What is Buddhist enlightenment?

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Objective: While there are many pathways to discovering the truth, some scientific and others spiritual, the objective of these three lessons is to get some understanding of how Buddhists, even today and even in the modern West, follow a Path to understanding of the Truth outlined by Shakyamuni Buddha two and a half thousand years ago in India.

 Key Questions: Is truth ever too challenging? Can we ever know the whole truth? What is it like when you are silent for a while? How do Buddhists show they value knowledge and what do they mean by ‘know’? What is enlightenment? How do the Buddhists identify and understand the concept of truth? Why is meditation so important in Buddhism?

By the end of this unit:

All class members will understand: Buddhists are interested in finding the truth. They do this by following a method provided by the Buddha who lived a long time ago in India.  Buddhists meditate.

Most class members will understand: Buddhists are seeking a different form of truth from straightforward scientific facts. They do this by following a method provided by the Buddha who lived a long time ago in India. Buddhists believe that virtue leads to happiness.

Some class members will understand: Buddhists are seeking a different form of truth from straightforward scientific facts. They do this by following a method provided by the Buddha who lived a long time ago in India. Buddhists compare their own experience with what Buddha explains in his teaching. This is done through meditation. Buddhists believe that virtue leads to happiness.

N.B. many lessons are accompanied by short film clips which you may find useful as a part of your lesson.

What is Buddhist enlightenment? - KS3 - Buddhism - Lesson 1 of 3

Consider how mankind has developed different pathways to discovering “the truth”. Some scientific and some spiritual,  such as the Buddhist Path to Enlightenment.

Consider that there are different types of truth – e.g. facts such as water flows but turns to ice when frozen, truthfulness about our feelings, honesty and finally “enlightenment” or  ultimate Truth. 

Consider which of these are available to us here in Western society.

Lesson items

    • Lesson Plan
What is Buddhist enlightenment? - KS3 - Buddhism - Lesson 2 of 3

To explore how meditation can be used as a method for investigating the truth.

To see how Buddhist meditation begins with “mindfulness” which is just a basic honesty with respect to what is occurring in our minds. 

Lesson items

    • Lesson Plan
What is Buddhist enlightenment? - KS3 - Buddhism - Lesson 3 of 3

To explore how concepts of virtue, happiness and truth are linked.

Does virtue really lead to happiness?

Why is this? What is the meaning of “wholesome actions”?

Lesson items

    • Lesson Plan