Buddha Head
The Global Buddha
RELG 315
 

Special Note on Creating a Virtual Community: In order to minimize the spread of Covid-19, this course will be taught online via Zoom, a high-quality video conferencing platform that will allow us to create a virtual classroom that closely approximates the experience of meeting in a physical space. One way to contribute to the success of our virtual classroom is to keep your camera turned on during class sessions. While this may be a little uncomfortable at first, our willingness to be “present” for each other will help us establish a learning community that is based on mutual trust and respect. If you have any concerns about this policy, please reach out to me as soon as possible so that we can discuss your situation and develop an alternate strategy if necessary.

Cardinal Operation Hope and Help: A community begins when a group of people come together to pursue a common interest, but to truly flourish there must be a shared sense of concern for the well-being of all its members. Toward this end, the North Central community has established Cardinal Operation Hope and Help to provide emergency financial support for students with basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and educational supplies. To explore details of the program as well as eligibility requirements, please click the above link — and feel free to let me know how I can help you overcome any challenges you are facing.

Zoom Recordings: Class sessions in this course may be recorded in order to provide increased accessibility to course content for all students, including those who have been granted permission to record or require temporary or ongoing remote access. Recorded content may be used like class notes to support learning outcomes for the course, but may not be shared with anyone who is not a registered student in this class. Students may not upload recorded content to file-sharing sites, post them to the web or on social media, provide them to journalists, or use them in any way that has not been specifically approved above.

Introduction
This course traces the historical, philosophical, and religious development of Buddhism from its origins in India to its manifestations in Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and finally North America. Major themes include Buddhist conceptions of the self, the relationship between Buddhism and the world, regional influences on the transformations of Buddhism, and the principles and practice of mindfulness meditation.
 
The distribution of grades for the course is as follows:
 
10%
20%
20%
20%
10%
20%
Class/BodhiBlog Participation
Siddhartha Paper
Temple Visit Paper

Harcore Zen Paper
Mindfulness Journal
Holistic Wellness Paper

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:

APossesses a deep understanding of the major concepts and themes of the course. The “A” student is able to consistently identify and explain key ideas in the primary sources, develop genuine insights into the broader significance of these texts, and demonstrate a high level of intellectual engagement in class discussions.
BDemonstrates a serious commitment to the course (i.e. attendance and participation) and a strong grasp of the major concepts and themes but with less depth and/or consistency than the “A” student.
CDemonstrates a reasonable effort to attend class and participate in discussions as well as a basic grasp of the course material.
DDemonstrates a minimal commitment to the course and a weak grasp of basic concepts and themes.
FFails to demonstrate an acceptable degree of effort in the course through low attendance, inability to discuss basic concepts and themes, missed assignments and/or plagiarized work.
Small Buddha Head
Class Participation
Class/BodhiBlog Participation
Your participation mark (worth 10% of the final grade) will be based on your ability to demonstrate that you have made a sincere attempt to read and understand the assigned material. Although the quality of your comments will obviously be taken into consideration, all attempts to seriously engage the readings — from sharing your perspective on the material to simply asking a relevant question — will enhance your grade. You can also enhance your grade by posting reflections on the readings and/or class discussions to an online discussion forum that I call BodhiBlog (“Enlightenment Blog”), which can be accessed through Blackboard. While your mark will ultimately depend on my subjective evaluation of the quantity and quality of your comments, you may reasonably expect to receive at least a “B” if you attend class regularly, actively participate in class discussions, and contribute a minimum of 5 substantial postings to the BodhiBlog.
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Writing Assignments
Writing Assignments
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 references to “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 randomly selected for program assessment (with names removed); although this will in no way impact your course grade, you may opt out of program assessment by notifying Professor Hoffert by email.
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Essay 1: Siddhartha
Siddhartha Paper
Your first paper will be a 6-page (1500-word minimum) book report on Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha. The paper should focus on the similarities and differences between the fictional Siddhartha of the novel and the historical Siddhartha who is said to have attained enlightenment and become a Buddha. Your conclusion should explain how comparing the lives of the two Siddharthas enhanced your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings. Please be sure to provide appropriate references to Hesse’s Siddhartha and at least three academic sources. For more details, see the Siddhartha Paper Rubric below.
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Foguangshan Buddhist Temple
Virtual Temple Visit Paper
A “virtual” class visit to Foguangshan temple in Naperville has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday, October 18, though you may choose to attend a service — virtual or otherwise — at another temple if you wish (click here for a selection of Buddhist temples in the area). After the temple visit, you will write a 6-page (1500-word minimum) paper based on your experience. The 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 four academic sources. Your paper should conclude with a discussion of how the temple visit, together with additional research, helped you develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between Buddhist theory and practice. For more details, see the Virtual Temple Visit Paper Rubric below.
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Hardcore Zen
Harcore Zen Paper
Your second book report will be a 6-page (1500-word minimum) paper on Brad Warner’s autobiography Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality. The paper should focus on the question of whether or not Warner’s perspective is consistent with the essential principles of Buddhism in general and Zen Buddhism in particular. Your argument should be supported by evidence from Warner’s book and at least three academic sources. For more details, see the Hardcore Zen Paper Rubric below.
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Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
Mindfulness Journal
Each Friday we will explore the principles and practice of mindfulness mediation by discussing a chapter of the book Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness and engaging in a related mindfulness exercise. Toward this end, you will write a weekly journal entry (250-word minimum, due on Sunday by midnight) reflecting on the relationship between the week’s reading and its corresponding meditation. You will receive 1% for each journal entry that satisfies the above requirements for a maximum of 10%; since there are twelve “Mindfulness Fridays,” this means that you will get the full 10% as long as you complete acceptable journal entries for at least ten of the twelve sessions.
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Holistic Wellness
Holistic Wellness Paper

At the end of the semester, you will write a final 6-page (1500-word minimum) paper that explores the value of mindfulness meditation with regard to “holistic wellness” (a combination of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and/or financial wellness). Your paper should begin with a discussion of holistic wellness and go on to explain how the practice of mindfulness meditation can contribute to its attainment, highlighting at least three of the five elements listed above. Your argument should be supported by a combination of personal reflections on your own meditation experiences (which may include insights recorded in your Mindfulness Journal) and references to at least three academic sources that discuss mindfulness meditation and/or its benefits. For more details, see the Holistic Wellness Paper Rubric below.
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  • 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, 2015.
  • Smalley, Susan L. and Diana Winston. Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2010.
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Office Hours/Contact Info
I will be available online (via Zoom) at the following times:
Monday 4:30-5:30
  Tuesday 3:30-5:00
Thursday 3:30-5:00
Friday ( Tea/Talk) 4:30-5:30
Phone: 630-637-5619
E-Mail: bhoffert@noctrl.edu
Home Page:  http://bhoffert.faculty.noctrl.edu

Siddhartha Paper Rubric

Unsatisfactory
0 - .69
Satisfactory
.70-.79
Good
.80-.89
Excellent
.90-1.0
MARK
LENGTH
<1250
words
1250-1500
words
1500-1750
words
>1750
words
     
2
STYLE
Ideas are poorly expressed and there are substantial spelling and grammar issues Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors Ideas are eloquently expressed with very few stylistic errors      
3
SIMILARITIES
&
DIFFERENCES
Fails to adequately grasp the relationship between the two Siddharthas Identifies basic similarities and differences between the two Siddharthas Identifies significant similarities and differences between the two Siddharthas Insightfully discusses the relationship between the two Siddharthas      
10
USE OF ACADEMIC SOURCES
There are significant problems with the references to academic sources There are problems with the references (<3, non-academic, citation style, etc.) There are appropriate references to at least three academic sources The academic sources are well-chosen, skillfully used, and properly cited      
3
THESIS
There are significant problems with the paper’s thesis The paper’s thesis is unclear and/or not supported by a coherent argument Clearly explains how the novel enhanced your understanding of Buddhism Develops a genuine insight on the novel’s significance w.r.t. the Buddha’s teachings      
2
TOTAL




     
20
Virtual Temple Visit Paper Rubric

Unsatisfactory
0 - .69
Satisfactory
.70-.79
Good
.80-.89
Excellent
.90-1.0
MARK
LENGTH
<1250
words
1250-1500
words
1500-1750
words
>1750
words
     
2
STYLE
Ideas are poorly expressed and there are substantial spelling and grammar issues Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors Ideas are eloquently expressed with very few stylistic errors      
2
DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE
The religious service is not described in sufficient detail The religious service is described in minimal detail The religious service is described in appropriate detail The description of the religious service significantly enhances the paper      
2
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF RITUAL
The observed ritual is not described in sufficient detail The observed ritual is described in minimal detail The observed ritual is described in appropriate detail The description of the observed ritual significantly enhances the paper      
2
ANALYSIS OF RITUAL
There are significant problems with the sources/analysis of the observed ritual Does not effectively draw on 4 academic sources to analyze the observed ritual Effectively draws on 4 academic sources to analyze the observed ritual Insightfully draws on at least 4 academic sources to analyze the observed ritual      
10
THESIS
There are significant problems with the paper’s thesis Minimally discusses the relationship between Buddhist theory and practice Clearly discusses the relationship between Buddhist theory and practice Insightfully discusses the relationship between Buddhist theory and practice      
2
TOTAL




     
20
Hardcore Zen Paper Rubric

Unsatisfactory
0 - .69
Satisfactory
.70-.79
Good
.80-.89
Excellent
.90-1.0
MARK
LENGTH
<1250
words
1250-1500
words
1500-1750
words
>1750
words
     
2
STYLE
Ideas are poorly expressed and there are substantial spelling and grammar issues Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors Ideas are eloquently expressed with very few stylistic errors      
3
WARNER, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
The relationship b/w Warner’s perspective and Buddhism/Zen is inadequately discussed Adequately discusses the relationship b/w Warner’s perspective and Buddhism/Zen Clearly discusses the relationship between Warner’s perspective and Buddhism/Zen Insightfully discusses the relationship b/w Warner’s perspective and Buddhism/Zen      
10
USE OF ACADEMIC SOURCES
There are significant problems with the references to academic sources There are problems with the references (<3, non-academic, citation style, etc.) There are appropriate references to at least three academic sources The academic sources are well-chosen, skillfully used, and properly cited      
3
THESIS
There are significant problems with the paper’s thesis Minimally discusses Warner’s relationship to Buddhism
and/or Zen
Expresses a clear perspective on Warner’s relationship to Buddhism/Zen Develops an insightful perspective on Warner’s relationship to Buddhism/Zen      
2
TOTAL




     
20
Holistic Wellness Paper Rubric

Unsatisfactory
0 - .69
Satisfactory
.70-.79
Good
.80-.89
Excellent
.90-1.0
MARK
LENGTH
<1250
words
1250-1500
words
1500-1750
words
>1750
words
     
2
STYLE
Ideas are poorly expressed and there are substantial spelling and grammar issues Ideas are adequately expressed but there are many stylistic errors Ideas are clearly expressed with some stylistic errors Ideas are eloquently expressed with very few stylistic errors      
3
HOLISTIC WELLNESS
There are significant problems with the discussion of holistic wellness There is a minimal discussion of holistic wellness There is a reasonable discussion of holistic wellness There is a clear discussion of holistic wellness      
2
THE PRACTICE OF MINDFULNESS
Fails to demonstrate how mindfulness can contribute to holistic wellness Minimally explains how mindfulness can contribute to holistic wellness Clearly explains how mindfulness can contribute to holistic wellness Insightfully explains how mindfulness can contribute to holistic wellness      
8
SUPPORTING EVIDENCE
There are significant problems with the supporting evidence There are problems with the references (no personal reflection, <3 academic sources, etc) Appropriate references to both personal experience and 3 academic sources Excellent references to both personal experience and at least 3 academic sources      
3
THESIS
There are significant problems with the paper’s thesis The paper’s thesis is unclear and/or is not supported by a coherent argument The paper presents a clear thesis that is supported by a reasonable argument The paper presents an insightful thesis that is supported by a strong argument      
2
TOTAL




     
20