Annual talk to students on Buddhism

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Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:11 am

Greetings all,

I thought I would share with you that tomorrow I will be talking to about 100 Year 10 (16-year olds) on "The Buddhist approach to death and dying". Its a talk I have been doing now for three years as a guest speaker at the christian school where I work. The chaplain of the school is a good friend and despite our close relationship - I am humbled to be invited back three years in a row. Last year and this year I will co-presenting with another staff member who will present on the Vajrayana perspective.
Interestingly, last year our two talks dovetailed nicely although we did not consult each other prior to the talk. This year I will be dusting off last year's talk which includes:
- Personal context (life experiences)
- the Spiritual lineage or perspective that informs my practice (and point of view)
- Demystifying Buddhism and busting some stereotypes (historical)
- What the Buddha actually taught (4NT and 8NP)
- Story of Kisgotami
- Brief foray into kamma and rebirth doctrine
- Pragmatism of the Buddha's teaching
- Buddhist practice (inc. description of charnel ground contemplations)
- Three marks

- Question and Answers

I'm sure this year will go well.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ytrog » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:16 am

Great that you have the chance and capacity to do this :twothumbsup:

Good luck tomorrow :)
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:18 am

Thank you my friend.
The talk is peppered with lots of images and its light on the doctrine.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:05 am

Good to know you're doing this talk Ben. Hope it goes well.

I was reminded of the upajjhathana sutta:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upajjhatthana_Sutta

With metta

Matheesha
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:08 am

Thanks Matheesha, I'll check it out/
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:15 am

Hope it goes as smoothly as last year!

How long is your talk going to be?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:30 am

About 40 minutes, Cittasanto.
Thanks for your good wishes.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ytrog » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:33 pm

Will it be recorded?
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:47 pm

No it won't be recorded!
Its essentially Buddhism 101.
You're already intimately familiar with the material I will be covering - of that I am sure.
kind regards

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby zavk » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:07 pm

Hi Ben

Would you share your experience of Burma (I still prefer this name over the one chosen by the ruling regime)? Perhaps give them a glimpse of how 'Buddhism' is enacted there, how it suffuses the everyday activities of Burmese culture? Perhaps even highlight aspects of Buddhist understandings and practice you've encountered there which must surprise them and exceed the assumptions they might have about 'Buddhism'? It may be helpful, I think, to generate an awareness and understanding of how other cultures have hosted the Dhamma, given that 'the West' is now being called upon by the same call of hospitality to host the Buddha's teachings. Indeed, I imagine the Burmese are very hospitable people?
With metta,
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Alobha » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Sadhu Ben! What a wonderful thing to bring young people the gift of Dhamma! And on such an important but "unpopular" topic on top!
My highest respect that you seem able to transport teachings like the charnel ground contemplations and the topic of death so well that you get reinvited three years in a row!

Out of interest: When presenting, do you usually quote or refer to the suttas or do you try to put it in your own words as much as possible?

Best wishes,
Alobha
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:34 pm

Hope you interest many young people in the Dhamma, Ben. Much merit to you!

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:38 pm

cooran wrote:Hope you interest many young people in the Dhamma, Ben. Much merit to you!

With metta,
Chris


+1 :thumbsup:

I like your whole outline, especially "- Demystifying Buddhism and busting some stereotypes (historical)"

There are so many misconceptions out there on Buddhism, for example, that Hotei (the fat dude) is the Buddha, that we worship idols, etc.

The students are in good hands with you, Ben.
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:27 am

Thanks everyone for your well wishes. I'm just back and I can report that despite the fact I felt completely unprepared - it went well.
There were some interesting questions at the end of both sessions. Once again this year, the presentations from my colleague Sam and I dovetailed nicely together, both relied upon the following:

to abstain from all unwholesome actions,
to cultivate wholesome actions, and
to purify the mind
— this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.


It was interesting how Sam and I used the same quote to present the Theravada and Vajrayana.

Hi Ed,
Would you share your experience of Burma (I still prefer this name over the one chosen by the ruling regime)? Perhaps give them a glimpse of how 'Buddhism' is enacted there, how it suffuses the everyday activities of Burmese culture? Perhaps even highlight aspects of Buddhist understandings and practice you've encountered there which must surprise them and exceed the assumptions they might have about 'Buddhism'? It may be helpful, I think, to generate an awareness and understanding of how other cultures have hosted the Dhamma, given that 'the West' is now being called upon by the same call of hospitality to host the Buddha's teachings. Indeed, I imagine the Burmese are very hospitable people?


I only touched upon it. One of the introductory videos that was being played was a short BBC documentary on Theravada Buddhism in Thailand. I did talk a bit about some of the cross-cultural influences that have shaped modern perceptions of Buddhism and practice in here the West and the influence of that perception in the East. I also talked about my teacher, SN Goenka, being thrown out of Burma in 1969 and his businesses being nationalized by the Ne Win Govt.

Being 16-year-olds, I think they were far more interested in my experiences working for a funeral director and my up-close and personal experiences with dying family members.

I was prepared for questions on my experience in Myanmar and the military junta there, especially in the second class as one of the teachers is active in Amnesty International and is on the Burmese Govt black-list, but I didn't receive any questions regarding Burma itself.

Hi Alobha,

Sadhu Ben! What a wonderful thing to bring young people the gift of Dhamma! And on such an important but "unpopular" topic on top!
My highest respect that you seem able to transport teachings like the charnel ground contemplations and the topic of death so well that you get reinvited three years in a row!

Out of interest: When presenting, do you usually quote or refer to the suttas or do you try to put it in your own words as much as possible?

Yes, its definitely very humbling to be re-invited back year after year and i do cherish the opportunity to speak to the students.
Because of the audience, I want the Dhamma to be as accessible as possible. So it is mostly in my own words but I do use a little bit from the suttas. Today, in the first class, I did read a couple of paragraphs from the cemetary contemplations from the Satipatthana Sutta. Some of the descriptions of bodies in different states of decay are quite gritty and visceral. In the second class, i didn't read that section.

Thanks you all, particularly David and Cooran.
Hopefully, the seed of interest has been sown for at least one (if not more).
with metta,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:36 am

Good stuff, Ben!

I'd be very interested to see/hear it if there is a record, or notes or some materials from it that you are OK sharing.
_/|\_
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Re: Annual talk to students on Buddhism

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:25 am

Thanks Dan.
As I mentioned earlier - there is no recording of the talk I give.
Basically the outline is as above and i flesh it out with a couple of quotes, lots of pictures and the story of Kisogotami.
Having said that, I think next year I'll spend a bit more time on the presentation to ensure that it flows smoothly and not too heavy on the doctrine.
my audience basically doesn't want to be there and very few would be genuinely interested. So I need to make it more relevant to them and their lives.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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