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.
There will be four short papers, four pages maximum, to be written
on assigned themes. Each will have separate guidelines.
Analysis of Milindapanha Dialogues (due 9/19)
Belief and Practice (10/31)
Analysis of two jâtaka stories
Working paper ready for class: 10/11
Paper Due: 10/16
Final Paper: Modernity or Open Topic (December)
(25% of the evaluation will be based upon
summary during the last seminar meeting; topic to be agreed upon with instructor)
Course Grading (100 points)
Four papers [10/10/15/20]
Informed Class Participation
Walpola Rahula. What the Buddha Taught, NY: Publisher Resource, 1978.
H.C. Warren, translator. Buddhism in Translations, NY: Macmillan, 1966.
T. Byrom, translator. The Dhammapada, Boston: Shambhala Pocket, 1993
N.A. Nikam and Richard McKeon, ed. The Edicts of Ashoka, University
of Chicago Press, 1978.
Caroline A.F. Rhys-Davids, translator, Stories of the Buddha, NY: Dover,
Mohan Wijayaratna. Buddhist Monastic Life, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987.
Nyanaponika Thera. The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, NY: Weiser, 1984.
Richard Gombrich, Theravāda Buddhism: a Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo . New York : Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988.
Donald Swearer, The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia . Albany : SUNY Press, 1995.
Nicola Tannenbaum, Who Can Compete Against the World? Power-protection and Buddhism in Shan Worldview. Ann Arbor : Association for Asian Studies, 2001
Sharon Salzburg, Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Boston : Shambhala, 2002
Readings on E-res [Password: RELS 312]
Joseph Goldstein, The Path of Insight. Boston : Shambhala Pocket, 1995