Theravada Buddhism


Grade Level: High School

Keywords: Theravada, Basic Buddhism


  • The students will be able to recall two of the practices
  • The students will be able to recall one of the central tenets of Theravada Buddhism
  • The students will be able to recall on the countries in which Theravada Buddhism is prevalent



  • Powerpoint presentation is best when presented using a projector


  1. Opening Gassho
  2. Presentation
    1. What did Shakamuni Buddha teach and do?
    2. 3 Treasures
    3. 4 Noble Truths
    4. 8-fold Noble Path
    5. 6 Paramitas
    6. Establishment of Sanghas
    7. What happened after Shakamuni Buddha's death?
  3. Practices (Do each)
    1. Sitting Meditation
      1. Explain meditation :
        1. Slow the mind so that you can rest and concentrate on a selected though
        2. Sit straight
        3. Breath easily, from the diaphragm.
      2. Explain "monkey mind" (how a 'quiet' mind goes from one thought to the next)
      3. Help start by using cleansing breaths (Inhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Exhale, 2, 3,...)
      4. Set a time limit. Maybe use a timer
      5. Periodically, remind about the monkey mind. Acknowledge and just let go.
    2. Chanting (Chanting the Tripitaka)
    3. Copying scripts (Copying the Tripitaka)
    4. Cleaning (working meditation; in silence)
      1. Wipe tables and chairs
      2. Sweep floor
      3. Take out garbage
  4. Evaluation
    1. Questions
      1. How did it feel? Chanting? Copying hard?
      2. Could you do this all day? For many days?
    2. Squishy Ball Question Game (below)
  5. Summary
  6. Closing Gassho


  • Squishy Ball Question game
    • Get a "Squishy Ball" (or anything that can be safely be thrown; even a paper ball works).
    • You toss the ball to a student. You ask a question about today's lesson. They try to answer. If they answer correctly, they get to toss the ball to whomever they wish and ask a question about today's lesson. If they answer incorrectly, it goes back to the teacher.


  • Be careful to explain the boundaries of questions for the Squish Ball Question game.


Mas Nishimura, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 2013


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