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Unit information: Buddhism: The Foundations in 2017/18

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Unit name Buddhism: The Foundations
Unit code THRSM0015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Gethin
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The aim of this unit is to develop an understanding of the fundamental ideas and practices shared in common by ancient Indian Buddhism and which form something of a common heritage for Buddhism in East Asia, Tibet and South and South East Asia. The emphasis is on reading selected primary sources in translation that illustrate and exemplify certain fundamental themes: the Buddha, the development of Buddhist scriptures and schools, the Buddhist monasticism, karma and rebirth, the teaching of not-self (anatt) and dependent arising (icca-samuppda pat), theories of meditation, and nibbna.

Intended learning outcomes

aims:

  • to develop an understanding of the fundamental ideas and practices of Buddhism with particular reference to selected primary source material in translation;
  • to develop an appreciation of the issues involved in the scholarly study of early Buddhist sources.

objectives:

by the end of the unit students should have:

  • an understanding of how the fundamental ideas and practices of Buddhism are represented in early Buddhist textual sources;
  • an appreciation of the issues involved in the scholarly study of early Buddhist sources.

Teaching details

Seminars

Assessment Details

1 essay of 5000 words

Reading and References

  • Almond, P., The British Discovery of Buddhism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  • Cabezón, José I., ‘Buddhist Studies as a Discipline and the Role of Theory’, Journal of the
  • International Association of Buddhist Studies 18 (1995), pp. 231–68. Bb de Jong, J. W., A Brief History of Buddhist Studies in Europe and America (Tokyo: Kosei, 1997). For a useful on-line review see John S. Strong, Journal of Buddhist Ethics 5 (1998), pp. 471–75.
  • Lopez, D., Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
  • Norman, K. R., A Philological Approach to Buddhism, The Buddhist Forum, vol. 5 (London:School of Oriental and African Studies, 1997), 2nd edition (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 2008)
  • Welbon, G., ‘On Understanding the Buddhist Nirvāṇa’, History of Religions 5 (1966), pp. 300–26.
  • A summary of some of the material in the next item. , The Buddhist Nirvāṇa and its Western Interpreters (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1968).

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