• Created by: Banisha.
  • Created on: 16-04-18 16:46


1. abstain from harming 

2. abstain from taking what is not given 

3. abstain from false speech 

4. abstain from sensual pleasure

5. abstain from intoxicants 

  • precepts are not commandments, however they should be followed
  • sila refers to 'morality' - inner virtues such as kindness/ truthfulness and discipline of acting in a moral way - sila is understood as a kind of harmony 
  • precepts are connected to the eightfold path, 4 noble truths and refuges 

MAHAYANA - 3 PURE PRECEPTS 1. to do no evil 2. to do good 3. to save all beings 

  • good - kusala, evil - akusala - skilful and unskiful 
  • zen teacher Chozen Bays 'we just keep on working, we are patient with ourselves' 
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  • 3 REFUGES/ JEWELS  = buddha, sangha, dharma 
  • THE MIDDLE WAY - a new way of life between aseticism and luxury 
  • TAUGHT SUFFERING - everything comes to an end 
  • MEDITATION - key to gain enlightenment 
  • MAGGA - noble eightfold path 
  • AHIMSA - non harming
  • GOAL OF NIRVANA - state full of ultimate happiness and bliss 
  • 3 LAKSHANA'S/ MARKS OF EXISTENCE - duuka, annica, annata 
  • KARUNA - compassion, wisdom - cultivation of qualities 
  • KARMA AND REBIRTH - cycle of samsara, punabhva - recoming 
  • FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS - 1st teaching, deer park sermon 
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1. DUKKHA - suffering,    2. TANHA - craving,   3. NIRODHA - cessation of suffering

4. MAGGA - noble eightfold path 


  • there are 3 types of dukkha 
  • dukkha dukkha - painul experience - dying 
  • viparinarma dukkha - changing nature of existence - divorce 
  • sankhara dukkha - contingent nature of existence - powerless 
  • The buddha taught that the nature of everything in samsara is such that it causes us to suffer, things change and die. Attatchment and craving are 2 prime causes of suffering, by eliminating we can free ourselves of suffering 
  • the four noble truths are the foundations of Buddhism - verifying/ realising the truth of truths 
  • dukkha actually means 'incapable of satisfying' - AJAHN SUMEDHO MONK 
  • dukkha also refers to anything that is temporary/ conditional - the skandhas are dukka - our body will eventually perish because it is impermanent 
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THE 2ND NOBLE TRUTH - TANHA - cause of suffering is greed and desire - thirst/craving 

  • there are 3 types of cravings  =   1. sensual pleasures - food/ sex , 2. existence - live/ rebirth, 3.non-existence - suicide/ euthansia 
  • cravings can never bring us true satisfaction
  • it motivates people to behave in particular ways - out of gred - this produces bad karmic consequences and continued rebirths - this may lead to arguments/ fights/ conflicts 
  • this chain reaction of desire and cracing can be overcome by rebecoming - punabhava 
  • the cycle of rebirth and death is driven by craving - cycle of samsara 
  • samsara in motion = karma 'action' = cause + effect 
  • human conditions of suffering, death/ constant rebirth is brought be a collection of inner related causal conditions - these do not happen by chance 
  • we can understand caues if we can solve them, if we break the links in the chain we can prevent other consequences
  • to overcome dukkha, the buddhist path aims to limit craving and ultimately use wisdom to completely uproot craving from the psyche
  • buddha - we are able to enjoy our life experiences better without judgement, bias, manipulation
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  • if we can eliminate the cause of suffering there will be no more rebirths 
  • it is possible to eliminate craving and ignorance
  • we still have bodies, senses and feelings but no we are no longer associated with craving, grasping, becoming, suffering and after death 
  • craving/ ignorance is eliminated by nirvana
  • there are 2 stages of nirvana    1. the mind and heart has achieved nirvana 2. the body still exists and nirvana after death 
  • TRIVISA - 'blown out' greed, hatred and delusion 
  • nirvana is like cool water, removing the heat and thirst of our desires, like medicine curing our suffering, leaving us in secure health 
  • 'nirvana cannot be understood, only experienced'
  • the Dhammapada is a collection of sayings from the buddha 'passion never penertrates a well developed mind' - having a clear mind 
  • through dilligent practise we can end craving 
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  • this is the method to eradicate craving and ignorance, ther are 8 factors that must be cultivated in life 
  • 1. right view - know the truth   2. right intention - free the mind of evil } WISDOM
  • 3. right speech - say nothing that hurts others   4. right action - work for the good of others 
  • 5. right livelihood - respect life } MORAL DISCIPLINE 
  • 6. right effort - resist evil  7. right concentration - practise meditation  8. right mindfulness - control your thoughts } MEDITATION - THE THREE HIGHER TRAININGS 
  • this path can be followed on 2 levels - wordly level people can accept buddhas teachings to obtain better rebirths , and the path becomes super mundane - above this world - leading to enlightenment for minority buddhists 
  • this leads to enlightenment - there are 4 types 1. stream entrant - arhat status in less than 7 lifetimes, 2. once returner - only need one more lifetime  3. never returner - reach enlightenment in some higher dimensions 4. arhat - reach enlightenment in present life 
  • ethical virtue of giving/ generosity = DANA - enforced at every stage of the path
  • moral discipline motivated by right view. The eightfold path = cycle of happiness
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  • happines will not last 
  • when it comes to an end we feel pain and misery
  • buddha ' whatever is impermanent is dukkha'
  • true happiness = lasting happiness = nirvana/ enlightenment - a state free from suffering and causes of suffering, a state that is not conditioned by anything else 
  • the four noble truths are constructive ~ a postive approach to life - do not treat suffering as a mystery or inevitable part of human fate
  • it spells out exactly what we need in order to bring all suffering to an end 
  • buddhism doesnt see the worst in everything but sees the truth. 
  • the truth may be referred to as the worst aspects of life but it is reality. 
  • Buddhists can accept the fact that we have to appreciate life and moments as they come because it might not last long ~ we need to value life to the fullest 

BUDDHA ' i teach one thing, suffering and the cessation of suffering' 

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  • distinguishes between convential and ultimate truths - the two truths 
  • conventional truth - what is true in the world of empirical evidence 
  • ultimate truth - the way things really are - no distinctive beings/ things
  • believe dukkha is only deluded to beings = only accepted as the truth conventially 
  • this cannot be an ultimate truth - it is possible to bring about the complete cessation of dukkha
  • ultimate truth by definition - true all the time 
  • dukkha is produced by causes - therefore is impermanent ~ can be brought to an end completely - nirvana is attained
  • someone who reaches nirvana is called an ARHAT  - worthy one - there is no suffering 
  • dukkha is therefore a convential truth
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  • nirvana means 'blowing out', extinguishing - extinguishing fires of craving, hatred and delusion - the fundamental causes of suffering
  • parinibbana - nirvana on death means we are no longer reborn, deathless
  • nirvana is the state where the fires of attatchment + ignoance extinguish and one experiences true peace and happiness 
  • our actions no longer create karmic consequences once they have been extinguished. karmic actions/ results depend primarily on motivation but once eliminated motivations are free from good/ bad thoughts
  • nirvana is freedom from rebirth and once attained we are free from the cycle of samsara, we no longer bound to be reborn. nirvana is not a things - it is a realisation ~ a way of seeing things 
  • some non buddhists say nirvana is a negative state - state of nothingness/ misunderstanding
  • however nirvana is freedom from suffering, beyond time, space and human perception, it inspires us to a transcendent state
  • experiences of nirvana is associated with scriptures of joy, happiness, serenity, compassion, kindness, tolerance and understanding ~ these are qualities of someone who has attained nirvana. buddhism encourage postive virtues, content with a simple life, detatchement, self discipline
  • DHAMMACCAKKAPPAVATTANA SUTTA - record of 1st teaching by the buddha, includes 4 noble truths, middle way, impermanence and depenedent origination 
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  • KARMA - means actions - describes the effect of our thoughts and intentional actions of our minds, hearts and bodies ~ our personal karma is the result of these actions 
  • rebirth is determined/ governed by the law of karma 
  • karma that keeps us in the cycle of samsara is negative 
  • there are 2 types of karma - postitive and negative 
  • wholesome actions - positive - is motivated by good will, generosity, spiritual awareness = good karma / merit - this is known as PUNNA 
  • unwholesome actions - negative - is greed/ hatred, delusion =bad karma - this effects the quality of one's rebirth and present life - this is known as A PUNNA 
  • KUSALA = skillful,    A KUSALA = unskillful 
  • the law of karma is a law of cause and effect - buddhists use the word karma for the action not the result 
  • to change our karma we must change our minds Zen teacher John Loori 'cause and effect are one thing. And what is that one thing? You. '
  • there are other forces which shape our lives such as seasons and gravity ~ karma should have nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward or punishment - this is the difference between hinduism and buddhism 
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  • SANGHA - means monastic community 
  • monks and nuns hav abandond a wordly life to lead on exemplemary life of virtue ~ they have their heads shaved, wear monastic robes, have no personal possessions. They only have robes, shoes, washing things and a bowl
  • monks and nuns maintain buddhism as a living religion 
  • they study scriptures, meditate, perform ceremonies, rituals, offer advice and cousel the breaved
  • without the monastic religion buddhism would be reduced to a collection of words and books
  • the sangha is worthy of respect and gifts 
  • merit = power of good action, Buddhists take refuge in the sangha - appreciate the way monastics benefit the world 
  • lay people take refuge - they rely on the sangha for advice and encouragement
  • theravardin buddhist sangha take on 227 vows - strict guidelines which must be followed and if not obeyed they are no longer worthy of refuge - they lose respect of the lay people 
  • the religion cannot survive without the followers who put it into practise and monks cannot survive without the lay support. 
  • buddhist path is a process of recognising the essential unreality of the self - spiritual maturity
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  • Men gave up their jobs to be in the forest and pursue religious goals 
  • SCHOLAR PETER HARVEY 'buddhism in it's origin was a Shramana movement'
  • a number of sects developed from this ie FATALISM, JAINISM, SCEPTICS, MATERIALISM AND AJVAKAS 
  • they practised ahimsa - non violence and ascetism viewing rebirth as undesirable 
  • the buddha saw a shramana - wandering philosopher - this was his 4th trip from the palace - he lived his life like this for 6 years 
  • STEPHEN BATCHELOR - karma has no explainatory power ~ video notes 
  • 'explains everything and nothing'
  • karma belongs to pre modern thinking that was used to explain the way the world is, bus actually explains nothing
  • he calls this the 'concilatory tactics' - karma is there to console us for our suffering, to reassure we can improve ourselves 
  • the buddha did not teach this - he wanted us to go out and change the world 
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  • helps to achieve enlightenment 
  • it is a core teaching of buddhism 
  • inspires people to do good and perform good merit - wholesome/ skillful 
  • HARVEY - many buddhists value the research of psychiatrists such as professor Ian Stevenson who researches past life regression 
  • karma is a natural law
  • teachings about karma is revelavant because they derive from pratityasamutpada - the notion that all phenomena are casually connected in a morally neutral way - core buddhism teaching


  • could be considered a selfish motivation to focus on good consequences for actions
  • other beliefs are more important than karma ie noble eightfold path 
  • many western buddhists do not like the idea of samsara - that karma can have an effect on rebirth and multiple lives 
  • stephen batchelor says karma can lead people to being harsh to one another - can be seen as 'deserved' - people would lack sympathy 
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  • human life is characterised by the three lakshanas/ three marks of existence -anicca - impermanence, dukka - suffering, anatta - no self 
  • ANATTA - no self, no soul, there is no essential essence that makes something. everything exists is a combination, parts that make it are constantly changing 
  • it is important to reject the concept of self - it gives attatchments, false illusions, we keep on suffering, we wont fully understand our place 
  • the 5 skandha's make up the human being - form, perception, sensations, mental impulses and consciousness - each of these skandha's are impermanent and constantly change/ tend to be associated with changing and grasping 
  • atam - soul - real you - the buddha rejects this 
  • believes as people we constantly rebcome - body, thoughts and feelings 
  • the chariot analogy explains without a single part/ piece that is missing it no longer stays the same because all the parts mak up a chariot - referred to as having a label 
  • nothing exists without cause - NAGASENA 
  • everythings in the world is interconected, nothing is completely separate from anyone else
  • believe if we remove the causes - nothing will cease to exist 
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  • means impermanence 
  • change and impermanence is essential in life - we are always undergoing change/ inherit in human existence 
  • 5 process which no one can control/ change = growing old, falling sick, dying/ destruction, decay of perishable things, passing away of which is liable to pass
  • no one an escape these aspects until they achieve nirvana - we can learn to cope with it by understanding its implications
  • nothing in the world is fixed/ permanent, everything is changing like a flowing river 
  • river analogy - not the same as yesterday, movement is not going to be the same, it changes continuously, existence remains forever in a flux ie old cells change every 7 years
  • practise mindful mediation to overcome negative influences of impermanence 
  • impermanence is nature of our existence, we cannot fight but deal, live with it and gain insight
  • nothing is permanent, everything is possible, liberation is possible, enlightenment is possible
  • THICH NHAT HANH - 'nothing is ever lost, nothing is ever gained'   ~ 'living deeply, we will touch the foundation of reality, nirvana, the world of no-birth and no-death.' 
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