Buddhist Stories

You are to be brief but specific in your response. Make sure that you incorporate evidence from the texts to support your thinking. Be sure to cite AND include the page number whenever possible.

1.    In summary, what would you say is the purpose of Buddhist practice, and what is it that makes it relevant in a way that it applies to all religions and all cultures around the world?

2.    As Prothero explains in this chapter, what does Buddhism see as “the problem” in the world? What is “the solution?”

3.    You are a Buddhist teacher. One of your new students has just spoken in a disrespectful way to a Christian who has joined the class as a guest. You have decided to help all your students (and their invited guests) deal with this disrespect by using the present moment as a “teachable moment.” In your ”teachable moment” talk, include what you believe is (a) the “root cause” of this disrespect, (b) why it happened, and (c) what we all need to do to make sure that it won’t happen again. Were you able to make your teaching crystal clear? It will be if your talk includes the answers to these two questions: (1) Can my story help to expand your understanding? (2) Can your story expand mine so that I better understand the world?

4.    Using one of the stories we read this week as the foundation of your discussion, explain what this Buddhist teaching means:  “The opposing view is always valuable. Look for underlying commonalities to find solutions of mutual benefit.” Remember to draw upon specific ideas or concepts from the story that help make your discussion clear.

5.    Drawing on your own life experience, think of a turning point or instance when you began to see the world in a different light as Neil Heslin did in his conversation with Thich Nhat Hanh about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (see Step 5). What role did anger play in your understanding this new way of looking at the world? How did “working through anger” help you to grow? Draw parallels between specific ideas or concepts from the story of the Sandy Hook Elementary School to help make your discussion clear.

6.    Using one of this week’s stories  from My Neighbor’s Faith  or what you learned from Pema Chodron (see Step One and/or Step Eleven) as a specific example, explain the idea of impermanence, no-self, and suffering. Remember to draw upon specific ideas or concepts from the story that help make your discussion clear.


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