Download e-book for iPad: Buddhism in Practice by Donald S. Lopez Jr.

By Donald S. Lopez Jr.

This anthology, first released in 1995, illustrates the sizeable scope of Buddhist perform in Asia, prior and current. Re-released now in a slimmer yet nonetheless broad version, Buddhism in Practice offers a range of thirty-five translated texts--each preceded via a considerable creation by means of its translator.

These strange resources presents the reader with a feeling of the striking range of the practices of folks who over the process 2,500 years were pointed out, by means of themselves or through others, as Buddhists. Demonstrating the numerous continuities one of the practices of Buddhist cultures broadly separated via either background and geography, Buddhism in Practice maintains to supply a great advent to Buddhism and a resource of recent insights for scholars.

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According to traditional accounts, at the age of eighty the Buddha died, or 20 DONALD S. LOPEZ, JR. passed into nirval)a. He is said to have instructed his followers to cremate his body and distribute the relics that remained among various groups of his followers, who were to enshrine them in hemispherical reliquaries called stupas. For all Buddhist schools, the stupa became a reference point denoting the Buddha's presence in the landscape. Early texts and the archeological records link stupa worship with the Buddha's life and especially the key sites in his career, such as the site of his birth, enlightenment, first teaching, and death.

In the medical metaphor of which Buddhists are so fond, the Buddha is the doctor, the dharma is the medicine, and the sangha are the nurses. It is the Buddha who finds the path to liberation and shows it to others. The dharma is the path itself, and the sangha are one's companions who offer assistance along the way. Before discussing the three jewels in more detail, it would be useful here to outline some of the doctrines most basic to Buddhist practices, as they have been understood by Buddhist authors and by Western scholars.

In these tales, the Buddha is referred to as the bodhisattva, a term widely etymologized in later literature, but which generally means a person who is intent on the attainment of bodhi, enlightenment. If very few Buddhists felt that they could emulate the Buddha in his last life by leaving their families, living the life of an ascetic, and practicing meditation, the stories of the Buddha's previous lives provided a more accessible model. Stories of the Bodhisattva's deeds of generosity, morality, patience, and perseverance against great odds have remained among the most popular forms of Buddhist literature, both written and oral, and both in the Jataka tales and in another genre called Avadana, an example of which is translated in Chapter 21.

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