Sources of Wisdom and Authority: The Buddha

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  • The Buddha
    • Significance of the life of the Buddha for Theravada Buddhists (role model and authority as 'enlightened one')
      • Buddha was a man
        • Attainable goals and relatable
      • Achieved knowledge that leads to liberation by himself
        • Dharma realised through direct experience and possible for others
      • Miraculous birth
        • Unique man
      • Rare because he taught the Dharma
        • Important and of the highest authority
      • Rejected luxury (prince)
        • Importance of spiritual gains
      • The Four signs
        • Led to the great renunciation
      • Buddha's asceticism
        • Middle way
      • Enlightenment
        • Ability for others and authoritative as it was direct experience
      • Teachings and aims
        • To be ultimate role model for all and liberate all living things
      • Buddha is now dead and beyond communication
        • Impermanence and self reliance
      • Left Buddhism which is everything we need to know about his teachings
        • Importance of unchanged tradition
    • Mahayana view that the life and teaching of Buddha was skilful means (parable of the burning house)
      • Concept of Yana- teaching of the raft
        • Use it cross to shore beyond birth and death but then let it go
      • Skilful means
        • Practical nature of Buddha's teaching
        • Adapting to pupils to communicate the Dharma
          • Adapting language, dress etc.
        • Some teachings were revealed later than the Pali Canon
          • Revealed in accordance with community's ability o understand
        • Example of Sigala
          • Modified his worship
      • Parable of the burning house
        • House burning with fires of old age, sickness and death
        • Father getting children to leave the house= Buddha's teaching
        • Chariot= Nirvana
      • Mahayana Buddhists attempt to become Bodhisattvas
        • Buddha is available in spiritual form

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