Theravāda Buddhism

Professor Todd T. Lewis
Religious Studies Department, Stein 425
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30 - 11:00 AM
Office Extension: 793-3436   

View complete syllabus

Course Description

A course that examines the prominent texts, doctrines and  practices of  the Theravāda Buddhist tradition. We will survey the historical development of the tradition in India with  attention to major schools of interpretation and practice. Theravāda social philosophy  and ethics are examined, as are the distinctive forms of meditation, popular narratives, and the patterns of accommodation with non-Buddhist religions.  Village Buddhism and new forms of Theravāda tradition in urban contexts will be studied. The final and largest phase of the course in 2006 will focus upon modernity and examines distinctive traditions and practices of Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand.  

Course Design

  1. There will be four short papers, four pages maximum, to be written on assigned  themes. Each will have separate guidelines.
    1. Analysis of Milindapanha Dialogues (due 9/19)
    2. Belief and Practice (10/31)
    3. Analysis of two jâtaka stories    
      1. Working paper ready for class: 10/11
      2. Paper Due: 10/16
    4. Final Paper: Modernity or Open Topic (December)
      (25% of the evaluation will be based upon the oral summary during the last seminar meeting; topic to be agreed upon with instructor)
  2. Final Exam
  3. Participation 

Course Grading (100 points)

Four papers [10/10/15/20] 55
Final Exam 35
Informed Class Participation 10

Required Textbooks:

Recommended Reading: