Wealth and Privilege

Please select the following link to view the first 4 minutes and 15 seconds of a video, Buddha: A Beginner’s Guide, which recounts the legend of the Four Passing Sights

What do you think about the legend of the Four Passing Sights (course text pp.83-84)?

Is it true? Does it matter? Why or why not?

Living in the United States, are we like Siddhartha – sheltered from ‘reality’ due to the wealth and privilege of our society relative to most other parts of the world?

What do you think about a spouse and parent leaving to seek knowledge in the forest for years?

Discussion Prompt 2:

What do you think about education as it relates to the story of the Buddha, who refused to enter nirvana immediately upon his Great Awakening, preferring to remain here in hopes of showing others the way to enlightenment, despite Mara’s persuasive argument: “Who could expect to understand truth as profound as that which the Buddha had laid hold of? How could speech-defying revelation be translated into words, or visions that shatter definitions be caged in language? In short, how show what can only be found, teach what can only be learned? Why bother to play the idiot in front of an uncomprehending audience? Why not wash one’s hands of the whole hot world – be done with the body and slip at once intonirvana?” (Smith, 87)

Do you think that it is always possible to teach things learned from experience?

Are there some things that people have to ‘learn for themselves’?

Can you think of an example of this that you could share for discussion?

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