HISTORY 208 - Topics in History
Section: 003 How to Make the Wheel Turn: Buddhism and Power
Term: WN 2008
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Credits:
3
Repeatability:
May be elected twice 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.

HISTORY 208 - Topics in History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
P
25596
Open
5
 
-
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Note: Students must be able to attend three out of four required field assignments to be held on designated Fridays during the semester.
002 (LEC)
P
27938
Open
11
6LSA Hnrs
-
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Note: Meets with AAPTIS 291.001
003 (LEC)
P
28132
Open
3
 
-
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: Meets with ASIAN 253.003
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