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    A comprehensive and critical study of the common heritage shared by all Buddhist traditions through examination of the development of Buddhist thought in the Theravada Buddhist textual tradition.

    The major components of Buddhist doctrine concerning the origin and nature of the world, the self and soteriology will be examined, as well as fundamental principles of Buddhist ethics and the practical consequence of Buddhist thought in relation to current issues such as the environment. Relationships between the state and the sasana (the Buddhist religion) will be examined from the point of view of Buddhist political theory. Each of these topics will be examined through the lens of the Pali Canon, the authoritative scripture for Theravada Buddhism.

    About this paper

    Paper title Buddhist Thought
    Subject Religious Studies
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 2 (On campus)
    Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level RELS or RELX points
    RELS 227, RELX 227, RELX 327
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology
    May not be credited together with RELS230 or RELS330 or RELX230 or RELX330 passed in 2010.

    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr Elizabeth Guthrie

    Lecturer: Woramat Malasart

    Paper Structure
    This paper is divided into six study units:
    • Finding a Teacher
    • Dependent Arising
    • Psychology and the Self
    • Buddhist Metaphysics
    • Buddhist Epistemology
    • Buddhist Society
    • Two written assignments (2,000 words) - 25% each
    • Online discussion - 10%
    • Two-hour examination - 40%
    Teaching Arrangements
    Campus: Weekly lectures
    Distance: Online discussion

    Required: John J. Holder (editor and translator). Early Buddhist Discourses (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006).

    Course outline
    View a sample course outline for RELS 327
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Ethics, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    • The origin and early development of Buddhist Thought in India
    • The early suttas that contain this material
    • The distinctive ideas and practices in these suttas
    • The critical literature on Buddhist Thought
    • The ability to locate and critically analyse the teachings in early Buddhist texts
    • The ability to research topics using academic texts, journals and other media
    • The ability to defend an argument using a variety of methods in writing
    • The ability to use the critical literature on Buddhist Thought to support an argument


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 09:00-10:50 29-35, 37-42

    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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