The history, doctrines, and practices of Chan Buddhism in China and Zen Buddhism in Japan. Zen practices, as meditation and koan, and the encounter with the "West".
The Zen of Surfing. The Zen of Flamenco Dancing. The Zen of Martial Arts. The Zen
of Yoda. Images of Zen Buddhism are everywhere in pop culture, giving one the impression
of a profound, austere, mystery-filled religion that epitomises the 'wisdom of the
East'. But what is Zen Buddhism really all about? This paper explores Zen Buddhism
from two angles. On the one hand, it examines the historical development of Zen, offering
students a chance to place Zen Buddhism within a longer trajectory of Buddhist thought
in South and East Asia. On the other hand, it examines Zen Buddhism thematically,
looking at important and surprising themes within Zen Buddhism, including the nature
of Zen meditation, the links between Zen and war, the role of women in Zen, the spread
of Zen Buddhism outside Japan and the rise of the 'Zen aesthetic' as a conceit of
twentieth-century counterculture in North America and Europe.
Course materials include writings from Zen teachers, academic literature on Zen, popular literature and film. While investigating Zen Buddhism, students will also consider a set of broader issues pertaining to the study of Asia and religion. These include questions about Orientalism and secondary Orientalism, Western and Asian imperialism, religious reform, religious violence, asceticism, monastic life, religion and politics, romanticism, myth-making, practices of mental cultivation and others.
|Paper title||Zen Buddhism|
|Teaching period||Not offered in 2020|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$904.05|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$3,954.75|
- 18 200-level RELS or RELX points
- RELS 216, RELX 216, RELX 316
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music, Theology
- (i) May not be credited together with RELS 231 or 331 passed in 2008. (ii) Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
- Dr Benjamin Schonthal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- More information link
View more information on the Religion website: www.otago.ac.nz/religion
- Teaching staff
- Course co-ordinator: Dr Ben Schonthal
Lecturer: Keziah Wallis
- Paper Structure
- This class covers the following topics:
- The Buddhist roots of Zen
- Ch'an Buddhism in China
- Rinzai and Soto Zen in Japan
- Zen in Modern Japan
- Zen and 'the West'
- A one-page (max 500-word) outline of the essay 10%
- A 3,500-word essay 40%
- A more rigorous two-hour exam 50%
- Teaching Arrangements
- Campus: Weekly lectures
Distance: Online discussion
- A coursebook has been developed for this paper.
- Course outline
- View the sample course outline for RELS 316
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical
thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- 300-level students who successfully complete the paper will be
- Able to demonstrate knowledge of terminology, key theories and debates that lie behind contemporary literature on Zen Buddhism
- Able to explore, through critical analysis, the history and development of Zen Buddhism
- Familiar with theories of and critical approaches to Zen Buddhism
- Able to develop creative and critical approaches by analysing texts and primary sources
- Able to present an extended analysis in essay form using appropriate literature on a chosen topic