"Elements of Religion"

Team Activities

Writing Assignments

Extra Credit



TRA = "Team Readiness Assessment"

EGBT = Explorer's Guide to Buddhist Traditions

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Schedule - Introduction

All readings in this schedule should ideally be completed by the day under which they are listed, although this requirement is only assessed during TRAs and team mini-Application Exercises. All numbers in the schedule are page numbers unless otherwise noted.

CAUTION: I reserve the right to make revisions to these on-line materials prior to their discussion in class at the relevant point in the semester. Therefore WAIT until that time to print out materials you wish to have on hand, such as terms, excerpts and assignment guidelines.

Introduction: Team-Based Learning & Buddhism in America

Dates Tasks Readings
Tue, Jan 29

personal introductions

opening Application Exercise:
"what is learning?"

review of course content site

Before or ASAP after the first meeting:

  • locate and explore this on-line site
    (congrats on finding it!)
  • purchase course reader and/or books (see "Sources")
  • check out www.csus.edu/sringeri (Sringeri Multi-Media Archive)
  • find and complete the Start-of-Term Survey under "Assessments" in SacCT
    (This course should appear in your SacCT home page by Wednesday)
Thu, Jan 31

overview of team-based learning & TRA ("Team Readiness Assessment")

intro to study materials:

sample orientation to readings to be studied for the trial TRA

FIND TERMS & EXCERPTS from reading guide in this primary source:

  • selections from "American Buddhists"
    (download from SacCT)

FIND * TERMS from reading guide in these overviews:

  • "Essential Elements of Religious Life:" introduction & section I
    (see "Elements of Religion" tab in the menu on the left)
  • Explorer's Guide to Buddhist Traditions (EGBT), 1-3, 11-12, 52-54, 60 & 67

VIEW/BROWSE images related to terms & sources:
"Three Refuges & Five Precepts" (audiot chant)
"Hsi Lai Temple" (news report on YouTube)
"Thai Monks Chant Blessing" (YouTube)
"Tibetan Monks Chant" (YouTube)

Tue, Feb 5

trial TRA in SacCT *DUE by 11:30 am*

form teams & explain preparation for trial Application Exercise

trial group TRA done in class

trial preliminary Application Exercise

Thu, Feb 7

trial Application Exercise

(*PREPARATION PAGE REQUIRED* - use optional worksheet if helpful)
(PDF | MS Word)


  • selections from "American Buddhists"
    (download from the "Learning Modules" tab of SacCT)
  • EGBT, 1-3, 11-12, 52-54

PREPARE by addressing the following scenario:

THE SCENARIO: You run into your neighbor Juan doing some yard work on the weekend, and you mention that you are taking a course on the History of Buddhism. He says:

"That whole tradition really puzzles me. On the one hand, I see images and video of Asian immigrants living right here in California who have brought over all their fascinating statues and rituals, including monks who look like they walked right out of a documentary. On the other hand, I keep meeting people at work and in social settings, who are mostly middle-aged, middle class, and mostly white Americans; they go to meditation centers and retreats where they just watch their breath for hours. It's hard to know whose beliefs people are talking about when they talk about Buddhism."

You know from past experience that Juan is genuinely interested in hearing your point of view. And although you can't be completely sure since the class has just started, you think that the assigned introductory reading provides some concrete examples that point to a distinctive way of thinking common to all Buddhists.

PREPARATION PAGE: Gather examples from the reading to plan for what you might tell Juan, given that your GOAL is to convince him that there is a distinctive way of thinking common to all people engaged in Buddhist practices. Draw one example from EACH OF THE THREE SETS OF ASSIGNED PAGES from "American Buddhists" that are listed in the reading guide, PLUS the assigned pages from EGBT (FOUR examples TOTAL). For each example, be sure to identify

  • words, images, and emotions of participants described in both sources;
  • the specific features of these people, such as age, dress, etc.; and
  • objects, actions, words and locales involved in the practices that they do.


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