NOTE: Discussion Board writing should be done with the same craft and care as a Reflection Paper: check for spelling and grammatical clarity. Use multiple paragraphs to structure your thinking. Use specific details and examples from text and traditions to support general statements.
Choose only 1 of the following two discussion assignments:
Q1: Paths to Liberation
Both Hinduism and Buddhism delineate specific paths to liberation. Define and discuss these paths and define the goal (liberation) they lead to in both religions. Use terms as precisely as possible to show that you have read the assignment.
Q2: A Breathing Practice for Stress Reduction and Clarity
Practice the following instructions for Buddhist mindfulness relaxation. This is NOT a religion or a form of worship, but a practical stress reduction technique used by many stress counselors and psychologists, but it is an example of how practices from another culture can be part of our own. Practice this at least twice for ten minutes before writing about it. Do not write about the instructions without practicing them! In your journal:
*Please describe effects both in body and mind and how the breath affects both.
* End by explaining how this practice might or might not be helpful as a regular stress-reduction practice.
1. Find a comfortable sitting position. Do not lie down, but you may sit relaxed in any position as long as your spine is upright.
2. Do not resist noises. if external noises come up. Let them be. It’s not the ambient noises, but our resistance to them, that distracts us!
3. If thoughts come and go, do not try to control them or push them out. Do not attempt to ‘make the mind a blank.’ Just let them pass as they come, without clinging to them or resisting them.
4. Without strain, gently observe your breath. Let the mind gently return to the breath in the present moment every time it wanders off into the past or the future.
5.Observe the breath as it rises and falls. Let breath softly but thoroughly sweep the body. Breathing in, let your attention flow upward, from your belly toward your forehead. Breathing out, let it flow back down toward the belly. Let the breath become slower, gentler, finer. The instruction is not to concentrate-on or control the breath, but to observe it.
6. Inhalation energizes all the cells of the body. Exhalation brings relaxation. As you breathe out, allow the muscles of the chest, the solar plexus, and the belly to relax.
7.If physical sensations arise, Do not resist them, just feel them, and observe them, allowing them to come and go.
8. Letting thoughts go, sink into silence. Feel the power of that inner silence.
Ending the Session: Don’t mind the time or watch the clock. When you feel that about 10-15 minutes have passed, bring your attention to the body as a whole. Honor your body, just as it is. Then slowly open the eyes.