End of term Buddhism task…

Hello, heard two people the other day arguing about whether these Kula Shaker songs from like 1996 were ‘Buddhisty’… You’re all experts… tell me what you think… usual story; make sure you explain why you think what you think…

At The Moment That You Wake From Sleeping
And You Know Its All A Dream,
Well The Truth May Come In Strange Disguises
Never Knowing What It Means.


Hidden in the misty forest that desire send
Mesmerised like fireflys falling through a flame

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring – your reviews 2013!

In the midst of the Korean wilderness, a Buddhist master patiently raises a young boy to grow up in wisdom and compassion, through experience and endless exercises. Once the pupil discovers his sexual lust, he seems lost to contemplative life and follows his first love, but soon fails to adapt to the modern world, gets in jail for a crime of passion and returns to the master in search of spiritual redemption and reconciliation with karma, at a high price of physical catharsis… (IMDB)

Click on the speech bubble (above and right) to paste in your review. Same rules as usual: use your school email and put initials for your name (unless you want your post to be what comes up when people google you)…

A really good revision question…

Every so often i get a really good question emailed to me… Here’s the latest… Hope it helps and pleas keep them coming….(james@ibphilosophy.org)

You know the five skhandas are they there the Buddha’s way of proving there is no self and that the the five skandas are things which people argue make you who you are and the Buddha is saying that is rubbish in his own holy buddhist way?

And here’s the reply:

Ye you’ve nailed it. The skhandas are five of the things that the Buddha thought most people wud say make as the same over time. But all five are IMPERMANENT and so cannot be the thing in me that’s the same today and tomorrow. Because of this, he thinks that people who believe in a permanent self have got it wrong.

The worst thing about this is that belief in the self leads to some pretty strange behaviour and usually increased DUKKHA suffering. Hatred, greed and delusion usually all stem from not just believing in a self but that ‘I’ am better/more deserving of things than other people.

Hope your having a good weekend, in the quiz the other day you knew loads so you’ll be totally fine…

See ya Monday

Today’s Int 2 RMPS Prelim Revision Lunch

Today we had a revision lunch for int 2 rmps students about to sit their prelims after the holiday. It was focussed on the Buddhism section of the course and we talked about the eightfold path, meditation and the unit as a whole…

First of all I gave you the page numbers and questions (from the Joe Walker book Buddhism) to practice on your weak areas:

Then we looked at my (purposely incomplete) mindmap of the whole unit:

And the talked quickly through an easy way to remember the eightfold path…

and meditation:

Click on any of the images above to get the files….

Cheers Cheers…

S1 picture of The Buddha Homework

Here’s the picture of all the things we talked about in class. I thought I’d rubbed off the neck bit so don’t worry about that… The six things to look for are:

the hair

the mouth

the eyes

the ears

the third eye

the calm area around his awakened mind

Try and make sure the picture you find shows at least four of these.

Int 2 RMPS revision check-list…

Hiyaaa and good luck for tomorrow’s exam. I’m sure you’re all going to do wonderfully. I was just doing a final check through the SQA arrangement documents (click for link) and I’ve included the bits you need to know here. You should find this list of outcomes pretty reassuring as we have covered far more than the minimum necessary.

On Buddhism:

On Ethics:

And on Philosophy of Religion:


In terms of advice, read your booklet (available here), answer the question, stick to your timings and (almost) always give both sides in Analysis and Evaluation type questions…

And as always:

Explain why you think what you think.

Get a good sleep tonight and Good Luck! – I’ll see you outside tomorrow.

Understanding Reincarnation – Revision Help for RMPS


One criticism often directed at Buddhism is a questioning of the relationship between the doctrines of atatman (no soul) and reincarnation. Some question the two teachings compatibility completely where others, more thoughtfully, question why I should seek to accumulate good karma in there is, in reality, no ‘me’.

The answer to this oft-repeated conundrum is, to my limited knowledge, most clearly explained in the conversations of Nagasena and King Milinda. The dialogue begins in the second chapter of Book II. The King jumps in at the deep end by asking it it is the same or another who be reincarnated and is frustrated by the monks answer that it is in fact neither of these suggestions.

To explain further Nagasena establishes that we have some sense that we are the same person as the younger version we remember ‘being’. To explain this idea he give the following example:

‘Suppose a man, O king, were to light a lamp, would it burn the night through?’ ‘Yes, it might do so.’ ‘Now, is it the same flame that burns in the first watch of the night, Sir, and in the second?’ ‘No.’ ‘Or the same that burns in the second watch and in the third?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then is there one lamp in the first watch, and another in the second, and another in the third?’ ‘No. The light comes from the same lamp all the night through.’

‘Just so, O king, is the continuity of a person or thing maintained. One comes into being, another passes away; and the rebirth is, as it were, simultaneous. Thus neither as the same nor as another does a man go on to the last phase of his self-consciousness’

Melinda then requests another example. And it is this one I find most helpful for it explains something of the nature of karma as action (the lit. translation), preserving the notions of cause and effect associated with samsara.

‘It is like milk, which when once taken from the cow, turns, after a lapse of time, first to curds, and then from curds to butter, and then from butter to ghee. Now would it be right to say that the milk was the same thing as the curds, or the butter, or the ghee?’‘Certainly not; but they are produced out of it.’‘Just so, O king, is the continuity of a person or thing maintained. One comes into being, another passes away; and the rebirth is, as it were, simultaneous. Thus neither as the same nor as another does a man go on to the last phase of his self-consciousness.’

In each of these processes the transition is slow; so slow it might not be noticed. That the process happens, however, in undeniable. Like this, we are changing all the time, we are continued from another self but we are not the same as that self. This is true throughout our wanderings of the wheel of life. Once reincarnated the change is identical. No more different, no less.

Moral Dilemmas – S3 Int 2 Buddhism

You are now all experts on how Buddhists try to make moral decisions. I have left a dvd and handout for you to have a look at. With the teacher watch one of the clips (of your choice) and spend the rest of the first period using the handout to work out whether a Buddhist would (in your opinion) approve of the action portrayed.

In the second period collect a laptop and type up your response and post it below. Remember first names only. You will need to consider everything on the handout.

skilful actions handout