image of Lagunita Lake in the winter

Lagunita in early March, Stanford. Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero

 

Winter

Monday Wednesday Friday
10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
Temples, prayer beads, icons, robes, books, relics, candles and incense, scarves and hats, sacred food and holy water; objects of all sorts play a prominent role in all religions, evoking a wide range of emotional responses, from reverence, solace and even ecstasy, to fear, hostility and violence. What is it about these things that makes them so powerful? Is it beliefs and doctrines that inspire particular attitudes towards certain objects, or is it the other way around? Many see a tension or even contradiction between religion and material pursuits and argue that the true religious life is a life without things. But is such a life even possible? This course adopts a comparative approach, drawing on a variety of traditions to examine the place of images, food, clothing, ritual objects, architecture and relics in religious thought and practice. Materials for the course include scholarship, scripture, images and at least one museum visit.
Tuesday Thursday
2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
An overview of major themes and historical developments in 5000 years of Chinese religion. In this course, we will try as much as possible to appreciate Chinese religion from the Chinese perspective, paying particular attention to original texts in translation in an attempt to discern the logic of Chinese religion and the role it has played in the course of Chinese history. To a greater extent perhaps than any other civilization, Chinese have left behind a continuous body of written documents and other artifacts relating to religion stretching over thousands of years, providing a wealth of material for studying the place of religion in history and society.

RELIGST 116: Buddhist Philosophy

Tuesday Thursday
12:30 PM - 1:50 PM
What do Buddhists mean when they argue that there is "no self?" What about their claim that everything is "empty?" Is their theory of karma a type of "fatalism" (that everything is just a matter of predetermined fate)? Does Buddhism really teach that we are all connected with one another? This course aims to answer these questions, and many others related to Buddhist philosophy. We will begin by exploring the central philosophical arguments attributed to the historical Buddha, and study the major philosophical traditions of Buddhism and the debates between them over the issues of metaphysics (what is really real?), ethics (what should we do?), and epistemology (what and how do we know?). We will also learn about the problems and significance of the modern interpretations of Buddhist philosophy. Through these discussions, we will attempt to critically appreciate both the universality and the particularity of the Buddhist ways of thinking.
Monday Wednesday
4:00 PM - 5:20 PM
An exploration of the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation from the time of the Buddha to the modern mindfulness boom, with attention to the wide range of techniques developed and their diverse interpretation. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Monday Wednesday
1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Required of all majors and combined majors. The study of religion reflects upon itself. Representative modern and contemporary attempts to "theorize," and thereby understand, the phenomena of religion in anthropology, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, and philosophy. WIM.
Friday
10:00 AM - 12:50 PM
Readings in Hindu texts in Sanskrit. Texts will be selected based on student interest. Prerequisite: Sanskrit.
Monday Wednesday
4:00 PM - 5:20 PM
An exploration of the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation from the time of the Buddha to the modern mindfulness boom, with attention to the wide range of techniques developed and their diverse interpretation. Undergraduates register for 200-level for 5 units. Graduate students register for 300-level for 3-5 units.
Independent study in Buddhism. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.