Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Buddhist Literature (PG) (DIVI11030)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) 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. Alongside this, advanced seminars delve deeper into relevant secondary scholarship addressing themes of interest to the masters students.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course will be delivered alongside a level 10 (upper undergraduate) course. Masters students will share the weekly two-hour class in addition to fortnightly seminars as a PGT cohort. One hour of the joint class will normally be student-led discussion of readings from primary texts (in translation). 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. In addition, masters students will have a fortnightly advanced seminar to discuss contextual and theoretical readings.

Four short close analysis pieces are due during semester, while the main essay, which will require students to draw on several of the readings in order to address a thematic question, is due at the end of the course. Formative feedback will be provided on the close analysis pieces and essay plans, and the final class of the semester will be given over to discussion of thematic links and plans for the final essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThere are no pre-requisites for visiting students, but some prior study of Buddhism would be beneficial.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Outline the key literary forms, themes and concerns of a range of Buddhist texts.
  2. Assess how works of Buddhist literature are situated in their historical and literary context.
  3. Identify and evaluate thematic connections between different works of Buddhist literature.
  4. Produce a concise critical analysis of extracts from individual works of Buddhist literature.
  5. Provide a clearly structured, properly presented and well-evidenced argument in essay form.
Reading List
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.) ''ntideva: The Bodhicary'vat'ra (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 Kum'raj'va (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 - 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
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