REL 255 Fall 2014 Buddhism: Ideas and Practices

Cross Listed as ASST255
This course introduces students to Buddhism by examining its ideas and practices as they have taken place in actual social contexts rather than as disembodied textual objects. After examining the main ideas and narratives of the tradition, we turn our attention to Thailand where we examine how these ideas and narratives have shaped a whole range of practices, from meditation to shamanistic rituals. We then consider the transformations that Buddhism is undergoing in contemporary society, examining the rise of meditation movement, the changing role of monks and laity, the resurgence of the nun order, the rise of Buddhist social activism and the development of new Buddhist social philosophies. We ask questions such as: How can Buddhism adapt to a modern global consumerist society? What are the transformations involved in this process and the role that Buddhism can play in such a global society? Should Buddhists take advantage of the opportunities of this new global culture or should they adopt a critical stance toward its consumerist values?
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: full attendance and active participation; two essays
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: none
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
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Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1760
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
REL 255 - 01 (F) LEC Buddhism: Ideas and Practices Division 2: Social Studies Georges B. Dreyfus
MWF 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Hopkins Hall 105 1760 Open
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