Rlst/ls 232 Buddhism Tuesdays and Thursdays 2: 10-3: 30 Interdisciplinary Science Building 110 Bradley Clough Office Phone: (406)-243-2837 Office: la 158

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Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:10-3:30

Interdisciplinary Science Building 110
Bradley Clough Office Phone: (406)-243-2837

Office: LA 158 bradley.clough@mso.umt.edu

Office Hours: T & TH 4:00-

6:00 and by appointment
The main purpose of this course is to familiarize ourselves with the basic categories of philosophy and practice in Buddhism, a pan-Asian religious tradition of remarkable diversity and expansive geographical and chronological scope. While the course will always maintain an historical perspective, in order to provide us with a framework for understanding Buddhist developments in their cultural and temporal contexts, the course will be structured mainly along thematic lines, according to the traditional concepts of the “Three Jewels or Refuges”: Buddha (awakened being, exemplar, teacher); Dharma (teachings, doctrine); and Sangha (community), and the “Three Trainings”: Sila (ethics, morality, virtue); Samadhi (meditation, contemplation); and Prajna (wisdom, transformative insight). Following this structure, we will closely read primary sources (in translation) and secondary studies, in order to explore how Buddhists, from ancient to modern times, have viewed the world and lived their lives in the cultural settings of South and Southeast Asia (Theravada Buddhism), East Asia (Mahayana Buddhism), and the Tibetan and Himalayan regions of Asia (Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism).
Required Readings (all are available for purchase at the campus bookstore):

Kohn, Sherab Chodzin. The Awakened One.

Nichtern, Ethan. One City: A Declaration of Interdependence

Rahula, Walpola. What the Buddha Taught.

Santideva. The Bodhicaryavatara.

Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

Williams, Paul. Mahayana Buddhism:The Doctrinal Foundations

Yeshe, Lama. Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire.


  1. Class Preparation and Participation: completion of and reflection upon the reading assignment for the day, as well as consistent attendance and oral participation in regular discussions. No more than two absences will be accepted without written authorization from the Health Service or an advisor, counselor, or administrator. (20% of the final grade).

  2. Mid-Term and Final Exams (each is worth 40% of the final grade, making the two equal 80% total).

Class Meetings and Assignments
I. Buddha: Awakened One, Exemplar, Teacher, Savior
Tues. 8/28 Introduction to the Course
Thurs. 8/30 India in the Time of the Buddha

-handout: Jacob Kinnard, “Historical Overview: The Context Out of Which Buddhism Emerged” (from The Emergence of Buddhism)

Tues. 9/4 The Life of Siddhartha Gautama, Sakyamuni Buddha

-Kohn: Acknowledgement and Chapters 1-5

Thurs. 9/6 The Life of the Buddha (continued)

-Kohn: Chapters 6-9

Tues. 9/11 The Previous Lives of the Buddha

-selections from the Jatakas, stories of Buddha’s past lives

Thurs. 9/13 Buddhist Imagery I: Early Artistic Representations of the Buddha

-in-class visual presentation (no reading)

Tues. 9/18 Buddha as Supramundane Being

-Williams, “Buddhism: Doctrinal Diversity and Moral Unity” (pp. 1-7) and “Mahasamghikas and Lokottaravada” (pp. 18-21)

-handout: Roger Corliss, “Birth of Buddhas” (from The Vision of Buddhism)
Thurs. 9/20 Buddhas and Their Pure Lands

-Williams, Chapter 10: “Trust, Faith, & Devotion: The Cults of Buddhas & Bodhisattvas” (pp. 209-218 and 243-266)

-handout: The Smaller Sutra Displaying the Land of Bliss

Tues. 9/25 Buddhist Imagery II: Later Artistic Icons of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

-Williams, Chapter 10, pp. 218-243

-in-class visual presentation

II. Dharma: The Teachings of Wisdom, Ethics and Meditation
Thurs. 9/27 The Fundamental Teachings of Buddhist Philosophy

-Rahula: chapters II, VI, and III, and pp. 92-94

-handout: “King Milinda and Nagasena’s Chariot Simile”

Tues. 10/2 The Fundamental Teachings of Buddhist Philosophy (continued)

-handout: Joseph Goldstein, “Dependent Origination” (from The Experience of Insight)

-handout: The Dalai Lama, “The Buddhist Worldview” and “Life Impelled by Ignorance” (from The Meaning of Life)

-handout: The Kaccayanagotta Sutta
Thurs. 10/4 The Fundamental Teachings of Buddhist Philosophy (continued)

-Rahula: Chapters IV and V

-handout: selections from Theravada Buddhism’s “Pali Canon”
Tues. 10/9 Buddhist Meditation I: Theravada Buddhist Meditation

- handout: Damien Keown, “Meditation” (from Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction)

-handout: Shinzen Young, “Buddhist Mediation” (from The Buddhist Religion)

**Evening Documentary Showing: “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana”**
Thurs. 10/11 Buddhist Ethics I: The Layperson’s Morality of Giving, the Five Precepts, and Merit-Making

-handout: Peter Harvey, Introduction to Buddhist Ethics (pp. 60-88 and 97-122)

Tues. 10/16 Reformation in Buddhist Thought: Mahayana Buddhism’s Prajna-Paramita (“Perfection of Wisdom”) Literature

-Williams: “Abhidharma,” (pp. 15-18), “ The Justification of Mahayana Sutras,” (pp. 38-44), and Chapter 2

-handout: The Hridaya (“Heart”) Sutra

-handout: Geshe Rabten, commentary on the Heart Sutra

Thurs. 10/18 The Systemization and Elucidation of “Perfection of Wisdom” Thought:

Nagarjuna and the Madhyamaka School

-Williams: Chapter 3, “Madhyamaka”

-handout: Chapter 24 of Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarikas

Tues. 10/23 **Mid-Term Exam**
Thurs. 10/25 Mahayana Buddhist Teachings on Mind and Buddha-Nature

-Williams, pp. 84-88, 92-100, 103-109, & 119-122

-handout: selections from Cittamatra (“Mind-Only”) or Yogacara (“Yoga

Practice”) and Tathagatagarbha (“Buddha-Womb”) literature

Tues. 10/30 Buddhist Mediation II: Zen and the Realization of Buddha-Nature

-Suzuki: selections

Thurs. 11/1 Topics in Buddhist Ethics II: The Bodhisattva and the Way of Compassion

-Santideva: Bodhicaryavatara, General Introduction and Chapters 1-5

Tues. 11/6 No class. Election Day.
Thurs 11/8 Topics in Buddhist Ethics II: The Bodhisattva and the Way of Compassion


-Santideva: Bodhicaryavatara, Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 10
Tues. 11/13 The Varieties of Buddhist Meditation III: Tantra and the Practice of “Diety Yoga”

-Yeshe: Chapters 1-4

Thurs. 11/15 The Varieties of Buddhist Meditation III: Tantra and the Practice of “Diety Yoga” (continued)

-Yeshe: Chapters10-12

**Evening Documentary Showing: “Mandala: The Sacred Circle of Vajrabhairava”
Tues. 11/20 No Class: Instructor Away at a Conference
Thurs. 11/22 No Class: Thanksgiving Day
Tues. 11/27 Topics in Buddhist Ethics III: Buddhism, Non-Violence, and Peace-Making

-handout: Harvey, “War and Peace”

III. Sangha: Community Life in the World
Thurs. 11/29 The “Fourfold Sangha”: Monastic and Lay Living

-handout: Roger Corliss, “The Monastic Life” & “Buddhism in Family Life”

**Evening Documentary Showing: “Footprint of the Buddha”**

Tues. 12/4 A New (?) Vision of a World Sangha

Nichtern, chapters 1-6)
Thurs. 12/6 Nichtern, chapters 7-10
**Final Exam**: TBA
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