Topics in East Asian Religions


This course is an introduction to the Lotus Sutra, the most popular and influential scripture in the history of East Asian Buddhism. After a close reading of the entire text and a discussion of its major ideas, it's contextualized within the history of Buddhism and, more broadly, of East Asia, by examining its contributions to thought, ritual, literature and art in China, Korea and Japan, from its first translations into literary Chinese - the canonical language of East Asian Buddhism - to modern times. Topics covered include: the ontological status of the Lotus and, more broadly, of Mahayana scriptures; commentarial traditions on the meaning of the Lotus and its place within Mahayana Buddhism; practices associated to the worship of the Lotus - e.g., copying, reciting, burying; the worship of buddhas and bodhisattvas appearing in the sutra; Lotus-inspired poetry, and visual and material culture; Lotus-centered Buddhist traditions. Readings (all in English) are drawn from Buddhist scriptures and commentaries, tale literature, hagiographic narratives, poetry, archeological materials, and other literary genres. Given the importance that the Lotus has played in East Asia, this course functions broadly as an introduction to East Asian Buddhism. Previous coursework on Buddhism or East Asia is recommended but not required, and no prior knowledge of any East Asian languages is required.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Topics in East Asian Religions: The Lotus Sutra in East Asia: Buddhism, Art, Literature
View Course Listing - FL2023