Download Homework Questions for EBP (with the answers in red) Module 1

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Homework Questions for EBP (with the answers in red)
Module 1: Buddha and His Teachings
Homework #1: The first two Noble Truths
[Note: your answers do not have to be exactly the same, word for word, as those
written below, as long as you get the essential meaning.]
1. Give two benefits of getting a good understanding of the Four Noble Truths.
Any two of the following three:
 An understanding of the essential message of the Buddha’s teachings
 A framework in which we can insert all other Buddhist teachings we learn
 A basis for our practice of Buddhism, so we can at least take the first few
(Those are the points mentioned in the notes, but you may have thought of
others, based on your own experience!)
2. Why did the Buddha teach the truth of suffering first, before the truth of the
origin of suffering?
The order in which the four truths are explained is not according to the way
they occur, but the way they are realized: we first recognize true sufferings,
and this leads us to develop a strong wish to be free from them. We then
investigate the causes of these sufferings and come to understand that they
are the result of contaminated karma and afflictions, true origins. Then we
will be motivated to seek a way to become free from these.
3. What is the second of the three phases with respect to the truth of suffering,
i.e. what did the Buddha say should be done/practiced with respect to
He explained that suffering needs to be understood, or known.
4. List the eight types of suffering.
1. birth
2. aging
3. sickness
4. death
5. encountering the unpleasant
6. separating from the pleasant
7. not getting what one desires
8. the five appropriated aggregates
5. List and briefly explain the three types of suffering.
The three types of suffering are:
1. Suffering of suffering – this includes unpleasant experiences that everyone
immediately recognizes as painful.
2. Suffering of change – pleasant experiences that do not last, e.g. eating, sitting
down, etc. They appear pleasant because they involve relief from previous
unpleasant experiences (being hungry, having tired legs, etc.) but are not
true, long-lasting pleasure; in fact, they turn into suffering if we continue to
experience them.
3. Pervasive suffering – our contaminated aggregates, which come into
existence due to karma and afflictions. Things that arise from karma and
afflictions are in the nature of suffering; they are always connected with
karma and afflictions and give rise to still more karma, afflictions, and
6. List the four aspects of the truth of suffering.
1. impermanence
2. suffering
3. emptiness
4. selflessness
7. In the Sutta of Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma, what did the
Buddha say was the origin of suffering, and what should be done/practiced
with respect to it?
He said that the origin of suffering is craving, and that it is to be abandoned.
8. What does the Tibetan tradition (e.g. the Lam Rim) say is the origin of
suffering? Is there any contradiction between this explanation and that of the
above-mentioned Sutta?
The Tibetan tradition says that the origin of suffering is ignorance. There is
no contradiction with the Sutta because ignorance is the cause of craving.
The Dalai Lama says that ignorance is the root cause of suffering, and craving
is the immediate cause.
9. What are the two main kinds of ignorance explained in the context of the
Four Noble Truths?
1. Ignorance of karma/the law of cause and effect.
2. Ignorance of the true nature of things.
10. Give a brief explanation of how suffering—for example, taking birth in an
unfortunate realm of existence—comes into existence in dependence on the
origins of suffering, according to the Tibetan tradition/the Lam Rim.
Ignorance causes us to see everything—ourself, others, things in the world,
etc.—in a wrong way: as inherently existent. This gives rise to disturbing
emotions such as anger, attachment, etc. Then, under the influence of these
disturbing emotions, we sometimes do unskilful actions such as killing, etc.
and thus we create non-virtuous karma. Imprints of these actions are left on
our mind-stream, and if they are not purified, they will ripen in the future
and bring about suffering, such as taking birth in an unfortunate realm.