A seminar focused on the development of the PhD/ThD dissertation.  Topics to be discussed include: selection of the dissertation topic, development of an original argument, situating one’s topic in relation to existing scholarship, and Buddhist-inspired strategies for writing and completing the project

A lab-comparable component to the study of Buddhist meditation, this class takes a hands-on approach to the understanding and experimentation of traditional and/or contemporary methods of mental cultivation. The methods of meditation will primarily be based on the 16 steps of breathing exercise as outlined in the Ānāpānasati-sutta, a foundational early Buddhist text that has been a source of much inspiration and controversies. The class will perform detailed analysis of those canonical meditation techniques, as well as resourceful ways of applying them in different situations. Much class discussion will be dedicated to exploring how these techniques map onto what we know about the connections between psychological behaviors and the generation of stress—the key theme in the Buddha’s path of resolving suffering.

The course will cover the creation of the Chinese language version of Buddhist canonic texts. Starting in the second century, translations, commentaries, and East Asian redactions form the Chinese Buddhist Canon that has grown to a library of texts now containing thousands of documents. During the course, the narrative of how this remarkable collection of religious texts came into existence will be the focus of lectures and research. Topics of discussion will range from exploring the emerge of Buddhist material in India, the spread of those materials through Central Asia and the coastal routes from the sub-continent to East Asia, the technologies used in the process of shifting the teachings from oral to written and recently digital versions.