Chapter 3. Gotama

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest from "Gotama"
The Reading Selection from "Gotama"
Topics Worth Investigating

Buddha Preaching, Library of Congress

Ideas of Interest from "Gotama"

  1. Why doesn't it bother these holy men to beg for a living? Explain the difference in cultural values. Huston Smith points out the seeker of truth or reality or Self does not seek to be economically independent, but seeks to be independent of economics.[1]

  2. How was it that Siddhartha could instantly recognize the Buddha and Govinda could not? Was Siddhartha intuitively aware of the principles of kinesics (the science of body language)?

  3. Why did Govinda break with his friend, Siddhartha? Did Govinda, for once, believe that he could lead Siddhartha?

  4. What need be renounced in order to follow Buddha? From a psychological point of view, why would these sacrifices be required?

  5. Why did Siddhartha knowingly relate to Govinda the dishonest sentiment, "Very good are the teachings of the exalted one, how could I find a fault in them? Are Siddhartha's words the reason that Govinda did not change his mind of following the Buddha?"

  6. Explain in your own words in some detail the seeming contradiction in Buddha's doctrine of causality as described by Siddhartha. If all events, including mental events are caused, how could one "choose" to follow the Buddha?

  7. Evaluate Buddha's pragmatic and implied response that his disciples are better off with him than in the world of desires even though they will not find salvation through his teachings. Is Buddha intentionally deceiving his disciples "for their own good"?



Huston Smith. Religions of Man. New York: New American Library. 1958.