The Buddha and His Teachings - TH644

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.







This module will examine the main doctrines and practices of early Indian Buddhism as seen through the Theravada Buddhist literature of the Pali canon (in translation). The module will examine what we might know about the figure of the historical Buddha and the central concepts and doctrinal themes in his teachings as represented in these materials, with particular attention paid to their historical and social context and the philosophical, soteriological, ethical and socio-political ideas expressed within early Buddhist literature in the period 500 BCE to 500 CE. The module will also consider the rise of "Theravada" and modern developments within this tradition of Buddhism.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

This module will be taught by means of a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for 10 weeks.


Also available at Level 6 (TH645)



Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Reading List (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)
Gethin, R, (1998) The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: OPUS Books
Gombrich, R, (2006) Theravada Buddhism: A Social History, 2nd Edition, Routledge
Gombrich, R & Obeyesekere, G, (1988) Buddhism transformed: religious change in Sri Lanka, Princeton: Princeton University Press
Harvey, P, (1990) An introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Rahula, W, (1967) What the Buddha Taught. Bedford: Gordon Fraser

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:
8.1 To outline and discuss the historical development of key doctrinal themes and practices related to the first millennium of Buddhism in India;
8.2 To understand the broad historical, socio-political and philosophical context in which early Buddhism developed in India;
8.3 To demonstrate an understanding of and discuss the authority claims of Theravada Buddhism and consider its relationship to first millennium Buddhism in India;
8.4 To demonstrate an understanding of basic Buddhist teachings as expounded by the Theravada school of Buddhism.

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