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Grade 12 Visit to Pagode Thiên Minh

On Tuesday 26th October the two Grade 12 Theory of Knowledge Classes visited Pagode Thiên Minh, the Buddhist temple in Sainte-Foy-Lès-Lyon.  This temple,which has been completely rebuilt since being destroyed in a fire in 2006, is a focus for the local Vietnamese Buddhist community.  As well as seeing the temple, grounds and statues – and a very impressive bonsai collection – we were given an interesting talk on Buddhist ideas and culture by Vincent Cao, the son of the founder of the Buddhist Association in the Rhône-Alps region.

The visit and the talk focused on specific knowledge questions asked in the IB syllabus: “Is the point of knowledge to produce meaning and purpose in our lives?”, “What is the role of analogy and metaphor in the acquisition of religious knowledge?”, “Do ritual and habit play a special role in the formation of religious knowledge?”, “Can there be religious knowledge that is independent of the culture that produces it?”, “Are those outside a specific religious tradition really able to understand its key ideas?”, “Do religious knowledge claims carry any particular obligation or responsibility for the knower?”, “Do we have an ethical responsibility to gain knowledge of different religions to help us better understand the world and those around us?”.

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