Buddhism & Service

Buddhism Introduction

Copyright © AV Team PLT

Buddha gave his teachings as medicine to cure the disease of the delusions which are the cause of all suffering (ignorance, hatred, greediness). Some of his teachings are simple and others are very profound. Through his teachings, one can find more fulfillment and happiness. In many ways, Buddha’s teachings can be applied by anyone, regardless of background, including people of different faiths, often without any conflict. Purple Lotus School offers a Buddhism curriculum to provide a series of teachings and practices for the students to learn the essential skills to succeed in life. At the same time, it also helps build their character, inspire them to find their inner strength to be calm, strong, compassionate with a moral sense of commitment, thus guiding them to understand a Buddhist way of living.

Mindfulness for Children

Recent studies and trends have shown the positive impact of mindfulness on students and learning. At a young age, our Buddhist training is not so much about religion but about the benefits meditational and mindfulness practices can have on children. Students have shown to increase focus, help with behavioral issues, and generally encourage more positive social interaction. Students will take some time everyday to practice “mindfulness” through quiet meditation and focus exercises to eventually full meditational practices. Our goal is to provide an avenue through which even children with no spiritual background can begin understanding more about themselves.

Morning Meditation

At the start of every morning, we will dedicate 45 minutes for spiritual development, reaching mental clarity and concentration, and attaining emotional stability. In this Morning Meditation lab and course, we will examine and experience the liturgies and practices of Esoteric Buddhism meditation as taught by His Holiness, Grand Master Lu, and Purple Lotus School founder, Vajra Master Samantha, implementing the body, speech, and mind through hand mudras (the purified body of Buddha), heart mantras (the purified voice of Buddha), and detailed visualizations (the thoughts of Buddha) for a full experience of rediscovering being one with Buddha. Methods to calming the mind for a firm, stable, and balanced practice will be taught through basic breathing techniques, ways of chanting mantra, and visualization steps. For example, students will learn the Nine-Round-Buddhic-Breath, techniques taught in One Minute Meditation, the Heart-Conch-Shell method of mantra recitation, and journey through various visualizations such as Becoming One, the Blooming Lotus Seed, A Drop Returning to the Universal Sea of Light, and more.

Our daily emphasis will be on the Four Preliminary Practices: Great Homage, Mandala Offering, the Fourfold Refuge, and Vajrasattva’s Repentance Yoga, and praying for the Great Compassion Mantra Water, as well as monthly mantra and sutra homework, such as Amitabha Rebirth Mantra, High King Avalokitesvara Sutra, Disaster Savior Tara, etc. We will also experience yogas of purification to purify sickness, karmic hindrances, negativity and obtain harmony internally and externally, as well as yogas of fortune enhancement for enrichment and generosity, as well as participate in homa pujas at Purple Lotus Temple and the Rainbow Villa in Seattle.

We will familiarize ourselves with the Eight Principle Deities, their Tibetan seed syllables, elemental colors, heart mantras and more. We will also discuss the importance of lineage empowerment, refuge, and what it means to be a disciple of Buddha, as well as learn about Boundary Protection Methods, Lotus Folding and Burning, Bardo Deliverance, Attached Spirits, Water-Baby-Souls, Karmic Hindrances, and more. Other practices, such as Taichi, Laughter Yoga, Touch for Health, Ho’oponopono, and Hypnotherapy will also be introduced.

General Buddhism

This class explores the most fundamental principles of Buddhism. Students are taught from a basic, secular perspective of what the Buddha taught, and how “Buddhism” is something that can be applicable to anyone regardless of religious faith. Students will learn about the history of Buddhism, the different schools of Buddhism, and the general teachings and applications of this ancient wisdom. Particular focus will be spent on the mind, and how the mind determines the happiness and unhappiness in our lives, not the actual circumstances of our living situation. From this, students get a glimpse of reasoning behind Buddhist teachings, and ultimately ideas of how this is applicable to themselves.

Buddhism Class

Understanding Theory & Practice of Vajrayana* Buddhism

*The term “Vajrayana” means “Diamond Vehicle,” or literally School of the Diamond Way. Diamonds, possessing enduring and imperishable qualities, are a symbol for indestructible and unshakable strength and stability. We begin the school year exploring the Buddhist belief that every living being possesses such (attributes and qualities of) a Diamond, otherwise known as Buddha Nature, and how such a belief may be implemented into a way of life.

This course explores the thoughts and practices of Esoteric Buddhism, or Vajrayana Buddhism, primarily the traditions of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism, and its application and relevance for mental, emotional, and physical well-being today. Among studying Dharma talks and books by His Holiness, Grand Master Lu, as well as the Heart Sutra, Marici Sutra, and other Buddhist texts, we will explore the Seven Purification Practices and Six Paramitas and discuss how unhappiness is a product of ego and attachment, and learn what it means to have a Buddha Nature and wield a Bodhi heart. There will be emphasis on Buddha’s life story and teachings of an open mind, moral discipline, spiritual development, self-responsibility, and impermanence, as well as focus on the power of mind and mindfulness and its benefits to stress management, interpersonal communication, and emotional instability. In accordance with Temple activities and special Lunar Calendar dates, there will be opportunities to learn the vows and stories of Buddhist deities, such as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Thousand-Eyes-Thousand-Arms Avalokitesvara, Yellow Jambhala, Marici Bodhisattva, Medicine Buddha, etc. Short plays, temple visits, special guest lectures, public forum style debates, Buddhism Thangka drawing, and translation projects will also be part of the Buddhism Class experience. And at the end of the school year, there will be a month dedicated to learning about Death, Dying, Preparations and Rituals, Past Lives, Karma, and Reincarnation, enhanced by a field trip to a local mortuary and cemetery.

Buddhism and Service

Buddhism and Service class integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good. It offers students immediate opportunities to apply classroom learning to support or enhance the work of local agencies that often exist to effect positive change in the community. Students learn how to plan their own community service events at these agencies, from budgeting and fundraising to personnel management and group motivation. During class, students are also given lessons in Buddhism and then apply these lessons in the real world through the service projects. It is a truly unique experience here at Purple Lotus School.

Purple Lotus School’s “Living Life”

Workshop | Seminar Series

Shakyamuni Buddha expounded many teachings on living, particularly “in the moment”, and with this “Living Life” Series, students will be inspired to be mindful of their existence and treasure every moment. Every Friday, for one hour, teachers and special guests share what enriches their lives (passions, skill sets, hobbies) with our students and introduce them to new knowledge and activities that may aid in positive and constructive growth of mind and body. Workshops may range from basic life-skills prep, such as home-ec or personal financial management, to artful living, such as flower arranging and fruit carving.

To many, Buddhism is considered a “way of life.”And Grand Master Sheng-yen Lu has always emphasized the importance of “practicing” Buddhism. Practicing Buddhism isn’t just in a meditation room, sitting on a cushion, or chanting from a book of sutras. Buddhism is alive in our speech, actions, and thoughts (how we carry ourselves, the way we treat family and strangers alike, and more.) every moment throughout our days. Through “Living Life,” the students will understand the applicability and connection Buddhism has to everyday living.

To learn more about our tradition of Buddhism, visit the Purple Lotus Temple website at www.purplelotus.org.

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