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 - 1:00 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/.
Monday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This colloquium explores the major themes of Korean history before 1800 and the role of culture and religions in shaping the everyday life of Chosôn-dynasty Koreans. Themes include the aristocracy and military in the Koryô dynasty, Buddhism and Confucianism in the making of Chosôn Korea, kingship and court culture, slavery and women, family and rituals, death and punishment, and the Korean alphabet (Hangûl) and print culture.
Monday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This colloquium explores the major themes of Korean history before 1800 and the role of culture and religions in shaping the everyday life of Chosôn-dynasty Koreans. Themes include the aristocracy and military in the Koryô dynasty, Buddhism and Confucianism in the making of Chosôn Korea, kingship and court culture, slavery and women, family and rituals, death and punishment, and the Korean alphabet (Hangûl) and print culture.
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.
Tuesday Thursday
3:15 PM - 4:45 PM
This course is an introduction to Chan/Zen Buddhism. We will study the historical and doctrinal development of this tradition in China and Japan and examine various facets of Zen, such as the philosophy, practices, rituals, culture, and institution. For this aim, we will read and discuss classical Zen texts in translation and important secondary literature. This class will further feature a visit of a Zen teacher, who will give an introduction to sitting meditation.

RELIGST 116: Buddhist Philosophy

Monday Wednesday
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Buddhism often figures in the popular imagination not as a religion, but as a philosophy, or a way of life. But why is such a distinction made? Does Buddhist thought and practice make sense as a philosophy? What do Buddhists actually mean when they say there is no self? Is this a philosophical claim? And what about the Buddhist arguments that everything is empty, projected by the mind, or the result of past karma? Is meditation on such theories philosophical practice? This course explores these and other questions by studying the perennial ideas that have made Buddhist traditions distinctive, the implications of these claims for living a meaningful life, and how these ideas and their associated practices have been received in contemporary secularized societies.
Tuesday Thursday
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
What do we owe our parents? This course centers how Buddhist authors in Cambodia and Vietnam have wrestled with questions of debt and gratitude in the family. We will begin with the Indian and Chinese antecedents that shaped ideals of filial piety in the region of Southeast Asia formerly known as "Indochina." The core of our readings and discussions will engage classical Khmer and Vietnamese literature in translation, including the verse novels "A Child Called Dream" and "The Tale of Kieu." The course will close with Asian American celebrations and critiques of filial piety. Our aim throughout the quarter will be to complicate contemporary views on familial debts by charting a specific religious and literary history in Southeast Asia.
Tuesday Thursday
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
What happens to Buddhism when the Buddha speaks Chinese? Is the Qur'an still the Qur'an in English? What did Martin Luther do for the German language? We try to answer these and other such questions in this course, which explores the translation of sacred scripture and other religious texts from the earliest times to the present day. Taking a global perspective, and looking at Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, the course is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of translation and get them thinking about its broader cultural, aesthetic and political significance. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Tuesday Thursday
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
What happens to Buddhism when the Buddha speaks Chinese? Is the Qur'an still the Qur'an in English? What did Martin Luther do for the German language? We try to answer these and other such questions in this course, which explores the translation of sacred scripture and other religious texts from the earliest times to the present day. Taking a global perspective, and looking at Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, the course is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of translation and get them thinking about its broader cultural, aesthetic and political significance. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Tuesday Thursday
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Readings in Hindu texts in Sanskrit. Texts will be selected based on student interest. Prerequisite: Sanskrit.
Wednesday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This graduate seminar will explore the mystical writings of the major religious traditions represented in our department: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. It will address major issues in the study of mysticism, exposing students to a wide variety of religious thinkers and literary traditions, while simultaneously interrogating the usefulness of the concept of "mysticism" as a framework in the study of religion. We will consider various paradigms of method (comparative, constructivist, essentialist), and examine the texts with an eye to historical and social context together with the intellectual traditions that they represent. Preserving the distinctiveness of each religious tradition, the class will be structured as a series of five units around these traditions, but our eyes will be continuously trained upon shared topics or themes, including: language; gender; notions of sainthood; scripture and exegesis; autobiography and writing; mysticism and philosophy; poetry and translation; mysticism and social formation; the interface of law, devotion, and spirit; science and mysticism; perceptions of inter-religious influence; mysticism and the modern/ post-modern world. Advanced reading knowledge of at least one language of primary-source scholarship in one of the above traditions is required.
Independent study in Buddhism. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.