Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

The third step on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism is called Right Speech. According to Buddhism, we are not aware of our own speech, but the way we speak can affect our behaviour.

Buddhism, asks people to avoid lies, slander, harsh words, and frivolous speech.

What effect do these things have on other people? Write of a time when you heard someone lying or using harsh words. How did it affect you?

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Right Conduct is the fourth step on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. It asks people not to kill, steal, or commit sexual misconduct.

According to Buddhists, every action creates karma. Karmas are like seeds; a small action will grow into something large. If that action is bad, the result will be bad. It is important, therefore, to avoid bad actions.

Have you ever seen or read about someone who acted in a bad way and had it lead to a bad result? Could the bad action have been avoided? Describe what happened.

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Right Work is the fifth step on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. This step encourages people to earn a living from a morally sound job. The way you make a living should not conflict with your spiritual progress.

What kinds of jobs do you think would conflict with spiritual progress? Why? What jobs would fit in with making spiritual progress? Why? List as many of both as you can.

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Right Effort is the sixth step on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. Right Effort means applying yourself diligently in everything you do.

Sometimes we perform tasks halfheartedly because we don’t like them or we’re in a hurry. Right Effort asks people to give every action their full attention and effort.

To what do you apply yourself fully? Why do these things receive your complete attention and effort?

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Right Mindfulness is the seventh step on the Eightfold Path. According to Buddhism, the mind is very powerful. It can affect every part of our lives. However, most of us pass the day in an unmindful state. We are not aware of what we do or of what happens around us.

Spend a few minutes practicing mindfulness. Look around you. Write down everything you see. Listen closely. What sounds can you distinguish? Write them down. Now listen to yourself. What thoughts pass through your head? Write them down.

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The final step of the Eightfold Path of Buddhism is Right Concentration. Have you ever looked through an unfocused camera or microscope? Everything is blurred.

Focusing the lens makes a difference in what can be seen; the image becomes sharp and clear. This is similar to the difference Right Concentration can make. It helps you to see things as they really are, instead of a blurred version.

Most of us find it easy to focus on some things, but hard to focus on others. Still, we can practice focusing so that it becomes easier.

What are you able to focus on easily? What things are harder for you to focus on? List them. Why do you think it is harder for you to focus on some things more than others? What can you do to change this?

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The Buddha stressed the importance of right association. He said that people cannot find the truth unless the people they spend time with also seek the truth.

Think of a situation where a person’s decisions are affected by the people around them. Describe a real or made up situation.

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The Buddha died in about 483 B.C.E. He had gone from a prince to an ascetic, from a wealthy man to a nomadic beggar. For more than fifty years he wandered India, teaching others about enlightenment.

Imagine that you are a newspaper columnist. Write an obituary for the Buddha as if for a modern newspaper.

Include as much information as you can about the people who were important in his life and the events that shaped his life and beliefs.

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Scholar Huston Smith has identified six common aspects of traditional religion.

They are authority, ritual, speculation (answers to questions like “Why are we here?”), tradition, grace, and mystery. But these aspects are not found in Buddhism.

Imagine a conversation between the Buddha and a student, where the Buddha is asked about one of these aspects or religion. What do you think the Buddha would have said?

Write a short dialogue to show the conversation.

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The oldest printed book in the world was printed in China around 868 C.E. It is a copy of the Diamond Sutra, one of the teachings of the Buddha. The sutra ends with these lines:

Think of this fleeting world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

What do you think the Buddha meant by this?

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