REL4050 Buddhist Studies – Intro to Theories & Methods

Course Overview

Educational Level: Upper undergraduate, Bachelor
Credit Hours: 3 Credits
Instructor: Dr. George Terry

Course Description:

Survey of the major analytical frameworks and methods for the study of Buddhism. Students will investigate classic approaches to understanding Buddhism as a social phenomenon, an experience, and a body of lived practices, and explore the influence of issues defining the nature of contemporary Buddhism, e.g., colonialism, cultural difference, postmodernism, secularism, and pluralism. Prerequisite: History of Buddhism

How This Course Benefits Students:

The major analytical frameworks for the study of Buddhism include (a) Buddhism as a social phenomenon, (b) Buddhism as a spiritual experience, (c) Buddhism as a philosophy, and (d) Buddhism as a body of lived practices. Students need to understand the contributions and differences between the various frameworks and develop models for assessing the role of tradition, reason, culture and experience in shaping the different expressions of Buddhism.

Why This Course Is Important:

Understanding how Buddhists self-identify is an important part of engaging them in missional dialogue. By understanding the differences between the major interpretational frameworks, students will be able to develop more meaningful evangelistic approaches.