THEO 297Fall 2018

Introduction to Buddhism

Buddhism has over twenty-five hundred years of history and has taken root, in one form and another and at one time or another, in virtually every country in Asia.
Wen Haiming 温海明
Course Introduction
Wen Haiming 温海明
Wen Haiming 温海明Ph.D. University of Hawaii

Professor Haiming Wen received his Ph.D. in comparative philosophy from the University of Hawaii in 2006. He is now a professor at the School of Philosophy, Renmin (People’s) University of China (RUC), The Beijing Center (TBC, since 2007), Yeching Academy (YCA, since 2015). He was previously a post-doctoral fellow (2006-12) and Master’s student (1996-99) in the Department of Philosophy, Peking University. He has published the books Making One’s Intentions Concrete: Dimensions of Confucian Ethics (RUC Press, 2014), Confucian Pragmatism as the Art of Contextualizing Personal Experience and World (in English: Lexington, 2009), and Chinese Philosophy (in English: Cambridge University Press, 2012; in Chinese: China International Press, 2010). He has also published more than 50 journal articles in both English and Chinese, including more than 10 articles in English peer-reviewed journals like Asian Philosophy, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Contemporary Chinese Thought, Culture and Psychology, Frontier of Chinese Philosophy, etc. He has been selected as one of the New Century Excellent Talents (NCET) by the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2010, and one of the Ming De Scholars of RUC. He is the secretary-general, and Director of Research for International Association of Yijing (the Book of Changes) Studies. He is a member of the Advisory Editorial Board of the journal Asian Philosophy, and was the Associate Editor-in-Chief for the English Journal Frontiers of Philosophy in China, and editor-in-chief for the “International Studies on Chinese Philosophy” series for Peking University Press. He has been invited to present more than 50 papers in more than 20 countries all over the world.

  • Comparative Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Confucianism
  • Psychology

Introduction to Buddhism

This course is accredited through Loyola University Chicago
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Course Description

Buddhism has over twenty-five hundred years of history and has taken root, in one form and another and at one time or another, in virtually every country in Asia. In more recent times, it has found a niche in Western nations as well.

This class aims at giving the students an overview of basic Buddhist doctrine, an introduction of the history of its development in India, China and Tibet and a discussion of certain related religious topics, such as religious experience and asceticism. This class will be divided into three parts, namely, early Buddhism in India, Mahayana Buddhism in China and Tantric practice in Tibet. Each of the three parts will be dealt with in the above mentioned doctrinal and historical perspectives. Though this class is primarily a survey class of Buddhist practice, there will be sessions of class addressing specific issues of Buddhist practice. It is considered to be beneficial for the students to dive deeper into certain areas of the vast array of social and cultural phenomena that have clustered in the course of time around a figure called the Buddha. The purpose of doing so is to portray somehow more precisely the thoughts and actions of the large segment of human race who have called themselves Buddhists.

15% to 20% of the class time will be used to have a class discussion on the assigned reading. Several school organized field trips to religious places of worship and Buddhist monasteries as a part of the class activities will provide the students with first hand experience of the living Buddhist practice.

Courses Outcomes

By taking this course, for example, students should be able to analyze and interpret Buddhist religious texts, beliefs, and practices using standard scholarly methods and tools (competency a). For example, students should be able to analyze and interpret some Buddhist scriptures and scriptural passages. Students taking this course will also be able to demonstrate knowledge of the central ethical teachings and perspectives of Buddhism (competency e), e.g., the ethical teachings foundational to the “eightfold path”. Finally, students taking this course will be able to evaluate the religious perspectives of Buddhists (competency d) in light of what they learn about the teachings and practices that are foundational to Buddhism in its many forms.