Systems and history of Buddhist thought. Original and secondary sources are used. Combines the methods of specialists in south, central, and east Asian Buddhism with those of historians of religion and philosophy. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: AWSp.
Scripture in Buddhist History and Culture: Concepts and Uses in India, Tibet, and China
Scripture played a central role in the development of Buddhist tradition in India and beyond, yielding polyphony of sources in Indic and other languages through the processes of interpretation, translation, cultural interaction, and cultural convergence. It is by no means a fossilized embodiment of religious ideals but is constantly being shaped by its new religious, cultural, and even political environment. The dazzling array of literary and material evidence available is confounding to even a scholar of religion and begs the question of the nature and function of scripture in Buddhism and by extension Buddhism itself. The seminar will approach the question through an exploration of the facets of scripture in two areas: 1) changing concepts of scripture in different stages and places in Buddhist history, and 2) how scripture was used in the development of regional Buddhist scholasticism, praxis, and material culture.
Required Readings: • José Ignacio Cabezón. Buddhism and Language. SUNY Press, 1994. • Donald. S. Lopez. Elaborations on Emptiness: Uses of the Heart Sûtra. Princeton University Press, 1998. • ----------, ed. Buddhist Hermeneutics. University of Hawaii Press, 1988. • Book chapters and articles posted on the course website
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