Results tagged “buddhism” from World Religions

Buddhism - Day #6

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"To grasp Zen, you must experience it. ...
You should withdraw inwardly
and search for the ground upon which you stand;
thereby you will find out what Truth is. "- Ummon

ZEN BUDDHISM

Ideally, you should be completing the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. The pages that contain today's information on Zen Buddhism are 128 through 139.

We ended yesterday with showing you the Buddhism excerpt from Huston Smith's Wisdom of Faith series... It shares his personal experience with Zen Buddhism. I think it is a good starting point.


Basics of Zen Buddhism:

Defining terms: Zen, ch'an, "Flower Sermon", Bodhidharma, zazen, koan, kensho, sanzen, satori

* zazen- "seated meditation"
* koan- problems or questions designed to agitate the mind
* sanzen- interplay between master and student
* kensho- "True Thusness"- bursts of enlightenment
* satori- enlightenment, unity of all existence


Frequently Asked Questions from alt.zen is a nice, basic introduction to Zen. Several basic questions are asked and answered.

ZenGuide claims to be the "Ultimate On-Line Resource" on Zen Buddhism. You can browse their resources and judge for yourself...


Since Zen stresses EXPERIENCE as the only path to knowledge, today's lesson will minimize lecture and maximize experience. It is your job to give things a try and participate.

Daily Zen: You can get a daily Zen quote here. You can also access previous examples and even send someone a Zen greeting card... DO THIS: Send someone not in this class a "Zencard."

The Ten Oxherding Pictures is a classic collection of Zen art. DO THIS: View the collection of the ten pictures. See if you can figure out what the artist is trying to convey by reading the verses and studying the pictures. Who is the boy representing? What is the ox symbolizing?

DO THIS: Attempt to replicate the basics of Zen mediation by trying "How to Sit Zazen." It might help to try this with a partner or two who can take turns reading the instructions. DO THIS: An early Zen exercise it to simply count ten breath cycles. The trick is that you must return to 1 if any other thought enters your mind during that time. (Don't cheat. It takes most monks months to perfect this.) Try it a couple times.

The Gateless Gate is a collection of more than 30 koan. DO THIS: Browse through the collection reading at least a half dozen examples. Read and consider the commentaries provided. DO THIS: Try writing a koan of your own. Share it with the class.


Next, I've got a handful of articles looking at Buddhism in a number of countries around the world. We'll have you look at one of them and share some impressions.


Finally, we can do the Buddhism review, and you are welcome to use the remaining time to complete a blog entry or begin work on your Buddhism short essays.



HOMEWORK for tomorrow - Wednesday, November 28th

Your Hinduism short essay responses and your "Measuring It - Pew Research" Independent Assignment #2 are both now technically past due if I do not have them.

The Buddhism multiple choice quiz will take place tomorrow. (You are again welcome to bring in up to 150 words in notes.)

The Buddhism Blog Entry should be made by Wednesday as well.

The Buddhism Short Essay questions are posted, and they will be due on Monday, December 3rd.


Buddhism - Day #5

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"I think I am a reflection, like the moon, on water. When you see me, and I try to be a good man, see yourself " - Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama)

REMINDERS: Your Hinduism short essay responses are technically past due if I do not have them, but I had said that anytime over the long weekend is also fine. 

Your "Measuring It - Pew Research" Independent Assignment #2 should be completed by Tuesday, November 27th.

I posted the Buddhism blog entry and that should be taken care of by Wednesday, November 28th.


TIBETAN BUDDHISM

Defining terms: King Songstan, Atisha, yana, Vajrayana, lama, Tantra, upaya, mantra, mudras, mandalas

Modern Tibet: The "Land of the Snows"- The Communist government of China overran Tibet in 1949-1951, beginning decades of hostile occupancy. In 1959, the unsuccessful Tibetan National Uprising occurred. The Dalai Lama and his government fled into exile in India, where they remain yet today.


Questions for Investigatio
n: Use the Internet resources below, and feel free to look around elsewhere as well.

  • What has been China's policy toward Buddhism in Tibet?
  • What have been Amnesty International's chief human rights concerns in Tibet?
  • What has been American policy on the issue of Tibet? What should it be?

  • What role has the Dalai Lama played in international relations and human rights?
  • Who is the Karmapa?
  • Who is the Panchen Lama? What has happened to the Panchen Lama at the hands of China's government?


ZEN BUDDHISM

Ideally, you should making good progress in the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. The pages that contain today's information on Zen Buddhism are 128 through 139.

We'll start with showing you the Buddhism excerpt from Huston Smith's Wisdom of Faith series... It shares his personal experience with Zen Buddhism. I think it is a good starting point.


Basics of Zen Buddhism:

Defining terms: Zen, ch'an, "Flower Sermon", Bodhidharma, zazen, koan, kensho, sanzen, satori

* zazen- "seated meditation"
* koan- problems or questions designed to agitate the mind
* sanzen- interplay between master and student
* kensho- "True Thusness"- bursts of enlightenment
* satori- enlightenment, unity of all existence


Frequently Asked Questions from alt.zen is a nice, basic introduction to Zen. Several basic questions are asked and answered.

ZenGuide claims to be the "Ultimate On-Line Resource" on Zen Buddhism. You can browse their resources and judge for yourself...


Since Zen stresses EXPERIENCE as the only path to knowledge, today's lesson will minimize lecture and maximize experience. It is your job to give things a try and participate.

Daily Zen: You can get a daily Zen quote here. You can also access previous examples and even send someone a Zen greeting card... DO THIS: Send someone not in this class a "Zencard."

The Ten Oxherding Pictures is a classic collection of Zen art. DO THIS: View the collection of the ten pictures. See if you can figure out what the artist is trying to convey by reading the verses and studying the pictures. Who is the boy representing? What is the ox symbolizing?

DO THIS: Attempt to replicate the basics of Zen mediation by trying "How to Sit Zazen." It might help to try this with a partner or two who can take turns reading the instructions. DO THIS: An early Zen exercise it to simply count ten breath cycles. The trick is that you must return to 1 if any other thought enters your mind during that time. (Don't cheat. It takes most monks months to perfect this.) Try it a couple times.

The Gateless Gate is a collection of more than 30 koan. DO THIS: Browse through the collection reading at least a half dozen examples. Read and consider the commentaries provided. DO THIS: Try writing a koan of your own. Share it with the class.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #4

Continue reading in the Buddhism chapter of Huston Smith's The World's Religions

Your Hinduism short essay responses are technically past due if I do not have them, but I said that anytime over the long weekend is also fine. 

Your "Measuring It - Pew Research" Independent Assignment #2 should be completed by Tuesday, November 27th.

The Buddhism Blog Entry should be made by Wednesday, November 28th.

I am thinking we can do the Buddhism Multiple Choice quiz on Wednesday. You can again bring in a note sheet if you would like.

Blog Entry #3 - The World's Religions - "Buddhism"

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We can use the blog to hold "conversations" about reading in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. We'll certainly talk about some of the readings in class, but this gives you another chance to share your ideas. You may respond to one or more of the questions, and you can also react to comments posted by others. I'll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted.)

All posts should be made to this blog entry NO LATER than the beginning of class time on Wednesday, November 28th to be considered on time.


1. Based on your reading, what is the most appealing or intriguing feature of Buddhism? What seems most difficult to accept or understand?

2. Siddhartha Gautama's search for enlightenment begins with his confrontations with the realities of sickness, old age, and death. Is personal crisis a necessary prelude to spiritual exploration?

3. The first noble truth of Buddhism holds that life is suffering and that even our most blissful moments hold a subtle residue of unhappiness. Is this an accurate description of the human condition?

4.Buddhists include "right livelihood" among the Eightfold Path. Are certain professions incompatible with spiritual growth? Are some jobs more conducive to enlightenment that others? Why or why not?

5. According to Einstein, the most important question that can be asked is, "Is the universe a friendly place or not?" How do Buddhists answer that question? How would you answer it?


These questions are excerpted from Understanding the World's Religions: A Study Guide to Huston Smith's The World's Religions by Gary Kowalski.

Buddhism - Day #3

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"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dalai Lama


Kundun: This is a film of the early years of the Dalai Lama made by Martin Scorcese. If you want a little background on the film, here's one review of the work. Here's what "Rotten Tomatoes" has to say.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #4

Continue reading in the Buddhism chapter of Huston Smith's The World's Religions

Your Hinduism short essay responses are technically due tomorrow, but I certainly understand if you want to take Thanksgiving break to wrap them up.

Your "Measuring It - Pew Research" Independent Assignment #2 should be completed by Tuesday, November 27th.

The Buddhism Blog Entry should be made by Monday, November 26th.

Buddhism - Day #2

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"Hatred does not cease by hatred but only by love;
this is the eternal rule."- Buddha


DAY #2- BASIC BELIEFS, MAHAYANA AND THERAVADA BUDDHISM

REMEMBER: Your Hinduism short answer "take home" exams are due the Tuesday of next week.

Ideally, you would be through page 127 in the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions by the start of next week.  If not, you are a little behind at that point. Pages 119 through 127 look at the comparisons between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, and you'll make use of them later today.


The Eightfold Path: I asked you to take a look at this for today.

This is decent explanation of the Eightfold Path on the Web.

* Right Views
* Right Intent
* Right Speech
* Right Conduct
* Right Livelihood
* Right Effort
* Right Mindfulness
* Right Concentration


Basic Buddhist Concepts: This is a concise introduction to some of the core concepts. It is presented in a question and answer format for your convenience.

Defining terms: anatta, nirvana

* Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?

* Do human beings survive bodily death?

* How does karma affect the lives of Buddhists?

* What is nirvana?


The Two Major Schools of Buddhism: MAHAYANA and THERAVADA

Defining terms: Asoka, Mahayana, Theravada (Hinayana), arhat, boddhisattva, Sangha

Resources to use in completing this chart: You download a copy of the chart below here. You can either print it out or complete it by computer.

You can make use of Huston Smith's The World's Religions- pages 119 through 127.

  • Mahayana Buddhism: This site gives you good deal of information on the Mahayana school of Buddhism.

  • Theravada Buddhism: Similarly, this site looks at Theravada (or Hinayana) Buddhism.

  • World Civilizations- Washington State University: This is described as "An Internet Classroom and Anthology." You might want to consult their sections on Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.


TIBETAN BUDDHISM - A Third Path

Defining terms: King Songstan, Atisha, yana, Vajrayana, lama, Tantra, upaya, mantra, mudras, mandalas

Modern Tibet: The "Land of the Snows"- The Communist government of China overran Tibet in 1949-1951, beginning decades of hostile occupancy. In 1959, the unsuccessful Tibetan National Uprising occurred. The Dalai Lama and his government fled into exile in India, where they remain yet today.


Questions for Investigatio
n: Use the Internet resources below, and feel free to look around elsewhere as well.

  • What has been China's policy toward Buddhism in Tibet?
  • What have been Amnesty International's chief human rights concerns in Tibet?
  • What has been American policy on the issue of Tibet? What should it be?

  • What role has the Dalai Lama played in international relations and human rights?
  • Who is the Karmapa?
  • Who is the Panchen Lama? What has happened to the Panchen Lama at the hands of China's government?


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #3

Please continue in your reading of the Buddhism chapter from The World's Religions.

Your Hinduism short answer "take home" exams are due Tuesday.  (As I said, I am fine with them coming in over the long weekend as well.)

Your second Independent Assignment ("Measuring It" - Pew Research) should be posted by Tuesday, November 27th.


TIBETAN BUDDHISM

Defining terms: King Songstan, Atisha, yana, Vajrayana, lama, Tantra, upaya, mantra, mudras, mandalas

Modern Tibet: The "Land of the Snows"- The Communist government of China overran Tibet in 1949-1951, beginning decades of hostile occupancy. In 1959, the unsuccessful Tibetan National Uprising occurred. The Dalai Lama and his government fled into exile in India, where they remain yet today.


Questions for Investigatio
n: Use the Internet resources below, and feel free to look around elsewhere as well.

  • What has been China's policy toward Buddhism in Tibet?
  • What have been Amnesty International's chief human rights concerns in Tibet?
  • What has been American policy on the issue of Tibet? What should it be?

  • What role has the Dalai Lama played in international relations and human rights?
  • Who is the Karmapa?
  • Who is the Panchen Lama? What has happened to the Panchen Lama at the hands of China's government?

Buddhism - Day #1

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"There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it." - Buddha

REMINDERS: Toward the end of the hour we'll give you back your Hinduism Multiple Choice Exams so you can take a look at those. Overall, they seemed to go pretty well. Your Hinduism Short Essay Exams are due at the start of class on Tuesday, November 20th. You do three of those. (As I said, I certainly understand if you take the Thanksgiving break to wrap those up.)

You should email/post Independent Assignment #2, "Measure It - Pew Research" by Tuesday, November 27th. We'll introduce the third of these at our next session.


DAY #1 - INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM

The material we cover for today goes through page 112 of The World's Religions. Start tackling that Buddhism chapter ASAP.


The Life of the Buddha:

Defining terms: Siddhartha Gautama, "The Four Passing Sights," ascetic, "Great Awakening," bodhi tree, "Sermon in the Deer Park"

Lord Buddha does a nice job elaborating on the life of Buddha and retelling some of the most famous stories from his life.

If you are looking for more academic resources, you might check out what is offered in the Indian History Sourcebook. Scroll down a bit to find more links.


What is Buddhism?

Defining terms: Middle Path

Why does Buddhism break off from Hinduism in the 6th century BCE?


The Four Noble Truths:

Defining terms: dukkha, tanha

Here is an extensive, on-line summary of the Four Noble Truths.

* All life is dukkha.
* The cause of dukkha is tanha.
* Ending tanha will end dukkha.
* The way to ending tanha is through following the Eightfold Path


The Eightfold Path:

This is decent explanation of the Eightfold Path on the Web.

* Right Views
* Right Intent
* Right Speech
* Right Conduct
* Right Livelihood
* Right Effort
* Right Mindfulness
* Right Concentration


DO THIS: Pick two of the steps along the Eightfold Path. Using either the link above or the text's section beginning on page 103, prepare to explain your "steps" to the rest of the class. Use as many specifics and examples as possible.

Questions to consider:

  • Is it possible to follow the Eightfold Path in modern society?
  • Would it be desirable to more closely follow the Eightfold Path?
  • In what ways do you follow the steps of the Eightfold Path?


DO THIS (if you want): Stories often referred to as the Jataka Tales are used to teach morals and lessons to young Buddhists. In some ways, they are very similar to Aesop's Fables. Consult this collection of the Jataka Tales. If you are ambitious, select one of them, read it, learn it, and be prepared to retell the story for the class. (You can decide how far you want to go in terms of characterization, voices, etc.)


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #2

According to the reading schedule, you should be through page 127 in Huston Smith's The World's Religions by the time we come together next week. Since the reading is kind of front-loaded in this chapter, we'll save any articles for a couple days.

Your Hinduism Short Essay Exams are "due" on Tuesday, November 20th. You do three of the questions.

Your second Independent Assignment ("Measuring It" - Pew Research) should be posted by Tuesday, November 27th.


Buddhism - Day #7

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We'll wrap up our look at Buddhism today...

First, I've got a handful of articles looking at Buddhism in a number of countries around the world. We'll have you look at one of them and share some impressions.


Second, we can do any Buddhism review that you would like to do.

Third, we'll have you take the Buddhism Multiple Choice quiz. (You are again welcome to use up to 150 words in notes.)

Fourth, you are welcome to use the remaining time to complete a blog entry or begin work on your Buddhism short essays.


HOMEWORK for next session - Monday, December 5th

Your Hinduism short essay responses and your "Measuring It - Pew Research" Independent Assignment #2 are both now technically past due if I do not have them.

The Buddhism Blog Entry should be made by Monday, December 5th.

The Buddhism Short Essay questions are posted, and they will be due on Friday, December 9th.

If you are bored, start reading in the Judaism chapter from Huston Smith's The World's Religions. We'll start with that next week.


Buddhism - Essay Questions

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Eight questions are listed below. You need to complete three of them of your choice. (Each is worth 10 points.) Your completed answers should be turned in by the beginning of class on Thursday, April 10th.

On questions requiring written answers, you should limit your answers to somewhere around 400-500 words for each. There is no limit on the resources you can access, but you do need to avoid plagiarism and appropriately cite any sources of information that you use.


* The Four Noble Truths form the basis of Buddhist beliefs. Explain the Four Noble Truths and show how they were illustrated by specific events in the life of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).

* Buddhism prescribes the Eightfold Path as a way to more closely approach nirvana. Choose at least four components of the Path and describe how you observe those goals in your life. (Note: This questions neither assumes you are, nor requires you to be, a Buddhist.)

* If you were Buddhist, would you be a Therevadan or a Mahayanan Buddhist? Of course, you answer should both explain your choice and display an understanding of basic beliefs of that particular form of Buddhism.

* Is Buddhism a religion? Some say that it obviously is a religion. Others argue that it is instead a "philosophy of life". Still others claim that it is a "non-theistic" religion. Explain your position on this issue. Defend your answer with specific reasons and arguments.

* We watched the film Kundun in class. The film is rich in symbolism and ritual. Choose at least three specific examples from the film, and explain what you believe they reveal about Tibetan Buddhism. (Be specific.)

* Imagine that you are a film reviewer. Your task is to review Kundun. Assume that your intended audience is a "World Religions" class, and you are free to comment about whatever aspects of the film that you choose.

* You've been appointed the new United States Special Envoy to Tibet. Prepare a plan of action that you would recommend to President Obama and Congress. In particular, make clear what you believe our policy towards China should be on this issue. (I don't want you to stop at vague goals. Recommend specific actions.)

* Assume Huston Smith uses his influence to win you a four-week stay in a Zen monastery. Explain what you believe you would get out of this experience. In what ways do you think it would benefit you? What might be particularly difficult for you? (Take this in whatever directions you would like to go...)

Buddhism - Day #6

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"I think I am a reflection,like the moon, on water. When you see me, and I try to be a good man, see yourself " - Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama) 


REMINDERS: If you missed part of Kundun, I have two copies of the film that I am happy to lend out to you.

We will take the Buddhism multiple choice quiz on Wednesday. You can again bring 75 words of notes if that helps you organize the foreign terms, etc.


These are the articles from the Buddhism reading packet that are due today:

  • "From Ruins of Afghan Buddhas, a History Grows" The New York Times, December 6, 2006
  • "Tourism Saves a Laotian City but Saps Its Buddhist Spirit," The New York Times, April 15, 2008
  • "Nepalese Await Election Results and Brace for Major Changes. Stay Tuned." The New York Times, April 12, 2008
  • "What Makes a Monk Mad," The New York Times, September 30, 2007
  • "Myanmar Writhes in the Grip of Its Junta," The New York Times, September 26, 2008


Going back a bit: It occurs to me that we never dealt explicitly with several of the questions on the basics of Buddhism. Let's backtrack a bit to some material I've recopied from an Buddhism - Day #2.

Defining terms: anatta, nirvana

* Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?

* Do human beings survive bodily death?

* How does karma affect the lives of Buddhists?

* What is nirvana?


Tibetan Buddhism

Defining terms: King Songstan, Atisha, yana, Vajrayana, lama, Tantra, upaya, mantra, mudras, mandalas


Modern Tibet: The "Land of the Snows"- The Communist government of China overran Tibet in 1949-1951, beginning decades of hostile occupancy. In 1959, the unsuccessful Tibetan National Uprising occurred. The Dalai Lama and his government fled into exile in India, where they remain yet today.


Questions for Investigation: Use the Internet resources below, and feel free to look around elsewhere as well.

  • What has been China's policy toward Buddhism in Tibet?
  • What have been Amnesty International's chief human rights concerns in Tibet?
  • What has been American policy on the issue of Tibet? What should it be?

  • What role has the Dalai Lama played in international relations and human rights?
  • Who is the Karmapa?
  • Who is the Panchen Lama? What has happened to the Panchen Lama at the hands of China's government?


Dreams of Tibet - PBS documentary 
Understanding Tibetan Buddhism
China in Tibet

Tibetan Government in Exile's Official Web Site

The United States: Reassessing Tibet Policy

A Lesson in Compassion from a Tortured Monk

The Gere Foundation: Yes, it's THAT Richard Gere... The "Tibet Tragedy" slide show is interesting.

Help Find the Panchen Lama


HOMEWORK for Judaism - Day #1

The title for the next lesson is slightly deceiving, as a good chunk of the period will be spent reviewing Buddhism and taking the multiple choice quiz. Don't worry about starting the reading in Judaism or anything yet. Just be ready for the quiz.

Blog Entry #3 - "The World's Religions" - Buddhism

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We can use the blog to hold "conversations" about reading in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. We'll certainly talk about some of the readings in class, but this gives you another chance to share your ideas. You may respond to one or more of the questions, and you can also react to comments posted by others. I'll expect a comment of one good paragraph or more. (To me, that means 5-6 sentences at a minimum.) You do not need to worry about perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they should be understandable. Remember that this is a public site, and you are responsible for the content of your postings.

Assume that each comment is worth 5 points. (5 points for solid or better comments, 4 for comments somewhat short of expectations, 3 or fewer for last-minute, little to no effort postings, and no points for those who have not posted.)


All posts should be made to this blog entry NO LATER than the beginning of class time on Wednesday, October 22nd to be considered on time.


1. Based on your reading, what is the most appealing or intriguing feature of Buddhism? What seems most difficult to accept or understand?

2. Siddhartha Gautama's search for enlightenment begins with his confrontations with the realities of sickness, old age, and death. Is personal crisis a necessary prelude to spiritual exploration?

3. The first noble truth of Buddhism holds that life is suffering and that even our most blissful moments hold a subtle residue of unhappiness. Is this an accurate description of the human condition?

4.Buddhists include "right livelihood" among the Eightfold Path. Are certain professions incompatible with spiritual growth? Are some jobs more conducive to enlightenment that others? Why or why not?

5. According to Einstein, the most important question that can be asked is, "Is the universe a friendly place or not?" How do Buddhists answer that question? How would you answer it?


These questions are excerpted from Understanding the World's Religions: A Study Guide to Huston Smith's The World's Religions by Gary Kowalski.

Buddhism - Day #5

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REMINDER: Your third Independent Assignment is due today.


These are the articles from the Buddhism reading packet that are due today:

  •  "Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash," The New York Times, March 18, 2008
  • "Fed Up With Peace," The New York Times, May 18, 2008
  • "An Olive Branch From the Dalai Lama," The New York Times, August 7, 2008
  • "After the Games, Tibet," The New York Times, August 14, 2008


We'll continue with the film today. I'll set it so we finish before the end of the hour. (If you missed the first part, I have two copies of the film that I am happy to lend out to you.)

Kundun: This is a film of the early years of the Dalai Lama made by Martin Scorcese. If you want a little background on the film, here's one review of the work. Here's what "Rotten Tomatoes" has to say.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #6

Please read the articles for Buddhism - Day #6 from the packet.


Buddhism - Day #4

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"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dalai Lama


REMINDER: Your third Independent Assignment is due on Tuesday, October 14th. That's our next class meeting.

These are the articles from the Buddhism reading packet that are due today:

  • "Dalai Lama Lite," The New York Times, September 19, 2003
  • "Searching for the Dalai Lama," The New York Times, April 6, 2008
  • "Young Spiritual Leader Arrives in New York, Ready to Teach and Be Taught," The New York Times, May 16, 2008
  • "Lamas Seek the Holy Child, but Politics Intrude," The New York Times, October 1, 1990
  • "China's Buddha Complex," The New York Times, December 3, 1995
  • "Praise for Beijing by a Lama It Appointed," The New York Times, December 27, 2005


Given the number of people missing for the MPA Cultural Fair and for other conflicts, we're going to change the schedule up a bit here. Let's watch the film these next two sessions, and we'll pick up Tibetan Buddhism after that.


Kundun: This is a film of the early years of the Dalai Lama made by Martin Scorcese. If you want a little background on the film, here's one review of the work. Here's what "Rotten Tomatoes" has to say.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #5

Please read the articles for Buddhism - Day #5 from the packet.

Your third Independent Assignment is due on Tuesday, October 14th.

Buddhism - Day #3

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"To grasp Zen, you must experience it. ...
You should withdraw inwardly
and search for the ground upon which you stand;
thereby you will find out what Truth is. "- Ummon


REMINDERS: Your Hinduism short essay responses are officially past due if I do not have them. They'll be penalized ten % per class period that they are late. The Hinduism blog entry is also late as of now, but you'd still get partial credit, so submit them.

These articles from the Buddhism packet were assigned for today.

  • "In Japan, Buddhism May Be Dying Out," The New York Times, July 14, 2008
  • "A Very Old Zen Master and His Art of Tough Love," The New York Times, December 9, 2007
  • "Joke's Not Funny? Blame It on Buddha," The New York Times, September 2, 2003
  • "On the Journey That Is Buddhism, There Are Many Paths" The New York Times, April 13, 2007
  • "Buddhism Nears Mainstream in U.S., Author Says," The New York Times, January 29, 2000


THERAVADA and MAHAYANA BUDDHISM

We can review anything that has you puzzled or confused from the time you spent last class period on the two major forms of Buddhism.

Defining terms: Asoka, Mahayana, Theravada (Hinayana), arhat, boddhisattva, Sangha

You were given resources to use in completing this chart: (Download if you need one.)

You were given some web resources on Buddhism -Day #2, and you can make use of Huston Smith's The World's Religions- pages 119 through 127.


ZEN BUDDHISM

Ideally, you should making good progress in the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. The pages that contain today's information on Zen Buddhism are 128 through 139. The reading schedule actually has you finishing the chapter for today. If you're not there yet, please keep going.

We'll start with showing you the Buddhism excerpt from Huston Smith's Wisdom of Faith series... It shares his personal experience with Zen Buddhism. I think it is a good starting point.


Basics of Zen Buddhism:

Defining terms: Zen, ch'an, "Flower Sermon", Bodhidharma, zazen, koan, kensho, sanzen, satori

* zazen- "seated meditation"
* koan- problems or questions designed to agitate the mind
* sanzen- interplay between master and student
* kensho- "True Thusness"- bursts of enlightenment
* satori- enlightenment, unity of all existence


Frequently Asked Questions from alt.zen is a nice, basic introduction to Zen. Several basic questions are asked and answered.

ZenGuide claims to be the "Ultimate On-Line Resource" on Zen Buddhism. You can browse their resources and judge for yourself...


Since Zen stresses EXPERIENCE as the only path to knowledge, today's lesson will minimize lecture and maximize experience. It is your job to give things a try and participate.

Daily Zen: You can get a daily Zen quote here. You can also access previous examples and even send someone a Zen greeting card... DO THIS: Send someone not in this class a "Zencard."

The Ten Oxherding Pictures is a classic collection of Zen art. DO THIS: View the collection of the ten pictures. See if you can figure out what the artist is trying to convey by reading the verses and studying the pictures. Who is the boy representing? What is the ox symbolizing?

Primary Zen Texts is pretty self-explanatory. You will find a number of usefulresources. DO THIS: Attempt to replicate the basics of Zen mediation by trying "How to Sit (Zazen)." It might help to try this with a partner or two who can take turns reading the instructions. DO THIS: An early Zen exercise it to simply count ten breath cycles. The trick is that you must return to 1 if any other thought enters your mind during that time. (Don't cheat. It takes most monks months to perfect this.) Try it a couple times.

The Gateless Gate is a collection of more than 30 koan. DO THIS: Browse through the collection reading at least a half dozen examples. Read and consider the commentaries provided. DO THIS: Try writing a koan of your own. Share it with the class.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #4

If you haven't already done so, please finish up the reading in the Buddhism chapter of Huston Smith's The World's Religions. I'll get the Buddhism blog entry posted soon.

Please read the articles from the Buddhism article packet assigned for Day #4.

Your third Independent Assignment is due on Tuesday, October 14th.

Buddhism - Day #2

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"Hatred does not cease by hatred but only by love;
this is the eternal rule."- Buddha


DAY #2- BASIC BELIEFS, MAHAYANA AND THERAVADA BUDDHISM

REMEMBER: Your Hinduism short answer "take home" exams are due today. I'll penalize late work at 10% per class period.

My plan is to do Zen Buddhism on Wednesday, with Tibetan Buddhism on Friday. That leaves us two days for watching Kundun.

Ideally, you would already be through page 127 in the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. If not, you are a little behind at this point. Pages 119 through 127 look at the comparisons between Mahayana and Therevada Buddhism, and you'll make use of them later today.


The Eightfold Path: I asked you to take a look at this for today.

This is decent explanation of the Eightfold Path on the Web.

* Right Views
* Right Intent
* Right Speech
* Right Conduct
* Right Livelihood
* Right Effort
* Right Mindfulness
* Right Concentration


Basic Buddhist Concepts: This is a concise introduction to some of the core concepts. It is presented in a question and answer format for your convenience.

Defining terms: anatta, nirvana

* Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?

* Do human beings survive bodily death?

* How does karma affect the lives of Buddhists?

* What is nirvana?


The Two Major Schools of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada

Defining terms: Asoka, Mahayana, Theravada (Hinayana), arhat, boddhisattva, Sangha

Resources to use in completing this chart: You download a copy of the chart below here. You can either print it out or complete it by computer.

You can make use of Huston Smith's The World's Religions- pages 119 through 127.

Mahayana Buddhism: This site gives you good deal of information on the Mahayana school of Buddhism.

Theravada Buddhism: Similarly, this site looks at Theravada (or Hinayana) Buddhism.

World Civilizations- Washington State University: This is described as "An Internet Classroom and Anthology." You might want to consult their sections on Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.


HOMEWORK for Buddhism - Day #3

According to the reading schedule, you should be finishing up the Buddhism chapter in Huston Smith's The World Religions. You all have several articles from the Buddhism reading packet to look at for Wednesday.

Your third "Independent Assignment" is due a week from Tuesday, October 14th.