Inscriptional evidence of this school has been found in Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. For some time they maintained themselves in Avanti as well as in their new territories, but gradually they tended to regroup themselves in the south, the Great Vihara Mahavihara in Anuradhapura , the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, becoming the main centre of their tradition, Kanchi a secondary center and the northern regions apparently relinquished to other schools. According to S. Bandaranayake: The rapid spread of Buddhism and the emergence of an extensive organization of the sangha are closely linked with the secular authority of the central state There are no known artistic or architectural remains from this epoch except for the cave dwellings of the monks, reflecting the growth and spread of the new religion.

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Today Theravada Buddhists number well over million worldwide. What we call Theravada today is the sole survivor of those early non-Mahayana schools.

Because Theravada historically dominated southern Asia, it is sometimes called "Southern" Buddhism, while Mahayana, which migrated northwards from India into China, Tibet, Japan, and Korea, is known as "Northern" Buddhism. Together these three are known as the Tipitaka, the "three baskets. The Tipitaka plus the post-canonical texts commentaries , chronicles , etc.

Pali was originally a spoken language with no alphabet of its own. No one can prove that the Tipitaka contains any of the words actually uttered by the historical Buddha.

Practicing Buddhists have never found this problematic. It is the truth towards which the words in the Tipitaka point that ultimately matters, not the words themselves. Although scholars will continue to debate the authorship of passages from the Tipitaka for years to come and thus miss the point of these teachings entirely , the Tipitaka will quietly continue to serve — as it has for centuries — as an indispensable guide for millions of followers in their quest for Awakening. The Four Noble Truths Shortly after his Awakening , the Buddha delivered his first sermon , in which he laid out the essential framework upon which all his later teachings were based.

He taught these truths not as metaphysical theories or as articles of faith, but as categories by which we should frame our direct experience in a way that conduces to Awakening: Dukkha: suffering, unsatisfactoriness, discontent, stress; The cause of dukkha: the cause of this dissatisfaction is craving tanha for sensuality, for states of becoming, and states of no becoming; The path of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: the Noble Eightfold Path of right view , right resolve , right speech , right action , right livelihood , right effort , right mindfulness , and right concentration.

Because of our ignorance avijja of these Noble Truths, because of our inexperience in framing the world in their terms, we remain bound to samsara , the wearisome cycle of birth, aging, illness, death, and rebirth. Craving propels this process onward, from one moment to the next and over the course of countless lifetimes, in accordance with kamma Skt. According to this immutable law, every action that one performs in the present moment — whether by body, speech, or mind itself — eventually bears fruit according to its skillfulness: act in unskillful and harmful ways and unhappiness is bound to follow; act skillfully and happiness will ultimately ensue.

The Buddha discovered that gaining release from samsara requires assigning to each of the Noble Truths a specific task: the first Noble Truth is to be comprehended; the second, abandoned; the third, realized; the fourth, developed.

The Eightfold Path and the Practice of Dhamma Because the roots of ignorance are so intimately entwined with the fabric of the psyche, the unawakened mind is capable of deceiving itself with breathtaking ingenuity.

The solution therefore requires more than simply being kind, loving, and mindful in the present moment. The ten recollections offer ways to alleviate doubt, bear physical pain with composure, maintain a healthy sense of self-respect, overcome laziness and complacency, and restrain oneself from unbridled lust. And there are many more skills to learn. The good qualities that emerge and mature from these practices not only smooth the way for the journey to Nibbana; over time they have the effect of transforming the practitioner into a more generous, loving, compassionate, peaceful, and clear-headed member of society.

The development of right view and right resolve the factors classically identified with wisdom and discernment facilitates the development of right speech, action, and livelihood the factors identified with virtue. As virtue develops so do the factors identified with concentration right effort, mindfulness, and concentration.

Likewise, as concentration matures, discernment evolves to a still deeper level. And so the process unfolds: development of one factor fosters development of the next, lifting the practitioner in an upward spiral of spiritual maturity that eventually culminates in Awakening.

The long journey to Awakening begins in earnest with the first tentative stirrings of right view — the discernment by which one recognizes the validity of the four Noble Truths and the principle of kamma. Virtue sila Right view and right resolve continue to mature through the development of the path factors associated with sila, or virtue — namely, right speech, right action, and right livelihood.

These are condensed into a very practical form in the five precepts , the basic code of ethical conduct to which every practicing Buddhist subscribes: refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and using intoxicants. Right mindfulness and right concentration are developed in tandem through satipatthana "frames of reference" or "foundations of mindfulness" , a systematic approach to meditation practice that embraces a wide range of skills and techniques.

Of these practices, mindfulness of the body especially mindfulness of breathing is particularly effective at bringing into balance the twin qualities of tranquillity samatha and insight vipassana , or clear-seeing. Through persistent practice, the meditator becomes more adept at bringing the combined powers of samatha-vipassana to bear in an exploration of the fundamental nature of mind and body. At the same time, the root cause of dukkha — craving — is relentlessly exposed to the light of awareness.

Eventually craving is left with no place to hide, the entire karmic process that fabricates dukkha unravels, the eightfold path reaches its noble climax, and the meditator gains, at long last, his or her first unmistakable glimpse of the Unconditioned — Nibbana. Awakening This first enlightenment experience, known as stream-entry sotapatti , is the first of four progressive stages of Awakening, each of which entails the irreversible shedding or weakening of several fetters samyojana , the manifestations of ignorance that bind a person to the cycle of birth and death.

The stream-enterer is said to be assured of no more than seven future rebirths all of them favorable before eventually attaining full Awakening.

But full Awakening is still a long way off. As the practitioner presses on with renewed diligence, he or she passes through two more significant landmarks: once-returning sakadagati , which is accompanied by the weakening of the fetters of sensual desire and ill-will, and non-returning agati , in which these two fetters are uprooted altogether.

The final stage of Awakening — arahatta — occurs when even the most refined and subtle levels of craving and conceit are irrevocably extinguished. With ignorance, suffering, stress, and rebirth having all come to their end, the arahant at last can utter the victory cry first proclaimed by the Buddha upon his Awakening: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done!

There is nothing further for the sake of this world. Although language utterly fails at describing this extraordinary event, the Buddha likened it to what happens when a fire finally burns up all its fuel. Surely life is not all misery and disappointment: it offers many kinds of happiness and sublime joy. Why then this dreary Buddhist obsession with unsatisfactoriness and suffering?

The Buddha based his teachings on a frank assessment of our plight as humans: there is unsatisfactoriness and suffering in the world. No one can argue this fact. Dukkha lurks behind even the highest forms of worldly pleasure and joy, for, sooner or later, as surely as night follows day, that happiness must come to an end.

But, like a doctor who prescribes a remedy for an illness , the Buddha offers both a hope the third Noble Truth and a cure the fourth. The teachings offer as their reward the noblest, truest kind of happiness, and give profound value and meaning to an otherwise grim existence. One modern teacher summed it up well: "Buddhism is the serious pursuit of happiness. In recent decades this interest has swelled, with the monastic Sangha from various schools within Theravada establishing dozens of monasteries across Europe and North America.

Will the current popular Western climate of "openness" and cross-fertilization between spiritual traditions lead to the emergence of a strong new form of Buddhist practice unique to the modern era, or will it simply lead to confusion and the dilution of these priceless teachings?

These are open questions; only time will tell. Spiritual teachings of every description inundate the media and the marketplace today. Earnest seekers of truth are therefore often faced with the unsavory task of wading through fragmentary teachings of dubious accuracy.

How are we to make sense of it all? Fortunately the Buddha left us with some simple guidelines to help us navigate through this bewildering flood. The Buddha presents the challenge; the rest is up to you.


Le Bouddhisme Theravada

Geschiedenis[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] De geschiedenis van het theravada gaat terug tot de Sangha de gemeenschap van boeddhistische monniken in de tijd van de Boeddha. Na het parinibbana overlijden van de Boeddha ontstonden er door splitsingen in de Sangha achttien verschillende scholen; de vroege boeddhistische scholen. Het theravada was de hoofdstroming, waar de andere scholen uit voortkwamen door afsplitsingen. Het theravada is de enige van deze vroege boeddhistische scholen die nog steeds bestaat. Leer[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] De leringen van het theravada focussen sterk op de Vier Nobele Waarheden en het Edele Achtvoudige Pad. In deze leringen wordt een beschouwing van de natuur van de eigen geest en verlangens benadrukt, en een praktijk die zich concentreert op acties in het hier en nu. Verder spoorde de Boeddha zijn leerlingen aan om deugden als geven, geduld, vertrouwen geloof , inspanning, doorzettingsvermogen, vriendelijkheid, wijsheid, vredigheid, moraliteit en mentale evenwichtigheid in zichzelf te ontwikkelen.


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