Fall 2023

Buddhist Stories from Modern East Asia

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-360  |  Religion, as RELI-360


Lei Ying (Section 01)


(Offered as ASLC 360 and RELI 360) What does it entail, and feel like, to embrace the modern world from a Buddhist perspective? The course examines key issues that have shaped the development of modern Buddhism across East Asia, while fostering a critical assessment of some fundamental assumptions in the making of the modern age. Threading through the entire course is a provocative dialogue between, on the one hand, modern events and intellectual currents such as scientific rationalism, secularization, imperialism, nationalism, feminism, and environmentalism, and on the other hand, seminal Buddhist teachings that stand profoundly persuasive across time and space. We unpack this dialogue through stories, which are drawn from China, Japan, Taiwan, Tibet, Vietnam, and from Europe and America. The seminar highlights literature as a vehicle for spiritual reflection especially in a global and postsecular world. All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Buddhism is assumed. Requirements include weekly reflection papers, an oral presentation, and a final paper. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Not open to first-year students. Professor Ying.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority to junior and senior ASLC and RELI majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: an emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, group work, in-class quizzes or exams, visual analysis

Cost: $35 ?

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Deep River New Directions, 1995 Shusaku Endo, translated by Van C. Gessel Required Amherst Books TBD
The Foundations of Buddhism Oxford UP, 1998 Rupert Gethin Required Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023