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Run your essay through Veriguide
Submit a hard copy in class together with the Veriguide statement
For the second reflective journal, write in response to a question on
The Heart Sutra, The Bible or The Quran. You may choose from the
questions below (2-3 questions to choose from for each of the three
religious texts).
*Write a short essay of no more than 600 words (English) or 900
characters (Chinese) in response to one of the following question
* Each question below is elaborated in a number of shorter
questions that aim to help you think through the question and
formulate your response. You do not need to answer every one of
*To support your argument with textual evidence, you may cite
directly from the text (The Heart Sutra or The Bible) or paraphrase
significant lines in it. When you do so, follow the citation with a pair
of brackets giving the paragraph and page number (The Heart
Sutra)/ the chapter and verse numbers (The Bible). This helps your
reader distinguish between your own ideas from ideas drawn from
the text, and to locate your citations.
*Do not use too many citations since there is a strict word limit.
*Try always to leave some room for sharing your own response
(based on solid argument and evidence rather than on personal
feelings or biases).
*Use the template on Blackboard (font: for Chinese and
Times New Roman for English; pitch 12; 1.5 line spacing).
Reflective Journal #6: Living the Heart Sutra
1. How may reading The Heart Sutra help you deal with change and
suffering of yourself and the others? Does the Buddhist (as
explained by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Heart of Understanding) hold
similar or different views from Zhuangzi about ultimate liberation
and true self?
2. In the spirit of The Heart Sutra, how do you understand your
relation with and responsibilities towards (a) other people and (b)
Nature? Relate your answer to the present situation, with

Quoting from The Heart Sutra
Whether you are making a direct quotation or summarizing or
paraphrasing a passage from The Heart Sutra, you need to follow the
citation with a pair of parentheses and give the paragraph and page
number, as follows:
E.g. (1) Indirect Quotation
Thich Naht Hanh uses many analogies to explain the idea of interbeing. For example, he says that in a piece of paper we can see the
clouds, the rain, the trees, and even the sunshine, the logger, the
wheat, the loggers parents and our own mind (par.6-9, pp.2-3).
E.g. (2) Direct Quotation
Thich Naht Hanh says that [i]n Buddhism knowledge is regarded as
an obstacle for understanding (par.13, pp.3-4).

( 245)

( 243-244)
Reflective Journal #7: A Non-Religious Reading of the Bible

Some of you may be very familiar with the Four Gospels and their
theological readings. In responding to the questions below,
however, do base your discussion mainly on the selected text.
Support your arguments with quotations or plot details from the
Gospel of Mark alone and NOT from the other parts of the New
1. Eves Choice. What is the significance of eating the fruit of the
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? How do you understand the
choice made by Eve in Genesis 2-3 as opposed to the choice
made by Odysseus in Book 5 of the Odyssey?

2. Jesuss Passion as Human. The passion of Jesus refers to his
love but also to his suffering. The fundamental meaning of
passion is suffering, and we may say we cannot fully understand
his love without understanding his suffering. Naturally we think his
passion culminates in the crucifixion, but this final physical
suffering does not outweigh the psychological suffering he must
have gone through. Imagine yourself into the head of Jesus. Give
a detailed account of people and events that pain him most in the
heart, and how he deals with such pain and stay sane.
[Brainstorming (Optional): You may consider the conflicts in
values between him and various groups, and his frustrations with
his family, followers, and strangers who misunderstand his deeds,
mission, and identity. If you like, refer to his choice of followers
(2:15-17), his practice of exorcism (3:20-29), the disputes over
fasting (2:18), the Sabbath (2:23-3:6), cleansing rituals (7:1-13),
marital law (10:1-12), etc. You may also consider the underlying
views about such division as clean and unclean, rich and poor,
local and foreign, compliant with or deviant from tradition, etc.,
with reference to Confucius, the Heart Sutra, or any previous
thinker or figure you have read.]
3. Human Limitation and Love. Imagine yourself into the head of
Peter, Jesuss first disciple (originally named Simon in 1:16, but renamed as Peter by Jesus in 3:16 on becoming his disciple).
Reconstruct the joys and sorrows you, as Peter, experienced being
a disciple close to Jesuss heart.
[Brainstorming (Optional): Do you understand Jesus? Does he
surprise or touch you by some of the things he does? How does
Jesus require you to love? Are his demands reasonable? Do you
encounter any difficulties in meeting his demands? Do you have
any regrets? How and why? If you like, you may consider the
scene of Jesuss trial and torture (Mark 14: 53-65), and some (and
not all) of the earlier scenes: 1:16-17; 1:30-31; 1:35-36; 3:16-19;
8:27-33; 14:26-31.
Quoting from The Bible
Whether you are making a direct quotation or summarizing or
paraphrasing a passage from the Bible, you need to follow the citation
with a pair of parentheses and give the chapter and verse number, as
E.g. (1) Indirect Quotation
The Bible interprets the maternal pain of female as Gods punishment

(Genesis 3.16) [i.e. Genesis, Chapter 3, Verse 16].
E.g. (2) Direct Quotation
Jesus says, Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and
mother (Mark 3.35) [i.e. Gospel according to Mark, Chapter 3, Verse 35]
reflecting that he regards family values differently from the ordinary


Reflective Journal #7: A Non-Religious Reading of the Quran

1. The New Order

1.1 In the second half of Sura 2, Muhammad laid out the order of the
new community as revealed by God. Give brief accounts of the
rules and regulations set out for members of the community (you
may focus on two or three areas, e.g., religious responsibilities
(pilgrimage, fasting, etc.), the use of violence, how to trade and
set up a contract, what and how to eat.
1.2 Why were they necessary? What could they bring to the new
1.3 Do they reflect any universal values that are or should be upheld
2. Womens Place
2.1 Nowadays there is a general impression that the rights of women
are neglected in the Islamic communities. What status and rights are
women supposed to enjoy according to Sura 2? (You may consider
the rules about divorce and marriage, or any other text in sura 2
(e.g., how the Creation story is told in 2:29-39, as opposed to
Genesis 2-3).
2.2 Do you think the Pakistani girl Malala, who promotes education
for women and keeps a blog about her daily life, is extending the
spirit of Sura 2? (Note: Malala comes from an area in Pakistan where
the Taliban at times banned education for women. She was

assaulted by Taliban gunmen with shots in her head and neck while
going home on a school bus. She survived the attack and was
nominated for 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. She made a UN Petition in
2013 asking for all children worldwide to be in school by the end of
2015. She won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014.)
3. Jihad and the Right Path. What kind of jihadwrongly
translated as holy war but actually meaning struggle or
exertion of oneself for the right causeis advocated in the sura?
The word fight is used to translate jihad in some instances (e.g.,
2:189-194), but where God asks believers to be generous (2:195),
he emphasizes a different kind of jihad. From what you read in Sura
2, do you think the emphasis is laid on the so-called Greater
(spiritual) Jihad or Lesser (physical) Jihad (i.e., jhad of the hand
[fighting], jihad of the mouth [eloquence], or jihad of the heart [selfdiscipline and concern for the others]?
Making citations from the Quran
State the sura [i.e. chapter] number and line number when making a
quotation from the Quran.
E.g.(1) Direct Quotation
O People! Worship your Lord who created you as well as those who came
before you. Perhaps you will fear Him. (2:21)[i.e., Sura 2, Line 21] In this
verse, people refers to the people of Israel.
E.g.(2) Indirect Quotation / Paraphrase
The Quran provides detailed guidelines for divorce (2:226-232, 236-237,
241-242) [Sura 2, Lines 226-232, 236-237 and 241-242].