Magnolias in Spring

Magnolia blossoms behind Building 530, Stanford. Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero



Monday Wednesday Friday
10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
This course surveys major religious traditions of the world in all of their complexity, in relation to philosophy and politics; liturgy and literature; identity and social hierarchies; art, community, and emotion. Through examination of a variety of materials, including scriptures and other spiritual writings, religious objects and artifacts, and modern documentary, fiction and film, we explore Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Daoism as rich historical and living traditions.

RELIGST 315A: Chinese Buddhism

Tuesday Thursday
2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
This year the seminar will focus on the twentieth century, perhaps the most vibrant and certainly the most tumultuous period in two thousand years of Chinese Buddhist history. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, leading Buddhists proposed a series of radical reforms to the sangha in a frantic effort to adapt to the modern era. External changes forced creative Buddhist responses to imperialism, democratic government, communism, revolution, war and famine. By the end of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, it seemed as if reform had come too late, the persecution had been too brutal and too thorough, for Buddhist institutions and ideas to ever play a significant role in China again. But from the 1980s on, Buddhist rituals and practices resurfaced, at first through Buddhist organizations in Taiwan and then, increasingly, on the Mainland. By the end of the century, Buddhist leaders were posed to play a more prominent role than they had for a hundred years. In this course, we will focus on biographies and autobiographies by and about monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen in an attempt to work out from individuals to the wider trends that shaped Chinese Buddhism in the twentieth century. There is now enough material in English for a seminar on the subject, but students who can read Chinese will be encouraged to draw on the growing body of relevant material in Chinese as well.
Independent study in Buddhism. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.