Introduction to the Meditation Sutra


Grade Level: High School, Young Adult, Adult

Keywords: Pure Land Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism


  • After this lesson, the students will know at least 3 facts about the Meditation Sutra.



  • Make copies of the Worksheet and several copies of one of the translations.


  1. Opening Gassho
  2. Introduce the Meditation Sutra
    1. One of the 3 Pure Land Sutras
    2. Thought to be first written down in Northern India.
    3. Shakamuni Buddha speaking to disciples at Vulture Peak
    4. Unlikely some of the other Sutras, Shakamuni Buddha is actually in this story
  3. Visual Meditation
    1. Concept is to visualize aspects of the Pure Land. Right View.
    2. Starting Gassho
    3. Deep Breathing (counting to 8 in, 8 out)
    4. Relaxed Breathing.
    5. Let the "Monkey Mind Go"
    6. Will do the first 6 visualizations
      1. Sun setting in the west
      2. Sea turning to ice then to diamonds,
      3. Jeweled ground of the Pure Land, blue lapis lazuli, red rubies, green sapphires
      4. Trees of the Pure Land, jeweled leaves, jeweled blossoms
      5. Ponds of the Pure Land, glistening, clear, calming
      6. Objects of the Pure Land, golden bells, birds of many colored plumage
    7. Ending Gassho
    8. Please do not speak. Write down what you saw for "Sun", "Sea", "Jeweled Ground", "Trees" "Ponds", and "Objects".
  4. Worksheet
    1. This is a scavenger hunt that the students need to walk around the temple or thru books in the library.
    2. They need to be in teams of at least 3 (depends on age & maturity of the students). You might need to have an adult with each team. Make sure that each team has one official phone. No repeats pictures.
    3. When the work sheet says "Take a picture" one of the students needs to text you with the picture with the number.
    4. You might need to have someone to accept all the texts. That person should have all the answers and all the possible answers
    5. While in the classroom, have each team send a test text.
    6. Answers
      1. Sun
      2. Water
      3. 3.1 {any banner/flag, including the Buddhist Flag) 3.2 (any golden rope/string/hanging portion of the Hongwanji crest)
      4. 4.1 Trees, 4.2 Blossoms/flowers
      5. Garden/Park
      6. {any musical instrument}
      7. Flowery (picture of anything flower)
      8. Amida Buddha/Ananda/Vaideihi/Amitabha/Amitayus/Devadatta/Avalokitesvara/Mahasthama
      9. Light/Enlightenment (any picture of that)
      10. 10.1 Avalokitesvara (Compassion), 10.2 Mahasthamaprapta (or Mahasthama) (Wisdom)
      11. Us/Me (will accept monks)
      12. (any picture representing Pure Land)
  5. Review
    1. Note that the pictures that the students took are all depicted in the Meditation Sutra (in the rough order).


  • Review by asking what they've learned. What they will remember.


The scavenger hunt can be done in a library or with a set of books if going out to visit the Hondo or rest of the temple is not an option.

However, many students like the activity esp. boys. Feel free to give hints to groups falling behind.


Mas Nishimura,, San Jose Buddhist Church Bestuin, 2014


Unable to find the (MIT) (Numata Insti-BDK) files to upload