Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST3707 Buddhism: A Lived Tradition

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Martin Seeger
Email: m.seeger@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will introduce the most fundamental tenets of the Buddhist doctrine, like the teachings of rebirth, kamma, different meditation techniques, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Mental Sublime States, and so on. These teachings will be explained in the context of the biography of the Buddha, as it is depicted in the canonical and post-canonical texts of Theravada-tradition. Moreover, this module will examine Thai Buddhist monasticism and the magic-animistic elements of Thai Buddhism (e.g. the amulet cult, protective tattoos). One main aspect of the module will be the investigation of the relationship between the Thai monkhood, Thai society, and Thai state. By doing this, the political, social, and economic dimensions of (Thai) Buddhism will be demonstrated and investigated. Also, this module will address ongoing Buddhist controversies in Thailand, like the possibility of a (re)initiation of a Thai Buddhist nun order, the debates on the controversial issues whether there is a Higher Self in Buddhism or not (atta/anatta), whether being a Buddhist implies being a vegetarian or not, are the supernatural elements which the Pali canon attributes to the Buddha to be understood literally, metaphorically, or should they be simply regarded as accretions of the later tradition, should/can the canonical texts be changed in order to pitch modern social conditions, and so on. In this way it will expose students to the multifarious practices and interpretations of modern Thai Buddhism.

Objectives

At the end of the module, students will be expected to have:
- received an impression of the various forms, interpretations and schools of contemporary Thai Buddhism;
- learned about the complex articulation of Buddhism, state, society, and economics in contemporary Thailand;
- become acquainted with the basic thoughts and interpretations of some of the most influential Thai Buddhist thinkers
- evaluated their learning processes, written work and oral expression critically and reflexively through tutorial discussion and presentation
- developed the skills to search, identify, select and evaluate relevant academic materials in the study of Buddhism, its history and social phenomena in Thailand.

Learning outcomes
At the end of the module, students will be expected to have:
- acquired a basic understanding of the history of early Buddhism and the most fundamental teachings of Theravada-Buddhism as they are recorded in the Pali-canon, i.e. the basic statements and teachings of Buddhism about life, ethics, and meditation;
- gained knowledge about the history and development of the texts of the Pali-canon;
- learned about the history of Theravada-Buddhism in South East Asia, and especially in Thailand;
- learned about the complex articulation of Buddhism, state, society, and economics in contemporary Thailand.


Syllabus

The module will introduce the most fundamental tenets of the Buddhist doctrine. These teachings will be explained in the context of the biography of the Buddha, as it is depicted in the canonical and post-canonical texts of Theravada-tradition. Moreover, this module will examine Thai Buddhist monasticism and the magic-animistic elements of Thai Buddhism (e.g. the amulet cult, protective tattoos). One main aspect of the module will be the investigation of the relationship between the Thai monkhood, Thai society, and Thai state. Also, this module will address ongoing Buddhist controversies in Thailand, like the possibility of a (re)initiation of a Thai Buddhist nun order, the debates on the controversial issues whether there is a Higher Self in Buddhism or not (atta/anatta), whether being a Buddhist implies being a vegetarian or not, are the supernatural elements which the Pali canon attributes to the Buddha to be understood literally, metaphorically, or should they be simply regarded as accretions of the later tradition, should/can the canonical texts be changed in order to pitch modern social conditions, and so on. In this way it will expose students to the multifarious practices and interpretations of modern Thai Buddhism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture111.0011.00
Seminar111.0011.00
Independent online learning hours68.00
Private study hours110.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be required to study intensively the key text (Rahula Walpola, What the Buddha Taught) and reading texts that will be given out to students as handouts on a weekly basis. In addition this, students will be asked to do on-line research on various aspects of Buddhism. Students will also receive mini research questions/topics on a weekly basis during the first seven teaching weeks of this module, and they are required to write short essays on their findings, as homework. For their assessed 3,000 word essay, students will have to do intensive and extensive research on a topic that is related to Buddhism. The PowerPoint presentations that serve as a basis for the lectures and seminars will be made available to students on the VLE on a weekly basis, so that students are able to revise the lectures/seminars more effectively.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring participation in seminars; homework: students will be asked to give mini-presentations that are based on their homework;

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Students who fail the module over-all will resit the component of assessment (essay or unseen exam) which they failed: students who do not pass their essay will submit another essay; those who fail the written paper at the end of the semester will take a resit paper. If they fail both components they will retake both.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/05/2012

Disclaimer

Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2013