REL 255
Buddhism: Ideas and Practices Spring 2019
Division II
Cross-listed ANTH 255 / REL 255 / ASST 255
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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?
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3383
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: full attendance and active participation; two essays
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ANTH 255 Division II REL 255 Division II ASST 255 Division II
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives
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