Buddhism Today: DVD: 15-18 years


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Buddhists in Britain respond to ethical issues

A fascinating insight into Buddhist ethical belief and practice, demonstrating the range and diversity of Buddhism in Britain today. Filmed in situ, senior Buddhist men and women respond to challenging ethical issues in the light of their Dharma practice. Each programme includes a clear and lively explanation of the relevant Buddhist teaching.

Curriculum relevance

  • Religious Education and Religious Studies
  • Citizenship
  • Key Stage 4 Agreed Syllabuses
  • GCSE short and full courses
  • AS/A2 Level
  • Scottish Levels SG and HS

The aims of the resource are to:

  • introduce pupils to a range of Buddhist traditions practising in Britain today
  • explore practising Buddhists’ responses to a selection of current ethical issues
  • enhance pupils’ understanding of key Buddhist teachings relevant to these issues
  • encourage pupils to reflect on their own responses to these issues

The six programmes cover:

1. Today’s Buddhists: The Buddhist Sangha in Britain
We visit five Buddhist establishments in the UK, where leading Buddhists of these establishments talk about their own daily life and practice. They outline the distinctive features of their tradition, and how it became established in the West. They also describe the effects that the encounter with Western culture has had on their tradition, and outline what they hope to contribute to the West.

2. What’s life all about?
Meaning and purpose, suffering, God, death and the afterlife – in response to questions about the meaning of existence programme 2 introduces the key Buddhist teaching of the Three Marks, or signs of being:Dukkha, or unsatifactoriness; Anicca, or impermanence; Anatta, or no fixed self.
Three young men go on retreat to Vajraloka retreat centre in the heart of Wales and explore this essential Buddhist teaching. This programme gently and skilfully leads the student towards a clear grasp of this formulation and of its significance to Buddhists.

3. Who cares about the Environment?
This programme visits Holy Island which lies off the West coast of Scotland. Here the monks and nuns of the Tibetan Monastery of Samye Ling, in Eskdale Muir, Dumfriesshire, bring together the ancient wisdom of Tibet with the latest technology in order to create a blueprint for relating to the environment. Against this inspiring backdrop two central Buddhist teachings which relate to environmental issues are explored: interconnectedness; karma

4. Matters of Life and Death: The Sanctity of Life – abortion, euthanasia and animal life.
This programme faces with sensitivity and clarity the question of the sanctity of life. We follow a working day in the life of a Buddhist consultant in the University of Southampton Medical School as we unfold the principle which underpins Buddhist ethics – Ahimsa, or non-violence

5. Marriage, Family and Relationships
In the setting of the Dharma School, Britain’s only Buddhist school, this programme explores the traditional Buddhist attitude to marriage, divorce and the family. The programme goes on to explain Buddhist guidelines on sexual relationships and their relevance to a young person growing up in today’s world, including: Marriage and divorce in Buddhism; attitudes to the family; the third precept, covering sexual conduct

6. Why Work?
Attitudes to work and Leisure – hundreds of young people gather near Glastonbury for the annual Buddhafield Festival, which is the backdrop for the Mahayana teaching of the Six Perfections:generosity; ethics; patience; energy; meditation; wisdom.

Sample clip

Imaginatively conceived and produced, Buddhism Today offers a clear and lively presentation of key Buddhist themes and perspectives. It convincingly shows the relevance of Buddhist teachings to contemporary issues and dilemmas; there is much here to prompt reflection and debate in the classroom
Hampton School

Highly recommended!
Manchester Grammar School

Joint Publication of the Year (2000),
News & Views, BFSS National RE Centre

Prog. 4, ‘Matters of Life and Death’ Highly Commended,
Sandford St Martin Trust Awards 2001

Additional information

DVD (with handbook as pdf's)

DVD with handbook as pdf's, DVD plus printed handbook