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Schedule - Unit 4

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.

Unit 4: Lay Buddhists & Bhikshus in Northeast India & Mainland Southeast Asia (7th - 21st century CE)

Dates Tasks Readings
Tue, Apr 23

Unit 4 intro: objectives, discussion, videos & demonstrations

BRING PRINTED COPY of WORKSHEET FOR
Unit 3 **Source Analysis**
(PDF | MS Word)
OR **Observation Report**
(PDF/MS Word)
@ beginning of class
& POST in Assignments tab of SacCT by midnight

FIND TERMS & EXCERPTS from reading guide in primary sources:

  • "The Lokapannatti Legend" (RDR, 130-45)
  • "The Meditator Becomes God" (RDR, 146-48)
  • "Tibetan Ani's: The Nun's Life in Tibet" (RDR, 155-58)

FIND * TERMS from reading guide in these overviews:

VIEW/BROWSE images related to terms & sources:

"Monk's Life" (Thai song in English)
"Island Pagoda" (YouTube)
"Vajra" (Google Images)
"Tara" (Google Images)
"Heruka" (Google Images)
"Buddhist Worlds of Southeast Asia & the Himalayas" (on-line PPT)

Thu, April 25

orientation to readings & unit 4 reading guide (print & annotate for extra credit).

Tue, April 30

**TRA #4 MOVED TO THU, 5/9**

Application Exercise #4a

(*PREPARATION PAGE REQUIRED* - optional worksheet: PDF | MS Word)

BRING PRINTED COPY of
Unit 3 *Source Analysis* OR
*Observation Report*
@ beginning of class
& POST in Assignments tab of SacCT by midnight

REVIEW IN DEPTH:

  • "The Lokapannatti Legend" (RDR, 130-45)
  • EGBT, 25-27, 33, 48-51

PREPARE by addressing the following focus:

THE SCENARIO: Juan tells you about another documentary he saw that focuses on the Buddhist traditions of mainland Southeast Asia. He tells you honestly:

"Those monks in orange and the people who honor them have always seemed so serious to me. But when I watched this show it described the fantastic stories they tell, legends about miracle working saints battling spirits and demons. These are even more fantastic than some of those Lotus Sutra stories you told me about! It's surprising to me that thinking people could really believe in those kinds of stories.”

Having just read John Strong's translation and commentary on the legend of Upagupta found in Lokapa├▒├▒ati, you understand the kind of thing Juan is talking about. But you think you can use examples from the reading to get him to understand that stories like the legend of Upagupta serve to motivate and focus Southeast Asian Buddhists as they engage in concrete practices, regardless of whether they take those stories literally or not.

PREPARATION PAGE: Gather examples from the reading to plan for what you might tell Juan. Remember that your GOAL in this conversation is to show him that stories like the legend of Upagupta function to motivate and focus engagement in practices like monastic ordination and the Loi Kathrong--regardless of whether those who tell and remember the stories take them literally or not. Draw ONE example from EACH of the FOUR SECTIONS of the reading listed in the reading guide, PLUS one example from EGBT (FIVE examples TOTAL). For each example, be sure to identify

  • objects, actions, words and locales involved in ordination and Loi Kathrong;
  • types of monks and laypeople involved in them; and
  • details from Upagupta's and other legends that might motivate and focus such practice.

*MAKE SURE TO CITE PAGE NUMBER(S) FROM EACH SECTION OF YOUR SOURCES*

Thu, May 2

Application Exercise #4b

(*PREPARATION PAGE REQUIRED* - optional worksheet: PDF | MS Word)

REVIEW IN DEPTH:

  • "The Meditator Becomes God" (RDR, 146-48)
    [use EGBT 44-45 & 49 as an introduction]
  • "Tibetan Ani's: The Nun's Life in Tibet" (RDR, 155-58)

PREPARE by addressing the following focus:

THE SCENARIO: Your family friend Dennis calls you up a few weeks after your conversation about Zen. He tells you:

"I went to the Zen center, and although there were no koans, I did get a glimpse of how helpful it is to use the body and outward actions to inspire awakening beyond the mind. Honestly, though, I'm not sure I have the patience for that kind of practice. But a woman I met there told me I might be interested in Tibetan meditation, which she said is a kind of shortcut to getting free from the mind. Do you know anything about that? If it's a shortcut that works, it might be the thing for me!"

You tell Dennis that you will look up the information on the Lion's Roar Dharma Center, but in the meantime you have just been reading Pema Karpo's sadhana of Chakrasamvara and you think it might be relevant to Dennis's question. Hoping to avoid scaring him away with the text's wild imagery, you want to explain to him the way the Vajrayana practitioner uses visualization, sacred syllables and breathing to enhance identification of his/her body & mind with that of a Buddha.

PREPARATION PAGE: Gather examples from the reading to plan for what you might tell Dennis, given that your GOAL in this conversation is to explain to him the way the Vajrayana practitioner uses visualization, recitation of sacred syllables and focused breathing to enhance identification of his (or her?) body & mind with that of a Buddha. Draw ONE example from EACH of the FOUR SECTIONS of the reading listed in the reading guide, PLUS an example from EGBT (FIVE examples TOTAL). For each example, be sure to identify

  • use of body, sacred syllables & breathing involved in Tantric practice;
  • visualization of invisible beings & cosmic forces to motivate and focus the above practice; and
  • types of Tibetan practictioners involved in such practice.

*MAKE SURE TO CITE PAGE NUMBER(S) FROM EACH SECTION OF YOUR SOURCES*

Tue, May 7

Application Exercise #4c

(*PREPARATION PAGE REQUIRED* - optional worksheet: PDF | MS Word)

 

REVIEW IN DEPTH:

selected students' Observation Reports (download from SacCT & print):

  • Wat Lao Saoputh (Theravada monastery)
  • Lion's Roar Dharma Center (Tibetan Vajrayana tradition)
  • one other observation report representing Unit 3 traditions

PREPARE by addressing the following focus:

THE SCENARIO: You haven't worked with Francine for a while and so you call her up to tell here about the Tantric meditation scenario you just read. She is amazed to hear the wild visualization, recitations and other details of the practice, although she was already familiar with the Vajrayana tradition as she has visited several local sites, including the Lion's Roar Dharma Center, in search of a meditation teacher. She tells you:

"All these different variations in the way people use their practice to remember the Buddha's teaching really are fascinating. But the bottom line for me is: if you I can go somewhere and learn about the original teachings of the Buddha, why should I spend time learning about all the adaptations of those teachings?"

You have recently read the observation reports of several classmates and you remember you own visit. As you think about these local communities and look back on all the historical sources you have read, you realize something about the evolution of Buddhist traditions that you would like to get Francine to see. Every generation of Buddhists has changed its practice in small ways to suit changing needs; those changes have also reshaped each generation’s thoughts and feelings about invisible beings and cosmic forces; and each generations' reflection about such beings and forces has in turn led to further adaptations in practice. Therefore, based on publically accessible forms of historical evidence, modern Theravada practice & reflection are just as much an adaptation of Shakyamuni's original teachings as are Vajrayana and other forms of Mahayana practice & reflection.

PREPARATION PAGE: Gather examples from the reading to plan for what you might tell Francine, given that your GOAL is to get her to see that modern Theravada practices & forms of reflection, reshaping each other over time, have adapted Shakyamuni's original teaching just as much as Vajrayana and other Mahayana practices & forms of reflection. Draw TWO examples from EACH of the Wat Lao and Lion's Roar reports, PLUS one example from one of the other reports (FIVE examples TOTAL). For each example, be sure to identify

  • objects, actions, words and locales associated with the practice of local Buddhist communities;
  • types of specialists and laypeople involved in those practices; and
  • thoughts and feelings that are inspired by and/or motivate and intensify such practice.

*MAKE SURE TO CITE PAGE NUMBER(S) FROM EACH SECTION OF YOUR SOURCES*

Thu, May 9

iTRA #4 (in SacCT) *DUE by 11:30 am*
gTRA #4 in class

follow-up [formerly "preliminary"] Application Exercise #4

REVIEW ALL UNIT 4 READINGS

STUDY "preliminary" Application Exercise for Unit 4

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