The story of the life of Buddha touches on many important themes that a good classroom practitioner should draw out for students:
- Whether or not a life of material wealth alone is enough to satisfy people.
- The extent to which children today are sheltered in the same way that Buddha was (for example: Becker (1973) wrote extensively about ‘The Denial of Death‘)
- The value of suffering, old-age, and death in awakening the yearning for spiritual Truth.
- The important of The Middle Way: avoiding the extremes of decadence and extreme-deprivation on the path to enduring spiritual fulfillment.
- The importance of renunciation.
Such lessons are a wonderful opportunity for teachers to raise existential and spiritual questions that students should be encouraged to engage with.
The OCR B specification (which we highly recommend) lists the following topics as essential in the teaching of this topic:
- The early life of Buddha
- The Four Sights
- Defeat of Mara [who is symbolic of desire]
- Issues related to the life of Buddha, including the importance of Buddha for Buddhists in the modern world.
- Common and divergent emphases placed on the life of Buddha by different Buddhist groups.
In order to cover these issues, we created a full lesson (with resources) that can be downloaded here:
The Download includes:
-A PPT Containing a Full Lesson (with assessment)
-A complete lesson plan covering: objectives, key-words, differentiation, and lesson timeline.
-A video outlining the life of the Buddha.
-A Homework Task