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RELS236 Buddhism, State and Society

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
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The role of Buddhism in politics, law, social movements, war and peace-making. Students will examine case studies, original Buddhist texts and latest trends in research.

Paper title Buddhism, State and Society
Paper code RELS236
Subject Religious Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $929.55
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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36 points
RELS 336, RELS 436
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology

Teaching staff

Ben Schonthal


All readings will be made available electronically.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Self-motivation, Research
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will have:

  • A broad knowledge of the differing ways in which Buddhist thinkers have imagined the ideal relationship between religious and civil power, morality and politics, monks and kings
  • A familiarity with the ways in which experiences of direct colonialism and indirect/internal colonialism (e.g. in Siam) have altered the relationships between political power and monastic life
  • An ability to assess the ways in which Buddhist notions of governance accommodate, acknowledge and/or permit moral and soteriological diversity
  • The ability to make connections between ideals of Ideal governance and historical religious and political realities so as to evaluate the ways in which the first might reflect, subvert or legitimate the other
  • The ability to design a research paper, identify a clear research question, conduct independent research using appropriate primary and secondary source materials and to draft a cogent, persuasive and original written argument

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Semester 1

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

Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 15:00-16:50 9-15, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Thursday 15:00-15:50 9-14, 17-22