Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Announcements

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HUMAN 105H, Winter, 2016 Week 3, Wednesday, page

Dr. Harnett

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

  • Unit 2 Paper is due. See me if there are any problems. It is better to get the paper in late than not at all.

  • Hsi Lai Temple Visit: Friday, 1-22-2016. Plan to leave at around 10:45 AM so as to arrive at the Temple in Hacienda Heights by 11:15 or 11:30. We will have lunch ($8), then take a tour from around 12:30 to 2:00 PM. Temple Website: I will give attendance credit for your participation in this visit. Please note the dress code and other requirements that are noted on the website.

Temple Address:

  • 3456 Glenmark Drive

  • Hacienda Heights, California

  • Tel: (626) 961-9697

  • Fax: (626) 369-1944

  • Email:

Google Map Us

  • See me about Oral and Outside Reports, especially for Units 2 & 3.

  • Unit 3 begins today. Annotations on the so-called “Gospel of Buddha” scriptures and Zen Koans are due tomorrow (5 annotations for 5 selected scriptures and for 5 selected koans).Read How to Practice by The Dalai Lama for Monday.

  • Other? Questions?

Oral Report.
Begin Unit 3: Life and Beyond. Focus on Buddhism and Its Approach to Those Topics—How a person can make the most of life, and prepare for what is beyond it.
What place, if any, does religion have in your daily life?

Where does religion fit into The Human Struggle?

  • Discuss and write notes, including the Functions of Religion below.

Functions of religion:

  • Moral teaching

  • Social development

  • Sense of security

  • Spiritual Development

  • Hope, motivation, answers (including cosmology), fulfillment

  • The Wheel of Life Information at

Activity: Based on the explanations of the parts of the wheel, what is the Buddhist approach to living a good life?

Support your interpretation by explaining each part of the picture:

  • The Symbolic Six Worlds (interior of wheel)

  • The 12 Interdependent Causes and Their Effects (rim of wheel)

  • The Roots of Evil (center of wheel)

  • The Monster of Impermanence

  • Bodhisattava (upper left)

  • Buddha Figure (upper right)

Note: In our readings, you will see the words sutta and sutra in the titles of certain documents. These words are basically synonymous. Sutta is Sanskrit, and sutra is a Buddhist term meaning the teachings of the Buddha. Hindu teachings, collected in the Vedas, the ancient texts, are also referred to as suttas; the Vedas were written in the ancient Sanskrit language. The word originally meant thread, as in the surgical term suture.

Among many possible sources, here is one dictionary of Buddhist terms:

Buddhist Readings and Materials

  • Buddhism Information (selections) at

  1. Introduction: What are the priorities and purpose of Buddhism, as summarized in the statements from The Dhammapada?

  2. Follow the link to the biography of the Buddha’s life. What kind of life did Siddhartha Gautama live? When did he live? What are the 2 basic stages of the change in his life? Explain the significance of his last words.

  • The Basics of Buddhist Wisdom” at

  1. What are the 4 Noble Truths, in your own words? What does each involve in daily living?

  2. Choose one of the tenets of the Eightfold Path and explain how it is to be enacted and followed.

  3. Referring to the Kalama Sutta,

    1. Summarize the criteria that distinguish good vs. bad teachers and teachings

    2. Simply explain the 4 Exalted Dwellings of the Brahma Vihara.

    3. Describe the 4 Solaces that lead to happiness if followed.

  • Some Simple Instructions for Living a Happy Life, Courtesy of the Buddha” at

  1. Explain the teachings of the brief sutras about living and experience:

  2. Explain each of the Suttas (selected):

    • The 3 brief suttas—Duggata, Sukhita, Mata Suttas

    • Samajivina Sutta—Living in Tune [note: Dhamma (Sanskrit); Dharma (more common term)] dharma means “the right way to live” or “the order of the world”; compare to the concept of the Tao (the way).

    • Soma Sutta—Sister Soma: what’s the message about being a woman?

    • Kodhana Sutta—An Angry Person (paraphrased): What your anger does for your enemies

    • Ambalatthi karahulovada Sutta -- Lesson for Rahula at Mango Stone (paraphrased): a lesson about lying, thinking before we act in general

    • Kucchivikara-vatthu -- The Monk with Dysentery: a lesson in compassion

  • The Heart Sutra at

  1. Name and briefly explain the 5 “aspects of human existence.”

  2. Explain the idea of “emptiness” as presented in “The Heart Sutra.”

  3. List the contradictions expressed in the 5th stanza. How might these be explained or resolved, or are they meant to be resolved?

  4. Explain the lesson of the Heart Sutra, focusing on the statements that the Sutra tells us to say as it concludes:






  • Buddhist Scriptures (selected from the main site at


  • Skillfulness” in The Wings to Awakening from the Pali Canon at Note: the first 5 pages are an article that explains the Buddha’s approach to the idea of mastering a skill. The Buddha’s discourse itself begins at the place marked § 1.

  1. What are the 2 kinds of thinking that the Buddha delineates?

  2. What do the examples of the “cowherd” (mentioned twice) show about mindfulness?

  3. What’s the overall message or lesson about knowledge (delineated in 3 statements—“the first knowledge,” “the second knowledge,” “the third knowledge,” as expressed in part 1?

  4. What is the Buddha’s advice about telling what the truth is or not and how to handle stress?

  5. What does the Buddha define as “unskillful”?

  6. What does the Buddha’s example of the mirror teach?

  7. In sections 6-7, what does the Buddha advise so as to live well and be skillful? Why does he give the advice he does in section 7 rather than something more specific about skill itself?

  • Filial Piety Sutra at

  1. Why does the Buddha bow respectfully at a pile of bones beside the road?

  2. What’s the basic argument for the need to repay our mothers?

  3. Describe how a “filial” child is born, and how a rebellious child is born.

  4. What do the Kindnesses indicate about motherhood from the Buddhist perspective?

  5. Describe what unfilial children do when they grow up, leave home, etc.

  6. Summarize the actions mentioned to try to repay parents, and how much of that attempting to repay them appears to be needed.

The Big Picture:

  1. Summarize your impressions of the priorities of Buddhist teachings that you have seen so far.

  2. How would a Buddhist handle the following issues, judging from what you have seen so far and your impressions of Buddhism?

    1. Materialism

    2. Selfishness

    3. Human potential

    4. A child’s relationship with his or her parents through life; how elders should be treated

    5. Other issues you see?

For Next Time:

  • Read an excerpt from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta, called “the most important Sutta that the Buddha taught”:

  • Dukkhasacca Pabba (Section on the Noble Truth of Dukkha)” at

  • Also, The Discourse on Blessings, called the “Maha Mangala Sutta” from the section called Everyman’s Ethics at

  • Then, complete 2 Readings for Annotations: Gospel of Buddha at Annotations Assignment: select 5 chapters from chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 16, 24, 32, 41, 43, 57, 65, 87, & 93. Note insights from them.

  • Zen Koans (Parables) selected from list at A

    • Annotations Assignment: Select 5 koans from the part of the list that corresponds to the first letter of your last name:

      • A-F: 73-99

      • G-L: 49-72

      • M-R: 25-48

      • S-Z: 1-24

    • Summarize each koan.

    • Explain a lesson you interpret from each one. I will ask people to share this in class, which contributes to your daily participation, so be ready!

    • Hand in both assignments on one document, clearly marking each part (Gospel of Buddha and Zen Koans).

Read the book How to Practice, written by the Dalai Lama, for Monday.

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