Buddhism in the Modern World – REL 523

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In this modern age in which science and religion seem to be in such deep conflict, Buddhism appears as an integrated system that incorporates religious belief, philosophical analysis, and scientific inquiry. The foundation of the theory and practice of Buddhism focuses on the realities of suffering, its source, liberation, and the path to liberation. Dr. B. Alan Wallace will discuss the central themes of early Buddhism and its later developments in India and Tibet. These ancient teachings will be integrated with contemporary fields of knowledge, including psychology, physics, and medicine.

 

COURSE SESSIONS AND TOPICS

This course is divided into ten, one-hour sessions. The introductory session, Buddhism: A Religious Science of the Mind is presented in both audio and video format to better acquaint the student with the instructor.

Session 1 — Buddhism: A Religious Science of the Mind

Session 2 – Buddhist Existentialism: Confronting Our Own Vulnerability

Session 3 – The Buddhist Diagnosis of Life’s Adversities:
Karma and the Affliction of the Mind

Session 4 — Buddhist Liberation: Extinction or Heaven?

Session 5 – The Buddhist Path: A Question of Balance

Session 6 – A Buddhist Concept of Mental Health: The Cultivation of Meditative Quiescence

Session 7 – The Buddhist Cultivation of Insight: The Four Applications of Mindfulness

Session 8 – The Buddhist Cultivation of the Heart: The Four Immeasurables

Session 9 – The Bodhisattva Ideal: The Spirit of Awakening

Session 10 – Primordial Wisdom: Discovering the Buddha Within


LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THIS COURSE

Outcome 1:  Students will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Western science, and be able to describe the potential value of a contemplative science, inspired in part by Buddhism, to complement technological science.

Outcome 2:  Students will be able to describe the purpose, source, and significance of suffering according to Buddhism, as well as describing the continuity of consciousness beyond death in light of Buddhism and modern science.

Outcome 3:  Students will be able to describe and provide contextual reasons for the Buddhist theories of karma and mental afflictions.

Outcome 4: Students will be able to identify the meanings, according to Buddhism, of such key concepts, issues and practices as samsara, nirvana, dharma, attachment, tandra, argya, eight worldly concerns, stages of meditation, self, hell, mindfulness and remedial powers.

Outcome 5:  Students will be able to identify according to Buddhism, the nature of ethical discipline, meditative concentration, and wisdom, and the relation among the three.

Outcome 6:  Students will be able to recognize and describe in writing the relevance of Buddhist theory and practice in light of modern science and in particular the doctrine of scientific materialism.

Outcome 7:  Students will be able to recognize and describe in writing the strengths and weaknesses of modern science in the investigation of the mind, in light of Buddhist assertions of the non-material nature of consciousness.

 

PROFESSORS

This course was created and recorded by:

B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. – Religious Studies, Stanford University. Author, Tibetan Buddhism From the Ground Up and Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind, as well as numerous others.

This course will be administered and graded by:

Joseph Conti, Ph.D. – Ph.D. in Religion and Ethics from the University of Southern California. Author of Holistic Christianity: The Vision of Catholic Mysticism (Paragon House, 2005).Dr. Conti’s research focus is Christian mysticism and the psychology of contemplative spirituality.

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PURCHASE AUDIO / VIDEO

The lecture series from this course is also available for independent study.
>> Click Here to order these course materials.

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