The following exercise is designed to provide you with an opportunity to consider, practice, reflect upon and articulate (write about) ways of perceiving and behaving
in the world that may be very different from your past or current experience. This exercise bears a relationship to the worldview and essential teachings of religions
we are studying, however, know that you are NOT being asked to practice a particular religion ? only a perspective and/or set of actions associated with spirituality
How to do these exercises:
1. Research the assignment thoroughly and carefully ? meaning, look up the terms ?metta? and ?karuna? on the internet, and supply your understanding of the terms in
your journal entry. You will be expected to write one introductory paragraph describing the results of your academic research. Then choose either specific days/times
to practice, or perhaps keep the exercise in mind to apply to situations or circumstances as they arise. You should average a cumulative 8-10 hours (one working day)
for your assignment. Before moving to the step of action, make certain you have a good, basic understanding of what it is you are expected to do or not do based upon
your perception of what metta and karuna practice is supposed to look like ? this will make a positive difference in your experience of the exercise.
2. Act ? intentionally, mindfully practice the exercise: note your own mental, physical, and emotional responses to the exercise ? how does it feel to you to think,
speak, and behave in this way? Note also the impact of your thoughts, words, and deeds on those around you, though do your best not to focus on receiving a particular
response from people ? YOU are the one who is practicing; not them. If you spend too much time on what others are or are not doing, you will lose sight of the self-
discovery aspect of the exercise. This is all about you and your experience of the practice, and how you respond to their responses.
3. Reflect: After completing the required hours of practice, reflect on the experience as you write your journal entry. Make certain you write in ?first person,? that
is, ?I, me, my, etc? ? this journal is about you and your thoughts and experience, not about generalized others. Describe your understanding of the assignment and your
initial reaction: how did you feel about doing this exercise before trying it? Did you cringe at the idea, or perhaps feel excited at the prospect of trying a new way
of seeing and being? What is your state of mind as you enter into the practice? Describe what you did (or did not do) and your interpretation of the impact of your
action (or non-action). How did the response (or lack of response) of others impact you? Give specific examples. How did doing this exercise affect your way of
perceiving and experiencing your world? Is this a way of being and relating that you would consider making a regular part of your life? Why or why not? Be certain to
write a clear conclusion that summarizes what you learned about yourself and your world in your mindfulness practice.
(Point distribution) Outstanding (A= 45-50) Good (B=40-44.5) Adequate (C=35-39.5) Poor (D=30-34.5; F=29.5 ↓)
Completion/ Research 5 4 3.5 3-1
*Length of entry well beyond minimum.
*Required number of practice hours exceeded as demonstrated in depth and detail of writing. *Length of entry beyond minimum requirement.
*Research, Act, & Reflect elements well covered.
*Required number of practice hours met.
*Minimum length satisfied.
*Read, act, & reflect elements adequately covered.
*Practice hours fewer than required ? entry is terse & lacks detail. *Entry less than minimum requirement.
*Research, Act, & Reflect elements poorly covered or incomplete.
(5 points) *Topic thoroughly researched and well-articulated throughout writing; multiple sources properly cited.
*Research results applied thoughtfully to practice; connections made to concepts in other religions. *Topic well researched: more than one source; sources identified.
*Some connection of research results noted in action/reflection portions of entry. *Adequate research done ? descriptions primarily derived from course textbook;
sources not correctly cited.
*Minimal application of/reflection on research results in practice. *Topic not researched.
*Minimal-to-no understanding of concept demonstrated in journal entry.
Depth & Insight 20-18 17.5 – 16 15.5 – 14 13.5 ? 12; 11.5 ↓
Depth of Reflection
(20 points) *Excellent understanding of topic; no digressions
*Engages deep inquiry into own thoughts & feelings. Asks questions of experience.
*Descriptions are thoughtful, detailed, and clearly articulated; multiple significant examples of ?real time? practice.
*Demonstrates clear understanding of assignment topic: few digressions.
*Clear and thoughtful descriptions of experiences.
*Some attempt to look beyond surface experience and perception.
*Adequate understanding of assignment.
*Content is terse and superficial.
*Thoughts/feelings identified, though no personal inquiry engaged.
*Only surface experience described. *Weak understanding of assignment ? exercise done poorly or incorrectly.
*No clear evidence of personal reflection on process.
*Poor grammar, usage, and mechanics render content unreadable.
Insight / Learning
(20 points) *Demonstrates fearless personal inquiry and originality of thought.
*Clearly identifies and articulates what was learned through the practice.
*Offers solution-oriented ways to utilize the practice or concepts in daily life.
*Offers creative ways of communicating concepts otherwise difficult to articulate. *Demonstrates desire to learn from and about ones? self and others and engage self-
*Attempts to identify and articulate what was learned.
*Makes connection of insights to past/present experiences. *Focused more on behavior of generalized others rather than own thoughts & actions.
*Majority of entry written in 2nd or 3rd person.
*Nominal effort given to personal inquiry.
*Little mention of what was learned through practice. *Demonstrates little-to-no personal insight or interest in self-reflection.
*Obvious minimal effort given to assignment.
*No mention of what was learned through practice.
Introduction to the practice: During your metta/karuna practice you will be asked to incorporate a deep awareness and mindfulness of ALL life that you encounter with
an eye toward protecting that life from harm. Try refraining from eating any sentient beings (meat, fish, poultry, etc.) for at least one or two meals a day, and take
care where you walk, sit, or set down your belongings so that you do not harm insects or worms. In this exercise you must practice mindfulness, meaning, pay special
attention not only to your environment, but to your thoughts, words, and deeds and their impact on other beings. Be mindful of all life, and put your attention toward
refraining from killing, causing harm, or participating in the killing or harming of anything or anyone, including you. Remember that if you are in some way harming
yourself, then you cannot help but harm others; suffering creates more suffering. Ahimsa (non-harming) forms the foundation of your metta/karuna exercise; mindfulness
is the key to successful practice and maximum personal benefit.
Prompt: ?Unconditional Friendliness/Compassion? (Metta, Karuna) ? due Friday, February 28th
The Vajrayana Buddhist concept of ?unconditional friendliness? focuses on the cultivation of an unwavering attitude of openness, compassion, and kindness toward ALL
beings and conditions of life. In this exercise you will spend your time seeing and treating everyone and everything you meet as a ?friend.? The lady who just cut you
off on the freeway is your grandmother; the guy who knocked your drink out of your hand is your baby brother (one that you like, of course). You are related to
everyone you see, and you care deeply for them all. Treat them as kindly as you would like to be treated, and notice, but do not attach yourself to the response or
lack of response you receive from others ? remember, this is YOUR practice; not theirs. Instead of focusing on the responses of another, turn your attention to your
internal response to others? actions. Expand your friendliness to include the circumstances and emotions of your life: the pain of your break-up is a teacher that is
trying to help you understand something about yourself and your choices in life; your fear is telling you something about your greatest strengths; etc. Consider the
idea that what is happening must happen so that other things can happen?
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