Master of Buddhism Course

This is a blog for the course comments from the Master of Buddhism course through the Universal Life Church Seminary.
The course can be found at Buddhism Course.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Throughout this course I learned more about the numerous schools of Buddhism and the evolution of these schools, and the effects of the cultures in the countries where the individual schools were established. From the beginning after siddhartha passed into parinirvana it seemed that at the first council people couldn't decide on what was the most significant things Siddhartha taught, so they kept a great amount of information that was sometimes overlapping and influenced by the different regional cultures. The development of mahayana from madhyamika from mahayana all of the greater vehicle schools from Tibetan to Zen vary quite a bit.

The history of Buddhism is essential to understanding the contemporary buddhism, but to return to the basics is the best approach to begin down the path. The four noble truths and the eight fold path.Life is difficult economics politics socially and religiously it is hard to find moments of peace and happiness, and they must be cherished, so life is suffering so long as we allow ourselves to be controlled by external influences and let go of our own character and ideas. We must look within and see the sources of our hardships, there we see we often cause ourselves the majority of our problems just by having poor views and grand expectations of other and situations.We must focus on this source and change.
The changes we make must be to learn to view the world as it is rather than how we would like it to be, a great amount of frustration comes from our tendencies to romanticize and idealize, without considering the other 6.5 billion people that might not feel the same way. Once we look at how we trouble ourselves we must begin to correct our thoughts and behaviors for some that means becoming a monastic which in some ways is an enviable life but in other it may be unfulfilling, I am a father of two and that has been a blessing. This is where the eightfold path becomes very important to the redevelopment of the basic thought process' which help us to heal.

Right view-the world as-is, right intention,to bring goodness without stipulations, right speech to stop contributing to the constant noise in the universe which throws things out of balance, right effort the precepts for behavior and interaction, right livelihood to refrain from causing further disturbance,right action only that which is necessary to create balance and moderate living, right mindfulness being congnizant of our self control and influences, and right concentration through mediation, these greatly change our expectations and attachment to ideas and romanticized ideas.

Rev. Joseph D. Brave-Heart


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Upon completion of the Master of Buddhism program, I have a better understanding of the religion of Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha.  However, I feel that that biggest impact the course had on me is that it actually made me more humble and less judgmental about other religions. 

Before taking this course I was unaware that the Buddhist religion had different offshoots from the main title of Buddhism and that Buddhism falls victim to all the same issues that are seen in the other religion.  Having recently taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, I wanted to see only the good portions of this new part of my life and was not aware that it was capable of being similar to the Christian religions that I did not find satisfaction in, I wanted it to be better and more true than the religions I was raised around. 

As I learned that the religion had the same issues and problems, I began to realize that it was not a "better" religion than the others, it was the religion that called out to me when I was in need of a spiritual path.  In this epiphany I was reminded of a comment Gandhi made about each individual person on earth has their own individual "religion" and that the chances of finding two people who follow any religion exactly the same is nearly impossible.  Each of us picks the teachings or rules of the religion we chose to follow, the ones we choose to ignore and the ones we choose to argue.  These differences do not make any religion or follower of a religion right or wrong, it shows the differences in each individual and what they need to
find and follow their spiritual path.  

This simple discovery of the fact that Buddhism is not a better more holy or superior religion to any other has made me humble and brought me back down to earth and allowed me to focus more on the teachings of the Buddha and working towards finding a spiritual teacher to help me work towards the goals of enlightenment or having a positive reincarnation not spending time worrying about proving the Buddha and I are right and my Catholic Brother and Nazarene Wife are wrong.  I spent too much of my time worrying about academic proving the validity of my beliefs and proving theirs to be flawed that I did not have the time I needed to create a relationship with MY religion.  This course has caused me to realize that Buddhism is no more pure and unflawed than other religion and spending my time proving why it is better is a waste of my effort and that I need to focus on my spiritual growth and journey.   

Rev. David Ellman


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