UCLA Buddhist Sutras & Legend of Ashoka Illusions Attachments Aging & Bodies Essay

Do the reading and answer the question in deep thought.

The length of each entry should be at least 600 words. 3 questions should be answered.

What do the primary readings (excerpts from Buddhist sutras & Legend of Ashoka) teach us about illusions, attachments, aging, and our bodies?

Cite examples from the readings to support your response.

Do you find these Buddhist teachings useful or less so (and why)?

You will read:

1. Excerpt from ‘The Chapter on the Goal’. This is an ancient text found within the Pali Canon, the Tipitaka, that contains some of the oldest Buddhist verses known to date. Scholars believe they may date to around the time of the historical Buddha. You will hopefully notice someone important is doing the talking in this text (note: the spelling of his name here is the ancient Pali version, whereas ‘Gautama’ is the more common ancient Sanskrit spelling).

2. A story (‘Kunala Loses His Eyes’) found with The Legend of Ashoka. This is another ancient text of South Asian origin, but this story has been shared across all schools.

3. An excerpt from Eight Verses for Training the Mind (How to Exchange Self and Other). This is an early Mahayana text, found within East Asia and Tibetan traditions, on the bodhisattva. Pay special attention to the indented verses, and just let the commentary on each verse wash over you. Don’t get lost in the commentary – the message of the verses is clear and important and sketches out the bodhisattva model.

4. An excerpt (with short secondary introduction) from A Tibetan Book of the Dead. Pay close attention to the secondary introduction. It will be very helpful. The primary text will be confusing at times. Don’t worry if you find it so. See if you can build off of the introduction to this primary text to try to follow the overall process of lucid death being described in the tantric teaching.

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