4 Buddhist Ethics

Seeing the implications of our behaviour for ourselves and others
A six-week course exploring Buddhist Ethics. Provided by Vajrapriya, Cambridge Buddhist Centre, UK. This is the fourth module of Vajrapriya’s Level Two Buddhism Course in six modules.

Download this overview here.

Week 1: Ethics as individual choice
a) Attitudes when trying to communicate ethics
b) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes for module
    Exercise: Why practise ethics?
    Sources of ethical judgment
    The workings of karma
    Intention and intelligence (skilfulness)
    Precepts as training principles
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

c) Materials/handouts:

    Exercise: Quotes on ethics
    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 2: Love as the golden rule
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of last session
    First precept
    Exercise: Debate on vegetarianism
    Love mode vs. power mode (with writing exercise and small group discussion)
    Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 3: Generosity
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of last session and home practice
    Dana as the fundamental Buddhist virtue
    Ways of taking the not-given
    Recollecting generosity
    Role-play: giving – taking – receiving OR generosity audit
    Dana at the Buddhist centre
    Suggestions for home practice

b) Materials/handouts:

    Cards for Role-play
    Worksheet for generosity audit
    Handout on main topics as given in a

Week 4: Simplicity and Contentment
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Brainstorm about Buddhist attitudes to sexuality
    How can we cultivate simplicity and contentment?
    Exploring stillness, simplicity, contentment
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Handout on main topics as given in a
    Quotes about stillness, simplicity, contentment

Week 5: Truthfulness
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Why be truthful?
    Exercise: What are the consequences of (un)truthfulness?
    How to practice
    Communication exercise
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Handout on main topics as given in a
    Quotes on truth

Week 6: Mindfulness
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

    Learning outcomes
    Review of previous class and home practice
    Centrality of mindfulness in Buddhism – why?
    Exercise: mindful passing of an object
    Importance of body awareness
    Losing mindfulness and intoxication
    How to enhance mindfulness in everyday life
    Suggestions for home practice
    Recommended further reading

b) Materials/handouts:

    Worksheet Mindfulness and Intoxication
    Handout on main topics as given in a

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