REL 257 Spring 2015 Tibetan Buddhism: Embodying Wisdom and Compassion

We begin by considering the basic ideas and practices of Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the ways in which the ideals of wisdom and compassion have shaped Tibetan culture. We then proceed to examine particular aspects of the tradition such as the role of the teacher or lama and his or her various manifestations, from the exotic figure of the tantric guru to that of the Dalai Lama, a charismatic world teacher engaged in both religious and political affairs. We also examine a wide range of lay and monastic practices, from the life of large monasteries and their unique culture to the practices of nuns and lay people. Throughout this course, we consider not just the variety of exoteric practice forms but also the esoteric tantric tradition that pervades Tibetan life. We examine the various meditative practices that revolve around this profound and often misunderstood tradition. In doing so, we do not consider tantra as just a set of strange practices sometimes revolving around sex and violence. Rather we examine how it manifests a philosophy of embodiment that has profound implications for thinking about who we are as human beings.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: full attendance and participation, two essays
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Prerequisites: none
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
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Enrollment Limit: 25
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Class Number: 3751
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
REL 257 - 01 (S) LEC Tibetan Buddhism Division 2: Social Studies Georges B. Dreyfus
MWF 08:30 AM-09:45 AM 3751
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