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: Both Hinduism and Buddhism involve an element of Liberation. Discuss the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism in terms of 1) what it is that the individual is being liberated from, and 2) how that liberation is achieved. Use your best writing and be sure to respond to another students post. You should have a minimum of 200 words (your own words, not including quotes text or titles) for your initial post and a minimum of 100 words for your response to another student.
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.
* Please note the relationship between mind a breath.
* End by explaining how this practice could or could 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.
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 keep returning the breath in the present moment every time it wanders off into the past or the future.
5. Follow the breath as it rises and falls. Breathing in, let your attention flow from your belly to a point between your eyebrows. Breathing out, let it flow back down to the belly. Let the breath become slower, gentler, finer.
6. Allow the muscles of the chest, the solar plexus, and the belly to relax with each exhalation.
7.If physical sensations arise, whether in the forehead, the chest, or anywhere, simply feel them. Welcome and absorb them into your breath. Do not resist sensations or try not to feel them.
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 minutes have passed, deepen your breath, feel the whole body at rest, and bring your attention to your chest, your face, your eyes. Then slowly open the eyes.