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Reading Notes

Reading philosophical essays is more challenging in that you often have to scan once, read once, and review once before you can adequately explain the author's position. In order to be sure that you are receiving maximum benefit from your time spent studying, try to answer the guide questions posed below. If you cannot answer them, it is time to read or review to be sure you understand the main arguments presented. See more tips here.

Eastern Worlds Ramakrishna & The Dalai Lama

Ramakrishna and The Dalai Lama are representative of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions respectively. While Ramakrishna's selection is devoted to noting the similarities between different religious paths, The Dalai Lama's selection identifies some of the main themes in Buddhist thought. 

John Power's writes:

The greatest contribution of Sri Ramakrishna to the modern world is his message of the harmony of religions. To Sri Ramakrishna all religions are the revelation of God in His diverse aspects to satisfy the manifold demands of human minds. Like different photographs of a building taken from different angles, different religions give us the pictures of one truth from different standpoints. They are not contradictory but complementary. Sri Ramakrishna faithfully practiced the spiritual disciplines of different religions and came to the realization that all of them lead to the same goal. Thus he declared, "As many faiths, so many paths." The paths vary, but the goal remains the same. Harmony of religions is not uniformity; it is unity in diversity. It is not a fusion of religions, but a fellowship of religions based on their common goal -- communion with God.

 

  1. Resources
  2. Guide Questions
  3. Smartboard Notes

Here are some web sites that will enhance your understanding of this week's reading:

Ramakrishna:

Here are some web sites that will enhance your understanding of this week's reading:

Tezin Gyatso - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

John Powers and General Buddhist Resources:

 


Guide Questions:

The following questions are designed to fine tune your understanding of the reading. The subject matter and answers to these questions form the basis of what you will be required to know for exams.

Objectives for this week: To understand the basic differences between Eastern and Western philosophy via a survey of basic Hindu and Buddhist concepts. After completing the assigned readings, reviewing the resources above and attempting the guide questions below, you should be able to:

  1. describe the key assertion by Sri Ramakrishna concerning the validity of all religious paths
  2. be able to make a distinction between the requirements for proof in philosophy and religion respectively
  3. understand the terms karma and dharma
  4. describe how the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism provide the foundation for Buddhist Ethics
  5. explain the Buddhist theory of causation with regards to individual identity

Ramakrishna & The Dalai Lama:

Guide Questions:

The following questions are designed to fine tune your understanding of the reading. I will check to see if you've completed them; the subject matter and answers to these questions form the basis of what you will be required to know for exams.

Ramakrishna (download the essay here)

  1. What is Ramakrishna's central assertion about the many religions of the world?
  2. How should we treat persons who practice different religious beliefs?
  3. According to Ramakrishna is it necessary for everyone to practice the same faith in the same manner?

Mike Butler: An Introduction to Buddhism (download the essay here )

  1. What is karma and how does it work?
  2. How are we to overcome ignorance
  3. List the Four Noble Truths and describe how each one effects our karma and continuing process suffering.
  4. Review the Eightfold path for ending desire and describe the what is meant by the term "correct livelihood."
  5. What are the five skhandas and how do they determine our conscious perception of the world?

Tenzin Gyatso, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

  1. What are the two main categories of happiness and suffering?
  2. Explain the idea of interdependence with regards to nature and human beings.
  3. Explain the difference between true compassion and conditional love.
  4. Explain the idea of universal altruism.
  5. Why is the energy of anger "almost always unreliable?"
  6. According to the Dalai Lama, why should we feel grateful to our enemies?
  7. According to the article, what is the key to a happier and more successful world?
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Smartboard Notes from Weeks 7 & 8 Lectures:

buddhism 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

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