Hinduism & Buddhism Web Sites

An interesting and broad site that includes Qs and As, historical background, vivid images, and more. Some of the major categories include “Buddhist Studies”, “eBook Library”, “Buddhanet Audio”, “Archived File Library”, “World Buddhist Directory”, “BuddhaZine” (a kind of buddha devoted magazine), and “Meditation”. It integrates the complexities of the religion with the basics very well and has so many subtopics that it is difficult not to find what one is looking for. Some of the special features include audio files of chanting, a photo documentary of Buddhism, teacher’s guides, and crossword puzzles and games.

BBC Religion and Ethics: Buddhism
“BBC Religion and Ethics: Buddhism” covers the basics: Introduction, Customs, Worship, History, Beliefs, and Holy Days. Go into Subdivisions for essays on Buddhist branches: Theravada, Mahayana, Pure Land, Tibetan, Zen, Korean Zen (Son). Special features: Four Noble Truths, Buddhism in Britain, and Sacred Mandala Sand Painting.

BBC Religion & Ethics: Hinduism
This BBC presentation provides sections on Customs, Worship, History, Holy days, and Beliefs. There is also a Features section that provides interesting articles including reports on the Hindu thoughts on Home schooling and Organ donation. As well, there is a Glossary.

The Hindu Universe – History 
A good introduction to Hinduism and its history, this is a searchable site and offers audio (national anthem), images (maps, charts), and plain text. It has many links to more specialized areas of Hindu history and offers chats and forums. There is even an entire section on biographies.

The Ramayana provides insights into many aspects of Indian culture. This site includes a brief (and long) synopsis of the Rama story as well as the Story of Rama in Bengali Scrolls. Consider the five lessons on “Moral Dilemmas.” They include useful questions for the classroom to help students understand the moral dilemmas in the story and define outcomes and consequences. There is also an article on The Oral Tradition and the Many “Ramayanas.”

History of the Sikhs
The purpose of this website is to provide details about Sikhism. The site appears with mesmerizing music and has categories on Sikh Gurus and Gursikhs, Great Sikh warriors and martyrs, major historical events, modern Sikh personalities, and famous Sikh institutes. There are many engaging features at this site, including a discussion forum, an education site that provides basic instruction of the Punjab alphabet and language, a selection of literature and poetry and links to several other sources of Punjab reading material, a news site, and a greeting card site. This unique feature offers an extensive selection of photographs and Sikh art that can be personalized, either in English or Punjab, put to a selection of music, and emailed to your friends and family.

Frontline: Dreams of Tibet
This site has four main sections: understanding tibetan buddhism, ascending the roof of the world, interviews, and china in tibet. There is is a great selection of reports and readings as well as a historical chronology and links to other sites. The interviews feature a mix of political and Hollywood figures.

Dalai Lama: Public Talks in Boston & New York City
To watch selected highlights from his Central Park and Boston talks, click on a topic link. Choose T1 if you are viewing at school or on a high speed connection. At the same site are interviews with the Dalai Lama as well as related resources including a guided meditation.

Asia Today: Buddhism in the U.S. (2001)
Access a collection of articles, links to temples and Buddhist associations, online Buddhist publications, and general links with this special report. Unfortunately many of the links to essays are broke, but here are several active ones:

Ethnic Buddhism and Other Obstacles to the Dhamma in the West
In this commentary, V.A. Gunasekara outlines Buddhism basics and the history of Buddhism in the West and argues that misconceptions about Buddhism are in danger of “transforming the universal message of Buddhism into a parochial cult.”

American Buddhism’s Racial Divide
“Buddhists in the United States are split into two camps: Asian Americans and ‘New Buddhists.’ Can they be brought together?”

“Hindu-Muslim Violence Imperils India,” TIME.com 
A good description of the historical significance of the holy site in Ayodhya, and how extreme violence has been justified by both Hindus and Muslims in the name of preserving holy sites for their people.

“Religious Tension Hangs Heavy in Sacred Hindu City,” Christian Science Monitor 
An excellent article about the fear among Indians in Mathura, a town with its own disputed holy site.

“Analysis: Why Is Gujarat So Violent?” BBC News 
A brief overview of the history of violence in the state of Gujarat. Also addresses the rise of Hindu nationalism in the past 20 years.

Human Rights Watch Report: State Participation in Gujarat Violence 
A very thorough report about the history of Muslim-Hindu violence in Gujarat. Select excerpts to use with students, or allow them to explore the linkable subsections of the report themselves. Students can visit the Gujarat riots photo gallery here.

Essentials of Buddhism
Brief information, but it is recommended by New York State High School Regents Exam Prep Center as an excellent resource for students.

Eightfold Path
Concise explanation of the Eightfold Path

“Religion, as ever, is the poison in India’s blood” 
An article from the Saturday March 9, 2002 edition of The Guardian

Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities, and more

AskAsia Lesson Plans
AskAsia provides 59 lesson plans searchable by grade level, era of history, or region. There are also 116 background essays, maps, and images.

IndoLink: Kids Corner
In this “Kids Corner” section of the INDOlink site, there are stories from Indian mythology, Stories of India’s Great People, Stories about India’s Festivals, and more.

Deciphering Buddha Imagery
Before you can honor a Buddha you have to recognize him-and there are many depictions in Buddhist art that resemble “The Enlightened One.” This site uses Flash animation to help you understand the meanings of the five most common hand gestures, or mudras, used in Buddhist art. Engaging way to present Buddha icons.

The Tibet Question (WebQuest) 
An interesting project with many useful links on the Tibet issue: “An international news agency is doing a special on “The Tibet Question”. They will be interviewing members of the Tibetan groups, Chinese and US government officials, representatives of human rights organizations and Chinese scholars. You will be assigned to one of these groups in preparation for this news special.”

The Ramayana in Southeast India
Grade 6 students are instructed to write a shadow puppet scene drawn from a Southeast Asian variant of the Ramayana to perform in class and to work collaboratively on a class sewing project to construct a Ramayana story cloth in the tradition of Southeast Asia.

Bhutan, the Last Shangri-La: Buddhism and Ecology
In this PBS lesson plan students will use the Internet, watch video clips, write a paragraph, make a chart (and more) to find out which countries observe Buddhism as their main religion, learn about Buddhist attitudes toward ecology, and write and perform or tell an allegory similar in scope to the story of the Four Harmonious Friends.

Ramayana: Connecting Communication Arts and Social Studies
These lessons are taken from Spotlight on Ramayana: An Enduring Tradition, a curriculum guide published by the American Forum.

Brief Review in Global History and Geography: Document Based Essays and Practice Tests

PH@School’s Brief Review in Global History and Geography Web site provides multiple-choice questions from actual Regents exams. You can also practice your test-taking skills on document-based essay questions (DBQs), with the option of e-mailing answers directly to your teacher for review.