Michael S Barth
Master of Buddhism Final Essay
This course about Buddhism was fascinating. I have heard people talk about it but I never knew too much about Buddhism. I felt that this course was presented well with great explanations of Buddhism terms and ideas/concepts were. I started learning things about Buddhism from the very first lesson that I received to the very last lesson.
I really loved the first lesson and how Buddhism got started. I did not know that Buddha meant the enlightened one. I always had thought that Buddha was the actually name of the person who started and founded Buddhism. I did not know that the Buddha's actually name was Siddhartha Gautama. I found his early life, before founding Buddhism, very fascinating. I was very surprised that he had never left his home until he was 29 years old. I also learned that the Bodhi Tree- the Tree of Enlightenment- was the tree that Siddhartha Gautama was sitting/meditating under when he experienced enlightenment. I also enjoyed how he set out to explain to people how he had found enlightenment.
I also liked learning about the Four Noble Truths. I had heard of the term the Four Noble Truths before taking this class but did not know what the Four Noble Truths consisted of. I am glad that this class went into each of the Four Noble Truths and how the Buddha explained them to his first disciples. I had also had heard the term the Eightfold Path but did not know what the eight different points were in the Eightfold Path. I enjoyed how this course described the Eightfold Path.
The topic of the Three Jewels was totally new to me. I had never heard of the Three Jewels before. I was really grateful that the Three Jewels (The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha) were explained beautifully in this class. This class went into some detail about the Three Jewels and learned quite a lot about the Three Jewels. Also, I enjoyed the lesson about the Buddhist Councils that were held and what was discussed at these council meetings. I liked how this course explains how the world ended up with different branches of Buddhism that came out of the Second Buddhist Council.
I liked the section on how Buddhism spread into the different countries in Asia and then into the West. I feel that it is too bad that some of these countries that people practice Buddhism have tried to control Buddhism or eliminate Buddhism (e.g. China, etc.). I was surprised that the Dalai Lama had been exiled from Tibet since 1979. I know who the Dalai Lama is but did not know he had been exiled for so long.
Karma was covered in this class and I was glad that I learned how and what Karma is and is not. The Wheel of Life was something totally new to me. I did not know that there is a pig, rooster, and a snake at the very center or that the two paths around the center are the dark path and the white path. I also did not know before about the six realms around the Wheel of Life.
Some other topics I enjoyed learning about include enlightenment, meditation, and the different branches of Buddhism. I did not know that the Dalai Lama was the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. I had previously had thought that he was the leader of all Buddhists in the world.
This was a great course for me. I learned a lot and each lesson contained a lot of information that I had never known before and could go on much longer about all the other things that I learned in this course. I am glad that I took this course because I think it is important for me to know about other religions/philosophies when I do my work with people. I think this class is worth taking and I think that this course would broaden the horizons of a lot of people who do not know very much about Buddhism.
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