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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Postgraduate Course: Mahayana and Vajrayana in India (ASST11078)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
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.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Jointly taught with UG
Course organiserMr Paul Dundas
Tel: (0131 6)50 4175
Course secretaryMr Iain Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3988
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