Here is a current repertoire of courses offered.
Buddhist Histories and Traditions
Fall 2022 at George Washington University; Spring 2023 at Georgetown
Course Description: This course is an introduction to the history, texts, ideas and practices of Buddhism. In the first part of the course, we begin with the historical transmission pathway from Buddhism’s start in 5th century BCE India to China and East Asia in the early centuries AD. We will discuss the rise of the sangha and its institutionalization vis-à-vis the social institutions of family and state. Throughout, we’ll consider texts important to a number of schools of Buddhism, trying as much as possible to situate those texts in historical context. Readings will include selections from: Asoka’s edicts, the Questions of Milinda, the Therigatha, Baochang’s Lives of the Nuns, the Vessantara Jataka, The Avatamsaka Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren’s letters, the Mohezhiguan, the Life of Milarepa, and others. In the second part of the course, we’ll discuss the transmission of Buddhism along networks of exchange and encounter along the Silk Road, with the pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang as our narrative guides. The course ends by considering a few manifestations of modern and contemporary Buddhism that are closer to our own time.