ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Section: 001 Buddhism and Death
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Course Note:
Provides an opportunity for non-specialists to explore a particular area of Asian culture. It aims to give beginning students a background for the study of Asian topics, as well as special insights into the (literary) traditions, philosophies, and beliefs of different peoples within Asia.
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Other:
WorldLit
Waitlist Capacity:
99
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Buddhism is comprised of a complex of traditions, spanning multiple cultures over the course of more than two millennia. Despite its dizzying diversity, there are a number of unifying themes — loosely woven networks of beliefs and practices — found throughout Buddhist traditions regardless of time and place. Such themes include the problem of suffering, the goal of liberation, the authority of the Buddha, and the centrality of texts, to name just a few. The topic of this course — the role of death in Buddhism — stands alongside and in relation to other central aspects of the Buddhist tradition.

  • Why death? From a certain perspective, conceptions and practices of dying, death, and the afterlife are the fundamental concerns of all Buddhists.
  • How does the immanence of death influence the actions of the living?
  • How should one die?
  • What happens at the moment of death?
  • What should be done with the bodies of the dead?
  • Is there an afterlife? What is it that is reborn?

We will explore these and other issues as they manifest in distinct cultural contexts (India, Thailand, China, and Japan) and as cross-cultural phenomena. In addition to assigned readings of scholarly articles and translations of primary texts, relevant topics will be addressed in class through lectures, discussions, numerous images, and two films. There will be no exams. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their engagement with the material by producing one short (4-5 page) midterm paper and one longer (8-9 page) final paper. Everyone is welcome; no previous experience is required.

ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
41507
Open
3
 
-
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
002 (SEM)
P
41509
Open
1
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
P
44942
Open
6
 
-
 
004 (SEM)
P
46733
Closed
0
 
-
 
005 (SEM)
P
49382
Open
9
 
-
 
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