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Flashcards in Life of Buddha and Buddhist Teachings Deck (68)
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What was the 'impossible' things Buddha did when he was a newborn?

He took 7 steps and made a speech about how he wasn't going to let suffering happen.


Why did Buddha's father (a king) keep him locked in a castle for his life?

A holy man prophesied that his son would be either a great ruler or a great spiritual leader. The king hoped that he would become a great ruler and therefore protected his son from any disappointment or suffering that might make his son ask questions or consider spirituality.


What were Buddha's four sights he saw when he left the kingdom?

Sickness, old age, death and a holy man.


What are the three realisations through which Buddha found enlightenment?

1) Knowledge of all his previous lives.
2) That things are re-born depending on their kamma.
3) He understood the causes of suffering and how to overcome it (The Four Noble Truths)


What are the Four Noble Truths?

1) Everybody suffers
2) The cause of suffering is desire
3) We can end suffering by detaching ourselves from our desires
4) If we follow the eightfold path we will overcome suffering.


What are the four unavoidable types of physical suffering?

Birth, old age, death and illness


What are the three main forms of mental suffering?

1) Separation from someone you love.
2) Contact with something you dislike.
3) Not being able to achieve your desires.


What does tanha mean?

Thirst or craving.


What are the three types of craving?

1) Cravings that please senses.
2) Cravings to become someone you're not
3) Craving the non-existence of something.


What are the three poisons?

Greed, hate and ignorance.


What does nibbana mean?

It literally means "extinction" or snuffing out.


What are the eightfold paths?

Right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right understanding and right intention.


What are the three right ethics of the eightfold path?

Right speech, right action and right livelihood.


What are the three meditations of the eightfold path?

Right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.


What are the two wisdom of the eightfold path?

Right understanding and right intention.


What is kamma?

The effects of your actions - right or wrong.


What are the three marks of existence?

1) Dukka
2) Annica
3) Anatta


What does Dukka mean?



What does Annica mean?



What does Anatta mean?

The 'self' is not fixed or permanent.


What is dhamma?

The truth about the universe which was discovered by Buddha in his enlightenment.


What are the three refuges / three jewels?

Buddha, dhamma and sangha.


What is sangha?

The whole Buddhist community.


What is dependant arising?

It's inter-relatedness and it means nothing exists or happens on its own.


What is samsara?

The cycle of birth, death and re-birth.


What is the ultimate aim for buddhism?

To break free from the cycle of samsara.


How do buddhists break free from the cycle of samsara?

They believe they can do this when they break the habit of tanha.


What does sunyata mean?



What is buddha-nature?

The idea that everyone has the seed or even the essence (or nature) of a buddha already in them.


What is an arhat?

A 'perfected person' who has overcome suffering by defeating the 3 poisons.


What is a Theravada Buddhist?

Theravada means "school of the elders" and is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of buddhism.


For Theravada Buddhists, who/what is buddha?

Buddha is one of the 3 jewels, but he is not a God - he is a guide and an example for us to follow, but he was only ever a human.


What is a traditional belief about enlightenment in Theravada buddhism?

That female buddhists can not reach enlightenment, they have to reincarnate as a male in order to reach enlightenment.


How do Theravada Buddhist monks devote their lives?

They devote their lives to achieving enlightenment and when they are ordained they promise to keep certain rules such as celibacy and owning no possessions.


How do Theravada Buddhists achieve nibbana?

They focus particularly on meditation. They also follow the eightfold path as it will bring good kamma.


What do Theravada Buddhist wish to become?

An arhat.


What happens to arhats when they die?

They escape the cycle of samsara - this is the ultimate aim for Theravada Buddhists.


What do Theravada Buddhists believe about Buddha today?

They believe that he no longer inter-acts with us on Earth. For example, they don't believe that he appears in visions or through meditation or that he can take another form to come and help us.


What are the two types of Mahayana Buddhists?

Zen buddhists and Tibetan Buddhists.


What do Mahayana buddhists believe about Buddha today?

They believe that Buddha is still watching over us and inter-acts with the world. He might appear in a vision or when somebody in need is meditating.


What idea to do with change is very important for Mahayana Buddhists?

They idea of anatta and they recognition that there is no fixed 'self' but also that everything around us is changing. They call this lack of sunyata and they tie in this idea with inter-relatedness - as everything is changing, all change is inter-connected.


What do Mahayana Buddhists believe is the aim of enlightenment?

To use their enlightenment to become a bodhisattva rather than to escape the cycle of samsara.


What does being a bodhisattva mean (earthly and transcendent)?

This means that your soul either returns to the earth in another form or you become a spiritual or mythical being existing between the world of Earth and Nibbana and people pray to you for help.


What does earthly bodhisattva mean?

Your soul returns to earth in another form after death.


What does transcendent bodhisattva mean?

After you die you become a spiritual or mythical being existing between the worlds of Earth and Nibanna and people pray to you for help.


How does someone become a bodhisattva?

By perfecting attributes, there are 6 perfections they focus on.


What are the 6 perfections that Mahayana Buddhists focus of and how can they achieve each one?

1) Generosity - Charity
2) Morality - No killing, violence, sex, misuse of drugs/alcohol, negative speech
3) Patience - Tolerance
4) Energy - Mental energy comes from mediation
5) Meditation - Meditate often
6) Wisdom - Will come naturally if you have the other 5.


What is Pure Land Buddhism?

It's part of the Mahayana tradition and is the main form of Buddhism in Japan.


What is Pure Land Buddhism based on?

The faith in Amitabha Buddha.


Who is Amitabha Buddha?

Amitabha was once a great king who renounced his throne to become a monk. When he achieved enlightenment and Nibanna, he created a pure land. He created his land out of compassion and love for all beings.


What is Amitabha's pure land called?



What is the goal for Pure Land Buddhists?

To spend afterlife in Sukhavati with Amitabha.


Why do Pure Land Buddhists want to go to Sukhavati?

In Sukhavati there is no suffering or problems that prevent people from attaining enlightenment. Here they are taught by Amitabha himself so it will be easy to attain enlightenment.


How do Pure Land Buddhists believe you reach this land?

By meditating on Amitabha, worshipping him and chanting his name.


What are the 5 moral precepts?

1) Do not take life
2) Do not take what is not given
3) Do not misuse the senses
4) Do not speak falsehoods
5) Do not take intoxicants that cloud the mind.


What is skandhas?

The 5 aggregates which make up each person


What are the 5 aggregates?

•Physical form
•Mental formation
•Awareness/ consciousness


What is a skilful action?

Means to disentangle themselves from impurity and unsatisfactoriness.


What is the difference between skilful and unskilful actions?

Skilful actions are rooted in generosity, compassions and understanding and these lead to happiness. However, unskilful actions are rooted in the 3 poisons of ignorance, greed and hate and lead to suffering


What do buddhists recognise about rewards and punishments for our actions and how can anger be used as an example?

Buddhists recognise that we are not rewarded or punished for our actions, but rather that we bring the consequences upon ourselves. One example is anger: if we don't control our temper then our anger will become habitual, and we will find ourselves feeling angry about everything. This is itself will keep us constantly unhappy, but we will also find that friends avoid us, that we are not promoted at work, we won't be offered privileges because people will think we won't appreciate them etc. this will turn into more anger and frustration and will lead to suffering. Therefore people are punished or rewarded not FOR their actions but BY them


Why is the idea of kamma empowering for Buddhists?

It means that they can change the future through their own actions. By cultivating skilful actions they will live a happier life and lay the ground for a favourable rebirth


What does karuna mean?

Compassion and wanting others to be free of suffering


How did Buddha show karuna?

By deciding to share what he learnt about suffering and how to overcome it. He could have kept it to himself for fear of ridicule but instead he chose to teach others because he did not want to see them continue being unhappy


What is ROKPA, what do they do and why?

ROPKA is a buddhist charity that sets up schools in LEDC's. The idea is that education is the best way for children to break free from the poverty cycle and their suffering. In their schools they also teach about karuna because they believe that this is the best way to bring about change for the whole society; if educated people have compassion then they will use their skills to end the suffering of others


What is metta and how is it different to karuna?

Metta is an attitude of loving kindness to all people whereas karuna is more specific to those that are actually suffering. Metta is about defeating the tendency to feel jealous, hold grudges etc. and to cultivate the habit of good will towards others


How can metta be practised?

Through 'loving kindness meditation'


What is 'loving kindness meditation'?

Where you visualise happiness first for yourself, then for a close friends, then a neutral person, then someone who you have a more difficult relationship with and then people in general


What does buddhist ethics show?

That every single person has the potential to make progress towards wisdom and compassion. This is an expression of anatta - people have limitless potential to change for the better, to become more selfless and consequently happier.