OverviewThe purpose of this module is to introduce students to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, through a consideration of their key concepts, ideas, texts and practices (such as bhakti, moksha, yoga, dharma). The first half of the module will examine some of the most interesting features of the Vedic and post-Vedic tradition: the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the polytheism of the Mahabharata. The second half will examine the contrasting philosophical positions of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions using materials from the Pali canon and several Sanskrit Sutras. Particular attention will be given to the variety of interpretations of the Buddhist 'No-self' doctrine and concept of enlightenment as well as the meaning and function of the Buddha’s career.
This module appears in:
Total Contact Hours: 20
Method of assessment
Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 50%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 50%
Flood, G. (1996). An introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge: CUP.
Harvey, P. (1990). An Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge: CUP.
Keown, D. (2013). Buddhism – A Very Short Introduction, (2nd edition) Oxford: OUP.
Knott, Kim (1998). Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: OUP.
Rahula, W. (1997). What the Buddha Taught, New York: One World Publications.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the richness and diversity present within specific Asian traditions and civilisation, encompassing topics such as the historical development of specific doctrines and groups, the relationship between belief, practice, and society, and the interpretation of particular religious texts and contexts;
- Describe and articulate a key concept, idea, theme or practice relevant to Hindu traditions such as bhakti, moksha, yoga, dharma etc., demonstrating an accurate and detailed understanding of the idea in its doctrinal context, and an awareness of its place within the broader development of the tradition;
- Describe and articulate a key concept, idea, theme or practice relevant to Buddhist traditions such as duhkha, anatman, bodhisattva etc., demonstrating an accurate and detailed understanding of the idea in its doctrinal context, and an awareness of its place within the broader development of the tradition.