Buddhism in the Modern World
Buddhism in the Modern World 2024-25
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
In this module, students will explore:
• The historical roots of Buddhism - This segment delves into the life and philosophy of Siddhārtha Gautama. Specifically, students will delve into the significance of the Four Noble Truths, Three Marks of Existence, and Buddhist cosmology to evaluate the distinctions between Buddhism and other dharmic traditions.
• Buddhist schools - In this part of the course, students will analyze the spread of Buddhism, examining how the original teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama have transformed as Buddhism has expanded into new regions. The focus will be on how Buddhism has adjusted to local ideologies, giving rise to new schools of Buddhist thought. Students will assess the differences between Vajrayana and Existential Buddhism and the earlier Theravada and Mahayana traditions.
• Buddhism and contemporary issues - This concluding segment will scrutinize how various Buddhist schools respond to a range of current issues, determined by the class at the course's outset. Past topics have included Buddhism in cinema, Buddhism and ecology, Political Buddhism, animal rights, and feminism.
-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.
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.
Working in pairs, students will present a 15-minute oral exposition in front of the course instructors. The presentation should delve into a specific Buddhist tradition, elucidating its central philosophies and examining how these principles manifest in the contemporary world. Each pair is required to schedule a meeting with the course instructor in early November to finalize the topic of their presentation. Additionally, students must prepare either a handout or a PowerPoint presentation to complement their verbal delivery, and this supporting material should be submitted on Blackboard. This assignment constitutes 30% of the final module grade, with individual assessments for each student.
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.