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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Language and Communications Studies Department
Course Prefix and Number: PHIL 390
Course Title: *The Buddha and Buddhism
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Introduction to the study of Buddhist philosophy and religious traditions, beginning with the life of Siddhartha Gautama, through the development of Buddhism in ancient India-Theravada and Mahavana, the spread of Buddhism to China, Tibet, and Japan. The course concludes with the examination of the coming of Buddhism to the West. Cross-listed as RELI 390. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The Buddhist Tradition in India, China and Japan
By De Bary, W. T. (Vintage)
What the Buddha Taught
By Rahula, Walpola (Grove Press)
Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience
By Mitchell, Donald W. (Oxford University Press)
Buddhism in Translations
By Warren, Henry Clark (Cosimo)
The Path of Purification
By Buddhaghosa (Pariyatti Publishing)
Buddhist Wisdom Books
By Conze, Edward (Unwin Hyman)
A History of Indian Buddhism
By Akira, Hirakawa (Motilal Banarsidass)
The World of Tibetan Buddhism
By Dalai Lama (Wisdom Publications)
Emptiness in the Mind Only School of Buddhism
By Hopkins, Jeffrey (University of California Press)
Buddhism in China
By Ch’en, Kenneth (Princeton University Press)
Zen Buddhism: A History, Vol. I, India and China
By Dumoulin, Heinrich (Macmillan)
Zen Buddhism: A History, Vol. II, Japan
By Dumoulin, Heinrich (Macmillan)
Zen Action, Zen Person
By Kasulas, Thomas (University of Hawaii Press)
Zen and Japanese Culture
By Suzuki. D. T. (Princeton University Press)
How the Swans Came to the Lake
By Fields, Rick (Shambhala)
Course Objectives
  • To study Buddhist doctrine, philosophy, and religious practices in greater depth than world religions survey courses.
  • To examine Buddhist philosophy through original texts.
  • To examine Buddhism in the context of Asian cultures: India, China, Tibet, and Japan.
  • To study the growth of Buddhism in the West, especially in the United States.
    Measurable Learning
  • Identify and define the major Buddhist schools and the philosophies of these schools.
  • Analyze and describe in detail the most important doctrines and ideas of Buddhism.
  • Describe the variations of Buddhism as they appear in different countries.
  • Identify and describe Buddhist terms as they appear in different Asian languages.
    Topical Outline:
  • Vedic India (Historical Context)
  • Life of Buddha
  • Basic Doctrine (Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path)
  • Karma and Rebirth
  • Theravada
  • Impermanence, Interdependent Origination, Anatta
  • Meditation and Nirvana
  • Rise of Mahayana in India
  • Chinese Buddhism
  • Ch’an
  • Tibetan Buddhism
  • Buddhism in Japan (Pure Land, Nichiren)
  • Zen
  • Buddhism in the west
  • Contemporary Buddhism in the U.S.

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Anthony Alioto Date: April 2, 2008
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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