- ARCHIVE as at 1 September 2013 for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Postgraduate Course: The Buddhist Brush: Discursive and Graphic Expressions of Japanese Buddhism (ASST11071)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaAsian Studies Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course offers a perspective on literary and artistic traditions of Japan that is not found elsewhere: focussing on the rich tradition of writing in the sinific world, it seeks to unravel the complex intertwining of literati accomplishments in the discursive, poetic and pictorial arts with the Buddhist view of life. It is designed
to cater to the interests not only of students of Japan but also of religious studies and the literary and visual arts. It also provides a pre-modern perspective on artistic traditions which are being maintained and pursued in contemporary Japan, as well as the timeless permutations of a philosophy which is deeply embedded in Japanese society.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Please contact the School directly for a breakdown of Learning and Teaching Activities
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Please contact the School directly for a breakdown of Assessment Methods
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- Solid understanding of relevant Japanese literary and artistic traditions, and of the Buddhist world view espoused by the figures being analysed;
- Critical assessment of sources and documents related to these Buddhist writers, in pre-modern Japanese where appropriate, and the ability to form and defend judgements about their work, in particular how the discursive and non-discursive forms of expression interact;
- The ability to identify and explain connexions and contrasts between different figures and eras;
- Masters-level sophistication in academic writing and oral presentation.
- Students with appropriate prior knowledge of Japanese will be expected to be able to analyse the original texts for the purposes of the above outcomes.
Assessment Information
One essay of 4000 Words (100%)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description - The deceptively simple technology of the brush and its central place in the written and the pictorial cultures of the sinific world;
- The importance of the general Chinese cultural influence;
- Relevant aspects of the Buddhist ethos;
- The work of key Buddhist figures in the literary, philosophic and artistic traditions of Japan (K¿kai, Saigy¿, Bash¿, Hakuin, Jiun Sonja), including such pivotal works as Oku no hosomichi [The Narrow Roads of the Far Provinces].
Syllabus 1. Butsud', shod' 'The Way of the Buddha and the Way of the Brush
Concepts central to the Buddhist ethos and their transformations in East Asia; the adoption of the brush in Buddhist culture.
Bechert and Gombrich 1984, introductory chapters, chapters on China,
Korea and Japan.
2. The technology of the writing brush, techniques in writing and painting LaMarre 2000; Ishikawa 2011
3. The hair of the badger 'K¿kai as calligrapher, writer and purveyor of material culture Hakeda 1972; Abé 1999; Astley 2004, 2011; Bogel 2010.
4. K¿kai's mature philosophical thinking and its consequences for our understanding of esoteric Buddhist art Giebel; Bogel 2011.
5. Saigy' ' Court and renunciation in times of bloodshed and turmoil
LaFleur 2003; Watanabe 1987; Adolphson 2000.
6. Saigy' ' Mountain huts and the road Watson 1991; Allen 1955; Saigy' monogatari (on-line resource).
7. Bash¿ and his predecessors Keene 1976, Part One, esp. ch. 5, 'Matsuo Bash¿'; Keene 1989; Fujikawa 1965; Qiu 2005.
8. Bash¿'s Oku no hosomichi
Britton 1980; Yuasa 1966; Millett 1997.
9. Bash¿'s death ' A withered moor and still wandering
Shirane 1998; Ueda 1991; Miner 1996.
10. Hakuin: Zen brush, Zen man Yampolsky 1971; Awakawa 1970.
11. Jiun Sonja: The Esoteric Buddhist brush and discourses of reform
Watt 1984; Awakawa 1970.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list The following readings are the primary texts in English and French translation. The originals are all available in on-line repositories or will be provided on request.
A list of secondary works on the relevant Buddhist background, historical and philosophic, will also be distributed. [NB: some of the references below and in the 'Indicative reading' are incomplete.]
- R. Giebel: Translations of central texts by K¿kai (Taish¿ 2426¿30), Bukky¿ Dend¿ Ky¿kai edition.
- B. Watson, Saigy¿: poems of a mountain home. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1991.
- D. G. Britton, A Haiku journey, Bash¿'s Narrow road to a far province. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1st rev. pbk. ed., 1980.
- N. Yuasa, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and other travel sketches. Translated with an introduction by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Penguin classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966 [and reprints].
- P. B. Yampolsky, The Zen master Hakuin: selected writings. Records of civilization, New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.
- P. B. Watt, Jiun Sonja.
- Jiun Sonja, tr. Éric Rommeluère:
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern One two-hour seminar per week.
Course organiserDr Ian Astley
Tel: (0131 6)51 1358
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Harvey
Tel: (0131 6)51 1822
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 10 October 2013 3:39 am