginality of peripheral caste groups, but also by exploiting caste divisions to hinder any realization of class interests and 3) Democracy whose supposed equalizing effect expected through its ‘one man–one vote’ approach has been subverted precisely by itself, whereby the aggregate ultimately comes down to how many such votes each ‘group’ in society has. This study draws from field work carried out in Dedigama (in the District of Kegalle, Central Province) and Kelaniya (in the District of Colombo, Western Province) in Sri Lanka over three years. The choice of field locations was encouraged by the need to capture rural and urban dynamics related to caste since caste is more apparently manifest in rural areas whose material conditions partially warrant its prevalence, whereas in urban areas it exists mostly in the ideological terrain. In building its analysis, the study has employed a combination of objectivist and subjectivist approaches to capture the material and ideological existence of caste and caste politics in Sinhalese society. Therefore, methods such as in-depth interviews, observation, and collection of demographical and interpretive data from secondary sources were used for this study. The paper has been situated in a critical theoretical framework of social inquiry in an attempt to question dominant assumptions regarding such meta-labels as ‘Capitalism’ and ‘Democracy’, and also the supposed emancipatory function of religion (focusing on Buddhism).

Keywords: Democracy, Capitalism, Buddhism, Sri Lanka, caste

Procedia PDF Downloads 33
10 The Five Aggregates in Buddhism and Natural Sciences: A Revolutionary Perspective of Nature

Authors: Choo Fatt Foo

Abstract:

The Five Aggregates is core to Buddhism teaching. According to Buddhism, human beings and all sentient beings are made up of nothing but the Five Aggregates. If that is the case, the Five Aggregates must be found in all natural sciences. So far, there has not been any systematic connection between the Five Aggregates and natural sciences. This study aims at identifying traces of the Five Aggregates in various levels of natural sciences and pointing possible directions for future research. The following areas are briefly explored to identify the connection with the Five Aggregates: physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, DNA, cell, and human body and brain. Traces of the Five Aggregates should be found in each level of this hierarchy of natural sciences for human and sentient beings to be said to be made up of the Five Aggregates. This study proposes a hierarchical structure of nature cutting every level with the Five Aggregates and the Four Great Elements as its basis. The structure proposed by this study would revolutionize how we look at nature. Hopefully, better understanding of sciences in this manner will steer the application of scientific methods and technology towards a brighter future with compassion and tolerance.

Keywords: Physics, Buddhism, the five aggregates, four great elements, calabi-yau manifold

Procedia PDF Downloads 54
9 The Spiritual Distress of Women Coping with the End of Life and Death of Their Spouses

Authors: Szu-Mei Hsiao

Abstract:

Many nurses have concerns about the difficulties of providing spiritual care for ethnic-Chinese patients and family members within their cultural context. This is due to a lack of knowledge and training. Most family caregivers are female. There has been little research exploring the potential impact of Chinese cultural values on the spiritual distress of couple dyadic participants in Taiwan. This study explores the spiritual issues of Taiwanese women coping with their husband’s advanced cancer during palliative care to death. Qualitative multiple case studies were used. Data was collected through participant observation and in-depth face-to-face interviews. Transcribed interview data was analyzed by using qualitative content analysis. Three couples were recruited from a community-based rural hospital in Taiwan where the husbands were hospitalized in a medical ward. Four spiritual distress themes emerged from the analysis: (1) A personal conflict in trying to come to terms with love and forgiveness; the inability to forgive their husband’s mistakes; and, lack of their family’s love and support. (2) A feeling of hopelessness due to advanced cancer, such as a feeling of disappointment in their destiny and karma, including expressing doubt on survival. (3) A feeling of uncertainty in facing death peacefully, such as fear of facing the unknown world; and, (4) A feeling of doubt causing them to question the meaning and values in their lives. This research has shown that caregivers needed family support, friends, social welfare, and the help of their religion to meet their spiritual needs in coping within the final stages of life and death. The findings of this study could assist health professionals to detect the spiritual distress of ethnic-Chinese patients and caregivers in the context of their cultural or religious background as early as possible.

Keywords: Qualitative Research, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, advanced cancer, spiritual distress

Procedia PDF Downloads 71
8 World Peace and Conflict Resolution: A Solution from a Buddhist Point of View

Authors: Samitharathana R. Wadigala

Abstract:

The peace will not be established until the self-consciousness would reveal in the human beings. In this nuclear age, the establishment of a lasting peace on the earth represents the primary condition for the preservation of human civilization and survival of human beings. Nothing perhaps is so important and indispensable as the achievement and maintenance of peace in the modern world today. Peace in today’s world implies much more than the mere absence of war and violence. In the interdependent world of today the United Nations needs to be representative of the modern world and democratic in its functioning because it came into existence to save the generations from the scourge of war and conflict. Buddhism is the religion of peaceful co-existence and philosophy of enlightenment. Violence and conflict from the perspective of the Buddhist theory of interdependent origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda) are same with everything else in the world a product of causes and conditions. Buddhism is totally compatible with the congenial and peaceful global order. The canonical literature, doctrines, and philosophy of Buddhism are the best suited for inter-faith dialogue, harmony, and universal peace. Even today Buddhism can resurrect the universal brotherhood, peaceful co-existence and harmonious surroundings in the comity of nations. With its increasing vitality in regions around the world, many people today turn to Buddhism for relief and guidance at the time when peace seems to be a deferred dream more than ever. From a Buddhist point of view the roots of all unwholesome actions (Conflict) i. e. greed, hatred and delusion are viewed as the root cause of all human conflicts. Conflict often emanates from attachment to material things: pleasures, property, territory, wealth, economic dominance or political superiority. Buddhism has some particularly rich resources for deployment in dissolving conflict. Buddhism addresses the Buddhist perspective on the causes of conflict and ways to resolve conflict to realize world peace. The world has enough to satisfy every body’s needs but not every body’s greed.

Keywords: Peace, Buddhism, Self-Consciousness, conflict-violence

Procedia PDF Downloads 55
7 The Importance of Right Speech in Buddhism and Its Relevance Today

Authors: Gautam Sharda

Abstract:

The concept of right speech is the third stage of the noble eightfold path as prescribed by the Buddha and followed by millions of practicing Buddhists. The Buddha lays a lot of importance on the notion of right speech (Samma Vacca). In the Angutara Nikaya, the Buddha mentioned what constitutes right speech, which is basically four kinds of abstentions; namely abstaining from false speech, abstaining from slanderous speech, abstaining from harsh or hateful speech and abstaining from idle chatter. The Buddha gives reasons in support of his view as to why abstaining from these four kinds of speeches is favourable not only for maintaining the peace and equanimity within an individual but also within a society. It is a known fact that when we say something harsh or slanderous to others, it eventually affects our individual peace of mind too. We also know about the many examples of hate speeches which have led to senseless cases of violence and which are well documented within our country and the world. Also, indulging in false speech is not a healthy sign for individuals within a group as this kind of a social group which is based on falsities and lies cannot really survive for long and will eventually lead to chaos. Buddha also told us to refrain from idle chatter or gossip as generally we have seen that idle chatter or gossip does more harm than any good to the individual and the society. Hence, if most of us actually inculcate this third stage (namely, right speech) of the noble eightfold path of the Buddha in our daily life, it would be highly beneficial both for the individual and for the harmony of the society.

Keywords: Society, Speech, Individual, Buddhism

Procedia PDF Downloads 3
6 The Contribution of Buddhist-Based Mindfulness Practices on Ethical Leadership: A Qualitative Study of Organizational Leaders in Thailand

Authors: Kunkanit Sutamchai, Kate E. Rowlands

Abstract:

Recent public ethical scandals in many organizations around the world have raised concern about organizational ethics, which have, in turn, made ethical behaviors and conducts on the part of leaders become more critical topics in organizational studies. However, current research on the benefits of mindfulness within the workplace contexts has predominantly focused on stress reduction and work performance enhancement, while the aspects of ethical behavior development have been far less investigated in mindfulness research in the organizational and management fields. Only recently has there been an emerging call for organizational researchers and practitioners to study mindfulness concepts and practices from the original Buddhist perspectives given that ethics is regarded as a foundation for Buddhist mindfulness. Yet little, if any, empirical research on the contributions of mindfulness practices to ethical leadership has been done in Eastern Buddhist contexts. Therefore, this study aims to explore the extent to which and how Buddhist-based mindfulness practices can influence organizational leaders’ ethical values and practices. On this basis, Thailand was selected as a context of study due to a predominantly Buddhist society and culture. Qualitative data were gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews with twenty executive leaders from various private organizations in Thailand, who practice Buddhist-based mindfulness meditation regularly. The findings from this study shed light on the role Buddhist-based mindfulness practices can play in promoting ethical behavior among executive leaders in Thailand. The results also suggest that ethical values and practices influenced by Buddhist-based mindfulness practices are well aligned with the elements appeared in the inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural ethical leadership framework, namely: humane, justice, sustainability and responsibility, and moderation. This study concludes that the integration of ethical dimensions to mindfulness practices may provide promising opportunities for ethical leadership development, particularly in the context of Thailand. This could contribute significantly to the future development of both organizations and society at large. The study also suggests that mindfulness interventions in organizational contexts should place more explicit emphasis on ethics. This may be done by relating the ethical principles underlying Buddhist-based mindfulness to other ethical systems in different contexts and cultures where they can be aligned.

Keywords: training, Buddhism, Mindfulness, Thailand, Ethical Leadership, Leadership Development

Procedia PDF Downloads 1
5 An In-Depth Definition of the 24 Levels of Consciousness and Its Relationship to Buddhism and Artificial Intelligence

Authors: James V. Luisi

Abstract:

Understanding consciousness requires a synthesis of ideas from multiple disciplines, including obvious ones like psychology, biology, evolution, neurology, and neuroscience, as well as less obvious ones like protozoology, botany, entomology, carcinology, herpetology, mammalogy, and computer sciences. Furthermore, to incorporate the necessary backdrop, it is best presented in a theme of Eastern philosophy, specifically leveraging the teachings of Buddhism for its relevance to early thought on consciousness. These ideas are presented as a multi-level framework that illustrates the various aspects of consciousness within a tapestry of foundational and dependent building blocks as to how living organisms evolved to understand elements of their reality sufficiently to survive, and in the case of Homo sapiens, eventually move beyond meeting the basic needs of survival, but to also achieve survival of the species beyond the eventual fate of our planet. This is not a complete system of thought, but just a framework of consciousness gathering some of the key elements regarding the evolution of consciousness and the advent of free will, and presenting them in a unique way that encourages readers to continue the dialog and thought process as an experience to enjoy long after reading the last page. Readers are encouraged to think for themselves about the issues raised herein and to question every facet presented, as much further exploration is needed. Needless to say, this subject will remain a rapidly evolving one for quite some time to come, and it is probably in the interests of everyone to at least consider attaining both an ability and willingness to participate in the dialog.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Intelligence, Consciousness, Buddhism, Sentience

Procedia PDF Downloads 1
4 Analysis of Buddhist Rock Carvings in Diamer Basha Dam Reservoir Area, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Authors: Abdul Ghani Khan

Abstract:

This paper focuses on the Buddhist rock carvings in the Diamer-Basha reservoir area, Gilgit-Baltistan, which is perhaps the largest rock art province of the world. The study region has thousands of rock carvings, particularly of the stupa carvings, engraved by artists, devotees or pilgrims, merchants have left their marks in the landscape or for the propagation of Buddhism. The Pak-German Archaeological Mission prepared, documented, and published the extensive catalogues of these carvings. Though, to date, very little systematic or statistically driven analysis was undertaken for in-depth understandings of the Buddhist rock carving tradition of the study region. This paper had made an attempt to examine stupa carvings and their constituent parts from the five selected sites, namely Oshibat, Shing Nala, Gichi Nala, Dadam Das, and Chilas Bridge. The statistical analyses and classification of the stupa carvings and their chronological contexts were carried out with the help of modern scientific tools such as STATA, FileMaker Pro, and MapSource softwares. The study had found that the tradition of stupa carvings on the surfaces of the rocks at the five selected sites continued for around 900 years, from the 1st century BCE to 8th century CE. There is a variation within the chronological settings of each of selected sites, possibly impacted by their utilization within particular landscapes, such as political (for example, change in political administrations or warfare) landscapes and geographical (for example, shifting of routes). The longer existence of the stupa carvings' tradition at these specific locations also indicates their central position on the trade and communication routes, and these were possibly also linked with religious ideologies within their particular times. The analyses of the different architectural elements of stupa carvings in the study area show that this tradition had structural similarities and differences in temporal and spatial contexts.

Keywords: Buddhism, Stupa, rock carvings, stupa carvings, Pak-German archaeological mission

Procedia PDF Downloads 1
3 The Expansion of Buddhism from India to the Himalayan Region: Nepal, Tibet, India and Bhutan

Authors: Umesh Regmi, Yasoda Basnet

Abstract:

This paper explores the expansion of Buddhism from India geographically to the Himalayan region of Nepal, Tibet, India and Bhutan in chronological historical sequence. The Buddhism practiced in Tibet is the spread of Mahayana-Vajrayana form appropriately designed by Indian Mahasiddhas, who were the practitioners of highest form of tantra and meditation. The Vajrayana Buddhism roots on the esoteric practices incorporating teachings of Buddha, mantras, dharanis, rituals, sadhana for attaining enlightenment. This form of Buddhism spread from India to Nepal after 5th Century AD and Tibet after 7th century AD and made a return journey to the Himalayan region of Nepal, India and Bhutan after 8th century. The first diffusion of this form of Buddhism from India to Nepal and Tibet is partially proven through Buddhist texts and archaeological existence of monasteries historically and at times relied in the mythological traditions. The second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet was institutionalized through the textual translations and interpretations of Indian Buddhist masters and their Tibetan disciples and the establishment of different monasteries in various parts of Tibet later resulting in different schools and their traditions: Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug and their sub-schools. The first return journey of Buddhism from Tibet to the Himalayan region of Nepal, India and Bhutan of the 8th century is mythologically recorded in local legends of the arrival of Padmasambhava and the second journey of 11th century and afterwards flourished by many Indian masters which is practiced continuously till date. This return journey of Tibetan Buddhism has been intensified after 1959 with the Chinese occupation of Tibet resulting in the Tibetan Buddhist masters living in exile in major locations like Kathmandu, Dharmasala, Dehradun, Sikkim, Kalimpong and beyond. The historico-cultural-critical methodology for the recognition of the qualities of cultural expressions analysis presents the Buddhist practices of the Himalayan region explaining the concepts of Ri (mountain as spiritual symbols), yul-lha (village deities), dhar-lha (spiritual concept of mountain passes), dharchhog-lungdhar (prayer flags), rig-sum gonpo (small stupas), Chenresig, asura (demi gods), etc. Tibetan Buddhist history has preserved important textual and practical aspects of Vajrayana from of Buddhism historically in the form of arrival, advent and development including rise and fall. Currently Tibetan Buddhism has influenced a great deal in the contemporary Buddhist practices of the world. The exploratory findings conducted over seven years of field visits and researches in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India and Bhutan have demonstrated the fact that Buddhism in the Himalayan region is a return journey from Tibet and lately been popularized globally after 1959 by major monasteries and their Buddhist masters, lamas, nuns and other professionals, who have contributed in different periods of time.

Keywords: Buddhism, expansion, India, Nepal, return, Bhutan, Himalayan region, Tibet, Vajrayana Buddhism

Procedia PDF Downloads 1
2 A Middle Way Approach for the Conflicts between Death, Impermanence and Non-Self in Buddhist Philosophy

Authors: Ruotian Wang

Abstract:

Since the birth of the Buddha himself more than 2000 years ago, Buddhism has continued to lead many people’s lives. Scholars and Buddhists have contributed to give detailed explanations to all kinds of issues within the structure of Buddhist philosophy to make Buddhism more complete. Different schools have developed, therefore leading to a lot of different branches within Buddhism. Although they all follow what the Buddha himself taught, they still have various explanations to even fundamental issues. As one of the fundamental problems regarding our lives, death is widely discussed in Buddhism. The controversy regarding death is its seemly incompatibility with the idea of non-self and impermanence, which is what I will discuss in this essay. The idea of rebirth is the basic structure of birth and death, which suggests a connection between this life and the next. Therefore, according to common logic, we should tell that there is something that connects each life, an agent that receives the process of rebirth, which is normally known as a soul. In Buddhism, non-self is also an important concept which speaks to the illusion of a self or soul. The idea of rebirth and non-self seems contradicted. Many different schools of Buddhism attempt to resolve such conflicts, but there are logical flaws within the arguments they made. Thus, I raise a better solution: Different from the annihilationist view, non-self in Buddhism speaks only to the illusion of a self in each moment. There is a self that exists as a sum of all our karmas which we can achieve after Nirvana. However, the nature of such a self is still emptiness. There are no agents needed as one rebirth since the whole cycle of rebirth is the self. Then, the contradiction between rebirth and non-self can be resolved.

Keywords: Buddhism, impermanence, non-self, reincarnation

Procedia PDF Downloads 1
1 The Evolving Changes of Religious Behavior: an Exploratory Study on Guanyin Worship of Contemporary Chinese Societies

Authors: Judith Sue Hwa Joo

Abstract:

Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit), the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion, is the most widely worshipped Buddhist Divinity in Chinese societies and is also believed by more than half of Asian populations across various countries. The most overwhelming reason for the popularity of Guanyin in Chinese societies is, according to the Lotus Sutra, that Guanyin would apperceive voices of those suffering from immense afflictions and troubles, and liberate them upon crying for his/her holy name with wholeheartedness. Its pervasive social influence has spanned more than two thousand years and is still deeply affecting the lives of most Chinese people. This study aimed to investigate whether Guanyin Worship has evolved and changed in modern Chinese societies across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan and China, albeit having the same language and culture, have been territorially divided and governed by two different political regimes for over 70 years. It would be scientifically intriguing to unveil any substantial changes in religious behaviors in the context of Guanyin Worship. A comprehensive anonymous questionnaire survey in Chinese communities was conducted from October 2017 to May 2019 across various countries, mostly in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong areas. Since the religious survey is officially prohibited in China, the study was difficult and could only be exercised by means of snowball sampling. Demographic data (age, sex, education, religious belief) were registered and Guanyin’s salvation functions under various confronting situations were investigated. Psychological dimensions of religious belief in Guanyin were probed in terms of the worship experience, the willingness of veneration, and egoistic or altruistic ideations. A literature review on documented functional attributes was carried out in parallel for comparison analyses with traditional roles. Effective 1123 out of 1139 samples were obtained. Statistical analysis revealed that Guanyin Worship is still commonly practiced and deeply rooted in the hearts of all Chinese people regardless of gender, age, education, and residential area, even though they may not enshrine Guanyin at home nowadays. The conventional roles of Guanyin Bodhisattva are still valid and best satisfy the real interests of lifestyles in modern times. When comparing the traditional Buddhist Sutra and the documented literature, the divine power of modern Guanyin has notably empowered to recover, protect and transform fetal and infant spirits due to the sexual liberation, increased abortion rate, gender awakening and enhanced female autonomy in the reproductive decision. However, the One-Child policy may have critically impacted the trajectory of Guanyin Worship so that people in China prevail over those in Taiwan praying for aborted lives or premature deaths. Furthermore, particularly in Hong Kong and Macao, Guanyin not only serves as the sea guardian for the fishermen but also additional services a new function as the God of Wealth. The divine powers and salvation functions of Guanyin are indeed evolving and expanding to comply with the modern psychosocial, cultural and societal needs. This study sheds light on the modernization process of the two-thousand-year-old Guanyin Worship of contemporary Chinese societies.

Keywords: Buddhism, Religious Behavior, Guanyin, salvation function

Procedia PDF Downloads 1