RMS Buddhism notes

RMS Philosophy Buddhism

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  • Created by: Maddie
  • Created on: 09-06-12 17:02

Religion and Spiritual Experience

Buddhist worship is different to that of many other religions as they do not believe in a creator god. This means when they worship they do it for different reasons than other major religions.

Buddhists worship to
*Develop generosity
*Remind themselves the Nibbana (enlightenment) can be achieved
*Show respect for the Buddha
*Develop qualities the Buddha had
*Remember Buddhist teachings 

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Religion and Spiritual Experience

Buddhist worship is different depending on the traditions and countries where they are used. 

There is no set time or place for worship, but most Buddhist worship either at a Vihara (monastery), where monks perform the actions or at home using a shrine.

Buddhists worship by
*Removing shoes as a sign of respect
*Bow to the Buddharupa (statue of the Buddha) as a sign of respect
*Offer gifts to the Buddha to develop generosity and compassion
*Chant Buddhist scriptures as a reminder of the Buddha's teachings
*Meditate to focus on specific teachings. 

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Religion and Spiritual Experience

Items at a Buddhist shrine have different meanings and are used for different purposes.

Some examples are
*Buddharupa, used to remind that Nibbana can be achieved, remind of Buddhist teachings, aid in following the Buddha's example.
*Candles, symbolises the truth in the Buddha's teachings, reminds of annica (everything changes).
*Flowers remind Buddhists of Samsara (cycle of rebirth)
*Incense involves all the senses in worship and symbolises the sweetness of the Buddha's teachings
*Offerings show respect to the Buddha, and help develop generosity and compassion 

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Religion and Spiritual Experience

Meditation is used by Buddhists to worship. There is no set way to meditate. Buddhists meditate to change the way they think, and so reduce craving and so remove suffering from their lives. There is no set focus for meditiation, but it could be a specific teaching.

Monks often produce mandalas (coloured sand in symmetrical patterns) as a focus, to completely absorb their attention, however the patterns are always destroyed.

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Religion and Spiritual Experience

Food and Fasting are used differently within Buddhism.

There is no set Buddhist food, as Buddhists usually eat the food local to them. There are also different festivals depending on the country, but most celebrate Wesak, remembering the Buddha's birth, death and enlightenment.

Buddhists do not have to fast as part of their worship (as the Buddha tought the middle way), however some do as they fell it combats greed, cleanses them and allows deeper meditiation. 

The Alms round (monks collect food from the laity) allows monks to show their lack of greed (taking the food for sustenance and not craving) and the laity (Buddhist people) practise generosity.

Buddhists do not have to be vegetarian, yet many are to practise ahimsa (non-harming). However many Buddhist countries are poor, and so eating meat is one of the only ways to survive. As the Buddha tought the Middle Way, people in these situations eat meat

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The End of Life

Anatta is the Buddhist teaching that there is no one unchanging soul or self. People are made up of the 5 Khandhas, which are Form (body), feelings, perceptions, consciousness and impulses. These parts are always changing due to Anicca, so nothing is unchanging. 

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The End of Life

Nibbana is described differently by different people. It is basically
*Freedom from the 3 posions (hatred, greed and ignorance)
*Detatchment from the world
*End to craving
*End to rebirth
*Escape from Samsara 

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The End of Life


Kamma is the teaching that every action has a consequence. Good actions lead to good consequences. Bad actions lead to bad consequences. Good actions do no 'cancel out' bad ones. Any kamma that has not been 'used' by the end of life affects the next rebirth.

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The End of Life


Samsara is a wheel that all beings are trapped in, birth death and rebirth. The is caused by craving. Kamma determines the realm a being is reborn into. It is a life force that is reborn, this is made up of 4 Khandhas (not form). 

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Good and Evil

There are 2 types of evil (suffering).

Moral evil is caused by people for example murder.

Natural evil is caused by nature and are not somebody's fault, for example earthquakes.

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Good and Evil

For Buddhists there are 2 types of actions.

Skillful actions are good, and so lead to good kamma.

Unskillful actions are bad, and so lead to bad kamma.

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Good and Evil

The 4 Noble truths

1. Dukkha (suffering) is a part of life

2. The cause of this suffering is craving.

3. To overcome suffering you must stop craving.

4. To sto craving follow the eightfold path

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Good and Evil


Mara is considered to be a version of the devil. Mara represents the 3 posions (greed, hatred and ignorance). Mara holds the wheel of samsara, but is also trapped by it. When Mara dies, another being is born into the role.

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Good and Evil

Buddhists cope with suffering in different ways. These are

*Meditation, this means Buddhists understand why they are suffering, which means they can cope with their suffering.

*Try to understand kamma. If they know that their current suffering is caused by previous unskillful actions, then knowing that if they act skillfully in the future their suffering will be reduced, so coping with their current suffering is easier.

*Detachment, this means Buddhists become less atached to things. This reduces craving and so reduces suffering.

*Three refuges, these are Buddha, Dhamma (teachings) and Sangha (Buddhist community)

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Good and Evil

Buddhists follow different teachings to know how to live a 'good' life.

These are 
*The Eightfold path
*The Three refuges
*The Five precepts 

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Religion and Science

Dependent Origination

This states that everything is interconnected, and affects eveything else. It is depicted by the outer ring of the wheel of samsara. 

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Religion and Science

Origins of the Universe

Buddhists believe that the universe is in a constant state of change, with layers destroyed and created in cycles. This fits best with the Steady State Theory.

However the Buddha refused to answer questions about the origins of the universe, saying people should focus on the present, and also that curiosity distracts from achieving Nibbana. Therefore Buddhists don't really care how the universe was formed.

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Religion and Science


Evolution fits well with Buddhist theories as they believe in anicca (everything changes) and they don't believe in a creator god.

However again Buddhists don't really care.

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Religion and Science


There are loads of different views towards animals in Buddhism.

Some say that as you can be reborn as a animal, this means mistreating animals is mistreating another being (possibly a relative). Ahimsa (non-harming) means most Buddhist do no harm animals, and right livelihood means none will kill animals for a job. 

However beign reborn as a animal shows that in the previous life something has been wrong. This means that some Buddhists believe that animals are inferior to people, and so have less rights.

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Religion and Science

There are also varying opinions as to the use of animals in medical research.

It reduces human suffering and so is a good thing.

However it goes against the precept of Ahimsa, and doesn't treat animals as a valued being, which is bad.

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Religion and Science


All beings are interdependent, meanign that if one thing is harmed, then all beings are harmed.

Buddhists believe that people should ive in harmony with the environment.

They also believe that climate change is caused by previous unskillful actions. 

Engaged buddhism is the practise of being involved with current social issues. 

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this helped so much!! thank-you!

Miss KHP


EXCELLENT revision notes to help you if you are studying Buddhism.

You can either print these out or you can read them from here and then test yourself to check your progress.




excellent notes thanks author



excellent notes thanks author

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