A) Describe briefly differences in the teaching of Mencius and Confucius. How did Mencius take the teaching further? Use Mencius's story of the child falling into an open well to discuss his view of human nature.
B) Junzi is referred to as the "heart and soul of the Confucian system." What would a junzi be like? (You can use other Chinese terms for virtues that would apply to the Junzi.) How might the ideal of the junzi be applied in a modern work/government setting?
C) why were the Taoists/Daoists so opposed to the Confucian system? What did they dislike about it? Along the way, compare the key Confucian virtues with the key Taoist values (e.g., gentleness, spontaneity, naturalness, etc.)
D) The Taoists were fond of using water as symbol or metaphor? What did it symbolize for them? How can it illustrate the idea of wu-wei?
E) Describe the creation myth that Shinto employs to explain the beginning of the Japanese people. Do you think it is meant to understood literally or metaphorically? What is the relation of the Imperial family to this myth?
F) Historically speaking, what has been the relationship between Shinto and Buddhism in Japan? How did Shinto get caught up in the affairs that led to World War II? What about today? Do you see Shinto as a potentially dangerous form of nationalism or an inspiring tradition celebrating nature as sacred?
G) Describe briefly Siddhartha Gautama's life (including the 4 sights) and his formulation of the Middle Way.
H) Explain the Buddha's key teachings, specifically, 1) the 3 characteristics of human existence, 2) the 4 noble truths, 3)the 8 fold path
I) Compare and contrast Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, especially the arhat goal in Theravada and the bodhisattva ideal in Mahayana. What happened in Theravada Buddhism that opened the way for the revolutionary new movement known as Mahayana?
J) Why is Ashoka regarded as a hero in the early history of Buddhism? What did he do for the Buddhists that they couldn't do perfectly well for themselves? Do you believe he was a sincere Buddhist? Why or why not?
K) Provide a brief description of Tibetan Buddhism, explaining its history, current political situation and the life and teaching of the current Dalai Lama.
M) Describe to the best of your ability the two Mahayana doctrines of trikaya and shunyata (emptiness).
N) Describe the beginnings of Ch'an Buddhism and the role of the Bodhidarma. How does Zen differ from Ch'an Buddhism. In what fundamental ways Zen schools do Rinzai and Soto Zen differ?