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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST3707 Buddhism: A Lived Tradition

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Professor Martin Seeger

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will introduce some fundamental teachings of Buddhism (such as on karma, rebirth, meditation, nirvana and ethics). Making extensive use of temple murals, we will discuss these teachings in the context of the story of the Buddha. Moreover, this module will examine Buddhist monasticism and the magic-animistic elements of Thai Buddhism (e.g. the amulet cult, protective tattoos). Also, we will discuss ongoing public and scholarly debates on the roles of women in Buddhism.


At the end of the module, students will be expected to have:
- gained knowledge about the story of the Buddha, the fundamental Buddhist teachings on karma, rebirth, meditation, nirvana and ethics, and the scriptural traditions of Buddhism
- developed critical insights into Buddhist monasticism and the magic-animistic elements of Thai Buddhism;
-developed the ability to critically discuss issues of gender in Buddhism;
- developed critical insights into the complex articulation of Buddhism, state, and society in contemporary Thailand
- 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.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should have:
1. 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;
2. Gained knowledge about the history and development of the texts of the Pali-canon;
3. Learned about the history of Theravada-Buddhism in South East Asia, and especially in Thailand;
4. Learned about the complex articulation of Buddhism, state, society, and economics in contemporary Thailand.


The module will explore the story of the Buddha and Buddhist teachings on karma, rebirth, meditation, nirvana and ethics. It will also discuss Buddhist monasticism and issues of gender in Buddhism. The module’s focus is on the scriptural tradition of Theravada Buddhism and modern forms of Thai Buddhism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours70.00
Private study hours108.00
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 made available to students via Minerva on a weekly basis (30 hrs). In addition, students will be asked to do on-line research on various aspects of Buddhism (10 hrs). For their assessed 3,000 word essay, students will have to do intensive and extensive research on a topic that is related to Buddhism (35 hrs). 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 prepare for and revise the lectures/seminars more effectively (24 hrs). The literature review will allow students to engage with the major concepts of this module in order to develop their presentation skills, skills of critical and analytical thinking, and time management skills (23 hrs)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring participation in seminars; homework: students will be asked to give mini-presentations that are based on their homework.
Students will be strongly encouraged to visit the lecturer during his office hours in order to discuss their understanding of the contents of this module, their essay topic, essay plan and literature review.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words60.00
Literature Review1,500 word literature review40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:13:10


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