Buddhism in the Modern World
Buddhism in the Modern World 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
Throughout the module students will examine:
• The historical origins of Buddhism – This aspect of the module will explore the life and philosophy of Siddhārtha Gautama. In particular, students will focus on the significance of the Four Noble Truths, Three Marks of Existence and Buddhist cosmology in order to assess how Buddhism differs from other dharmic traditions.
• Buddhist schools - Throughout this section of the course students will analyse the spread of Buddhism, discussing how the traditional teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama have evolved as Buddhism has established itself in new regions. It will analyse how Buddhism has adapted to local ideologies to formulate new schools of Buddhist thought, with students evaluating how Vajrayana and Engaged Buddhism differ from the earlier Theravada and Mahayana traditions.
•Buddhism and contemporary issues – This final aspect of the course will examine how the different Buddhist schools respond to a range of contemporary issues, in particular, we shall examine how different Buddhist schools have responded to issues such as racism, transphobia, veganism, environmentalism and bioethical concerns.
-threshold -D- - D +. Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows: Generally accurate but with omissions and errors. Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning. Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions. Draws on a relatively narrow range of material. -good -Very Good B- - B+. Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: - Very good structure and logically developed arguments. - Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. - Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning. - Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style. -excellent -A - - A*. Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways: - Has originality of exposition with the student’s own thinking being readily apparent. - Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study. - Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions. -another level-Good C- - C +. Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: - Good structure and logically developed arguments. - At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. - Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and sound reasoning. - Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
- Discuss and demonstrate knowledge of the Buddhism’s classic sources and their subsequent articulations by some central interpreters of the tradition(s).
- Apply philosophical insights, themes and debates from different Buddhist schools appropriately to broader social and disciplinary contexts, including the medical and biological sciences.
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the multi-faceted complexity of Buddhism, for example, in the relationship between specifically religious beliefs, texts, practices and institutions, and wider social and cultural structures, norms, aesthetics and aspirations.
- Demonstrate comprehension of and intelligent engagement with the rich philosophical traditions of Buddhism in its varied and central forms.
Glossary of Key Terms this assignment asks students to provide a detailed explanation of 10 key Buddhist terms. Each explanation should be between 150-200 words, with each definition having clear references to either scholarly works or primary Buddhist texts. Students will be expected to include citations in their definitions and include a complete bibliography at the end of the assignment. This assignment is worth 30% of the final module mark.
Group Presentation In pairs students will deliver a 15-minute oral presentation in front of the course instructors. The presentation should explore how one Buddhist tradition has responded to a contemporary ethical, social or philosophical issue, with specific focus on analysing Buddhism’s classic sources. Each pair will meet with the course instructor in early November to decide on the topic of their presentation. Student s will need to either create a handout or PowerPoint to accompany their presentation that will be submitted on Blackboard. This assignment is worth 30% of the final module mark and students will be assessed individually.
Essay Students will complete one essay out of a choice of six. Each essay will provide students with the opportunity to compare and contrast the teachings of different Buddhist movements with reference to a contemporary ethical, social or philosophical issue. The word limit for this assignment is 2500 words. This assignment is worth 40% of the final module mark.