Buddha’s Middle Path and Three Marks of Reality
1. The Idea of a Buddha
a. Buddha is not a name but a type of person
i. An enlightened individual, many of whom appear successively, at certain intervals
“Historical” Buddha - (6th/5th
Cent BCE) – Shakyamuni
2. Life of the Buddha
a. The Buddha Shakyamuni Gautama
Siddhartha (563-483 B.C.E.):Shakyamuni = sage of the
shakyas, Gautama = family lineage, Siddhartha = "success."
b. Important Historical Points in the life of the Buddha:
i. Birth: 563 BCE, Lumbini Grove
528 BCE Bodh
Sermon: Deer park near Sarnath (near
483 BCE Kusinagara (from rancid food)
c. Sequence: birth, prophesy, youth
and marriage, the awakening (chariott rides), dissillusionment and withdrawal,
Three Marks of
Reality (or) Looking at life as it really is.
a. Dukkha: suffering, dissatisfaction, unease
i. The Buddha analyzed he nature and causes of suffering, like a doctor diagnosing an disease, to understand and overcome them. Buddhism is not inherently pessimistic. Attempt to see things as they are, decide on the best way to respond to them.
b. Anicca: impermanence, change
i. We are surprised by change, often disturbed. We get used to things. All things, including ourselves, in flux.
ii. One tries but cannot cling to anything, as all things arise and pass.
For example: The shock of change: seeing old friends
appearance, your own face, physical change, divorce, death, illness.
b. Anatta: no permanent self.
i. No permanent reality behind phenomenal reality: all is process, change. No self that is constant.
ii. The Individual = Groups of events (skandas): Bodily events, perceptions, feelings, dispositions, states of consciousness. The individual is a temporary combination of such events
iii. There is transmigration but no permanent soul
iv. Nirvana is a "blowing out." An ineffable, transcendental state, ultimate.
o Involves no union with God.
o Escapes ordinary language