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Readings: 1. Chapter 3 in the textbook, Buddhism; 2. “Freedom from Fear” by Aun

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Readings: 1. Chapter 3 in the textbook, Buddhism;
2. “Freedom from Fear” by Aung San Suu Kyi
3. “Burma’s Quest for Democracy” by Aung San Suu Kyi, selected from World Religions and Democracy, ed. by Larry Diomond, Marc Plattner and Philip Costopoulos. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002. (See attached)
4. “Take back Aung Sunn Kyi’s Noble Peace Prize,” in
5. Watch the video “Buddhism: Footprint of the Buddha” in the folder, “Videoes” The link is
Assignment: 1. Explain the following terms:
Arhat, Tripitaka, Theravada, Samadhi
2. Why do you think Asoka found the Buddha’s teaching attractive as a political ideology? 3. How does Theravada understand human existence? According to Buddhaghosa, Thervadian theologian, what is the practical procedure to achieve this understanding?
4. What kind of the significant role did Buddhist monasteries play in Thailand society?
5. The School of Elders departed away from the Buddha, the origin of Buddhism, being elevated into the official religion in the time of King Ashoka and in Sri Lanka around the 2nd B.C, and assisting the political model of “Righteous King.” The School of Elders had modified the Buddha’s teachings o serve the interests of the King. In this regard, first of all, I would like to invite you to think about how the teachings of the School of Elders, particularly the ideal of Arhat, were different from the Buddha’s teachings given the fact that the Buddha, being margin, was critical to the mainstream of Hinduism whereas the School of Elders stayed as the mainstream. How would the doctrines and practices in the School of Elders, which aimed at achievement the of Arhat, be able to facilitate and solidify a hierarchical and authoritative society? Furthermore, I would like to invite you to think about the model of “Righteous King” today with the reference to Aung San Suu Kyi’s two articles, “Burma’s Quest for Democracy” and “Freedom from Fear.” Do you think that the model of the “Righteous King” can bring a democratic society to Burma? Why or why not?
(Further note: Several years ago when Aung San Suu Kyi was celebrated by the whole world as a great leader for democracy, our study of Theravada Buddhism has led us to critically question Aung San Suu Kyi’s understanding of the concept of democracy, an understanding based on the Theravadin idea of the Buddhist righteous king. Our critique is proved to be true. So today it is especially important to reflect why the model of the righteous king is incompatible with democracy. To deepen our discussion here, please browse the recent news about Aung San Suu Kyi’s dealing with the predominantly Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine, Myanmar in the Internet ) “Please put question numbers like 1, 2, 3 … so I will be able to see what questions are done or not. Thank you so much.

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