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SCHOOL OF BUDDHIST STUDIES, COMPARATIVE RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY

Curriculum

School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religions
Courses to Be Offered
Semesters I to IV: 2018-2019

Semester I:

Core Courses:

  • Introduction to the Study of Buddhism 
  • Foundational/Core/Credit 3

Instructor: Aleksandra Wenta

This course introduces students to Buddhist traditions. Beginning with the life story of the Buddha, students learn about Buddhism in ancient India, the key texts, doctrines and practices. Following that, Buddhism’s journey out of India is charted. Buddhism’s arrival in Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia East Asia and Central Asia is explored through a variety of sources; archaeological, epigraphic, textual, ethnographic. At the conclusion of the course, students will have gained a good grounding in key doctrines and practices, have an overview of the history of Buddhism as it developed over the centuries, and have begun to have some awareness of Buddhist textual traditions. ·

Reading List:

Rupert Gethin, Foundations of Buddhism. Dalai Lama “The Opening of the Wisdom Eye” Selected Suttas, including:

  • The Discourse on the Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dhamma (Dhamma-cakka-pavattana-sutta)
  • Discourse on the Not-Self Characteristic (Anatta-lakkhan a-sutta)
  • The Fire Sermon (A ditta-pariya ya-sutta)
  • Jonathan Walters: “The Buddha’s Bad Karma: A Problem in the History of Theravāda Buddhism”, Numen, Vol. 37, Fasc. 1 (Jun., 1990), pp. 70-95
  • J. Strong, The Experience of Buddhism: Sources and Interpretations, ch.4: “The Dharma: Some Maha ya na Perspectives”, pp. 145-187
  • History and Philosophy of Yoga
  • Foundational/Core/Credit 3

Instructor: Sukhbir Singh

The School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religions at Nalanda University offers a comprehensive foundational course on “History and Philosophy of Yoga” with a view to acquaint the students with the theoretical and practical essentials of the various yoga systems from the pre-Vedic times to the present day. The course accounts in detail the shifting postulates and parameters of the Yoga philosophy as it traverses the vast terrain of many millennia. A comparative and critical approach informs the instructional methodology positing a collation of the conflicting and comparable ideologies within the various Yoga disciplines. ​The classroom presentations, discussions, and take-home assignments supplement the teaching for a more intimate and inspiring understanding of the subject

Reading List:

Hinduism: Its Meaning for the Liberation of the Spirit-Swami Nikhilananda

Prehistoric India-Stuart Piggot

Yoga Philosophy and Religion-S.N. Dasgupta

The Yoga and the Hindu Tradition-Jean Varenne

Yogasutra—Patanjali: Comment. Sw. Vivekananda

The Philosophy of Classical Yoga-Georg Feuerstein

Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali—Hariharnanda Aranya

Yoga and Indian Philosophy—Karel Werner

Great Systems of Yoga—Ernest Wood

Yoga Philosophy in Relation to Other Systems of Indian Thought—S.N. Dasgupta

The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice—Georg Feuerstein

Yoga: Immortality and Freedom—Mircea Eliade

Yoga and the Western Psychology—Geraldine Coster

The Tree of Yoga—BKS Iyenger

Yoga: A Scientific Explanation—K Behanan

Oriental Mythology—Joseph Campbell

  • Introduction to Buddhist Archaeology
  • Foundational/Core/Credit 3

Instructor: Garima Kaushik

Starting with an overview of the Sources (textual, epigraphy, art and architecture, ethno archaeology) for the study of Buddhism the course leads to an Introduction to Buddhist Archaeology and its early beginnings. It discusses how Buddhism has been looked at archaeologically. The development and the evolution of the subject over time. Problems and tensions between text and archaeology based frameworks of analysis. The historical Buddha; contestation over dates for the birth and Parinirvana of the Buddha. Some important Buddhist Sites in South Asia; An overview; Sites associated directly with the life of the Buddha; Early Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites. Buddhism and Commerce, trade networks, issues of patronage and pilgrimage. Evolution of sects and sectarianism: an archaeological assessment. Stupa & the relic cult; decline of Buddhism and Neo Buddhism.

Reading List:

A. Ghosh, An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology,2 Vols., BRILL, 1990.

Debala Mitra, Buddhist Monuments, Sahitya Samsad, Calcutta, 1971

Lars Fogelin, An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism, OUP, 2015, p. 1-32.

Curators of the Buddha: The study of Buddhism under Colonialism, Donald S. Lopez, University of Chicago Press, 1995

Schopen, G. (1991). Archaeology and Protestant Presuppositions in the Study of Indian Buddhism. History of Religions, 31(1), 1-23.

R.E.M Wheeler, Arikamedu: An Indo-Roman Trading-Station on the East Coast of India.

Vimala Begley, Arikamedu Reconsidered, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), pp. 461-481

Fogelin, L. Archaeology of early Buddhism (Vol. 4). Rowman Altamira, 2006

Hawkes, J. Julia Shaw. Buddhist landscapes in Central India: Sanchi Hill and archaeologies of religious and social change, c. third century BC to fifth century AD.. Antiquity, 86(333), 2012. P. 941-942

Robin Conningham, The Archaeology of Buddhism, in World Religions, ed. Timothy Insoll, Routledge, 2002, p.61-95,

C. Becker,AndhraStupas as sites of transformation inShifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculptures from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra, New York: OUP, 2015

Upinder Singh, ‘Exile and Return: The Reinvention of Buddhism and Buddhist Sites in Modern India’, South Asian Studies 26 no. 2 (2010): 193-217.

Gary Tartakov, ‘New Paths to Sanchi’, In Vidya Dehejia, ed., Unseen Presence: The Buddha and Sanchi (Bombay: Marg, 1996): 110-130.

Electives Courses:

Opt for Any Two including one NON-SBS Course (Cafeteria Model)

  • Pali-I/Tibetan-I/Sanskrit-I (Opt One)
  • Foundational/Elective/Credit 3

Instructors: Sean Kerr (Pali), Aleksandra Wenta (Tibetan), (Sanskrit)To be notified

Students are expected to acquire foundational knowledge of basic grammatical points, scripts, phonetics, basic vocabulary and different forms of transliteration of various scripts into Roman script. Practical exercises and simple readings will be conducted in class and individually by students. Introductory modules of socio-linguistic, historical and cultural context of the respective languages will be given by instructors as well. Students will become familiar with existing linguistic resources (e.g. dictionaries, grammars, online resources, etc.)

Reading List:

Stephen Hodge’s An Introduction to Classical Tibetan (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1990)

Jäschke, H.A. Tibetan Grammar, London: Trübner & Co.

Goldman, Robert P. and Sutherland Goldman, Sally J. 2011. Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language. Center for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley

Apte, V.S. 2006. The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary Containing Appendices on Sanskrit Prosody, Important Literary and Geographical Names of Ancient India. Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass.

de Silva, Lily. Pa li Primer. VRI, 1994

Gair, J. & Karunatillake, W. S. A New Course in Reading Pali. Motilal Banarsidas, 1998.

Reading List:

Introduction to the Religions and Philosophies of Ancient India

  • Foundational/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: To be Notified

Survey of the religious and philosophical traditions of ancient India, including: the Indus Valley Civilization; Hinduism; the Vedas; the early Upanisads; the classical schools of Hindu Philosophy such as Sankhya and Yoga etc.; the late Vedic milieu; Jainism, Early Buddhism, Hindu Tantrism; Mahayana developments; Tantric Buddhism; Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Vedanta, and the late Yoga developments.

Reading List:

Chakravarthi, Ram-Prasad. Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Chandradhar, Sharma. A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1987.

Dadgupta, Surendranath. A History of Indian Philosophy, vols. 1–5. Cambridge: University Press, 1969.

Hiriyanna, M. Outlines of Indian Philosophy. London: Allen & Unwin, 1967.

Mohanty, J. N. Classical Indian Philosophy. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

Radhakrishnan, S. Indian Philosophy. Vol. 1. London: Allen & Unwin, 1929. First published 1923.

Chakrabarti Arindam, “Arguing from Synthesis to the Self: Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta Respond to Buddhist No-selfism”, Hindu and Buddhist Ideas in Dialogue: Self and No-Self, ed. I. Kunetsova, J. Ganeri and C.Ram-Prasad, Surrey: Ashgate 2012, pp.199-216.

Dyczkowski Mark S.G., The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Śaivism, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1989

Dyczkowski Mark S.G., The Stanzas on Vibration: The Spandakārikā with Four Commentaries, Varanasi: Dilip Kumar Publishers, 1994.

Mishra Kamalakar, Kashmir Śaivism: The Central Philosophy of Tantrism, Delhi: Satguru Publications, 1999.

Muller-Ortega Paul Eduardo, The Tradic Heart of Śiva, Albany: SUNY Press, 1989

Pandey K.C., Abhinavagupta: A Historical and Philosophical Study, Varanasi: Chaukhamba Amarabharati Prakashan, 2000.

Pandit, B.N. Specific Principles of Kashmir Śaivism, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1997.

A Critical Introduction to the Originary Hindu Myths

  • Foundational/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: To be Notified

The Originary or Creation myths in Hinduism are not only interesting stories but also mysto-mines of the essentials of those very belief systems which they belong to. An originary myth is like a prelude or an epigraph which keytunes the scholar for reception of the main system in its multiple inner and outer aspects. A vast variety of the originary myths are available in the holy Hindu scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Tantras, Agamas and others. They all narrate the stories of the divine origin of the spirit, matter, gods or goddesses and point to their essential relations as they are rooted in the irrefutable metaphysical truths concerning man’s life here and hereafter. These myths unveil the underlying reasons for man’s primal ignorance and its available remedies in order to demarcate the real from the unreal and natural from the supernatural. A critical study of these myths will help the students peep into the hidden substrata of those spiritual and philosophic systems that are woven around them.

Reading List:

Myth and Mythology—Eric Edward

A Handbook of Hindu Mythology—Geore H. Williams

Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas—Cornelia Dimmit 7 J.A.B. van Buttenen

“Cosmogenesis in the Ancient Hindu Scriptures,” Robert H. Humphrey, In Sight 11: 1 9Spring 2015), pp. 15.

Myths and Legends of India: An Intriduction to the Study of Hinduism—J.M. McFie.

Indian Creation Myths—Calvin Smith.

Indian Myths—Shaharukh Husain.

Situating Villainy: A Discourse analysis of Amritamanthan—Wahan and Gopal Krishna.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses—Edwar Moor.

Myths and Symbols in Indian art and Civilization—Henriech Zimmer.

Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols, and Rituals from the Heart of Subcontinent—Devdut.t Pattanaik.

  • Non-SBS (SHS/SEES)
  • Foundational/Elective/Credit 3
  • Meditation: Theory and Practice
  • Foundational/Elective/Credit 3

Instructor: To be Notified

Meditation has of late become a panacea for the spiritual peace and mental tranquillity in the distracted world of today. The four-course series introduces Meditation in theoretical, philosophical, and practical perspectives. It discusses the forms of meditation in different spiritual disciplines such as Vedic, Buddhist, Jainist, Saivite and Vaisnavite, and it explains their psychomental, psychospiritual, and psychophysical effects on the overall biosystem of the practitioner. The theoretical and philosophical aspects acquaint the students with the spiritual and transcendental background of meditation, which are simultaneously supplemented by their practical participation in meditation sessions under the close supervision of an expert instructor. The series is a tribute to the “Mind, Memory, and Meditation” tradition of the ancient Nalanda University.

The current course begins with general introduction to the concept of Meditation as it developed over many millennia from the pre-Vedic period to present times. It would further expose the students to preliminary observances and abstinences necessary for the full realization physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. They would would include conveyance to students of initial requirements like cleanliness, God-consciousness, continence, sense-control etc. as prescribed in different spiritual scriptures and systems for achieving complete success in the practice of meditation in diverse modes and at different successive stages.

Reading List:

Meditation-Eknath Eswaran

How to Meditate—John J. Novak

Meditation for Starters-Swami Krishnananda

A Handbook of Meditation-Geshe Kelsang

Dhyana Yoga-Swami Sivananda

The Indian Cult of Ecstasy-Philip Rawson

Light on Pranayama- B.K.S. Iyengar

  • Seminar
  • Mandatory/Credit 1
  • Semester II:
  • Core Courses:
  • Buddhism, Gender, and Archaeology​
  • Bridge/Core/Credits 3

Instructor: Garima Kaushik

An interdisciplinary course that provides a comparative, cross-cultural perspective on gender in Early and Early Medieval Buddhism (3rd-2nd B.C - 11th-12th Centuries A.D.) in South and South East Asia, with archaeological data as the central category of analysis. It engages with a range of theoretical and methodological issues in archaeology and their relevance in attempting a gendered analysis of Buddhism. Although the academic study of Buddhism and gender has become established fields of inquiry, there have been relatively few attempts to examine the role of women in Buddhism through an analysis of archaeological data. Gender as a category of analysis underscores the importance of contextual evidence (structural, Epigraphic, sculptural, numismatic etc.) for interpreting gender roles in archaeological investigations of the past Buddhist sites. The course examines how women are perceived and how they respond, adapt, and contribute to Buddhism in various Buddhist traditions.

Reading List:

Uma Chakrabarty, Beyond the Altekarian Paradigm,, Towards a new understanding of Gender Relations in Early Indian History, Social Scientist, vol. 16, , No. 8, 1988.

B. Horner, Women Under Primitive Buddhism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1930. Reprinted 1975.

Nancy A. Falk, and Rita M. Gross, ed. Unspoken Worlds: Women's Religious Lives in Non-Western Cultures. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980. (contains several essays on Buddhism)

Nancy Barnes. "Women in Buddhism." In Women in World Religions ed. Arvind Sharma. New York: SUNY Press, 1987

Paula Richman,. Women, Branch Stories, and Religious Rhetoric in a Tamil Buddhist Text. Syracuse: Syracuse Univ., 1988

Alan Sponberg. "Attitudes Toward women and the feminine in Early Buddhism," in Buddhism, Sexuality, and Gender, edited by Jose Cabezon

Charles F. Keyes, Mother or Mistress but never a Monk: Buddhist notions of Female gender in Rural Thailand

Reiko Ohnuma, Woman, Bodhisattva and Buddha, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 2001, Indiana University Press, p. 63-83

Karen Derris, When the Buddha was a Woman: Reimagining Tradition in the Theravada, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 24, No. 2, Fall 2008, p. 29-44

Alice Collet, Buddhism and Gender: Reframing and Refocussing the Debate, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 22, No. 2, Fall 2006, p. 55-84

Peter Skilling Esa agra: Images of Nuns in (Mula-)Sarvastivadin Literature, Buddhist Nuns, JIABS Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume24 Number2 2001, p. 135-156

Ann Heirman, Chinese Nuns and their Ordination in Fifth Century China, Buddhist Nuns, JIABS Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume24 Number2 2001, p. 275-304

  • Sankhya, Yoga, Tantra, Vedanta: Comparative Study
  • Bridge/Core/Credits 3

Instructor: Sukhbir Singh

The entails a comprehensive study of the three great systems of Yoga and their Philosophy. Each system would be first discussed in detail focusing on their origin, major and minor constituents, growth over the period, mechanics of practice, and impact on the subsequent systems of Yoga. The discussion of each subject would include references to and illustrations from both the primary and secondary texts currently available in translations. Having discussed them in detail from all possible angles (within the constraints of time), a collective comparative study of the three systems would be taken up in such respects as origin, history, philosophy, practice techniques, aims, and objectives, etc. Finally, a chart of comparison will be drawn for clarity and easy comprehension of each system vis a vis the three others.

Reading List:

Sankhya Sutras-Tr. & Comment. by Ganganath Jha

Sankhya Karika-Isvra Krsna

Samkhya: A Prologue to Sankhya Yoga-Dipti Dutta

Mahanirvan Tantra-Tr. Arthur Avalon

Yogasutras-Patanjali, tr. & comment. Swami Vivekananda

Introduction to Tantra-Sir John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon)

The Tantric Tradition-Agehananda Bharati

The Serpent Power-Arthur Avalon

Kundalini: The Arousal of the Inner Energy-Ajit Mookerjee

The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga-C.G. Jung

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-Tr. Swami Nikhilananda

Vedanta Pratibhasha of Dharamraja Adhvarindra-Tr. Swami Madhvananda

Vedanta: Voice of Freedom-Swami Vivekananda

Vedanta for Modern Man-Christopher Isherwood

Yoga Dictionary-Ernest Wood

  • Understanding Buddhist Texts
  • Bridge/Core/Credits 3

Instructors: Instructors: Sean Kerr (Pali), Aleksandra Wenta (Tibetan), (Sanskrit)To be notified

The course intends to familiarize students with textual analysis of Buddhist texts that belong to different Buddhist traditions interpreting these texts’ contents against Buddhist ideas, theories and practices taught during the Introduction to Buddhism course. The course facilitates ‘understanding’ of Buddhist texts by positioning them at the intersection of leading dogmatic discourses of the time that affords a view of the points of dispute and controversy among the competing systems of Buddhist thought and practice and other religious traditions of India.

Reading List:

The Guhyasama ja-tantra with Tsongkhapa’s commentary (e-text).

Davidson, M. Ronald. 2002. Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement. New York: Columbia University Press.

Davidson. M. Ronald. 2005. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Renaissance: Rebirth of Tibetan Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hopkins, Jeffrey. 2008. Tantric Techniques. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications.

Sanderson, Alexis. 1995. “Vajrayāna: Origin and Function”, in: Buddhism into Year 2000. International Conference Proceedings, pp. 89-102. Bangkok: Dhammakāya Foundation

Schopen, Gregory. 2005. Figments and Fragments of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press

S a ntideva, The Bodhicarya vata ra, trans. Kate Crosby & Andrew Skilton, Oxford University Press.

The Cakrasaṃvara-tantra, trans. D. Gray, New York: Columbia University, 2007

Vajracchedikā Prājñaparāmītāsūtra, trans. E. Conze, Rome: Oriental Institute.

Williams, Paul. 2009. Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. London: Routledge

Williams, P. Tribe, A., Wynne A.,. 2000. Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. London: Routledge

Electives Courses:

Opt for Any Two including One Non-SBS Course

  • Pali-II/Tibetan-II/Sanskrit-II
  • Bridge/Elective/Credit 3
  • (Option Continues)

Instructors: Instructors: Sean Kerr (Pali), Aleksandra Wenta (Tibetan), (Sanskrit)To be notified

Students are expected to acquire mastery of more complex grammatical structures as well as active and passive knowledge of the inner workings of the respective languages. They are expected to be able to carry out independently exercises involving translation of longer textual passages and acquire a basic language skills at the intermediate level.

Reading List:

Stephen Hodge’s An Introduction to Classical Tibetan (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1990) Jäschke, H.A. Tibetan Grammar, London: Trübner & Co

Goldman, Robert P. and Sutherland Goldman, Sally J. 2011. Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language. Center for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley.

Apte, V.S. 2006. The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary Containing Appendices on Sanskrit Prosody, Important Literary and Geographical Names of Ancient India. Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass.

de Silva, Lily. Pa li Primer. VRI, 1994.

Collins, S. A Pali Grammar for Students. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2009.

Nyanatiloka, Ven. Buddhist Dictionary: A Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines. Various editions.

  • Theories of Religion
  • Bridge/Elective/Credit 3

Instructor: To be Notified

​The course provides an introduction to the academic study of religion focusing on the history of the discipline. The course provides an overview of the classical approaches in the study of religion such as the sociology, the anthropology, the psychology of religion, the phenomenology of religion, etc. that are foundational for the history of the field. The goal of this course is to enable the students to build a “critical toolbox” of analytical skills that they can further apply to their own empirical cases of interest or textual study.

Reading List:

Waardenburg, Jacques. Classical Approaches to the Study of Religion: Aims, Methods, and Theories of Research, Volume 1, Berlin/New York: Walter der Gruyter, 1999

Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion.

Pals, L. Daniel, Introducing Religion: Readings from Classic Theorists, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Pals, L. Daniel, Eight Theories of Religion. London: OUP, 2006

  • Six Hindu Darsanas: A Comparative View
  • Bridge/Elective/Credit 3

Instructor: To be Notified

This course will provide an overview of the major schools of Indian philosophy. We will examine the development of major themes within the various schools of thought. Following the chronological development of philosophy, we will explore the relationships between and reactions to different ideas over time. An individual and comparative view of these key philosophic systems will generate an awareness of the intellectual substratum of various branches of Hinduism.

Reading List:

Dasgupta, Surendranath. A History of Indian Philosophy. Vol. 1. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, and Charles A. Moore. A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princetion, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957

Mohanty, J. N. Classical Indian Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

Müller, Max. The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy. New York: Longmans, Green, 1899.

Chatterjee, Satischandra, and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 8th ed. Kolkata: University of Calcutta Press, 1984.

Agrawal, Madan Mohan, ed. and trans. Sarvadarśanasaṁgraha of Mādhavācarya. Delhi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, 2002.

Ganeri, Jonardon. Philosophy in Classical India: The Proper Work of Reason. London and New York: Routledge, 2001

Gupta, Bina. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy: Perspectives on Reality, Knowledge, and Freedom. London and New York: Routledge, 2012.

Nicholson, Andrew J. Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

Chatterjee, Satischandra, and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. 8th ed. Kolkata: University of Calcutta Press, 1984.

Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad. Indian Atheism. Calcutta: Manisha, 1969.

  • N​on-SBS (SHS/SEES
  • Bridge/Elective/Credits 3
  • Meditation: Theory and Practice
  • Bridge/Elective/Credits 3

Course Instructor: ​To be Notified

The course guides the students through various theoretical perspectives on meditation beginning with Buddha’s Vipassana, Jain’s Samayika, Patanjali’s Sabija and Nirbija samadhis, Vysa’s Yogic Dhyana, Tantrika’s Chakradhyana, Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation, and Aurobindo’s Integral Meditation, etc. The comprehensive survey dwells upon the theories of these differing meditative methodologies and their respective underlying philosophies. A comparative view of the various types of meditation gives the students a clear idea about their similarities and differences and helps the practitioners to participate in a practical course with full esoteric and experiential knowledge. The combination of both theory and practice results into larger physical, mental, and moral benefits.

Reading List:

Buddhist Meditation-Edward Conze

Essays in Zen Buddhism

The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation—S.N. Goenka

Jaina Meditation: Chitta Samadhi-Nathmal Tatia

The Jaina Path of Purification-Padamnabh Jaini

Realize What You Are Dynamics of Jaina Meditation

The Vedas: Harmony, Meditation, and Fulfilment-Jeannie Miller

Meditation from the Tantras-Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Vedantic Meditation: Lighting the Flame of Awareness-David Frawley

Transcendental Meditation-D. Avila

  • Seminar
  • Mandatory/Credit 1

Semester III:

Core Courses:

  • Buddhism and Peace & Conflict Studies
  • Advanced/Core/Credits 3

Instructor: Sean Kerr

A reading seminar based on the following studies, investigating core Buddhist teachings regarding conflict and harmony in primary sources and key works of Buddhist Studies scholarship including: Mabbet and Bailey: The Sociology of Early Buddhism; Bodhi: The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon; Tessa Bartholomeusz: In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka; Seneviratne: The Work of Kings; John Holt: The Buddhist Vishnu; Michael Carrithers: Forest Monks of Sri Lanka; J.L. Taylor: Forest Monks and the Nation State. As a seminar course, the format is discussion intensive and students are expected to actively read and discuss on the above works as we explore through them Buddhism's modes of engagement with peace and conflict.

Reading List:

Mabbet and Bailey: The Sociology of Early Buddhism

Bodhi: The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon

Tessa Bartholomeusz: In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka

Seneviratne: The Work of Kings

John Holt: The Buddhist Vishnu

Michael Carrithers: Forest Monks of Sri Lanka

J.L. Taylor: Forest Monks and the Nation State

  • Comparative Iconography, Art, and Architecture
  • Advanced/Core/Credits 3

Instructor: Garima Kaushik

This course is an overview of the Buddhist artistic and architectural traditions of South Asia. The course is divided into three modules. The first traces the Origin, evolution and diffusion of art styles chronologically and geographically. The second module focuses on Buddhist iconography and the development of the Pantheon and to identify and distinguish it from Brahmanical and/or Jaina iconography. The course looks at art, architecture and iconography not as separate, disjointed themes but rather as correlated concepts that inform about the different forms of the religion and its spatial and chronological evolution, the continuities and also different trajectories it took over space and time. The third module deals with Buddhist architecture and the concept of sacred and secular spaces- the different elements of Buddhist architecture, symbolism in architecture etc. Monumental architecture with special focus on ancient seats of learning like Nalanda and, Vikramshila, the cave sites of the western Deccan. Ashokan pillars and their association with Buddhist spaces. It also looks at architectural development (both religious and secular outside of Buddhist affiliation) and how the same came to influence or was influenced by Buddhism

Reading List:

On modes of visual narration in Early Buddhist Art, Vidya Dehejia, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Sep. 1990) p. 374-392

Susan Huntington, Buddhist Art & the Theory of Aniconism, Art Journal, 1990

Ashley Thompson, In the absence of the Buddha: Aniconism and the contentions of Buddhist Art History

Vidya Dehejia, ‘The Collective and Popular Basis of Early Buddhist Patronage:

Sacred Monuments, 100 BC- AD 250’, In B.S. Miller, ed., The Powers of Art:

Patronage in Indian Culture (Delhi: OUP, 1992): 35-45. V. Dehejia, Discourses in the Early Buddhist Art, MRML: Delhi, 1997: 183-206.

Garima Kaushik, Symphony in Stone: Festivities in Early Buddhism, Literary Publication, 2007

Fredrick Asher, On Mauryan Art in A companion to Asian Art and Architecture (ed.)

Fredrick Asher, On Mauryan Art in A companion to Asian Art and Architecture (ed.) Rebecca Brown, Deborah S. Huntington, John Willey & Sons, 2015 Y. Krishnan, Was Gandhara Art a product of Mahayana Buddhism? Journal of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, No. ¾ (Oct. 1964) p. 104-119), Cambridge University Press, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25202761

Electives Courses:

Opt for Any Three including One Non-SBS Course

  • Pali-III, Tibetan-III, Sanskrit-III
  • Advanced/Elective/Credit 3
  • (Option Continues)

Instructors: Sean Kerr (Pali), Aleksandra Wenta (Tibetan), (Sanskrit)To be notified

The course will focus on the reading and translation of select primary sources. Relevant points of grammar encountered during the readings will be discussed, with emphasis on syntax and advanced vocabulary. Students will be expected to be able to analyse independently the grammatical structure of the text and translate them into English

Reading List:

Different texts of the Tibetan canon Bstan ‘gyur and Bka ‘gyur Pali Primary Texts sourced from: Chat t ha San ga yana Tipit aka CD, v.3. VRI, 1999

Monier-Williams, W. 1997 Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Private Limited, 2004.

Tripathi, Brahmananda. Rūpacandrikā. Varanasi: Caukhamba Sanskrit Prakasana.

Whitney, W.D. 1885. The Roots, Verb-forms, and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language. London: Leipzig, Breitkopf, Hartel

  • Reading of the Yoga Texts
  • Advanced/Elective/Credit 3

Instructor: Sukhbir Singh

The Course intends to offer detailed readings of the crucial Yoga texts pertaining to Sankhya, Yoga, Tantra, and Hatha Yoga. The study of the specified texts, i.e. Isvara Krishna’s Shankhya Karika, Patanjali’s Yogasutras, Ved Vyasa’s Bhagavadgita (Chapter 2 on Sankhya Yoga) & Bhagvatam (Chapters 28-33: Kapila and Devahuti Dialogue on Sankhya Yoga), Puranananda’s Sat-Chakra-Nirupana, and Svatmarama’s Hathayogapradipika, elaborate upon the basic theoretical and philosophical information of these Yoga systems in general and their psycho-physical, psycho-mental, and psycho-spiritual implications in particular.

Reading List:

Sankhya Karika- Isvara Krishna Yogasutras-Patanjali Bhagavadgita-Ved Vyas Srimad Bhagavatam-Canto III Part II Ch. 28-35. “Shatchakra Nirupana” in The Serpent Power by Arthur Avalon.

Hathayogapradipika-Swatmarama Origin and Development of the Sankhya System of Thought-Pulinbihari Chakravarti Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali-Hariharananda Arnaya The Essence of Yoga: Reflections on the Yogasutras of Patanjal-Bernard Bouanchaud Philosophy of Hatha Yoga-Usharbudh Arya Fundamentals of the Philosophy of Tantra-Manoranjan Basu The Philosophy of Srimad Bahgvatam-2 Vols-Siddheswar Bhattacharya

  • Hindu and Buddhist Tantra
  • Advanced/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: Aleksandra Wenta

Buddhism after the 10th century is predominantly Tantric Buddhism. This form of Buddhism spread to Central, Inner and Southeast Asia, attracting royals, monarchs who adopted this form of Buddhism in their respective countries. It is now widely accepted that Tantric Buddhism has directly emerged from the Śaiva tantras. The course gives the overview of the history of tantric movement, its concepts, practices, most important masters and most influential texts.

Reading List:

Alper, Harvey P., ed. Understanding Mantras, Albany: SUNY Press, 1989.

Bäumer, Bettina, Abhinavagupta’s Hermeneutics of the Absolute: Anuttaraprakriya , Delhi & Shimla: D.K. Printworld and IIAS, 2011.

Beane, W.C., Myth, Cult and Symbols in S a kta Hinduism, chap. II. “Historical and Traditional Origins: From Ancient to Medieval Times”, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1977.

Bhattacharyya, D.C., Tantric Buddhist Iconographic Sources, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1974.

Das, H.C., Tantricism, A Study of the yogini cult, New Delhi, Bangalore: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 1981.

Eimer, Helmut and David Germano, eds., The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, Leiden: Brill, 1987

Lakshmanjoo, Swami, Kashmir S aivism: The Secret Supreme, Srinagar: Iswar Ashram Trust, 2003.

Mookerjee, Ajit and Madhu Khanna, The Tantric Way. Art, Science, Ritual, Vikas Publishing House, 1977.

Muller-Orteg a, E.P. The Triadic Heart of S iva, Albany: SUNY Nagar, Shantilal, Yogini Shrines and S aktipithas, vol. 1., vol. 2. Delhi: B.R. Printworld.

Sanderson, Alexis, “Vajraya na: Origin and Function”, in: Buddhism into year 2000. International Conference Proceedings: Dhammaka ya Foundation 1995:89-102.

Sanderson, Alexis, 1995, “Meaning in Tantric Ritual”, in A.M. Blondeau and K. Shipper, Louvain (eds.) Essais sur le Rituel III, Paris: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes et section, pp. 15-95.

Sanderson, Alexis, “The S aiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of S aivism during Early Medieval Period”, Genesis and Development of Tantrism, ed. S. Einoo, Tokyo: University of Tokyo.

  • Non-SBS (SEES)
  • Advanced/Elective/Credits 3
  • Meditation: Theory and Practice
  • Advanced/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: To be Notified

The course proceeds in continuation of the earlier courses on meditation. Following the explanation of different types of meditation in the previous course, their nature, character and objectives, the present course acquaints the students with the various components of different meditative techniques, such as outer purification, internal cosmicization, yogic postures, breathing exercises, mantras, mudras, bandhas, and other related rituals. An attempt is made to further apprise the students with the mechanisms whereby the philosophical, psychological, and physical effects of all these means or yantras help the practitioner arouse, conserve, and carry the prana energy to higher spiritual realms for the desired expansion of consciousness in correspondence with the transcendental realities. The theoretical knowledge and practical experience gained here will orient the students mentally and physically for the final reckoning in the next course.

Reading List:

Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha-Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Light on Pranayama-B.K.S. Iyengar

Mditation, Mind, and Patanjali’s Yoga-Swami Bhaskarananda

Patanjali’s Meditation Yoga-Vyn Bailey

The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation-Michael Murphy

The Philosophy of Sadhana-Deba Brata Sen Sharma

  • Seminar
  • Mandatory/Credit 1

Semester IV:

Core Courses:

  • Supervised Readings
  • Specialized/Core/Credits 3

Instructors: Co-Taught

Readings tailored to individual student research interest as survey of literature in third semester for MA dissertation. Reading list of ten works of important secondary scholarship to be determined in consultation with each student. Two hours weekly classroom sessions and/or private meetings with instructor. Limit to 4 students per faculty advisor.

Reading List:

Selected Excerpts from:

D. Rossenwasser and J. Stephen, Writing Analytically (5th edition). Boston: Thomson & Wadsworth, 2009.

Booth, Wayne. The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. MLA Handbook. New York: MLA.

Thesis and Assignment Writing by Jonathan Anderson, Berry Durston, et al

Ten works of important secondary scholarship (book-length monographs, or the equivalent in articles) relevant to the student's research interest, to be determined at the beginning of the semester in consultation with student.

  • Dissertation
  • Specialized/Core/Credits 9

Elective Courses:

Opt for Any One

  • Pali-IV/ Tibetan-IV, Sanskrit-IV
  • Specialized/Elective/Credits 3

Instructors: As Above

The course will focus on the reading and translation of select primary sources. Additional genres and linguistic styles will be introduced, along with the technical vocabulary and syntactic peculiarities pertaining to them. Advanced grammatical points encountered during the readings will be discussed. Students will be expected to be able to analyse independently the grammatical structure of the text and translate into English, making use of the entire range of lexicographical resources available to us.

Reading List:

Different texts of the Tibetan canon Bstan ‘gyur and Bka ‘gyur Pali Primary Texts sourced from: Chat t ha San ga yana Tipit aka CD, v.3. VRI, 1999.

Monier-Williams, W. 1997 Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Private Limited, 2004.

Tripathi, Brahmananda. Rūpacandrikā. Varanasi: Caukhamba Sanskrit Prakasana.

Whitney, W.D. 1885. The Roots, Verb-forms, and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language. London: Leipzig, Breitkopf, Hartel.

  • Research Methodologies for the Study of Religion
  • Specialized/Elective/Credits 3

The aim of this course is to produce an authentic work of scholarship that can serve as a sound basis for the mandatory seminar presentations and the MA thesis. First, we will examine various research methodologies to introduce students to some of the types of primary source material available to them. Second, students will learn the various steps involved in producing scholarly academic work. Subsequently they will harness this knowledge in writing original Dissertations which along with their seminar presentations could be later published.

Reading List:

Lopez, Daniel. Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Lopez, Daniel (ed.). Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism Under Colonialism. University Of Chicago Press (1995)

Visuddhi-magga exegesis of "the truth of suffering (i) Birth" in: The Path of Purification, trans. Nanamol

Jonathan Walters: "Suttas as History: Four Approaches to the 'Sermon on the Noble Quest' (Ariyapariyesanasutta)," History of Religions, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Feb., 1999), pp. 247-284.

D. Rossenwasser and J. Stephen, Writing Analytically (5th edition): ch. 2 "Counterproductive Habits of Mind" pp. 17-30.

D. Rossenwasser and J. Stephan, Writing Analytically (5th edition): ch. 1 "Analysis: What It Is and What It Does" pp 1-16, & ch. 3 "A Toolkit of Analytical Methods" pp. 31-43

H. Seneviratne, The Work of Kings: The New Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1999), ch.1: “Buddhism, Civil Society, and the Present Study,” pp. 1-24; and ch. 2: "Dharmapala and the Definition of the Monk's Mission," pp. 25-42.

Bhikkhu Bodhi: "A Buddhist Social Ethic for the New Century," in Facing the Future: Four Essays on the Social Relevance of Buddhism (Kandy: BPS, 2000).

  • Literary Projections of Yoga
  • Specialized/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: Sukhbir Singh

Swami Vivekananda’s lectures in the western countries took scholars, teachers, creative writers, and common people by storm. Yoga became a watchword and the yogic exercises a household phenomenon in the entire west. As a result, several eminent writers of the western world employed Yoga in their poetic, fictional, and other literary creations over the last two centuries to ridicule and re-examine the material outlook of the entire western society. A specialized analysis of their imaginative treatment of Yoga may open up newer possibilities of its understanding from a non-native viewpoint and a wider universal perspective, which possibly have remained thus far unknown and unrealized. The course includes a close examination of poetry, fiction, prose, and plays of about half a dozen canonical western writers of the 19 th and 20 th centuries.

Reading List:

Primary Texts:

Walden—Henry David 

Thoreau Leaves of Grass—Walt Whitman 

Brahma: R.W. Emerson 

Selected Poems—W.B. Yeats

Four Quartets—T.S. Eliot 

Islanders –Alduous Huxley 

The Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger 

Hapworth 16, 1924—J.D. Salinger 

The Buddha of Suburbia--Hanif Kureishi 

The Dharma Bums—Jack Kerouac 

S: A Novel—John Updike 

Mr. Sammler’s Planet—Saul Bellow 

Slaughterhouse-Five—Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 

Tales from the Yoga Studio-Rain Mitchell 

The Yoga Teacher—Alexandra Gray

Critical Essays:

“Indian Karma Yogi in Mr. Sammler’s Planet,” Comparative Literature Studies (Penn State Univ.), 44:4 ((2007), 434-457—Sukhbir Singh

Vonnegut, War and the Bhagavadgita: A Re-Reading of Kurt Vonnegut’s Saughterhouse-Five, Comparative Critical Studies (King’s College, London), 7:1 (2010), 83-103—Sukhbir Singh

“Fire, Sun, Moon:” Kundalini Yoga in John Updike’s S: A Novel, The Comparatist (Georgia Univ.), 38 (October 2014), 266-296—Sukhbir Singh

  • Non-SBS (SHS/SEES) 
  • Specialized/Elective/Credit 3
  • Meditation: Theory and Practice
  • Specialized/Elective/Credits 3

Instructor: To be Notified

The course proceeds in continuation of the earlier courses on meditation. Following the explanation of different types of meditation in the previous course, their nature, character and objectives, the present course acquaints the students with the various components of different meditative techniques, such as outer purification, internal cosmicization, yogic postures, breathing exercises, mantras, mudras, bandhas, and other related rituals. An attempt is made to further apprise the students with the mechanisms whereby the philosophical, psychological, and physical effects of all these means or yantras help the practitioner arouse, conserve, and carry the prana energy to higher spiritual realms for the desired expansion of consciousness in correspondence with the transcendental realities. The theoretical knowledge and practical experience gained here will orient the students mentally and physically for the final reckoning in the next course.

Reading List:

Samadhi Yoga-Swami Sivananda

Sakti Sadhana: Path to Samadhi

Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha-Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Light on Pranayama-B.K.S. Iyengar

On the Psychology of Meditation-Claudio Naranjo and Robert Orenstein

Meditation Now-S.N. Goenka

  • Seminar ​ 
  • Mandatory/Credit 1

NOTE:

a. It is a Cafeteria Model Course. Non-SBS Courses can be opted from the School of Historical Studies (SHS) and School of Ecology and Environment (SEES).

b. Each course teaching will be supplemented with Mid-Semester Exams, Internal Assessment Tests, Classroom Presentations, and Seminars on the Subject.

c. The listed courses are subject to change depending on the availability of the Instructors.

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