Introduction to Buddhist Fundamentals

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Introduction to Buddhist Fundamentals by Dot Connection

3 May 2024, 07:30 PM - 19 July 2024, 09:30 PM

About this event

Course Aim:

The aim of this course is to provide participants the fundamental understanding and appreciation of the subject of Buddhism. It is assumed that students will have no or limited prior knowledge of Buddhist fundamentals and this course aims to provide students with an opportunity to increase their awareness and knowledge of the basics of Buddhism.


Intended Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, students can:

  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles and various doctrines of Buddhism.
  2. Develop the ability to discern the teachings of the Buddha as documented in the Pali Canon and in the context of Early Buddhism against the many cosmetics that enwrapped them through the passage of time.
  3. Evaluate those teachings as a better-informed person.
  4. Be brought to a position to decide whether or not to pursue further studies in Buddhist related subjects.
  5. Decide upon selecting one of the various Buddhist traditions to continue their studies, training and practice of Buddhism.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate critically the various teachings of the Buddha and apply them to their own personal value and belief systems.
  7. Be equipped with basic Buddhist knowledge required to pursue Diploma in
    Buddhist Psychotherapy and Counselling course.

Modes of delivery

The delivery of the course contents shall be online via Zoom. The medium of
delivery will be in English language.


Course duration

The total course will be conducted over a period of approximately three months (12 lessons).
Lessons will be conducted on a weekly basis of two hours per week on Fridays from 7.30 to 9.30 pm.


Learning topics and description

LESSON 1: Life of the Buddha
Here the life of the historical Buddha is disclosed. Commencing from his descent on earth from Tusita Heaven to his birth as Prince Siddhatta, traces his early years, his observation of the four great sights; his renunciation; asceticism; enlightenment; his ministry; his final journey and death.

LESSON 2: Essence of Buddhism – an overview
Explanation of the key concepts in Buddhism; realms of existence; deva and heaven as against equivalent in other religions; Buddhism is atheist and denies the existence of god the creator; concept of kamma and rebirth in the realms of existence; emphasis on Sila and wholesome actions for each sentient being to take individual responsibility; focus on teaching dhamma to eradicate suffering; triple gem as the framework to propagate dhamma; outline the roadmap of study in subsequent lessons.

LESSON 3: The Triple Gem and Buddhist Practice in social setting
Explanations on the formation of the sangha; the sramana (wandering ascetic) traditions; the qualities of the Buddha, the dhamma and the sangha; seeking refuge; becoming a Buddhist; the five, eight and ten precepts.

The concept of determinism against causal relations; Buddhist moral values; social and ethical considerations to community and society living; concepts of reward and punishment.

LESSON 4: The teaching of the Buddha –Four Noble Truths
Understand the unsatisfactory nature of existence – dukkha (unsatisfactoriness) and its manifestation, its causes, its cessation and the way leading to its cessation.  Understand the duty associated with each Truth and how absolute happiness can be achieved through one’s own effort.

LESSON 5: The teaching of the Buddha –Noble Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path – the threefold training of morality, concentration and wisdom; explanation of each skilful factor in the Path and their association to spiritual quest; their relationships and applications to daily living.

LESSON 6: Buddhist meditation
Why do we need to meditate? Is meditation important to the practice and my spiritual progress?  Can I still find the higher happiness of peace and tranquility without meditation? This lesson will answer these essential doubts and queries.

LESSON 7: Buddhist theory of Kamma, Death & Rebirth
How is this kamma generated?  Understand what exactly is kamma and how it effected and will continue to affect our lives and future lives.  The doctrine of kamma (cause and effect) is about understanding the law of nature and is a crucial topic to have right view of as a practicing Buddhist. Confusion with fatalism (a belief that all events are predetermined) has to be avoided. This lesson will attempt to give you a scientific explanation of kamma and rebirth.

LESSON 8: The teachings of the Buddha –Twelve Links of Dependent Origination and the Five Aggregates
The 12 links (paticca samuppada) – the doctrine of dependent origination –the concept of the twelve links and their relationship to everyday living; the concept of causal relations of events.

Composition of the person in terms of mind and matter – the five aggregates (panca khaddhas); discussion on the concept of matter, sensation, perception, mental factors and consciousness; the relationship and appreciation of the five aggregates to daily living situations.

LESSON 9: The teachings of the Buddha –Three Characteristics of Existence
The three characteristics of existence (ti-lakkhana) – concept of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (insubstantiality); they are the fundamental features of every conditioned reality; what strategy one should employ to overcome samsaric suffering accordingly.

LESSON 10: Historical expansion of Buddhism
The first, second and third Buddhist council; reasons for the council and their results; Ven Mahinda’s journey to Sri Lanka.

Discussion on the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions; their formations and basic beliefs; the value of chanting, prayers and visualizations; their spread to the West and influence on practitioners.

LESSON 11: Relevance of Buddhism in the modern world
Buddhism and the modern world; how world leaders see the relevance of Buddhism; relevance of Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Paths; their application for the betterment of life through a case study.

LESSON 12: Buddhist ontology & Buddhist Text
The history and concept of religion; discussion on spiritual paths against religious paths; monotheism, monism and pantheism; atheism: religion vs. spirituality.

The Tipitaka – the Vinaya, the Sutta and the Abhidhamma books; brief introductions of the text.


Buddhadhamma, Dhamma theory


Course fees:

  1. Usual support fees: $120.
  2. Early Bird fees: $100
    if an applicant registers and pays 4 weeks before course starts.
  3. Student fees: $80
    if an applicant provides proof of being currently enrolled in a course in a Junior College, ITE, Polytechnic or University in Singapore.


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