Buddhist Programme of Study, by Ajahn Manapo/
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Buddhist Programme of Study for Warwickshire and Coventry Schools.
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By Ven. Ajahn Manapo, The Forest Hermitage, Warwick, CV35 8AS
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KS1 (4 - 7 yrs)
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TOPIC 1 The Buddha
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Life of The Buddha
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- The Early Years as Prince Siddhattha * Knowing details of his early life.
* Knowing that he lived a sheltered and privileged life in his three palaces.
*.Knowing that he demonstrated a compassionate (Story of the Swan) and thoughtful (meditating at the ploughing festival) personality.
* What was different about the Prince's early life compared to a normal person's?
* How do we know that the Prince was a caring, thoughtful person?
* Acting out the stories of the swan and the ploughing festival.* Using Story Telling Props: Buddhists have great respect for the Buddha and so anything that potrays him is treated with respect. Hand puppets and finger puppets of the Buddha are therefore not appropriate.
* Plays: Buddhists generally don't like the Buddha being portrayed in plays. Portraying the Prince before he became the Buddha is fine.
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- The Four Sights and Leaving the Palace* Knowing what the Four Sights are.
* Knowing that seeing the first three sights was a great shock and that he realised these things would happen to him.
* Knowing that on the seeing the fourth sight he was inspired to leave the palace to search for true happiness.
* Why was the Prince so shocked when he saw the first three sights?
* When the Prince saw the holy man, what did he decide to do?
* Drawing the prince encountering the Four Sights for the first time.
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- Quest and Enlightenment* Knowing that he underwent many hardships and eventually realised that they weren't helping him reach his goal.
* Knowing that after six years he meditated under the Bodhi Tree.
* Knowing that he freed his mind from all greed, anger and confusion and thus became the Buddha.
* What was different about the Buddha compared to normal people?
* When I feel angry, or greedy or confused, am I happy?
* If I didn't ever feel greedy, or angry, or confused (or jealous, bored, upset, etc.) would I be happy and peaceful?
* Drawing a picture of the Buddha sitting benath the Bodhi Tree. Colours can be used in a way that express the Buddha's serenity and calm.
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- Teaching Career and Passing* Knowing that he spent 45 years teaching people how to be truly happy and free of suffering,
* Knowing that he passed away at 80.
* Apart from meditating, what very important thing did the Buddha do for the rest of his life?
* What did the Buddha teach people?
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- General Key Facts* Knowing that the Buddha was not a god or deity and that Buddhists do not believe in God.* Was the Buddha a god?
* Do Buddhists believe in God?
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TOPIC 2 The Dhamma (or Dharma)
(The Buddha's Teachings & Practice)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Actions that Lead to Happiness
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Giving (Kindness)* Knowing that giving results in happiness for oneself and others
* Knowing that selfishness results in various kinds of suffering.
* Knowing that kindness also means helping others.
* Knowing that the Buddha taught us to be kind to all beings, everywhere.
* How do we feel when we are selfish?
* How do we feel when we are kind?
* How can we be kind apart from by giving things?
* When we are kind, is it just the other person
who is happy?
* Bringing in sweets or food to share with others. Ask them to write down how they feel when they've done it.
* Putting animal feeders outside the classroom.
* Collecting for a charity.
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Morality (Harmlessness) * Knowing what three of the Five Precepts are: 1. Not killing 2. Not stealing 3. Not lying * Knowing that by stopping harming we bring happiness to ourselves and others. * Knowing that the 1st Precept means to avoid killing any creature, not just humans.* What is the worst thing we can do to another creature?
* Why are many Buddhists vegetarians?
* What would the world be like if everyone stopped killing, stealing and lying?
* Once we have killed a creature, can we ever give it its life back?
* Ask children to imagine having a conversation with, for instance, an ant about its life: Do you like being alive? Why do you run away when I come near you? etc.
* Ask the children be mindful of small creatures in danger, e.g. spiders stuck inside something, a snail in the middle of the path, etc. and to help them to safety. Ask them to list what they do and to see how it makes them feel.
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Meditation * Knowing that meditation is not the same as thinking.
* Knowing how Buddhists meditate (i.e. by focussing on the breath)
* Knowing why Buddhists meditate (to calm and clear the mind.)
* Knowing that meditation is different from prayer and that Buddhists do not pray (because the Buddha isn't a god).
* How do Buddhists meditate?
* Why do Buddhists meditate?
* Is meditation easy?
* Do you think more people should meditate?
* Do Buddhists pray?
* Practise Mindfulness of Breathing for 5 minutes (see footnote for detailed instructions). Get the children to explore how they feel afterwards. Compare to how they felt before.
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TOPIC 3 The Sangha
(The Ordained Community)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Life of a Monk* Knowing that Sangha comprises monks and nuns.
* Knowing that monks shave their hair and wear robes as a sign of living very different lives to most people.
* Knowing some of the main monastic rules such as not using money, eating only before noon, and not getting married or having children.
* Knowing the relationship between monks and Buddhist lay-people: that monks depend on them for material things, and that they depend on monks for teachings and guidance.
* Knowing that in many Buddhist countries like Thailand they go out each morning to receive food in their alms-bowls.
* What would being a monk or nun be like?
* How do monks and nuns help ordinary Buddhist people?
* If monks and nuns don't earn money, where do they get their food and robes from?

* Have a Buddhist monk visit the school to talk about his life. Prepare questions. Alternatively a visit to a monastery could be arranged. The Forest Hermitage near Warwick is open to school visits. Email: schools@foresthermitage.org.uk
* Monks Requisites: Items such as robes and bowls are sometimes found in Buddhist Educational Boxes. This is not appropriate and they should't be used in the classroom.
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The Life of a Lay-Buddhist* Knowing that they keep the Five Precepts.
* Knowing that they live normal lives, have jobs, families, etc.
* Knowing that they meditate, too.
* Knowing they should have jobs which do no harm.
* What kind of jobs cause harm to other creatures?
* How do lay-Buddhists help the monks and nuns?
* As part of a monk's visit to the school, or the school's visit to a monastery, children could contribute an item of food towards a food basket which can be offred to the monk.
* Show children devices people use to meditate such as mala beads.
* Artifacts: Many Buddhist items are used in a certain situation and in a precise way that has great meaning to the practioner. Items such as mala beads, prayer wheels and so on should therefore be treated with great respect and not be touched unecessarily.
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TOPIC 4 Worship and Festivals
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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- A Buddhist Shrine* Knowing that the key elements of a shrine are candles, incense, flowers and a Buddha image.
* Knowing what the above items symbolise.
* Knowing that the flame on top of the Buddha's head symbolises wisdom, as do the candles.
* Knowing that candles and incense are often lit before meditation.
* When do Buddhist light candles and incense?
* Why are there three sticks of incense?
* What do the flowers on a shrine remind us of?
* Why do Buddhists like to have statues of the Buddha?
* Children could be asked to arrange candles, flowers and incense in front of a Buddha image to create a shrine.
* Children could make paper lotus flowers.
* Handling Buddha Rupas (Statues): Buddhists have great respect for the Buddha and so treat statues of him with great respect. Statues should be placed on a high table or shelf, away from other things. They should be lifted with two hands and not turned upside-down. They shouldn't be handled unnecessarily..
* Artifacts: Many Buddhist items are used in a certain situation and in a precise way that has great meaning to the practioner. Items such as mala beads, prayer wheels and so on should therefore be treated with great respect and not be touched unecessarily.
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- Wesak* Knowing that Wesak is the most important
Buddhist festival (equivalent to Christmas)
* Knowing that Wesak is the anniversary of the
Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment and Passing.
* Knowing that Wesak usually (not always) falls on the Full Moon Day in May.
* Knowing that on Wesak many lay-Buddhists go to a temple or monastery and practice the Three Ways to Happiness.by giving food to the monks, taking the Precepts, and meditating and listening to Buddhist Teaching.
* What do Buddhists remember on Wesak?
* How long ago did the Buddha live?
* When is Wesak?
* What do many lay-Buddhists do on Wesak?
* Children could be asked to arrange candles, flowers and incense in front of a Buddha image to create a shrine.
* Children could make paper lotus flowers.
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- A Buddhist Temple/Monastery* Knowing this is where monks live.
* Knowing this is where lay-people often go to learn meditation.
* Knowing that sometimes lay-people stay there for a few days or weeks to live a semi-monastic life.
* Knowing that the main hall is often called the Shrine Room and that it's used for two main activities: 1. Meditation 2. Teaching
* Who lives in a Buddhist temple?
* Why do you think temples are very quiet places?
* What do lay-Buddhists do in the temple?
* What's a Shrine Room used for?
* Visiting a temple or monastery. Many temples host school visits.The nearest to Coventry is the Forest Hermitage, near Warwick. They regularly host school visits and a monk is also available to visit schools. Telephone: 01926 624564 Email: schools@foresthermitage.org.uk
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KS2 (7 - 11 yrs)
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TOPIC 1 The Buddha
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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- The Early Years as Prince Siddhattha * Knowing the details of his life, such as date and place of birth, name, name of parents, wife, etc.
* Knowing that his early life was extremely easy, pleasant and, most importantly, sheltered from ordinary life outside the palace walls.
* Knowing that his father ensured that old age, sickness and death was kept from the Prince.
* Knowing that he showed signs of being both thoughtful (meditating under the Rose Apple tree) and compassionate (the story of the swan) and that this concerned the King.
* Knowing that his father trained him as a warrior, wanting the Prince to follow in his footsteps.
* Knowing that, by 29, he grew restless and wanted to see life outside the palace walls.
* How was the Prince's early life unusual?
* Did his early life contribute to the shock he felt when he saw the Four Sights?
* How do we know that the Prince was a caring and thoughful person?
* Why did the King not want his son to see old age, sickness and death?
* Acting out the storys of the swan and the ploughing festival.* Using Story Telling Props: Buddhists have great respect for the Buddha and so anything that potrays him is treated with respect. Hand puppets and finger puppets of the Buddha are therefore not appropriate.
* Plays: Portraying the Prince before he became the Buddha in a play is fine.
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- The Four Sights and Leaving the Palace* Knowing what the Four Sights are.
* Knowing that he realised how much suffering there is in life and that we cannot escape it, and that this realisation deeply troubled him.
* Knowing that he realised that nothing lasts and that everything is impermanent.
* Knowing that on seeing the holy man he was inspired to follow to leave his palace and search for a way to be free of suffering.
* What did the Prince realise when he saw the first three sights?
* Why did the Prince decide to leave behind his palace life?
* If the Prince hadn't seen the Four sights, do you think he would he have stayed living in the Palace?
* Drawing the prince encountering the Four Sights for the first time.
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- The Quest for Enlightenment* Knowing that he tried many things, such as going to different teachers, but that he was not satisfied with them as he still had greed, hatred and confusion in his mind.
* Knowing the kind of hardships he endured and that he almost died because of them (fasting, breath control, etc.)
* Knowing that he eventually realised that meditation was the way to Enlightenment.
* Why was Siddhatha not happy with what other people taught him?
* Why did Siddhatha stop the fasting and breath control?

* Drawing a picture of the Buddha sitting benath the Bodhi Tree. Colours can be used in a way that express the Buddha's serenity and calm.
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- Enlightenment* Knowing that after six years of searching he eventually sat beneath the Bodhi Tree and meditated.
* Knowing that when he meditated his mind became still and, most importantnly, clear.
* Knowing that with his clear mind he found the Cause of Suffering within himself and that he freed himself from it.
* Knowing that this Cause of Suffering is Greed, Hatred and Confusion (or Delusion).
* Knowing that Buddhists call greed, hatred and confusion The Three Poisons.
* Knowing that Enlightenment means to be free of the Three Posions.
* What does the word 'Buddha' mean?
* What did the Buddha know?
* Why was the Buddha such a peaceful, happy person?
* When I am greedy, or angry, or confused, am I happy? Would it be good to be free of these things?
* What are the opposites of greed, anger and confusion?
* Is it right to call greed, hatred and confusion 'poisons'?
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- Teaching Career and Passing* Knowing that after he became the Buddha he spent 45 years wandering in Northern India teaching people.
* Knowing that he taught people how to be truly happy and free of suffering.
* Knowing that many people also became Enlightened.
* Knowing that he founded the Sangha - the Order of Monks and Nuns (Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis)
* What did the Buddha teach people?
* Did the Buddha refuse to teach some people?
* What do we call the Buddha's Teachings?
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- General Facts* Knowing that the Buddha was not a god, and that Buddhists do not believe in God.
* Knowing that the Buddha was an ordinary man who became Enlightened through his own efforts.
* Knowing that his teachings were not revealed to him by a god, but that they resulted from his own Enlightenment.
* Was the Buddha a god?
* Do Buddhist believe in God?
* Do we need to believe in God to be good and happy?
*
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TOPIC 2 The Dhamma Pt.1
(The Buddha's Teachings)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Four Noble Truths
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* The First Noble Truth:
Life involves Suffering (Dukkha)
* Knowing that life involves suffering.
* Knowing that the main types of suffering are aging, illness, death, not getting what one wants, and getting what one doesn't want.
* Knowing that one of the mian reasons why life if painful is because nothing lasts: it is all impermanent.
* Knowing that suffering includes both physical and mental pain.
* How is life difficult?
* How could life be improved?
* What's the most difficult thing about life?
* Does anything in the world last forever?

* Brainstorm the different ways in which people suffer. List which ones are natural, caused by man, are emotional or physical.
* To help understand impermanence, flowers could be placed on a shrine and left there until they die. Each lesson the children could record what is happening to the flowers.
* Brainstorm the different kinds of change: change in the natural world, the body and the mind.
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* The Second Noble Truth:
The Cause of Suffering:
Craving & Desire
* Knowing that our suffering is caused by craving (greed/desire).
* Knowing that anger and hatred are types of craving.
* Knowing that craving can never be truly satisfied.
* Knowing that the stronger our craving, the more we suffer.
* When we want something, are we happy?
* When we get something that we want, does our desire then disappear, or do we just want something else?
* Can desire ever bring true and lasting peace?
* What do we really need to be happy?
* How are anger and hatred similar to greed and craving?
* When I get angry at someone, do I suffer? How?
* Children could list things that they once really wanted, and which they now have, and question whether it still makes them happy, or if they just want something else.
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* The Third Noble Truth:
The Ending of Suffering:
Enlightenment.
* Knowing that Enlightenment (Nibbana or Nirvana) is the goal of Buddhism (for monks, nuns and lay-people).
* Knowing that Enlightenment is freedom from craving and therefore from suffering.
* Knowing that in order to be truly happy Buddhists need to be free of all craving.
* What is the most important purpose in life?
* How important is the following question? 'How can we be free of Suffering?'
* Would being free of all desire and anger be peaceful? Why?
* Could you make an enlightened person angry?
* Practise Mindfulness of Breathing for 5 minutes (see footnote for detailed instructions). To help them understand how Enlightenment might be peaceful, after they have meditated ask the chidlren to notice whether they feel much greed or anger and, if they don't, whether they feel peaceful because of that.
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* The Fourth Noble Truth:
The Way to the Ending of Suffering:
The Noble Eightfold Path.
* Knowing that the Path is divided into the three main areas of
1. Morality 2. Meditation and 3. Wisdom (see below)
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TOPIC 2 The Dhamma Pt.3
(The Buddha's Teachings)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Noble Eightfold Path
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* Morality* Knowing that Buddhist Morality is based on the principle of Harmlessness.
* Knowing what the Five Precepts are.
* Knowing that the Precepts are not commandments from a god, but guides to living a good life.
* Knowing that by harming others we also harm oursleves.
* Knowing that the 1st Precept means to avoid killing any creature, not just humans.
* Knowing that Buddhist keep the Fifth Precept because alcohol and drugs make us confused.
* When we break a precept, how does the other person or creature suffer?
* When we break a precept, do we suffer? If so, how? (link to Kamma)
* Why are many Buddhists vegetarians?
* What is the (good) opposite of each of the precepts? (i.e. protecting a life, instead of killing.)
* Should I gossip about other people? If not, why not?
* Why should Buddhists not drink alcohol and take drugs?
* What kind of jobs should a Buddhist not have?
* How does lying damage trust?
* Ask children to imagine having a conversation with, for instance, an ant about its life: Do you like being alive? Why do you run away when I come near you? etc.
* Ask the children be mindful of small creatures in danger, e.g. spiders stuck inside something, a snail in the middle of the path, etc. and to help them to safety. Ask them to list what they do and to see how it makes them feel.
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* Meditation* Knowing that Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta (Loving-kindness) Meditation are two of the most popular forms of Buddhist meditation.
* Knowing that when we practise Metta meditation we develop it for ourselves first
* Knowing that once we have metta for ourselves we share it with all beings, including our family, friends, strangers and 'enemies'.
* Knowing that Buddhists meditate for two main reasons: 1. To calm the mind and make it peaceful, and 2. To make the mind clear so that wisdom arises.
* Knowing that Buddhists see meditating as the best way to
develop wisdom.
* Before I meditate, how do I feel?
* After I meditate, how do I feel?
* After I meditate, do I feel greed or anger? If not, how does that make me feel? is it peaceful not having greed and anger?
* Is there anyone we shouldn't have loving-kindness for?
* Often people behave badly becuase they are unhappy. Should we treat these people with kindness?
* Why is meditation important to Buddhists?
* Could a Buddhist reach Enlightenment without meditation?
* Practise Mindfulness of Breathing for 5 minutes (see footnote for detailed instructions). Get the children to explore how they feel afterwards. Compare to how they felt before.
* Practise Metta for 5 minutes (see footnote for detailed instructions). Get the children to explore how they feel afterwards. Compare to how they felt before.
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* Wisdom* Knowing that Wisdom is understanding the Four Noble Truths.
* Knowing that Wisdom is understanding that all things, including everything about ourselves, are impermanent. (This connects to the Buddha's teaching on anatta - that we do not have an immortal soul.)
* Knowing that Wisdom is the goal of Buddhsim.
* Knowing that wisdom is seeing the truth for oneself, not just believing something because the Buddha (or anyone else) has said it.
* What's the difference between believing something and knowing something?
* Did the Buddha want people to just believe his Teachings?
* When I believe something, do I know it to be true?
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The Law of Kamma (Karma)
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The Moral Law of Actions and Their Results* Knowing that Kamma means 'action' or 'deed'.
* Knowing that speech is also an action.
* Knowing that the most important part of Kamma is our intention - what we decide to do (as opposed to doing something by accident).
* Knowing that good actions motivated by generosity, love and wisdom bring happiness to ourselves and others.
* Knowing that bad actions motivated by greed, anger and confusion bring suffering for ourself and others.
* Knowing that whether we will be happy or unhappy later on in life depends on how we act now.
* Knowing that Kamma is a natural law like gravity, and that it doesn't involve the judgement of a god.
* When I remember something bad that I've done, how do I feel? Is this the unhappy result of kamma?
* What about when I remember when I did something good?
* Is the Law of Kamma fair?
* What if I kill a creature by accident - is that a bad kamma?
* If I want to be a happy person in the future, what actions should I do now and what should I avoid?
* The children could be asked to write down two lists:one of good actions that they've done recently, and one of bad actions, and next to each action they could write down how they feel when they remember it.
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TOPIC 3 The Sangha
(The Ordained Community)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Life of a Monk* Knowing that the Sangha comprises monks and nuns.
* Knowing that monks shave their hair and wear robes as a sign of living very different lives to most people.
* Knowing some of the main rules such as not using money, eating only before noon, and not getting married.
* Knowing the relationship between monks and Buddhist lay-people: that monks depend on them for material things, and that they depend on monks for teachings and guidance.
* Knowing that in Buddhist countries like Thailand they go out each morning to receive food in their alms-bowls.
* Knowing their goal in life is to reach Enlightenment.
* How do lay-Buddhists help the Sangha?
* How does the Sangha help lay-Buddhists?
* If monks and nuns don't earn money, where do they get their food, robes and other neccessities from?
* What would I find difficult about being a monk or nun?
* What would I like about being a monk or nun?
* Do you think most people have too many possesions?
* How much money do people need to be happy?
* Do I like being by myself? Why?/Why not?

* Have a Buddhist monk visit the school to talk about his life. Prepare questions. Alternatively a visit to a monastery could be arranged. The Forest Hermitage near Warwick is open to school visits. Email: schools@foresthermitage.org.uk
* Monks Requisites: Items such as robes and bowls are sometimes found in Buddhist Educational Boxes. This is not appropriate and they should not be used in
the classroom..
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The Life of a Lay-Buddhist* Knowing they keep the Five Precepts.
* Knowing they live normal lives, have jobs, families, etc.
* Knowing they meditate, too.
* Knowing they should have jobs which do no harm.
* Knowing their goal in life is also to reach Enlightenment.
* How do lay-Buddhists help the Sangha?
* What rules should Buddhists keep?
* What kind of jobs would Buddhists avoid? Why?
* As part of a monk's visit to the school, or the school's visit to a monastery, children could contribute an item of food towards a food basket which can be offred to the monk.
* Show children devices people use to meditate such as mala beads.
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Becoming a Buddhist* Knowing that to become a monk a person goes through an ordination ceremony with a group of at least four monks.
* Knowing that the new monk has to live with a teacher for the first five years.
* Knowing that to become a Buddhist a person takes part in a ceremony (often led by a monk) where they Go for Refuge to the Triple Gem and take the Five Precepts.

* What must people do to become a Buddhist?
* Why do you think a monk needs to live with his teacher for five years?
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TOPIC 4 Worship, Festival & Texts
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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- A Buddhist Shrine* Knowing that the key elements of a shrine are candles, incense, flowers and a Buddha image.
* Knowing what the above items symbolise.
* Knowing that the flame on top of the Buddha's head symbolises wisdom, as do the candles.
* Knowing that candles and incense are often lit before meditation.
* Knowing that Buddhists have statues of the Buddha to remind them of their goal: to reach Enlightenment.
* What does the light given by the candle flame symbolise?
* When do Buddhist light candles and incense?
* What important Buddhist teaching do the flowers on a shrine remind us of?
* The flowers remind us of change. Is there anything in the world or about myself that dosn't change?
* Why do Buddhists have statues of the Buddha?
* How do I feel when I look at a statue of the Buddha?
* With guidance, pupils can arrange a shrine and light the candles and incense..* Handling Buddha Rupas (Statues): Buddhist have great respect for the Buddha and so treat statues of him with great respect. Statues should be placed on a high table or shelf, away from other things. They should be lifted with two hands and not turned upside-down. They shouldn't be handled unnecessarily..
* Other Artefacts: Items such as Buddhist books, prayer wheels, prayer flags and so on shouldn't be handled unneccessarily. Like Buddha staues they should be placed high up and off the floor.
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- Wesak* Knowing that Wesak is the most important Buddhist festival (equivalent to Christmas)
* Knowing that Wesak is the anniversary of the Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment and Passing.
* Knowing that Wesak usually (not always) falls on the Full Moon Day in May
* Knowing that on Wesak many lay-Buddhists go to a temple or monastery and practice the Three Ways to Happiness.by giving food to the monks, taking the Precepts, and meditating and Listening to Buddhist Teaching.
* What's the difference between Wesak and Christmas?
* What do Buddhists celebrate on Wesak?
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- A Buddhist Temple/Monastery* Knowing this is where monks live (and that nuns live in nunneries).
* Knowing that they are very simple places, without comfortable furniture, televisions, music players, etc.
* Knowing this is where lay-people often go to learn meditation.
* Knowing that sometimes lay-people stay there for a few days or weeks to live a semi-monastic life.
* Knowing that the main hall is often called the Shrine Room and that it's used for two main activities: 1. Meditation 2. Teaching
* What would be good about living in a monastery?
* What would be difficult?
* Who lives in a monastery all of the time?
* Why are monasteries often in peaceful places, like in the countryside?
* Visiting a temple or monastery. Many temples host school visits.The nearest to Coventry is the Forest Hermitage, near Warwick. They regularly host school visits and a monk is also available to visit schools. Telephone: 01926 624564Email: schools@foresthermitage.org.uk
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- The Pali Canon
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Buddhist Programme of Study for Warwickshire and Coventry Schools.
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By Ven. Ajahn Manapo, The Forest Hermitage, Warwick, CV35 8AS
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Early Years
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TOPIC 2 The Dhamma (or Dharma)
(The Buddha's Teachings & Practice)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Actions that Lead to Happiness
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Giving & Kindness* Knowing that kindess results in happiness for oneself and others
* Knowing that selfishness results in for oneself and others.
* Knowing that kindness also means helping others.
* Knowing that the Buddha taught us to be kind to all beings, everywhere.
* How do we feel when we are selfish?
* How do we feel when we are kind?
* How can we be kind apart from by giving things?
* When we are kind, is it just the other person who is happy?
* Bringing in sweets or food to share with others. Ask them to write down how they feel when they've done it.
* Putting animal feeders, such as bird feeders, outside the classroom and watching the animals eat the food given by the children.
* Activities which encourage the child to help others.....
* Collecting for a charity.
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Harmlessness * Knowing that the most important Buddhist precept is to not kill.
* Knowing that this precept means to avoid killing any creature, not just humans.
* What is the worst thing we can do to another creature?
* Why are many Buddhists vegetarians?
* Once we have killed a creature, can we ever give it its life back?
* To help them understand the central Buddhist principle of harmlessness, children can study the many creatures in the school grounds and ask themselves how they can care for them.
* Children can have imaginary conversations with, for instance, an ant about its life: Do you like being alive? Why do you run away when I come near you? etc.
* Ask the children be mindful of small creatures in danger, e.g. spiders stuck inside something, a snail in the middle of the path, etc. and to help them to safety. Ask them to list what they do and to see how it makes them feel.
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Meditation * Knowing that meditation is not the same as thinking.
* Knowing that many Buddhists meditate by focussing on the breath
* Knowing that Buddhists meditate to make their minds peaceful and clear.
* How do Buddhists meditate?
* Why do Buddhists meditate?
* Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation: Ask the children to sit still, close their eyes and put their hands on their tummies. Then ask them to be aware as their tummies rise and fall with the breath. Help them to explore the sensations such as the feeling of expansion as they inhale and deflation as they exhale.
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TOPIC 3 The Sangha
(The Ordained Community)
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Topic OutlineKey Learning ObjectivesKey QuestionsSpecific Learning ActivitiesDo's and Don'ts
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The Life of a Monk* Knowing that Sangha comprises monks and nuns.
* Knowing that monks shave their hair and wear robes as a sign of living very different lives to most people.
* Knowing some of the main monastic rules such as not using money, eating only before noon, and not getting married or having children.
* Knowing the relationship between monks and Buddhist lay-people: that monks depend on them for material things, and that they depend on monks for teachings and guidance.
* Knowing that in many Buddhist countries like Thailand they go out each morning to receive food in their alms-bowls.
* What would being a monk or nun be like?
* How do monks and nuns help ordinary Buddhist people?
* If monks and nuns don't earn money, where do they get their food and robes from?

* Have a Buddhist monk visit the school to talk about his life. Prepare questions. Alternatively a visit to a monastery could be arranged. The Forest Hermitage near Warwick is open to school visits. Email: schools@foresthermitage.org.uk
* Monks Requisites: Items such as robes and bowls are sometimes found in Buddhist Educational Boxes. This is not appropriate and they should't be used in the classroom.
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