Fall Foliage with Hoover Tower in the Background

Autumn foliage with Hoover Tower in the background. Photo credit: Chuck Painter

 

Autumn

Monday
11:30 AM - 12:50 PM
This course looks at foundations of East Asian thought, including Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism as well as other cultural traditions. The ideologies were first articulated in ancient China (or India) and from there spread to Korea, Japan, and throughout Southeast Asia, where they remain important today. We will read selections from seminal texts including "The Confucian Analects", "Daode jing", "Zhuangzi", and "The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch". Attention is also given to other perennial (and often problematic) themes of Asian life and society, including those of conflicting loyalties and violent revenge. Finally, the course examines aesthetic expression in painting and calligraphy that became the embodiment of classical philosophical values and their own articulation of an aestheticized Way, still widely practiced and admired. This course is part of the Humanities Core, a collaborative set of global humanities seminars that brings all of its students and faculty into conversation. On Mondays you meet in your own course, and on Wednesdays all the HumCore seminars (in session that quarter) meet together: https://humanitiescore.stanford.edu/.
Impact of Buddhism on the arts and culture of Japan as seen in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Image production, iconography, representational strategies, as well as the ritual and visual functions of Buddhist sculpture and painting with a focus on selected historical temples and their icons. Also examination of architectural and landscape elements of temple layouts, within which iconographic programs are framed, images are enlivened, and practices centered on these devotional and ritual art.
Monday Wednesday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
How has the modern fascination with the Buddha, who lived nearly 2,500 years ago, come to influence scientific research on the nature of mind and its potential role in human flourishing? Do "mindfulness apps" have anything to do with ancient Buddhist theories of mind and techniques for training and transforming it? This class explores these and related questions through studying the history, nature, and implications of the diverse encounters and exchanges between Buddhists and psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers of mind.
Thursday
1:30 PM - 4:20 PM
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the oldest and most racially and linguistically diverse Buddhist communities in the United States. This course engages differences in power and representation in Buddhist temples and centers across the Bay Area, focusing on Asian American institutions and other communities of color. We will also explore the entanglement of race, religion, and the appropriation of mindfulness-based practices in Silicon Valley. In addition to reading works by anthropologists and sociologists of religion, we will conduct fieldwork with local communities to build a more representative picture of Buddhist life in the Bay Area from the nineteenth century to the present.
Monday Wednesday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
Is the body we identify as a 'self' a given? How does a body that is gendered, raced, or marked as deviant become free? Like Queer studies, Buddhism has long ago recognized the constructedness of identity, and developed an impressive array of contemplative practices, ritual performances, and philosophical systems that aim to transcend binary constructions. At the same time however, Buddhist institutions continue to be steeped in patriarchal societies that derive their power from creating various categories of bodily exclusion. How do we reconcile this seeming contradiction between the ultimate goal of liberation and the relative reality of identity markers of difference?
Independent study in Buddhism. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

RELIGST 390: Teaching Internship

Required supervised internship for PhDs.