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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Buddhist Literature (DIVI10008)

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
SummaryOn this course we will read a range of Buddhist literature from different historical and geographical contexts, and use this literature to explore key Buddhist ideas, themes, and literary forms.
Course description Academic Description

On this course we will read a range of Buddhist literature from different historical and geographical contexts, and use this literature to explore key Buddhist ideas, themes, and literary forms.

Syllabus/Outline Content

The course begins with an introductory discussion of Buddhism and Buddhist literature. Works of literature are then explored in turn, working from earliest poetry to modern western Buddhist-inspired literature, crossing a range of genres and contexts, and exploring important concepts, themes and literary forms as we proceed.

Student Learning Experience Information

The course will be delivered through a weekly two-hour class. One hour will normally be student-led discussion of readings from primary texts (in translation), including student presentations, which form 10% of the grade. The other hour will usually be a discussion, led by the lecturer, of key themes, concepts and contextual information that will enable full comprehension of the following week's readings. Students should expect to read a substantial piece of literature each week in preparation for class. The first essay, due during semester, will be a close analysis of a particular text, while the second essay, due during the exam period, will require students to draw on several of the readings in order to address a thematic question. Formative feedback will be provided on presentations and essay plans, and the final class of the semester will be given over to discussion of thematic links and plans for essay 2.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the key literary forms, themes and concerns of a range of Buddhist texts
  2. Analyse and interpret individual works of Buddhist literature in their historical and literary context
  3. Identify and evaluate thematic connections between different works of Buddhist literature
  4. Provide a clearly structured, properly presented and well-evidenced argument in essay form.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography

Primary readings:

Arnold, Sir Edwin, The Light of Asia, or The Great Renunciation (originally 1879, various reprints freely available).

Crosby, Kate and Andrew Skilton (trans.) santideva: The Bodhicaryvatra (OUP 1995).

Gomez, Luis (trans.) The Land of Bliss: The Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996).

Hallisey, Charles (trans.) Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women (Murty Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press, 2015).

Kerouac, Jack. Dharma Bums (Viking Press, 1958).

Kubo, Tsuganari and Akira Yuyama (trans.) The Lotus Sutra, translated from the Chinese of Kumrajva (BDK English Tripitaka Series, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2007).

Olivelle, Patrick (trans.) Life of the Buddha (Buddhacarita) by Ashvaghosha (Clay Sanskrit Library, New York University Press, 2008).

Roebuck, Valerie J. (trans.) The Dhammapada (Penguin Classics, 2010).

Sasson, Vanessa R., Yasodhara: A Novel About the Buddha's Wife (New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2018).

Secondary sources:

Coleman, James William. 2001. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (OUP, 2001)

Collett, Alice (ed.) Women in Early Indian Buddhism (OUP, 2014).

Covill, Linda et al (ed.) Lives Lived, Lives Imagined: Biography in Buddhist Traditions (Wisdom Publications, 2010).

Jerryson, Michael. 2016. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism (OUP, 2016).

King, Richard. Orientalism and Religion: Post-colonial Theory, India and the Mystic East (Routledge, 1999)

Lopez, Donald S. Prisoners of Shangri-la: Tibetan Buddhism and the West (University of Chicago Press, 1998)

McMahan, David L. The Making of Buddhist Modernism (OUP, 2008)

Normand, Lawrence, and Alison Winch, eds. Encountering Buddhism in Twentieth-Century British and American Literature (Bloomsbury, 2013).

Prebish, Charles and Baumann, Martin, eds.;Westward Dharma: Buddhism

Beyond Asia (University of California Press, 2002)

Schober, Juliane (ed.) Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia (University of Hawaii Press, 1997).

Teiser, Stephen F. and Jacqueline I. Stone (ed.) Readings of the Lotus Sutra (Columbia University Press, 2009)

Tomkinson, Carole. 1995. Big Sky Mind: Buddhism and the Beat Generation (Riverhead Books, 1995)

Whalen-Bridge, John, and Gary Storhoff, eds. Writing as Enlightenment: Buddhist American Literature in the Twenty-First Century (State University of New York Press, 2011).

Williams, Paul. Mah'y'na Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations 2nd edition (Routledge, 2009)

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course particularly develops the following UoE Graduate Attributes:

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, oral and written

Course organiserDr Paul Fuller
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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