Summer 2014: Buddhism - RELB 2100
Thu. Jul 17, 2014 - Thu. Aug 7, 2014 (4 weeks)
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 11:15 AM
In the growing recognition of Buddhist concepts in American society, we can see Starbucks selling “Zen” tea, and the terms “karma” or “nirvana” often mentioned in popular culture. Do we know how those terms were used in their original Buddhist context? What is Buddhism itself? How can we understand Buddhism through different periods and places? In this course “Buddhism,” we will survey the history of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, Tibet, East Asia, and the West. We will reflect on how major Buddhist spiritual practices, such as meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment, developed and are still developing in those different cultural backgrounds. We will examine to what extent those spiritual practices influence one’s relations with oneself and others. Furthermore, when Buddhism enters twenty-first century society, what are the challenges Buddhism faces in the modern world? How does Buddhism deal with poverty, social injustice, human rights, ecological crisis, wars, etc? We will evaluate what methods and strategies proposed by “engaged Buddhism” to resolve these issues. '