Online Research Projects

Buddhist Studies for secondary students

These Online Research Projects are for students who are prepared to research a selected Buddhist topic using the Net. Much of the content for these projects are to be found in BuddhaNet’s “The Buddhist World” and “Buddhist History and Culture” sections or we suggest that you check BuddhaNet’s Web links to other Buddhist resources. A class presentation and/or written material can be made at the completion of each project. (We would be interested in any high quality material for posting on BuddhaNet, derived from these projects).

9 Suggested Projects:

The Monastic Community
• Why might it be easier to practice Buddhism if you’re a monk or a nun?
• What are the main differences between the rules for a Theravadin monk/nun and a monk/nun in the Tibetan tradition?
• Could any rules governing the lives of monks/nuns be modified or done away with altogether, without compromising the purpose and integrity of ordination? If so, which ones and why?
Buddhist Pilgrimage – the Holy Sites
 If you could only visit four pilgrimage sites, which ones would they be and why?
 Choose a pilgrimage site and compare it now with what it might have been like in the Buddha’s lifetime. For example, do people dress differently now? Has the countryside changed in any way?
 Chose a pilgrimage site and script what you would say if you were a tour guide describing it to a group of tourists who knew nothing about the Buddha, or his teachings.
The Spread of Buddhism in Asia
 Choose two Buddhist countries and list the main differences between them in terms of the way Buddhism is practiced.
 Pick a key figure responsible for the spread of Buddhism – either from one country to another, or just within one country – and describe their main achievements.
 Often what the Buddha taught and the way it’s practiced are two very different things, due to cultural influences. Can you think of an example where Buddhist teachings have been confused with a society’s customs?
Buddhist Art and Architecture / Iconography
 Choose a Buddhist symbol and using the Internet, find three depictions of that symbol in use.
 What are some other Buddhist symbols/iconography and can you explain their use?
 Do any Buddhist symbols/iconography have equivalents in the Christian tradition?
A Work of Buddhist Literature
• From a Work of Buddhist Literature, such as the Dhammapada (Sayings of the Buddha), choose a verse then describe what it means and its implications in your own life.
Chinese Buddhist Temple / Deities
• What is the history of the practice of Chinese Buddhism in Australia? (or your country)
• Locate a Chinese Buddhist temple in Australia (or in your country), find out about its history and if possible, obtain a program of upcoming events. If you could attend one, which would it be and why?
• Who’s your favourite Chinese Buddhist deity and why?
Theravada Buddhist & Mahayana Buddhist Countries
• What are the main differences between the two Buddhist schools, Theravada and Mahayana?
• If you were a Buddhist, which school would you follow and why?
Women in Buddhism
• If you were interviewing a Buddhist nun today, what questions would you ask her, and how do you think she might respond?
• Describe a typical day in the life of a nun.
• How are Buddhist nuns today still discriminated against?
Buddhist Festivals and Ceremonies / Devotional Practices
• How does a traditional Buddhist marriage ceremony/funeral differ from those in the Christian tradition?
• Why might the contemplation of death in the Tibetan tradition be encouraged?
• If you were to create your own Buddhist shrine, what would you include on it and why?
• Choose a festival or special day in the Buddhist calendar, then contact a Buddhist temple/centre in your area and find out what they’re doing to celebrate the occasion.

Below are links to the online resources and supplementary material. There is a wealth of crossed referenced material to browse through on BuddhaNet itself. It is suggested that you use either BuddhaNet’s internal search engine or the sitemap where there are menus or sub-directories with a description of the content of each section.

Resources on BuddhaNet

Archived File Library
eBook Library
Audio Library
Web Links to other Buddhist resources
World Buddhist Directory
Glossaries and Dictionaries
Statistics on Buddhist Adherents