What does it mean to be human self? Where do men and women ?fit? in the universe? What is the good life? What is evil? In this course we will discover how these questions are addressed in the Great Books of three civilizations of Asia: Persia, India and China. We will seek a deep engagement with Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic-Sufi thinkers in a conversation between cultures and times about the fundamental questions of self and ethics. (Gen. Ed. AL)
Buddhism has existed for more than 2,500 years and has undergone significant historical transformations in various parts of the world. In order to gain understanding of it, one needs not only to study its teachings, but also to examine its historical background and developments. At the same time, one should strive to see, from the perspective of its followers, how it has helped people. In this course, we will first examine the basic teachings of early Buddhism and then follow the trajectories of Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism in Japan and Tibet respectively. In the third and final unit of the course, we will try to understand how Buddhism adapted itself to American society and came to have the images it has now with the focus on Japanese and Tibetan Buddhism.