The Four Noble Truths (graded)
The most important of the Four Noble Truths is the fourth, the Noble Eightfold Path. Did anything in particular strike you about these "paths” (e.g., the idea of "right thoughts," that we should always try to act with pure motives)? Do you see any similarities between the Noble Eightfold Path and Christianity? Did Jesus say anything similar to Buddha in this regard? Elaborate.
This section lists options that can be used to view responses.
Two Parables: The Prodigal Son (graded)
Read the Buddhist and Christian versions of the prodigal son story:.comparativereligion.com/prodigal.html">http://www.comparativereligion.com/prodigal.html.comparativereligion.com/prodigal.html.">
What do you see as the main difference between these two stories? You can start by simply taking one element of the parable and discussing how this element differs in the two parables. For example, how is the role of the father different in the Buddhist and Christian versions of the story? Elaborate.
Confucius was once asked if there was one rule that could serve as the guide to one's whole life. He replied: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." How does this rule compare with Jesus' teaching on the Golden Rule? Look at these Biblical verses to see if you can tell the difference: Matthew 7:12; Matthew 5:21-26, 43-48 (see the Webliography for an online Bible). Is there one rule that you live by?
East Meets West (graded)
The ideas of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) have been widely translated into English. Some might recall the delightful children’s version of The Tao of Poo and The Te of Piglet. Consider this saying: "The best man is like water. Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in places that all disdain...The best man in his dwelling loves the earth..." What does this mean to you? Do you agree with this philosophy? Can you see any connection between Taoism and the environmental movement? Elaborate.