Amazing Tendai Race


Grade Level: 7, 8, High School, Young Adult

Keywords: Japanese Buddhism, Tendai, Chinese Buddhism


  • The student will know 3 basics of Tendai sect:
    • Lotus Sutra
    • Improving oneself to achieve enlightment
    • Achieve sufficient merit which can be passed to others


  • Written Materials (Attachment)
    • Overview of Tendai sect
    • Lotus Sutra Excerpt
    • Copy of the Juseige
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic sandwich bags


  • Select 3 locations (Location #1 & #5 is the Start and the End respectfully which is probably the classroom)
  • Place the Location signs at the 5 locations
  • Write the actual locations on the sheets labelled "#2", "#3", etc.
  • Ask parents to monitor the locations #2, #3, #4, #5.
  • Warn parents that the students will be walking around outside of class and to ask for as many of them to help monitor the students.
  • In a prior week warn students to wear shoes that they can walk easily in.


  1. Intro: Does any one know the show Amazing Race?
  2. Today we'll be playing it, at each station, you'll be asked to undertake certain tasks before you're allowed to continue.
  3. But to win this you'll need information.
  4. Handout
  5. Go through the Tendai Overview quickly.
  6. Race
    1. #1 Transcribe a section of the Lotus Sutra
      1. Once done, the students bring the section to the classroom. If it is correctly done, show the student the Sheet w/ the location #2 written on it.
      2. Go to Location #2
    2. #2 Memorize a section/verse of Juseige
      1. Students have to memorize one section and recite it by memory
      2. If correctly done, show the student the Sheet w/ the location #3 written on it.
      3. Go to Location #3
    3. #3 Walking mediation
      1. I use the Shinran hats (which my class made earlier) and have them walk around the block with them on.
      2. Once at Location #3, they need to put on a glove and a plastic bag and while walking to Location #4, need to pick up x pieces of garbage (I ask for 10 pieces).
    4. #4 Pick up 10 pieces of garbage
      1. The monitor checks for 10 pieces and shows the student the name of the Location #5.
    5. #5 Do a good deed for someone on the street and get name & signature
      1. The monitor checks for name & signature and shows the student the name of the Location #6.
    6. #6 Get questions to answer back in room


  • The final questions act as an evaluation. However, if time permits, you can have a classroom discussion.
  • Remind the students that we're trying to get a taste of what life was like for Shinran Shonin as a Tendai monk.
  • Ask
    • What was most memorable?
    • What did they learn?


Warning: Please make sure that your students are responsible enough to move about the Church/Temple grounds on their own. If they cannot do this, this activity should not be undertaken (or modified so that it occurs all in the classroom).

To do this all in a room, change the physical activities so they work: Change the "pick up litter" to "washing a table" or "cleaning the floor"


Mas Nishimura, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 2010