REL 101 Class notes, Week 2, Lecture 3


Buddhism I: The Life of the Historical Buddha

500 BCE: Historical Buddha Sakyamuni

Early Life

  1. Prince of the Sakya Clan, son of the Gautama Family, offspring of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya
  2. Story of the Holy Seer and the White Elephant
  3. Siddhartha Gautama, raised by Aunt Prajapati
  4. Princess Yasodhara and son Rahula

Quest for Enlightenment and Development of Sangha

  1. Leaving the Four Palace Gates (comparison with Arjuna and Arjuna's brothers)
  2. Sramana Culture
  3. Five Ascetics
  4. Maiden Sujata and the River Nairanjana: Bodhi, Nirvana: Sakyamuni Buddha
  5. Good Cousin, Bad Cousin: Ananda, Devadatta
  6. Prince Ajatasatru, King Bimbisara, and Queen Vaidehi
  7. Prajapati becomes a nun, the formation of the Nun's Order; Story of Kisa Gotami

End of Life

  1. Forbidding the creation of images, worship of relics, and recording of scripture
  2. Final instructions: "Be a lamp unto yourselves"
  3. Parinirvana