Postgraduate Course: Mahayana and Vajrayana in India (ASST11078)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course is intended to deal thematically with some of the main factors (historical, literary, philosophical and ritual) involved in the creation and maintenance of MahŚyŚna and VajrayŚna Buddhism in South Asia from the beginning of the first millennium CE until around the thirteenth century. To this end the class will endeavour to consult primary sources as much as possible, reading and analysing central texts of the MahŚyŚna and VajrayŚna traditions, while paying due attention to significant secondary literature. In accord with the nature of the departmental section in which the course is taught, the
perspectives adopted will, broadly speaking, be those of the academic disciplines of classical Indology and history of religions. However, students are encouraged to bring their own varying perspectives to bear on the subject.
The course will be taught by reference to Buddhist texts (supported by critical assessment of relevant secondary literature. BS (= D. Lopez, Buddhist Scriptures) and EB (= J. Strong, The Experience of Buddhism: Sources and Interpretations, third edition) both contain a great deal of relevant source materials and will be drawn up regularly to provide set readings.
1. A introductory critical analysis of some approaches to the emergence of MahŚyŚna Buddhism.
2. An introduction to MahŚyŚna textual tradition, incluing its self-declared status as scripture.
3. An introduction to the philosophical dimension of MahŚyŚna as embodied in Madhyamaka and Yogacara.
4. An introduction to the social, historical and religious background as embodied in the tantric texts of the VajrayŚna and the siddha tradition.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| The purposes of the course are
(1) to enable students to form a mature understanding of MahŚyŚna and VajrayŚna throughout their history as distictive idioms of Buddhism;
(2) to foster an appreciation of these styles of Buddhism as a uniquely interesting religiosities which at the same time overlap with other cultures;
(3) to strengthen skills in analysing and assessing primary and secondary sources
(4) to develop articulacy and coherence in class discussion and writing.
(5) to develop the ability to apply and test theories in specific case studies.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Jointly taught with UG
|Course organiser||Mr Paul Dundas
Tel: (0131 6)50 4175
|Course secretary||Mr Iain Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3988