Collett D. Cox
Overview of major Buddhist literary traditions of India, China, and Tibet from antiquity to the end of the first millennium CE. Special focus on Indian Mahayana literature and the historical factors that accompanied its introduction and preservation in China and Tibet. Offered: W.
Buddhist Literature: The course will survey Buddhist literature of India, China, and Japan through selected excerpts chosen from the genres of biography, poetry, narrative, ritual manuals, doctrinal treatises, and historical accounts. The course will begin with the origins of Buddhist literature in India and will trace its further development in India, China, and Japan. Attention will also be given to the themes of textual composition, authorship, audience, transmission, context and function. All works are read in English translation. No prerequisites!!
Student learning goals
• gain a general familiarity with the variety of Buddhist literature from South and East Asia
• explore the Buddhist practices and teachings that this literature presents
• recognize the differences among genres of literary texts in terms of their authorship, audience, structure, function, and context of use
• investigate the various perspectives from which literary works can be interpreted
General method of instruction
PowerPoint-assisted lectures will present the historical and cultural background for each text selection, introduce characteristics of the text genre, and raise issues relevant to the interpretation of the text. Text selections will be further analyzed through discussion sections in which students will take an active part.
This class assumes no background in the study of Buddhism and has no prerequisites. The most effective technique for success in this course is to read the assigned text selections carefully. Secondary readings will provide a context for broader issues of textual interpretation. (Lecture outlines and questions for study and discussion will assist students in the assigned readings.) Students should be prepared to discuss the text selections and to think critically about the issues they raise.
Class assignments and grading
Requirements include participation in class discussion, WebQ reading quizzes, GoPost response paragraphs and peer feedback on specified topics, a midterm, one short analytical paper (4-5 page limit) for which topics will be suggested, and a take-home final examination
Weekly reading assignments and study guides with questions for student-led discussions, suggested paper topics, and study guides for exams will be provided.
Grading will be as follows:
20% Class participation and WebQ reading review quizzes 15% GoPost response paragraphs and GoPost peer feedback 20% Midterm 20% Short analytical paper 25% Take-home final exam