Buddhism started in India over 2,500 years ago as an offshoot of Hinduism

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Name_____________________________ October, 2013 Mrs. Lyons Religion 11: World Religions Chapter 4: Buddhism Notes


  • Buddhism started in India over 2,500 years ago as an offshoot of Hinduism.

  • It has approximately ___________ million adherents around the world.

  • Buddhism has __________ (nontheistic); it is not concerned with the relationship between humanity and God like many other religions. In many ways, it is a reaction to Hinduism, rejecting the ___________system, the practice of elaborate rituals, the sacrificing of animals to the gods, the male-dominated ____________.

  • Buddhism, however, believes in ______________ (reincarnation), __________ (every action has an effect), and ______________________(Moksha—Hindu).

  • Buddhism rests on the teachings of one man called The _________________, who, quite simply, “woke up” or became ____________________ and then shared how he did it! The Buddha is NOT considered a god by his followers.

  • In Sanskrit, Buddha means “________________________________________________.”

  • Buddhists worship at home or in temples called ______________ (upside down bowl shape.) Their _________ includes chanting to show love for Buddha and offerings of flowers, candles, incense, and pure water in thanksgiving. They meditate and read from their sacred text.

  • Buddhists believe meditation is crucial to understand the cause of suffering. It clears the mind of ______________________________________________, and to see that suffering is caused by wanting something we cannot have. This craving and desire keeps us on the wheel of samsara/birth and rebirth. Being free from wanting, wishing, desiring anything at all is called cessation of suffering. To live this way is the goal of all Buddhists. It is possible to break this wheel of rebirths by following the teachings of the Buddha!

  • Buddhist sacred text is called ___________________ containing the wisdom of the Buddha, written in the Pali language of the uneducated…again, different from Hinduism because it appealed to _____ social classes.

  • While some say it is more psychology than religion, it is the ______ largest world religion, found today mostly in __________.


Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born around ______ BCE/BC, son of King Sudhodana and Queen Maya (mother), rulers of a small Shakya tribe in northern India, in what is today Nepal. He was born into the ____________ class, the Kshatriya, which meant he would grow up to be powerful and wealthy. Before his birth, Queen Maya had a dream in which a white _____________ descended from the sky, touched her side with its tusk, and she was filled with light. What could this dream mean? They went to a Hindu swami who interpreted it to mean that their special baby boy would either be a __________________________ or a great __________________________. In those days, holy men were ascetics who begged for food, but Siddhartha’s father didn’t want this for his son.

Nine months later, Queen __________ was on her way to her parents’ house in neighboring Lumbini to have the baby. Halfway there, suddenly she halted her escorts, entered a lush garden, held on to a tree and gave birth to a son! Legend of the unique birth has it he was born out of her __________ and his first words were, “This is my last __________!” The King and Queen named him Siddhartha, which means “one who attains the goal.” Sadly, one week later, Queen Maya died.

Because his father tried to shield him from the harsh realities of the world that might sway him to a ________________ calling, Siddhartha grew up a ___________prince and lived an easy life, given every luxury imaginable, unaware of the world outside the palace walls or human suffering. He was intelligent and compassionate. At 19, Siddhartha married a beautiful neighboring princess, and 13 years later, they had a son.


Eventually he grew restless, and when he was 29, he ventured outside the palace for the first time. Worried, his father ordered his subjects to ___________ anyone who was ill or old and to decorate their houses in festive colors, for he didn’t want any sights to trouble his son. Siddhartha entered his town of Kapilavastu, and at first was pleased with the sights. What he would see next, however, and in subsequent trips, would be called the “__________________________________________.”

  • On this first trip he saw an _______________, saddened and bent with age. This knowledge stunned him for he had never seen old age, and when he realized this was everyone’s fate, he returned to the palace and sat alone in deep contemplation.

  • On a second trip outside, he saw a _______________________, coughing and pale. Now he knew that anyone could fall ill at anytime. This saddened him greatly.

  • On a third trip he saw a group of mourners carrying a ____________________ wrapped in white. Now he learned of death, and he was overwhelmed at the thought that his beloved wife and son would someday die. Siddhartha became depressed and wondered how people could live happily knowing that old age, sickness, and death awaited them.

  • On a fourth trip he met a _________________/religious ascetic, a man who chose to lead a life of solitude and self-denial in search of a greater wisdom. This man had also seen the suffering in the world and sought to go beyond it to enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama suddenly knew his calling.

Leaving his sleeping wife and son, Siddhartha Gautama left his ___________ life behind and rode out to the far reaches of the forest where the holy men stayed. There he cut his beautiful hair, took off his jewelry and donned the robes of an ascetic. At the age of 29, he began his spiritual journey, known as the “__________________________________.”


For ____ years, he wandered with 5 other ___________________ and lived in caves, slept under the stars, studying and meditating with holy sages, but he still didn’t find an end to sorrow. He joined men who believed by mastering pain one could find enlightenment, but this extreme ______________________ didn’t work either as 35-year-old Siddhartha was near ____________________ and yet no closer to _____________________________. He was getting nowhere. In the town of Bodhgaya, he sat down under a fig tree by the _______________ River and decided he wouldn’t leave until he had found complete and perfect fulfillment. There he accepted a meal of rice and milk from a little girl, understanding he needed to reject the _______________________ of indulgence and asceticism, but practice the “_____________________” because a healthy spiritual life requires a healthy physical life. Contentment is a good thing—body, mind, spirit… (SHA!)


Feeling stronger, Gautama meditated deeply under the fig tree/Bodhi tree. At dusk, _________ (Hindu god of death) tried to frighten him away as Mara sensed his power threatened. Mara sent 3 goddesses, Discontent, Delight, and Desire, who tried to seduce Siddhartha away from his goals, but Siddhartha remained resolute and entered a meditative _____________ which led to an epiphany, a deeper awareness. This famous episode is called the “____________________________.”

  • First Watch: He perceived his own previous lives as a continuous journey of ______________________.

  • Second Watch: He understood fully that samsara was the suffering of all beings.

  • Third Watch: He discovered “__________________________________”—sums up the human condition and means of transcending it!

These brought Siddhartha enlightenment, and finally, under the Bodhi Tree, he became Buddha “The _______________________ One.” (The Awakened One)Buddha was freed from suffering and in a state of perfect tranquility and calm and clarity and serenity and complete bliss and happiness. He was tempted to leave his body and pass eternally from ___________________ into __________________ (state of mind--eternal bliss/salvation) but chose to remain and share his discoveries. Remember, the Buddha is not considered a ________ by his followers.


What did the Buddha teach?

Three Jewels (precious) core beliefs of Buddhists:

    1. The ___________________________________

    2. The ______________________________________________________

    3. The ___________________________________

Buddha preached his First Sermon at ________________________ near the city of Banaras/Varanasi on the Ganges River in India. He preached a message that neither extreme asceticism nor indulgence will bring about _______________ or release from the wheel of rebirth. He preached “The Middle Way,” the “Four Noble Truths,” and the “Noble Eightfold Path” that were open to all regardless of _______________ or _______________ —a revolutionary idea at that time in India. 

Here’s where it gets tricky!!

Everything the Buddha discovered is discoverable in oneself. We all can become enlightened just like Siddhartha! The difficulties of this lie mainly in this paradox: To examine completely the inner realm of self leads to the discovery that the self doesn’t exist. Wait, what??!

The Three Marks of Existence: No self, Impermanence, and Suffering (“dukkha”)

  1. _______________=No self. There is no ultimate reality within each of us, no essence, no soul, no Atman…very different from Hinduism. P. 76-77 What gets reincarnated is one’s karmic energy, positive or negative.

  2. _______________=Impermanence/Change. Everything in life is changing, is in a state of flux. P. 77

  3. ______________=Suffering. Nothing in life is perfect—and what is good is fleeting.

The Four Noble Truths

  1. To live is to ___________________. (dukkha)

  2. Suffering is caused by _________________________________________.

  3. We can _______________ suffering.

  4. The solution to suffering is the _____________________________________.

“Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9% of everything you do is for yourself—and there isn’t one.” (Ask the Awakened, p.1)

It’s a vicious cycle—________________________!

If a person releases her attachment to desire and the self, if she can let go of her need to control and her wants, if she can learn to live one day at a time (not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future,) she can attain _____________________—the most enlightened and blissful state one can achieve, a state without suffering, perfect peace.

Buddhists believe salvation can be achieved not through the __________ but through the efforts of the __________________/ _________________--a big difference from Hinduism.

Buddhists say this isn’t a depressing religion, but a realistic one, and a joyful one, too!

Noble Eightfold Path—a life of moderation

  1. Right __________. Learn the Buddha’s teachings, especially the Four Noble Truths.

  2. Right _____________. Avoid greed, hatred, delusion. Embrace generosity, love.

  3. Right _____________. Don’t lie, gossip, harass.

  4. Right _____________. Live morally by obeying the Five Precepts.

  5. Right __________________. Be joyful at work. Abstain from jobs which harm any life form.

  6. Right _______________. Do your best to avoid bad things and do good things.

  7. Right ______________________. Be empathetic. Live in the present moment; don’t worry about the past or future.

  8. Right ________________________. Meditate often and seek inner harmony!

Wisdom 1&2 Morality 3, 4, & 5 Meditation 6, 7, & 8

Five Precepts

  1. Do not take _________. (Do not kill.)

  2. Do not take what is not ____________. (Do not steal.)

  3. Do not engage in ______________ misconduct.

  4. Do not use _______________________. (Do not lie.)

  5. Do not use ______________________. (They cloud the mind.)


His five mendicants learned his teachings, gradually reached enlightenment, and became __________ (saints.) For 40 years, Buddha and these arhats spread his message all over India, forming ________________ or spiritual communities/monasteries of ordinary people as well as Buddhist monks and nuns from all walks of life. The purpose there is to study, meditate, and help others, and by doing so to become _______________________________ and move closer to enlightenment.

______BCE/BC Buddha, 80, said, “Desire is the root of suffering. Everything is subject to _________________, to decay, to death, so do not become _______________ to anything; instead clear your mind and devote yourself to your own salvation.” He died in India.

Bodhisattvas: saint-like Buddhas-to-be who choose to stay and teach others the way to Nirvana. His Holiness the _____________________, exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is believed to be the fourteenth reincarnation of the bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara.

_________________________: patterned icons that visually excite and are used to enhance meditation which is a means of finding out what lies beyond our thoughts.

_________________________: prayer beads

_________________________: prayful chants.

“Nam myoho renge kyo”: “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra.” The lotus blossom blooms and produces seeds simultaneously, representing cause and effect (karma!)

___________________________________________: Enlightened monk

______________________________: Buddhist festival which celebrates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

“A man once told the Buddha, ‘I want happiness.’

The Buddha replied, ‘First remove “I.” That’s ego.

Then remove “want.” That’s desire.

And now all you’re left with is happiness!’”

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