This episode explains several of the Buddha’s first teachings: the Three Marks and the teaching of Anatta, or Not-Self. From the beginning, the Buddha’s teachings featured the Three Marks, or Characteristics, of Existence: anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfactoriness), and anatta (not-self). Here I introduce the Three Characteristics and then go into the teaching of not-self in detail – what it means and doesn’t mean. For example, did you know the Buddha did not teach that we have no self?
Buddhism began when Siddhartha Gautama experienced a spiritual awakening over 2,500 years ago in India, and became an “awakened one,” or Buddha. In this first episode on his life, I first explain in detail the sources of biographical information we have on the Buddha – their historicity and significance. Then I tell the story of the Buddha’s life from just before his birth until he decides to leave home as a spiritual mendicant.
The first episode in my “Buddhist History and Seminal Texts” series, about the historical and religious context for the beginnings of Buddhism in India around 500 BCE. I give you a brief overview of the history of civilization in India, and a sense of the dominant religious traditions of northern India from around 2000 BCE through the time of the Buddha. Then I describe the period of social and economic changes starting around 800 BCE that apparently paved the way for new schools of religious thought and practice, including Buddhism.
For over 2,500 years, in every form of Buddhism, you formally become a Buddhist by stating, “I take in the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.” What are the Three Treasures, and what does it mean to take refuge in them?
Zen is a type of Buddhism, which is a 2,500-year-old tradition. When and how did Zen arise, and what is unique about it?