Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule
Instructor: Eric Gerlach
Online Course Website:
Office Hours: Friday 12 -1 pm @ K’s Coffee, next to BCC
Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of Buddhist philosophy, focusing on the core ideas of central thinkers from India, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
Texts: The readings for the class will be posted at the top of each lecture on the website.
Assignments: Two 4-5 page essays (2 x 25%) & a final 8-10 page paper (50%)
Students are welcome to complete the lectures, readings and three assignments at their own pace. The order of topics we cover is:
Buddhism, Philosophy & Human Thought
The Golden Age of Indian Thought
The Orthodox & Unorthodox Schools
Mahavira & Jainism
Buddha & The Dhammapada
Buddhism in India: The Theravada & Mahayana
Buddhism in Tibet, China & Japan
Zen: Bodhidharma, Huineng & Mazu
Zen: Linji & the Rinzai School
Zen: Zhaozhou & The Blue Cliff Record
Zen: The Gateless Gate, Dogen & Hakuin
Buddhism in Korea & Vietnam
Buddhism, Existentialism & Postmodernism
Buddhism, Pragmatism & Wittgenstein
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this class, students will be able to do the following:
1. Describe anatta,anicca,dukkha,and Dependent Origination as foundational principles of Buddhist ethics.
2.Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of three Buddhist schools, to discriminate between three Buddhist traditions, and to understand foundation of Buddhist metaphysics and ethics.
3. Assess foundational Buddhist principles critically.
4. Describe role of Buddhism in the development of national and religious culture.
5. Apply Buddhist existential principles to the understanding of the nature of life and self.
General Student Requirements:
Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are listed here. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course. Students are responsible for all class material (even if they miss class). If you miss class, it is strongly advised that you ask a classmate for notes. It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. Please read through the syllabus and plan ahead.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than five classes, you will receive an F in the course. (Note: I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences; if you miss more than five classes, for any reason, you cannot pass the class.)
Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSPS.
This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.