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Cultural Literacy for Religion: Buddhism

Beginning Sunday the 29th, Adult Learning is holding a three-part series on Buddhism. It will draw both on lectures from the Great Courses course, Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know, as well as the expertise of our own Margaret Gainer. The tentative schedule is as follows:

Week 1 (January 29th): We will begin with a 30 minute video, “Waking Up — The Buddha and His Teachings,” which tells the Buddha’s life story and explores the basic principles of his teaching. Afterward, Margaret will elaborate on certain aspects of the Buddhist tradition (handouts and other materials will be made available) and then she will open it up for questions and answers.

Week 2 (February 5th): We will watch portions of two videos: “Vehicles to Nirvana — The Schools of Buddhism” and “East Asian Buddhism — Zen and Pure Land.” These videos compare the three major Buddhist traditions — Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana — and explore how they manifest themselves in places such as Tibet, China, and Japan.

Week 3 (February 12th): No videos this week. Instead, Margaret will discuss a variety of topics, such as Buddhism in the West, how it is evolving, and her own practice experience with local groups. She will also lead a session on guided insight meditation and provide an opportunity for followup questions.