BuddhismIn this course we will trace the historical, philosophical, and religious development of Buddhism from its origins in India, through its transmission to Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and finally North America. Among the themes that will be explored are: the Buddhist conception of the self; techniques of meditation; the relationships between Buddhism and the state/society/world; and regional influences on the transformations of Buddhism. We will conclude by reflecting on the question of unity and diversity in the various traditions of Buddhism, as well as the present significance and future prospects of Buddhism in the “modern” world. The distribution of grades for the course is as follows:
You final grade will ultimately depend on my assessment of your performance in each of the above areas, though the following descriptions should provide you with a rough idea of the defining characteristics of students within particular grade ranges:
Papers should be submitted to Blackboard/Assignments before class on the due date; late papers will be penalized a full grade (e.g. from A to B) for the first day and one degree (e.g. from B to B-) thereafter. All papers should include appropriate referencesto “academic" (i.e. peer-reviewed) sources; both direct quotations and indirect references to the ideas of another author should be properly cited according to the conventions of either Chicago Style or MLA. Papers that contain significant instances of plagiarism will receive a 0 and be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs. All submitted work may be used for program assessment (with names removed).
At some point during the term you will attend a Buddhist service and write a 6-page (1500-word minimum) paper based on your experience. A class visit to Foguangshan temple in Naperville has been scheduled for Sunday, February 12, though you may choose to attend a service at another temple if you wish (see attached list for a selection of Buddhist temples in the area). Your paper should include a general summary of the service as well as a detailed description of a specific ritual (or other element of the service) that you found particularly interesting. You should then explore the significance of your chosen ritual/element through references to at least three academic sources. Your conclusion should explain how the temple visit together with additional research helped you develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between Buddhist theory and practice.
The final exam will include an assortment of quiz-style questions (such as multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank), a list of key terms for you to “identify and state the significance of,” and essay-style questions on some of the major themes covered in the course. Further details will be provided prior to the exam.
Required Texts● Mitchell, Donald W. and Sarah H. Jacoby. Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience. Third Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
● Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. Translated by Susan Bernofsky. New York: Modern Library, 2008.
● Warner, Brad. Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2003.
● Additional sources are available either by link or by downloading from Blackboard/Course Readings.
Office Hours, Etc.
225 North Loomis Road, Room 23
Friday ( Tea/Talk) 4-5
Home Page: http://bhoffert.faculty.noctrl.edu