Dr Elisabetta Porcu, senior lecturer in Asian Religions, Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town
This illustrated introductory course on Buddhism will take participants on a journey from India to Japan. The main characteristics of Buddhism, its history, teachings and practices, will be outlined. Participants will learn about the Buddha, Buddhist cosmology, and ideas of karma and samsara. Buddhism is diverse and multifaceted and developed in different ways in different places. Area-specific developments of Buddhism, such as Zen and Pure Land Buddhism in Japan will be examined. The focus will be on Buddhism as a living tradition in contemporary society and the role it has played in the creation of Japanese culture and the arts.
1. Buddhism: its origins
2. Buddhism: teachings and practices
3. Buddhism in Japan
4. Pure Land Buddhism and the arts
Lopez, D. 1999. ‘Buddhism in Practice.’ In Asian Religions in Practice: An Introduction, 56–87. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Porcu, E. 2008. Pure Land Buddhism in Modern Japanese Culture. Leiden and Boston: Brill.
Porcu, E. 2017. ‘Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Traditions.’ In The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism, Jerryson, M. (ed.) 122–39. New York: Oxford University Press.