Buddhism as a religious way and as a way of thinking; the forms of Buddhism known in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka) and those introduced from there to Tibet and other parts of Central Asia. Includes the "Three Jewels" (i.e., the Buddha or Awakened Person, the Teaching [Dharma], and Community [Sangha]) around which Buddhism is traditionally articulated. Recommended: RELIG 202 or one Asian cultures course.
> > The course is a historical introduction to Buddhism in South Asia and East Asia. We will focus on origin and development in India and later acceptance and adaptation in East Asia to understand religious ideals, theories, and practices. We will also pay attention to contextual factors that contributed to the formation of Buddhism, especially in East Asia where indigenous traditions' influence resulted in new philosophical schools, exclusive focus on meditation practice, esoteric Buddhism, and popular devotional Buddhism. Instructor's lecture will not be a summary of the required course readings; nor will it always be a close reflection of our readings' interpretation. She may sometimes problematize the textbook narratives and assertions to explore alternative perspectives or introduce new material and evidence to consider. Class discussion and written assignments are to develop student's own critical thinking on the issues raised and questions asked in lecture and reading.
Student learning goals
The goals of the course are basic fact learning, comparative and interpretive skills, and the attitude of openness and willingness to consider different perspectives and theories that may all have some values.
General method of instruction
> General method of instruction > The course has two sessions per week for 110 minutes per session with 10-minute break in the middle. Instructor's lecture will involve as much class discussion as time allows. Lecture slides will be posted on the course website starting the second week of the term. Note that the power point slides are only outlines of lectures and cannot substitute students' attendance. Some documentary films will be shown to illustrate the living tradition of Buddhism in Asia.
Some background in Asian history, culture, and religion will be helpful but not required. >
Class assignments and grading
.5 pop quizzes in class (15% total). Note that there will be no make-up for missed quizzes. Participation in class discussion and reading of assigned material are essential to successful completion of the course.
.3 take-home essays, length and percentage of course grade: 1) 3 pages (15%) 2) 4 pages (20%) 3) 6 pages (50%)
Essay topic will be distributed at least one week before the due date.
Grading will be based on engagement (evidence of reading and your own critical reflection), coherence (making connections between particulars and whole), organization (flow of discussion and argument), and clarity (communicating your ideas clearly and succinctly).