Introduction to Buddhism
Welcome to the introductory courses. Many of us had heard of Buddha or Buddhism in one way or another. There are quite a lot of misconceptions about Buddhism. It is the intention of this introductory course to guide you through a general understanding of Buddhism.
You may want to be introduced to the subject matter by reading about the Buddha or historic Buddha and how Buddhism started. An overview of the history will be helpful for students attending this course. Another insight is to review the timeline of Buddhism.
The Buddha referred to his teachings simply as Dhamma-vinaya or "the doctrine and discipline". Many people have tried to categorise the teachings in various ways, trying to fit them into prevailing molds of cultural, philosophical and religious thought. Buddhism, arguably, is best viewed as an ethical system or that of a systematic social education. The system provides a guide to a way of life that leads to a very specific goal. In that way, Buddhism possesses some aspects of both religion and philosophy. Buddhism is an education by Buddha. Many masters have indicated that Buddhism neither fall in religion nor philosophical field.
There are many schools in Buddhism, and further divisions and subdivisions of the schools. You may refer to them here. It is important to bear in mind that only a few schools survived today, which will be covered in the Diploma in Buddhism course.
Of interest, it's noted that Buddhism had spawned a whole genre of Buddhist art, especially evolving from aniconic phase where there is a conscious avoiding direct representations of the Buddha. It was around the 1st century AD that Buddhist Art entered an iconic phase or that with direct representations of the Buddha.
You are invited to write, in not more than 1200 words a topic from below:
- Buddhism as I know it
- The historic Buddha
- Buddha oracle - In a playful way, we learn the main principles of Buddhism.
To experience the diversity of Buddhism beliefs and philosophy, you are invited to travel to the recommended temples listed below. You are to note and write in 1200 words what are the common underlying principles amidst the diversity presented across cultural and geographic region.
- Borobudur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur
- Huacheng Temple http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huacheng_Temple
- Mahabodhi Temple http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabodhi_Temple
- Shaolin Monastery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaolin_temple
- Temple of the Golden Pavillion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinkaku-ji