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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Buddhism in Global Contexts (DIVI08004)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores Buddhism in a range of global contexts, serving as an introduction to Buddhist ideas and practices.
Course description Academic Description:
This course explores Buddhism in three different times and places, serving as an introduction to a variety of Buddhist ideas and practices. The selection of global contexts may differ each time the course is delivered, but the course will usually include a section on Ancient India, the birthplace of Buddhism. Other sections could address any of the other global contexts in which Buddhism is found, including various parts of Asia, and the 'west'. Each global context will be explored using a range of sources, including texts (in translation), visual and material culture, and ethnographic accounts of lived religious practice. Through taking this course you will discover some of the fascinating varieties of Buddhism across time and place.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course is broadly divided into three sections of three weeks each, with an introductory week and a concluding week. Each of the three sections explores a particular global context in detail, and will often be led by a different lecturer. For example, there may be three weeks on the emergence of Buddhism in ancient India, and how it related to its cultural and religious background. Another three weeks might explore modern Thai Buddhism, and the ways in which Buddhist institutions and practices are tied up in wider society and politics. Another three weeks might explore the place of Buddhism in British society. The specific contexts may change depending on staff availability and interests, and you should check with the CO if you want further information about what is planned for the year you are taking the course.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The contact hours for the course comprise three lectures and one small group tutorial. Lectures will be led by experts in Buddhist Studies, and will include interactive content. Tutorials will be student-led discussions of set readings or primary source materials. Students will demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes through participation in class activities, a short reflection on a tutorial reading, a mid-semester coursework essay (addressing the first section of the course), and an examination scheduled at the end of the semester. Feedback will be offered on tutorial work and an essay plan, as well as on the essay itself, in order to ensure students are fully supported in succeeding in the course.
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
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 40%:
Tutorial reflection (750 words) = 10%
Coursework essay (2,000 words) = 30%

Final Exam 60%
Feedback Students will receive regular feedback on their participation in tutorials. They are also invited to submit an essay plan to the CO two weeks before the essay deadline
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the history and main features of Buddhism across three global contexts.
  2. Confidently analyse sources for the study of Buddhism, such as texts (in translation) and material and visual culture.
  3. Identify what is distinctive about different Buddhist cultures, and assess how this relates to differences in geography, history, politics and culture.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography

Readings will differ depending on which contexts are covered in a given year. This list is indicative only. Since segments will be offered that align with staff¿s existing interests there are unlikely to be any resource implications.

Bechert, Heinz & Richard Gombrich, eds. (1991), The World of Buddhism, London: Thames & Hudson.

Bluck, Robert (2006) British Buddhism: Teachings, Practice and Development. Routledge.

Carrithers, Michael (1996), Buddha: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crosby, Kate (2014) Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity and Identity, Wiley Blackwell

Gethin, Rupert (1998), The Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gombrich, Richard F. Therav¿da Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to modern Colombo. Various editions, including Routledge 2006.

Harris, Elizabeth J. (2021), Buddhism in Five Minutes, Sheffield: Equinox.

Harvey, Peter (2000), An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harvey, Peter An Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn 2012 or 1st edn 1990.

Keown, Damien (1996), A Very Short Introduction to Buddhism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.¿

Keown, Damien & Charles S. Prebish (2006), Buddhism: the Ebook: An Online Introduction, Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books.

Keown, Damien & Charles S. Prebish, eds. (2007), Encyclopedia of Buddhism, London: Routledge.

Lopez, Donald S. Jr. ed. (1995), Buddhism in Practice, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press

Shaw, Sarah (2009), Introduction to Buddhist Meditation, London: Routledge.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course contributes to the development of the following graduate abilities:
-Collect and synthesise evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources;
-Express clearly ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing; Collaborate efficiently and productively with others in the process of learning and presenting conclusions - this includes those with a range of backgrounds and knowledge bases about religion, such as fellow-students, tutors and supervisors;
-Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable;
-Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Religious Studies; and
-Work independently on the creation of essays using the standards current in the academic field of Religious Studies.
Course organiserDr Paul Fuller
Course secretaryMs Amy MacKinnon
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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