My last post explored ways to teach about the Four Noble Truths, and I want to continue that here. One of the most challenging ideas to convey is the idea of dukkha – the dissatisfaction, dis-ease, stress, unhappiness, suffering that, according to the Buddha, pervades the unexamined and unawakened life. It can be easy to tell students about this idea, but the mere telling doesn’t guarantee that the students will understand or appreciate the idea in any kind of complexity. Continue reading
Or, Why 2×2 is greater than 4
The Four Noble Truths are at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. In fact, all subsequent teachings – be they by him or by any other Buddhist teacher – fit somewhere into this fourfold structure. For years, I had presented them in a list, but more recently – especially as I’ve worked to make these ideas clearer to my 6th graders – I’ve been organizing them differently. And, as a result, the students seem to understand the underlying logic and structure of these ideas better than they might have.
There’s also the fact that I rename one of the truths. (I will have to hope the Buddha understands.) Continue reading