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Read the Assignment for Your Fourth Essay Assignment, a “Letter of Recommendation” for Any Technique or Practice Mentioned in THE HEART OF THE BUDDHA’S TEACHING For your fourth essay for this class, you are going to write a letter to someone you know about a technique or practice described by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching recommending that practice to them and explaining why you recommend it. Thich Nhat Hanh recommends many practices to help us cultivate joy, kindness, and decency. Here are some you might consider: “stopping” and resting by doing any action mindfully practicing “right speech” by choosing our words carefully and making sure they don’t harm others deep listening looking into the root of our suffering to understand its causes and work through that suffering There are many more in the book, but this brief list might help you consider what to write about. Here are the steps you should take: 1. Think about who in your life would benefit from this practice and write a preface to your letter which tells me who this person is and why you chose to address this letter to them. 2. In your letter, make sure to define the practice you are recommending and explain how to do it. You may use quotations from the book to help you describe the practice. You should also describe why Thich Nhat Hanh recommends this practice. 3. Then explain how and why the practice was beneficial to you. Be as specific as possible. One good structure to follow is to describe some problem or issue you had before trying the practice, what your experience of the practice during the time you experimented with it was like, and how your feelings or thoughts changed after doing the practice, like this: I always feel irritated by my uncle when I see him at family events because he and I have very different political views and he just seems so ignorant and uneducated …. (you might give more history and details here), but this year at Thanksgiving, I just decided to practice deep listening with him. It was hard! I had so many emotions come up when I was listening to him – anger and annoyance (you might give details about how you handled this). But after a while, I started to hear what was behind all his political rants and sense his own emotions and especially fear and that caused me to realize ….. This practice showed me that ….(be as specific as possible here). 4. Finally, explain how specifically you think this practice will benefit the person to whom you are addressing your letter. Will it help them reduce stress? Will it help them be less judgmental? Will it make them happier? Also explain how you think this practice might help them make these positive changes. 5. In your letter, integrate at least 3 quotations from The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. These quotations could help you define or describe the practice or its purpose, help you describe why you found it helpful for you, or support your argument in any other way. Make sure to cite page numbers for all quotations. ***Alternate Assignment: If none of the practices and techniques in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching were helpful to you, write a letter to Thich Nhat Hanh describing the specific ones you experimented with and why you did not find them useful. Also, explain to Thich Nhat Hanh what techniques you use in your life that help you cultivate joy, kindness, and decency. *** This essay in the form of a letter should be at least 2-3 doublespaced pages but could be longer. It is due on Sunday, Dec. 4 by 11:59 p.m.
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