This section of the blog was inspired by series of lectures I gave on beginner Buddhism at the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple I was affiliated with in the past. After some requests by blog readers, I decided to post them here as well. The course was written in three parts, culminating into how all these fundamental teachings evolved into what we know as Jodo Shinshu or “Shin” Buddhism. In isolation, Pure Land Buddhism doesn’t make a lot of sense, until you start at the beginning and work your way up.
I’ve made some changes to the content for the sake of blog readers, because many readers will not necessarily have a background in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, so the content here is a bit more generic. Also, because it is an online blog, I can more easily link to other sources that I can’t do in person, plus you can read at your own pace.1
The course is as follows:
- Buddhism 101 – Basic Buddhist concepts that are found in most traditions. This is not an exhaustive exploration of fundamental Buddhism, but give a brief overview with a leaning toward Mahayana Buddhist teachings, which then continue into Buddhism 102. Topics covered include definitions of Buddhas, the Dharma, Sutras, and other basic terms.
- Buddhism 102 – An introduction to Mahayana Buddhism, which will often help new Buddhists bridge the gap between the basic, fundamental teachings and the particular school or sect they follow (Theravada Buddhism notwithstanding). Topics include what Bodhisattvas are, Pure Lands, Emptiness, etc.
- Buddhism 103 – This is a series on basic Buddhist lifestyle. For people who do have easy access to Buddhist communities or resources this series will offer some suggestions on DIY (do-it-yourself) Buddhism. Coming soon!
Also included are resources on:
- The Five and Eight Precepts of conduct.
- Various figures in Buddhist cosmology.
- Making your own Buddhist altar.
This material is entirely my own work, and I offer to blog readers and anyone who is curious about Buddhism. I’m sure there are better courses out there, but this was something I’ve always wanted to try, and I am happy to share it with people. Comments, questions and suggestions welcome.
Dedication: May the merits I have accrued from this humble effort be shared among all sentient beings throughout the ten directions. May all beings be well, may they be at peace, and may they all attain liberation.
1 I’ve been told that I talk pretty fast in person, so an audio lecture or video is probably not recommended. 😉