Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Origins of Buddhism: The Life of the Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama sat under the Bodhi Tree until he gained enlightenment and became the Buddha. 

 Today's Learning Objective  Know the life and moral teachings of the Buddha. 

Background Knowledge  In our previous unit, we learned about Hinduism, the first major world religion to take root in ancient India. A second major religion known as Buddhism also has its roots in India. Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian spiritual leader. Today you will begin to learn about Siddhartha's life and his founding of Buddhism.  

The Life of Buddha  One of the key differences between Hinduism and Buddhism is that Buddhism had a founder, Siddhartha Gautama, a real life person who started the religion. Today we will read about his life story and how Buddhism came to be. We will read the version of the 'Story of the Buddha' created by the site which you can find here. 

While many elements of Siddhartha's story are similar across various sources, it is very important, especially as history students, to consider the source when determining the validity and reliability of information. Before you reading, you should always ask yourself the following: Who wrote this? What is the author's perspective? Why was it written? Where was it written? Is it reliable? Why? Why not? Considering the source is a website that promotes and markets the teachings and practice of Buddhism, does that make their version of Buddha's story more or less valid than the version included in our Social Studies textbook? These are questions we must consider.

As we read this version of the the 'Story of the Buddha' today, I want you to identify the key events in Siddhartha's life that you consider to be the most important in capturing who he was and explaining how Buddhism came to be. You will record these events using the document Important Events in the Life of Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha), which can be found in your Social Studies folders. Tomorrow you will have an opportunity to check the reliability and consistency of the version of events you recorded by comparing them to other sources.  

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