ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Section: 001 How to Make the Wheel Turn: Buddhism and Power
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Other:
WorldLit
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The Buddha is said to have been able to stop mad elephants from running him over, have entire armies out to kill him be washed away by floods, or teleport himself across rivers and into heavens and hells. Indian Buddhist saints, Nepalese tantric priests and Burmese wizards supposedly had and still have the power to fly through the air, go through walls, or read minds. A mantra recited or written on a scrap of paper, icons and amulets representing the Buddha, or, most of all, the Buddha’s conserved tooth have the power to protect you from danger and vanquish your enemies. Kings, generals, politicians and businessmen in South and Southeast Asia have sought to own these powerful objects and to be endorsed by powerful monks to run countries, wipe out competition or wage devastating wars. In the same way rebels, social reformers and pro-democracy activists have successfully stood up to repression and changed the balance of power by themselves plugging into the power the Buddha, his doctrine and his people have to offer. The ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka is both favored and opposed by monks. And the Thai king, who was once a monk, is the one to decide when the military or the civilians should run the country. If Buddhism, as it is often believed is all about peace, meditation, retreating and nirvana, how Buddhist is it to have all these kinds of powers, or how Buddhist is it to have power at all? Or could it be that the path to power is to refuse to have any? What power can the knowledge about Buddhism confer not only on Buddhist monks and rulers, but on Western scholars and students? This is a course in which you will learn about Buddhism from a different perspective by studying how power works.

ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
P
28495
Open
3
 
-
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: This class meets together with HISTORY 208 section 003
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