Buddhism
(Buddhism1)

This course is a survey of the history of Buddhism from its origin in India in the sixth century B.C.E. to contemporary times in America. The course is meant to introduce students to the astonishing vitality and adaptability of a tradition that has transformed the civilizations of India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan and has how become a lively component in the cultures of Europe, Australia, and the America.

The course begins by exploring the religious and cultural world of the Buddha in ancient India. To understand the Buddha's contribution to the religious history of the world, it is important to know the problems he inherited and the options that were available to him to solve them. In ancient India, before the time of the Buddha, these problems were expressed in the Vedas, the body of classical Hindu scriptures. The Vedas introduce us to scholars and ritual specialist who searched for the knowledge that would free them form the cycle of death and rebirth. The Buddha inherited his quest for knowledge and directed it to his own distinctive ends.