The origins of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, its spread to Tibet and East Asia and its relationship to other forms of Buddhism, including Theravada.
This paper examines the origins, the history and the main principles of Mahāyāna Buddhism
in India, its spread to China, Japan and Tibet, and its relationship to other forms
of Buddhism. We will then explore the origins and development of the main Mahāyāna
texts and languages, such as the Perfection of Wisdom and Lotus sūtras and their influence
on the Mahāyāna doctrines and the differences between Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhism.
There will be studies of the main concepts in these sūtras with special reference to doctrines such as Dependent Origination, the Bodhisattva ideal, Buddha nature, the Three Bodies of the Buddha, the three vehicles and Nirvana. The early history of Buddhism will be examined, such as how it separated into many sects: Chinese Buddhist Sects - Cha'an (Zen) and Pure Land - are both transmitted to Japan and Korea; the Nichiren sect has popularity in Japan and China and is based on the Lotus sūtras; Vajrayana Buddhism is spread into Tibet
|Paper title||Mahayana Buddhism|
|Teaching period||Not offered in 2020|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$904.05|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$3,954.75|
- One 200-level RELS or RELX paper
- RELS 226, RELX 226, RELX 326
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music, Theology
- May not be credited together with RELS 230 or 330 or RELX 230 or 330 passed in 2009.
- Dr Chaisit Suwanvarangkul: firstname.lastname@example.org
- More information link
View more information on the Religion website: www.otago.ac.nz/religion
- Teaching staff
- Lecturer: Dr Chaisit Suwanvarangkul
- Paper Structure
This paper is divided into six study units:
- Early Indian Buddhism
- Early Mahāyāna Buddhism in India
- Early Mahāyāna scriptures
- Mahāyāna schools in India
- Transmission of Mahāyāna Buddhism to China
- LaterMahāyāna scriptures
- Mahāyāna devotionalism
The assessment at 300-level comprises
- A 750-word outline of the essay 10%
- A 3,500-word essay 40%
- Online discussion 10%
- A three-hour exam 40%
- Teaching Arrangements
- For on-campus students there are two 1-hour lectures per week.
Distance students participate in fortnightly discussions online.
- Paul Williams. Mahāyāna Buddhism: the Doctrinal Foundations (London: Routledge, 2009)
A coursebook has also been developed for this paper.
- Course outline
- View sample course outline for RELS326
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking,
Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- The origins and early development of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India
- The distinctive ideas and practices of Mahāyāna Buddhism
- The different phases in the development of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Asia and the contribution it has made to the culture of the lands where it has developed
- The ability to analyse critically Mahāyāna Buddhist history and thought
- 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