1. Give the important concepts of the Upanishads. (Goal 1,2)
The first question and the first video are absolutely crucial to understanding Hinduism. And it will be difficult for some of you, because Hinduism’s way of looking at the world in terms of pantheism is “upside down” from how you look at the world. So pay close attention to the lecture and read very carefully the chapter. The computer you are looking at, your body, the tree, and the moon are NOT different and separate. They are the same thing. This seems like a crazy concept to some of you. But don’t judge. Take a careful look at the lecture. In Hinduism, everything is god and god is everything. The chair and the tree and the car are all the same. You think they are separate and different but that is because you are in a deep, deep dream that is not real, according to Hinduism. Let’s think about physics. Everything is made of atoms, right? So, in one sense everything is the same. Wow. That’s what Hinduism is saying. Hang in there. The lecture and reading in the textbook explains all this in more detail.
2. Give the history and basic themes of the Bhagavad-Gita. (Goal 1,2,3)
Once you get past the first question, we take a look at perhaps the most beloved book in India, the Bhagavad Gita. I love the Gita. I just love this book. It is amazing. I’m not Hindu. My background is Western and Christian, but the Gita is an amazing story. I think you will find it fascinating—and maybe find a tip of two about life.
3. Discuss the following Hindu deities: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna. (Goal 1,2)
4. Discuss pranayama, meditation (raja yoga), and Patanjali. Include in your report the Satchidananda Ashram—Yogaville. (Goal 1,2,3)
Here we make our way to meditation and breathing exercises and hatha yoga, ways to get us out of the dream, out of the illusion, and to the truth that everything is god an god is everything. I’ve spent much time in the Yogaville ashram south of Charlottesville, Virginia. I enjoy telling you about Yogaville and my Hindu monk friends there.
5. What are principles that guided Mohandas K. Gandhi’s life? (Goal 1,2,3)
This question is on the great Gandhi. Note that you can also get extra credit in the course for watching the great movie Gandhi. See the extra credit section of the syllabus. What a deal. Grab the popcorn.
Now, we start (but don’t finish right now) the great religion of Buddhism.
6. Summarize major events and legends in the life of Gautama. (Goal 1,2)
The story of the Buddha and his enlightenment is one of the most interesting religious biographies in all of the world’s religions. I hope you let young Gautama’s story sink in.
7. Discuss basic teachings of Buddhism, with attention to impermanence, no-self, karma, rebirth, and nirvana. (Goal 1,2)
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