PHRE 347 01 Studies in Religion II
THE BUDDHIST TRADITION
Dr. Lloyd Pflueger
MC 210, MWF 4:30-5:20 Spring 2002 TSU
Office: MC 230 Hours: 2:30-3:20 MWF or by appt.
Phone/VOX: Office: 785-4056, Division Secretary: 4636 ; SS57@truman.edu
This course is a survey of the history, structure, and essential concepts of Buddhism as a living cultural tradition. Emphasis will be on a close reading of classical and modern texts in relation to their cultural matrices supplemented by reflective exercises, films, slides, music, art and discussions. Students will use a Research Project to learn more deeply about a particular aspect of Buddhism, express this knowledge concretely, and share it with others. This course satisfies the requirements for the Philosophical/Religious Mode of Inquiry as well as the Intercultural Perspective of the LSP and qualifies for General Honors (for non-majors). Our encounter with Buddhism will involve both East and West, religion and philosophy, heart and mind. This course will provide an opportunity to break down narrow understandings of human nature and the nature of religion itself. You may even hear the sound of one hand clapping.
1. Armstrong, Karen, The Buddha (=B)
2.Robinson, Richard and Willard Johnson, The Buddhist Religion, 4th Ed. (=R)
3. Ward, Tim, What The Buddha Never Taught (=W) (a course pack reprinted by TSU)
4. Strong, John S. The Experience of Buddhism: Sources and Interpretations 2nd ED (=E).
5. Jean Smith, Ed ,Breath Sweeps Mind,.(M)
6. Conze, Edward, Buddhist Thought in India (C)
7. Sherrill, Martha, The Buddha From Brooklyn (S)
8. Hope, Jane and Barin Van Loon, Introducing Buddha (=I)
9. Harding, D. E. On Having No Head, (=H) (May be out of print–great if you can get it)
10. Hanh, Thich Nhat, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (T)
11. Gach, Gary, Understanding Buddhism (G)
200 1st Midterm Exam 2-13- in class
200 2nd Midterm Exam take- home exam
300 Research Project (Proposal, Critical Review, Creative Project and Oral Presentation)
300 Participation, Short essays, Exercises, Contemplative Journal, Quizzes, Attendance
1000 Total Points
] Course requirements for The Buddhist Tradition (con’d)
1. Attendance Policy:
MA) Students are expected to attend class, to prepare for discussion, and to bring along texts we are currently reading for reference. Bonus: You may sometimes be able to use texts in (open book) quizzes.
MB) Late assignments are unacceptable. Unless otherwise stated: ASSIGNMENTS ARE ALWAYS DUE IN PILE ON DESK BEFORE CLASS STARTS.
MC) Late assignments must always be turned in with an explanation for lateness and attached signed documentation from a medical authority . For Truman extracurricular events proper forms must be submitted in advance of the event , initialed by the PHRE 347 instructor, and then attached to the late assignment when it is handed in. Documented illness, Truman Extracurricular events , and death are considered excusable explanations. All other explanations, Acts of Buddha, and strange phenomena will be considered, but with considerably less likelihood of being excused. Papers without explanations will not be considered. You are expected to know how to run a word processor and a computer and printer. Computer errors are your responsibility.
MD) Unexcused late assignments will either be given a grade of zero, or a discount of one grade lower per calendar day late.
ME) A pattern (determined by the instructor) of missed classes will damage your class participation and lower your grade for the class. Instructor reserves the right to lower your class grade to “F” if more than 10 classes are missed.
MF) Missed daily quizzes : Class often begins with a review/reading quiz. Arrive punctually; no quiz make-ups allowed.
MG) Exam attendance is required. Make-ups are unfair to every member of the class who attended. A missed exam = a score of zero. Exam make-ups are only allowed in cases of extreme hardship, which can be substantiated either by a Md. signed statement, or a properly assigned form submitted in advance of an extracurricular event, or certain “acts of Buddha” discussed with and approved by with instructor. Weddings, Early Summer vacation trips, Skiing, Employment Interviews, Raves, Hangovers, or Oversleeping are not excused; schedule them with foresight.
MH) Oral Presentations are assigned by the instructor at his discretion, not for student convenience. Since presentation time in class is limited make-ups are not assured even for excused absences. To accommodate the most people: During the short period of class Oral Presentations all students should be ready to present, even if it is not their assigned time, since absences may force a rearranged schedule.
2. Class Preparation and Participation:
ü A) Always complete the day’s assigned reading before class to enable discussion and to assist you with review/reading quizzes each week. Class participation when you are called on for information or intelligent educated opinions or arguments will affect your overall class grade. Not speaking, or rarely participating will lower your grade. Speaking just to hear your own voice will also lower your grade. J
ü B) Always review the previous lecture material before class. Write down questions you have on reading or lecture for class discussion.
ü C) Any writing outside of class (turned in for credit) must be typed, and double-spaced. Typed material must be in an acceptable college format--print must be easy and clear to read, i.e., not too light, too dark, smeary, or messy, or in strange fonts. Credit all ideas that are not your own (whether quoted or paraphrased) with proper footnotes or endnotes
ü D) Word-processing of whatever kind is your responsibility. Always keep a copy of your work for reference on disk or hard drive. Ignorance of how to check spelling or set margins, format a document, make footnotes etc. will count against you as any other writing error.
ü E) To forward active reading it is important that the student read with questions in mind (see MSG) and keep a list of important questions unanswered by study. Bring these questions to class for discussion. The books are the same for each student, but the brains (thank goodness) are not–be sure you learn from class those things that you want to know, as well as what the professor wants you to know.
ü F) . The beginning of each class session is generally devoted to answering or discussing questions from the previous lecture or the days assigned reading. In the absence of student questions or discussion, all such material is open for quizzing
ü G) The professor appreciates your participation and answers to his questions in class and questions that you ask. Even an incorrect answer or a strange question can help the class discussion. Mistakes are a part of learning. I respect your participation, even if I have to reveal that your answer is incorrect. Learning takes some courage. Those who don’t dare the embarrassment of being in error have made the worst error!
ü H) . Taking a college class gives you access to the time of a professional in the field, both in office hours and in class– make the best use of that opportunity. Even so, don’t expect that there are easy answers or answers at all to all questions. Sometimes questions are more important than answers. One way or another ASK YOUR QUESTIONS–By doing so you are not only helping to educate yourself, but all the many other students who inevitably have the same question
ü I) Who is responsible for your education? Neither the professor, nor the university nor your parents are or can be responsible for your becoming an educated person. No class or degree can ensure that either. Its all up to you. We are here to help you educate yourself and to provide a space where you have access to the proper tools. Your teachers are just students who are a bit ahead of you in confronting the material
ü J) Opportunities for extra credit may come up. There will be extra credit opportunities (campus lectures, internet, Philosophy and Religion Club activities, etc.) announced as we go. (If you have an idea for an assignment please suggest it to me.) The main point of extra credit is to learn more, especially in areas that give you first-hand experience with issues in exploring Buddhism. Extra credit is only applicable to the grades which fall into the area of “participation”. It will not be directly applied to major tests , projects, papers or research assignments.
3. The Research Project:
(12 pages minimum) will involve reading a scholarly monograph in the field of Buddhist Studies (approved by the instructor) and writing a critical review paper in which you argue for a particular thesis by critically reviewing the book, reading and evaluating reviews of the book, and placing the book in the context of current thinking in a particular area of Buddhist studies and/or Religious Studies we have addressed in the class..
The Creative Project is an opportunity to combine thought and feeling related to your thesis and research into a unified creative expression of your choice: sketching, painting, sculpture, mobile, mechanism, photography, fiction, poetry, videotape, original music, interview, dance) project. All projects must include proper scholarly documentation with endnotes/footnotes and bibliography, and a one page explanation of the project. ( Instructor reserves the right to keep those creative projects which will contribute as examples or teaching aids for future classes.) A formal , typed, one-page proposal for the project, including description of project, thesis of paper, bibliography, and description of panel presentation, must be submitted for instructor approval in class . Projects will be presented to and discussed with the class as part of the grade in an oral presentation of 15-20 minutes the timing of which’s assigned by the instructor.
Since the Buddhist Tradition we are studying is based on a highly developed practical psychology and exercises in contemplation, students are required to practice a number of reflective and contemplative exercises which will help them empathize with the findings of Buddhist practitioners and explore and develop their own minds. None of these exercises require belief in Buddhism or conversion to Buddhism. They do require systematic introspection and observation of the natural processes of one’s own mind. Students will be required to keep a journal of their regular contemplative exercises. This journal of inner experience will be an essential part of class participation. Outside of class this will take about 15 minutes per day.
5. Academic Dishonesty: As you know: Honesty is the best policy. Remember: Credit all ideas that are not your own (whether quoted or paraphrased) with proper footnotes or endnotes. If you are found to be turning in other people’s work or other people’s ideas as your own, without proper reference you are guilty of plagiarism. Any form of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism will be taken seriously in this class, reported to the authorities, and strictly punished. Instructor reserves the right to FAIL any student guilty of academic dishonesty
Take care of the body attached to your mind. It needs proper physical recreation, food, and sleep or the mind won’t work effectively. Learn effective methods for dealing with stress. Keep your balance. Rotate your tires! Regular daily work is necessary in this class not spurts of last minute cramming. You can not cram Buddhism. You will need calm, systematic, regular attention to assignments.
7. Getting to know YOU.
Students are each required to visit the instructor in his office (MC 230) at least once at some point between the beginning of class and the first midterm. He will not bite. Bring questions.
Dr Pflueger Studies in Religion II: THE BUDDHIST TRADITION
Course Schedule and Assigned Readings Spring 99
Abbreviations Required Texts
R= The Buddhist Religion, Robinson C= Buddhist Thought in India, Conze
E= The Experience of Buddhism, Strong M=Breath Sweeps Mind, Smith
B= The Buddha, Armstrong S= The Buddha from Brooklyn, Sherrill
W What the Buddha Never Taught, Ward
Abbreviations Recommended Texts
H= On Having No Head, Harding, T=The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching, Hanh
I= Introducing Buddha, Hope
U= Understanding Buddhism, Gach
Assignments are due on the day they appear in this list; please look ahead in list
ch=chapters, t=terms to learn. md=meditative/contemplative exercise q=expect quiz
Bibliographical Notes: Your Class Reading
Books differ, readers differ, goals differ, methods of reading differ. Do not assume you are to read every text in the same way–an intelligent reader always takes note of their goal and the type of text to determine how they need to approach the process of reading. In this class we have a wide range of texts, both primary and secondary, scriptures, history, poetry, novels, journalism, cartoons, idiot guides, texts by Buddhists, texts by scholars, historians, philosophers, practitioners, enlightened beings, and students of enlightenment. Every type of text and every classroom goal will determine how quickly or how slowly you should proceed. Read intelligently. Sometimes when the reading assignment is small in pages but high in difficulty or thought content it may take you much longer than other times when there are many pages , but only an overview of basic ideas is desired. If you have a question about the purpose of our readings or how to approach them be sure to ask . Sometimes the instructor will give you hints on the reading method, but in general it is part of the dharma of a student to begin to figure out this important skill of reading and learning.
R= The Buddhist Religion, Robinson
R is your basic textbook overview of the whole terrain of Buddhism. You should get the basic concepts, outline, history, and terms from this text. My advice is to take this text very seriously by highlighting the most important terms and ideas and then going back and making an outline of the highlighted areas so you see how they fit together. Merely highlighting a text, of course, does little. In India they have a famous saying: “Knowledge in the book, stays in the book” You must do something with the knowledge to make it your own. Thus making a few notes and learning on a daily basis is to be recommended. This is not a course where you can cram before the test and hope to pass. Regular quizzes on basic terms and concepts will help you.
U= Understanding Buddhism, Gach and I= Introducing Buddha, Hope
The I and U texts, two simplified popular guides to Buddhism for “idiots” may help you get a handle on this mysterious religion with snappy organization, cartoons, and innovative illustrations. I think they are a lot of fun, but not a necessity. Read them as and if you like.
E= The Experience of Buddhism, Strong
Since taking all your information from secondary sources is for children, we add to R’s fine historical overview of the development of Buddhism, E’s collection of primary source readings which accompany R and deepen the intellectual adventure. Treat these as one book. The good thing in this text is that the sources are excerpts of short length. The bad thing is that the sources are only excerpts of short length. So it goes. E give you insight into the experience of Buddhism. You begin to see that Buddhism is based on the experience of Buddhists in many times and cultures. The primary sources drive home the basic ideas of R and ground them in actual experience and historical “greatest hits” of Buddhist scriptures. It would take several lifetimes to read all the scriptures of Buddhism and learn the many languages of the tradition, Pali, Sanskrit, Ceylonese, Burmese, Thai, Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, Japanese, etc. E saves you a great deal of time. Once you have the basic ideas from R, E can be read a little more quickly in some cases–in others it will take reading and rereading, depending on our class emphasis and discussion. R is correlated (in R. at each section heading) to sections of S. Refer to these and read them without a separate direction from the instructor.
C= Buddhist Thought in India, Conze
The philosophical rubber hit’s the road in C, which tackles the deeper concepts of Buddhist philosophy, the structure and development of the Buddhist doctrines spanning 2500 years. This reading will be the most challenging, and if you understand it, the most rewarding. R and E should help you approach C. If you don’t get every concept in C, or find portions beyond you–join the club. Take notes on your questions. This will give us something to do in class. If you don’t indicate what you have trouble with, where your questions are, how will you ever take advantage of study in an university. Don’t be intimidated by the density of C. but struggle with the text and bring your problems to our discussion.
M=Breath Sweeps Mind, Smith
Buddhism is not all philosophy. Its philosophy is based on direct experience of meditation–various forms of spiritual discipline which access various capacities of the human mind to bring about more happiness, peace, compassion, and understanding. In this class we honor the experience of Buddhism as the very source and core of the tradition. M will be your guide to Buddhist reflective and contemplative practices, to Buddhist psychology. We will never understand a bit of Buddhism without understanding Buddhist psychology and philosophical anthropology based on meditative experience. You will be using M to keep a journal of your own personal attempts at tasting psychological states and methods of attaining them which Buddhists give sacred value. You will never be asked to change your beliefs or become a Buddhist, don’t worry. But you will be asked to discipline your mind for a few minutes on a regular basis with traditional reflective exercises to develop your empathy with the tradition. Empathy means an effort to feel what others feel. Without empathy not study of religious or cultural tradition is possible.
B=The Buddha by Armstrong
What did the Buddha experience? He is at the very core of the tradition and B gives you an overview of his life which most Buddhists have used to interpret and practice his path. B is the newest available biography of the Buddha. It helps you understand the context of the founder’s life and teachings as well and relates them to our modern world. It may be read a little quicker than the other textual readings–the goal is to appreciate the life and mind of the founder of this tradition and some of the cultural context.
W What the Buddha Never Taught, Ward and S= The Buddha from Brooklyn, Sherrill
More help and probably more fun is offered by the last two required texts which are both accounts of how modern, Western young people are engaging with Buddhism–with all the pitfalls, mistakes, vivid experiences and confusions imaginable. In W we come to have vicarious experience of a young Canadian man entering a Thai monastery for a few months, set on practicing meditation in the most rigorous way and experiencing the path of the Buddha firsthand. His experience represents a Westerner dealing with the Southern Buddhist tradition. The Northern Buddhist tradition comes to America in S. This is a journalist’s account of the development of a Tibetan Buddhist sect in Washington D.C., told as a novel. Both novels mean to deliver truths about the encounter of East and West; both are based on first hand experience of living people. The novels can be read at a greater speed than the other texts. Still and all you will probably need to make notes and highlight or mark portions –we will be writing essays and exams on these two, comparing and contrasting. They both have controversial elements and mysterious problems and questions for you to wrestle with as you come to terms with East and West and Buddhist tradition.
H= On Having No Head, Harding and T=The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching, Hanh
T and H are extra resources. T is a Westerner’s account of his enlightenment experience which he attempts to transfer to you through words and video. It could change your life if you get the point the makes, irrespective of your beliefs. His point is about perception. H is the account of Buddhist concepts form the inside by a famous and enlightened Vietnamese monk, deeply involved with the peace movement. His insights come form the heart and are particularly insightful and concise. These two books are just to sharpen and enrich your class experience.
Day/Date Class # and Theme with Preparatory Assignments
m 1-14 1. What’s this class involve?
Show up, read syllabus, meet people!
w 1-16 2. Presuppositions 2000-500 BCE.
C 17-30 (make a list of presuppositions);
B intro and Ch 1 note especially the characteristics of the Axial Age,and parallels with our age
M 5-10; R 7-13 (compare with C.)
consult your glossaries and dictionaries as you run into new terms.
f 1-18 3 Indian Context: Sacrifice and Shramanas
Map: Trace a map of the main Buddhist countries and the expansion of
Buddhism (I 172, or R after preface) label and lightly color countries
and label major features.
Q Be able to identify Buddhist countries/features on blank map quiz.
M 11-17, B. Ch2, R 1-6 (skim)
MD begin your Contemplative Journal with exercise in M 49, every day, from today. Journal will be collected at intervals. Write short entry on your short exercise each day. Date every entry with calendar day and time. Write legibly.
w 1-23 4 The Life of Buddha
R sections1.3.4 to 1.4.3; B ch3, (I 3-50), M 17-25; C. ch2
MD Now begin Practice M 53-56 10-15 min per day. Keep record in journal of your experiences and comments and questions.
f 1-25 5 Cosmology and Birth
R 1.4.2, B ch 4, M 26-36
MD: consider your posture M pp.126-137
m 1-28 6 The Problem: Suffering
Essay 1: in min. 3 typed pages write your own personal analysis of
what you think happiness is, how one can keep it, and what
destroys it. Go to the root of the situation. Do all forms of
happiness or unhappiness have any common factor(s)? Does peace of mind figure in?
R 2.1–)up to 2.3.2, don’t forget linked E;
f 2-1 7 The Soultion: A Path
R 1.4.3, R. 2.32; B ch 13 and 14, M 40-43, 57-62, W. ch 1
Q Memorize the 4 noble truths and the 8 fold path for today
(Use Handout 3 for the wording )
MD Work on distinguishing concept from percept while sitting and in activity during the day. See M. p. 80-81
m 2-4 8 The Nature of Reality
Personal Bhavacakra, Wheel of Life Mandala Due
This is your own version of the Buddhist ‘Wheel
of Becoming” as described and illustrated in R. 27
and elsewhere (look in handout 1 p. 10 (from R. 3rd ed.) And back of p. 11, from Roger Corless, The Vision of Buddhism (New York:Paragon House, 1989, p. 147) from Tibetan Thanka Painting). Personalize and modernize. You may illustrate by hand or make collage from magazine or internet pictures. Color and decorate; the size is the size of two sheets
of typing paper taped together. Include short explanation
of your choices and symbols.
W. Chapter 2, M 50-52 (read slowly, at least twice, C.ch 8 107-116
Q: memorize 5 skandhas in English,+3 Marks (Handout 3)
w 2-6 9 Meditation Experience
E 118-128; W ch 3 and 4,: :Don’t come with full stomach—there should have been 2-3 hrs (for digestion) since you had much to eat to properly experience this class. Stay mindful—we will be writing aobut our experiences in the class session.