Self

The Cartesian Self and Buddhist Alternatives

Introduction

Descartes provides a classic example of a individual, substantialist conception of the self, and Buddhists deny precisely such a view.  Consequently, they present intriguing alternatives for students. Theravada Buddhist argue that there is no self, but that it is conventionally useful to talk as if there are selves.  Mahayana Buddhists frequently argue that there is no completely individual self, but there is a transpersonal self that we are all manifestations of.

Teaching Brahman

Introduction

This activity helps students think more deeply about the important Upanishadic claim "Atman is Brahman."

Background Information

Motivation

"Atman is Brahman" is likely the most central and most difficult claim in the Upanishads. This activity helps students think more deeply about it.

Truth is Victorious

Introduction

This activity asks students to use their electronic devices to find a connection between their assigned reading and a picture (of the State Emblem of India).

Background Information

Motivation

This fun, short activity helps students see connections between ancient texts like the Upanishads and life today.

Self in the Katha Upanishad

Introduction

The Katha Upanishad describes the Self in many different ways: this activity draws students attention to these descriptions.

Background Information

Motivation

If a student is not reading the Katha Upanishad carefully, she might not realize just how surprisingly many descriptions and metaphors are used to characterize the Self. This activity helps draw attention to these many descriptions and metaphors.

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