- Explain the Buddhist conception of the “Middle Way.” How did Siddhartha come up with this idea? Do you agree with this mode of religious practice? Why or why not?
- Explain the concept of dukkha and its role in Buddhist teaching.
- Compare and contrast some of the basic ideas of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.
- What are some of the typical devotional practices of lay Buddhism? Why do some Buddhist practitioners reject or avoid such practices?
- List the steps on the Noble Eightfold Path and note briefly what each step involves. Do you think these steps can really lead to enlightenment or at least living a morally good life? Explain and defend your answer.
- Explain how Daoism, Confucianism, and even Buddhism may be blended in Chinese religious practice. Use specific examples from the text to illustrate your claims.
- Compare and contrast the significance of relationships—of humans with other humans, and of humans with nature—in Daoist and Confucian thought.
- Which of the general characteristics of an indigenous religion described in Chapter 2 of Living Religions are evident in Shinto? What specific forms do they take?
- How is the Shinto belief in tsumi similar to, and different from, the understandings of karma presented in Hinduism and Jainism?
- What aspects of Zoroastrian belief and practice seem similar to Hinduism? Give specific examples.
- Do any Zoroastrian beliefs seem familiar to you in the context of your knowledge of Judaism and Christianity? If so, which ones?
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