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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Buddhist Ethics (DIVI10041)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores a selection of topics in Buddhist ethics, using a range of sources from historical contexts and contemporary debate. Themes include ecology, animal rights, human rights (including abortion, euthanasia, and issues of equality), war and peace, and economic ethics.
Course description Academic Description:
This course explores a selection of topics in Buddhist ethics, using a range of sources from historical contexts and contemporary debate. Themes include ecology and animal rights, human rights (including abortion, euthanasia, and issues of equality), war and peace, and economic ethics.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course begins with an introductory discussion of the foundations of Buddhist ethics, including ideas such as karma and rebirth, and key Buddhist virtues and ideals. Ethical topics are then explored in turn, using a range of sources from a variety of Buddhist contexts, historical and contemporary.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has two hours per week of class time, with students expected to engage in self-study for additional hours during each week. The first hour will normally be student-led discussion of readings from primary texts (in translation) and secondary sources, including ethnographic scholarship and writings of contemporary Buddhists. Students will be required to do a presentation on one of the readings, which counts for 10% of the course grade. The second hour is led by the lecturer, and comprises an introduction to, and discussion of, key themes and concepts that will enable full comprehension of the following week's readings. In addition to the assessed presentation, students must complete two essays, one mid-semester (2500 words, 40%) and one during the exam period (3000 words, 50%).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Buddhist Ethics (REST10058)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Buddhist Ethics (REST10058)
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 173 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% - Presentation

40% - Coursework Essay (2500 words)

50% - Final Essay (3000 words)
Feedback Presentations during class will provide an opportunity for formative feedback (by email) and checking on comprehension and engagement. Students will also be invited to submit an essay plan for feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and analyse key concepts and ideals that feature in Buddhist discussions of ethics.
  2. Identify the major concerns and arguments in a range of ethical debates within Buddhist communities.
  3. Evaluate a range of Buddhist ethical debates in a balanced and scholarly manner.
  4. Draw on evidence from both primary and secondary sources in support of arguments.
  5. Produce a clearly structured, properly presented and well-evidenced argument in essay form.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography:

Batholomeusz, Tessa J. In Defense of Dharma: Just-war ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka (Routledge 2002).

Deegalle, Mahinda (ed.) Buddhism, Conflict and Violence in Modern Sri Lanka (Routledge 2006).

Harvey, Peter, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics (CUP 2000).

Jerryson, Michael K. and Mark Juergensmeyer (eds) Buddhist Warfare (OUP 2010).

Keown, Damien, Buddhism and Bioethics (Macmillan 1995).

Keown, Damien (ed.), Buddhism and Abortion (Macmillan 1999).

Keown, Damien (ed.) Contemporary Buddhist Ethics (Routledge 2000).

Prebish, Charles (ed.) Buddhist Ethics: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Kendall/Hunt 1992).

Sizemore, Russell F. and Donald K. Swearer (eds) Ethics, Wealth and Salvation: A Study in Buddhist Social Ethics (University of South Carolina Press, 1990).

Tucker, Mary Evelyn and Duncan Ryuken Williams (eds) Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds (Harvard University Press, 1997).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Research and enquiry, in engaging with course readings and themes
- Intellectual autonomy, in pursuing deeper engagement with selected topics
- Personal effectiveness, especially in adapting to new situations with sensitivity and integrity
- Communication, aural and written
Course organiserDr Paul Fuller
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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