Mbs course Outline 13-14 (Updated on November 28, 2013) Centre of Buddhist Studies


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Buddhism and Society

Ven. Dr. Guang Xing

Tel: 3917-5040

Email: guangxin@hku.hk

Schedule: 1st Semester; Wednesday 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Class Venue: CPD-2.42, 2/F, Centennial Campus

Tutor: Ven. Jian Dao

Course Description
This course examines various contemporary social issues from the Buddhist perspectives. The topics discussed include: the foundation for a peaceful society, war and peace, social ethics, material wealth, environment, family, gender, suicide and euthanasia, death, etc. Each topic is discussed by drawing material from the canonical Buddhist texts and analyzed in the light of Buddhist thought.
Students are expected to get familiar with Buddhist ideas and thought concerning the social issues as we have discussed so that they can discuss it in a formal gathering.
Examination and Requirements
Students are required to attend all the lectures and should read the relevant material to each topic before the lecture so that they can actively participate in our discussion. The final examination is based on two essays and lecture participation.

  1. 40 % short essay with 1500 words (dead line, November 7). You should read at least five articles and list them at the end.

  2. 50% long essay with 3,000 words (dead line, December 19). You should read at least ten articles and list them at the end.

  3. 10% Lectures Attendance

Note: Please add your email address when you submit your essay in electronic format.

Course Outline (tentative)
Lecture 1

Topic: Buddhist attitude to society and social issues.

Reading: Bhikkhu Bodhi, (2000) Facing the Future.
Lecture 2

Topic: The foundation for a peaceful society: A Buddhist perspective – five precepts

Reading: Harvey, Chapter 6, Chapter 42; Nyanaponika Thera,
Lecture 3

Topic: Buddhist way to a harmonious society: Four sublime states of mind

Reading: Narada, Chapter 42; Nyanaponika Thera,
Lecture 4

Topic: The Buddhist way to improve human relationship: Four ways of winning people

Reading: Bhikkhu Bodhi,
Lecture 5

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards war and peace

Reading: Harvey, Chapter 6
Lecture 6

Topic: Buddhist social ethics

Reading: Harvey, Chapter 2
October 16 Reading Week
Lecture 7

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards material wealth

Reading: Benavides, “Economy”,
Lecture 8

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards nature

Reading: Harvey, Chapter 4

Lecture 9

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards parents

Reading: Guang Xing “Filial Piety in Early Buddhism”
Lecture 10

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards Suicide and euthanasia

Reading: Harvey, Chapter 7 & 8
Lecture 11

Topic: Buddhist attitude towards death

Reading: Gunaratna, V.F. Buddhist Reflections on Death, The Wheel Publication No. 102/103.
Suggested Essay Topics

  1. “Buddhism is other worldly so it cares less about this world.” Discuss.

  2. Examine the reasons why Buddhism emphasizes so much on sharing (giving)

  3. Discuss the importance of the Four Immeasurables in promoting a harmonious society.

  4. Discuss the Buddhist way to improve human relations.

  5. Discuss the magic of right speech in dealing with human relation.

  6. “The five precepts are the foundation of peaceful society.” Discuss

  7. Does Buddhism advocate righteous war, if not why?

  8. Is wealth the source of human happiness? -- Discuss in the light of Buddhist teaching.

  9. What is the Buddhist attitude towards wealth?

  10. Can Buddhist philosophy provide a new model for the world economic system?

  11. “Buddhist ethics is purely psychological”. Discuss.

  12. What is the Buddhist attitude towards environment?

  13. What is the Buddhist Attitude towards vegetation?

  14. What is the Buddhist Attitude towards animals?

  15. “Buddhism plays a passive role in protecting the nature”. Discuss.

  16. “Filial piety is a special feature of Chinese Buddhism.” Discuss.
  17. Does Buddhism support suicide? Discuss.

  18. Does Buddhism support euthanasia? Discuss.

  19. Does Buddhism support abortion? Discuss.

  20. What is Buddhist attitude towards death?

  21. Are there human rights in Buddhism? Discuss.

  22. What is the Buddhist attitude towards globalization? Discuss.

IMPORTANT: When you choose a topic please choose a smaller one so that you can have in-depth discussion. You may choose a topic from the above list or have your topics provided it relates to our course. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity matters in your essay. Please write a title page with the following information: (1) the course title, (2) topic of the essay, (3) your name and dates, (4) your email address.
Required Reading

Bodhi, Bhikkhu. In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. Boston: Wisdom Publication, 2005. 294.3823 I351 B66

Harvey, Peter. (2009) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge University Press. First published in 2000. 294.35 H342 i    You can purchase this book from University bookstore.

Kalupahana, David J., Ethics in early Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, c1995.  294.35 K14  Ebook available.

Narada, The Buddha and His Teaching. Sri Lanka: Kandy, Buddhist Publication Society, (1988), BPS Online Edition © (2006). You can download the entire book from the following website: http://www.bps.lk/bp_library/bp_102s/page_00.html

Rahula, W. (1990) What the Buddha Taught. London: Wisdom Books. Reprint.  294.363 G275 W1  You can also download it from http://www.quangduc.com/English/basic/68whatbuddhataught.html
Further Reading
Benavides, Gustavo. “Economy”, Lopez, Donald S. (edited) Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005, 77-102.

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Dana The Practice of Giving. The Wheel Publication No. 367/369, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1990. http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh367.pdf

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Facing the Future. Four Essays on Social Relevance of Buddhism. Wheel No. 438/440. Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 2000. http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh438.pdf

Cabezón, José Ignacio, ed. Buddhism, sexuality, and gender. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, c1992. 294.3378344 B9 Ebook available

Chakravarti, Uma. The social dimensions of early Buddhism. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1996.  294.33 C43 

De Silva, Padmasiri, Buddhism, Ethics and Society: the conflicts and dilemmas of our times. Clayton, Vic.: Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Press, 2002.  294.35 D2 

De Silva, Padmasiri, An introduction to Buddhist psychology. London: Macmillan, 1991. 294.3019 D4  Basingstoke [U.K.]; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 294.3019 D4 

De Silva, Padmasiri, Environmental philosophy and ethics in Buddhism. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. 294.3378362 D278 e   

De Silva, Padmasiri, “Suicide and Emotional Ambivalence: An Early Buddhist Perspective,” in Frank J. Hoffman and Deegalle Mahinda edited Pali Buddhism. London: Curzon Press, 1996, 117-132. 294.382 P16    

Dharmasiri, Gunapala. A Buddhist critique of the Christian concept of God. Antioch, Calif., U.S.A.: Golden Leaves, c1988.

Florida, Robert E. Buddhism and violence in modernity” in David J. Hawkin edited The twenty-first century confronts its gods: globalization, technology, and war. Albany: State University of New York Press, c2004, pp.173- 201.7 T9

Guang Xing “Filial Piety in Early Buddhism”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, (eds. by Damien Keown and Charles S. Prebish), Volume 12 (2005), pp.82-106. Journal URLs: http://www.buddhistethics.org/12/xing-article.html

Guang Xing “Early Buddhist and Confucian Concepts of Filial Piety: A Comparative Study”, Universal Gate Buddhist Journal, No.45 (2008), 169-210. 220 79

Gunaratna, V.F. Buddhist Reflections on Death, The Wheel Publication No. 102/103. Sri Lanka, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1982. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratna/wheel102.html

Keown, Damien. The Nature of Buddhist Ethics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001, c1992. 294.35 K3   

Keown, Damien. Buddhism and Bioethics. London: Macmillan, 1995.

Keown, Damien, Charles S. Prebish and Wayne R. Husted., (eds.) Buddhism and human rights. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1998. Main L 342.0852 B9  Law L KC200 B9    

Keown, Damien. (ed.) Contemporary Buddhist ethics. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, c2000.  294.35 C76    BJ1289 .C66 2000

Kraft, Kenneth. (ed.) Inner peace, World peace: essays on Buddhism and nonviolence. Albany : State University of New York Press, c1992. 294.35697 I5 

Lopez, Donald S. (edited) Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2005. 294.307 C9 

Nyanaponika Thera, The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity. The Wheel Publication No. 6, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1993. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/wheels/wheel006.html

Pandey, K.C. (ed.) Ecological Perspectives in Buddhism. New Delhi: Readworthy Pub., 2008.

Saddhatissa, H. Buddhist ethics: the path to Nirvāna. London: Wisdom Pubns, 1987.  294.35 S12    

Sahni, Pragati. Environmental ethics in Buddhism: a virtues approach. London and New York: Routledge, 2008. 294.35691 S1

Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: wisdom for cooling the flames. New York: Riverhead Books, 2001. 294.35 N57 

Tucker, M. E. and D. R. Williams, eds. Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1997. 294.3378362 B9 

Zsolnai, Laszlo and Knut Johannessen Ims, (eds.) Business within limits: deep ecology and Buddhist economics. Oxford; New York: Peter Lang, c2006.   174.4 B979 Z92

Reference and Internet Resources
1) Dictionaries

Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, eds., Charles Muller. Free. This is an internet based dictionary similar to Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, by Soothill and Hodous, but has much more entries. If you know the Chinese Buddhist technical terms, but do not know how to translate it into English, please visit Muller’s DDB website address: http://www.buddhism-dict.net/ddb/ Users can access the search function with the user ID of "guest" (case-sensitive, no quotes), leaving the password area blank allowing 10 searches in a 24 hour period. To search Sanskrit and other terms containing diacritics, type in the term in simple ascii.
A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms. Edited by William Edward Soothill and Lewis Hodous. This is a very useful tool for the study of Chinese Buddhism as all the entries are in classical Chinese with English explanation and also Sanskrit terms supplied.  Both electronic version and printed version are available. HKUL: R 294.303 S7 However you are strongly recommended to download the entire dictionary for free from http://mahajana.net/texts/kopia_lokalna/soothill-hodous.html

PDF: http://buddhistinformatics.ddbc.edu.tw/glossaries/files/soothill-hodous.ddbc.pdf

The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism. Free online checkup. http://www.sgilibrary.org/dict.html This is the online version of The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism that was published in 2002. There are more than 2700 entries, including cross references. The dictionary does not aim to cover the entire Buddhist lexicon. Rather, it is meant as a guide for readers of Nichiren' works.

A Dictionary Buddhism, eds., Damien Keown. This Dictionary needs subscription, so use it through HKU Electronic Recourses.

Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, edited by Nyanatiloka. Free. You can either download it from http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/dic_idx.html
Pali-English Dictionary edited by T W Rhys Davids and William Stede. This is a very good dictionary for check up Pali words. The dictionary not only explains the word, but also gives you the courses from where you can find the word. Free search from internet at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/
Dictionary of Pali Proper Names ed. by G P Malalasekera (1899-1973). It is a dictionary solely devoted to the proper names of Theravada tradition. This is also a good dictionary that it gives you a lot of information. It is available as printed version from the Pali Text Society. However, you can check online for free http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/dic_idx.html
Sanskrit-English Dictionary edited by Monier Williams. This is the largest dictionary for Sanskrit studies at the moment. You can check online at http://students.washington.edu/prem/mw/mw.html

The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue. [compiled by] Lewis R. Lancaster in collaboration with Sung-bae Park, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. This is a catalogue of Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in Sanskrit together with Tibetan and Chinese translation. It also lists the translators and date of Chinese translation. If you know the title of a sutra in Chinese, but you don’t know how to translate it into Sanskrit, then you can find it in this catalogue. A Hardcopy can be found in HKU Library XR 016.294382 L2  However the electronic version can be downloaded for free from http://www.acmuller.net/descriptive_catalogue/

2) Encyclopaedia

Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, eds., Robert E. Buswell, Jr., Ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2003. 982 pp. 2 vols. [Both printed and electronic versions are available] This encyclopedia describes the Buddhist world view, basic teachings and practices of Buddhism, as well as its different schools and sects. You can find it from HKU Electronic Recourses and download the papers.
Encyclopedia of ReligionLindsay Jones, Ed. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 10735 pp. 15 vols.  [Both printed and electronic versions are available] This Encyclopedia contains a large number of articles in Buddhist Studies. You can find it from HKU Electronic Recourses and download the papers.
Routledge Encyclopaedia of philosophy [electronic resource]. Edward Craig, ed. London: Routledge. Contains over 2,000 state-of-the-art articles, covering a broad range of topics in the philosophical canon, as well as philosophy from all continents and all periods. Includes fast and flexible searching capability, over 25,000 cross-reference hyperlinks and other features. You can find it from HKU Electronic Recourses and download the papers.
Encyclopedia of religion and ethics. edited by James Hastings, with the assistance of John A. Selbie and other scholars. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908-21. 12 Vols. R 203 E56 e 

Encyclopedia Britannica Online. [Both printed and electronic versions are available] You can find it from HKU Electronic Recourses and download the papers. http://search.eb.com/

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Free, it contains a large number of papers in Buddhist and Confucian studies. http://plato.stanford.edu/
The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Free, it contains a large number of papers in Buddhist and Confucian studies. http://www.iep.utm.edu/
3) Journals

Journal of Buddhist Ethics. Free. This is a web based academic journal for free distribution. Web address: http://www.buddhistethics.org/
Journal of Global Buddhism. Free. This is a web based academic journal for free distribution. http://www.globalbuddhism.org/dig.html
Buddhist Studies Review. Published twice a year by the UK Association for Buddhist Studies, started form 1984. Both printed and electronic versions are available from HKU Library, the electronic version is gradually uploaded to the web. Now the Journal is free for download from 1983-2005. http://www.ukabs.org.uk/ukabs/resources/journal-archives/buddhist-studies-review-vols-1-22/

You can also get it from HKUL Catalogue: 294.3 B927 S9
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. Free academic journal dedicated to Japanese religions including Buddhism. http://www.ic.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/jjrs/jjrs_cumulative_list.htm
Asia Major. Free, Academic Journal dedicated for the Asian study. All past papers are freely downloadable. http://www.ihp.sinica.edu.tw/~asiamajor/
Journal Asiatique. Free. This academic journal is published in Paris for Asian studies. http://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.php?url=journal.php&code=JA

Western Buddhist Review. Free. It contains good academic papers for download. http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/

Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Published twice a year, Wilmingtoon, NC : International Association of Buddhist Studies, 1978. Only printed version is available in HKU Library.

294.305 I6 A8

The Eastern Buddhist. Published twice a year by the Eastern Buddhist Society in Kyoto. Japan, started from 1965. Only printed version is available in HKU Library. HKUL Catalogue: 294.3 E13 B9
Contemporary Buddhism. Published twice a year, Richmond, England: Curzon, c2000. Both printed and electronic versions are available from HKU Library. HKUL Catalogue: 294.3 C761 B
Buddhist-Christian Studies. Published once a year by University of Hawai'i Press started 1981. Both printed and electronic versions are available from HKU Library.
4) Website Recourses

Accesstoinsight. Free. This is a website entirely dedicated to the teaching of Theravada Buddhism including the Pali Canon, Theravada text archive and sources. Most of the Pali texts are translated into English for free distribution. Website address: www.accesstoinsight.org/
Buddhist Publication Society. Free. Please visit the “Online Library”. This is an organization in Sri Lanka devoted to the publication of Theravada Buddhist Books and some of them are for free distribution. So you can download them for your own use. The Wheel Publication Series and Bodhi Leaf Series are scholarly studies of Theravada Buddhism. http://www.bps.lk/

Buddhist Digital Library and Museum. 佛學數位圖書館暨博物館 Free. There is a good collection of academic articles some with full texts in both Chinese and English. It is a good place to relevant academic articles for your study. Website address: http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/DBLM/index.htm please go to database.

Buddhasasana. Free. You can find many full text articles on Buddhism in English, but not all of them are academic so you have to be selective. The website address is: http://www.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebidx.htm
Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in English. Free. In this site you can find some popular Chinese Mahayana texts in English translation. Website address: http://www4.bayarea.net/~mtlee/
Taisho Edition of Chinese Tripitaka. Free. If you can read classical Chinese and wish to refer to the original Chinese texts, please visit http://www.cbeta.org/index.htm. This website includes volumes 1-55 & 85 of Taisho Edition of Chinese Tripitaka.
The Internet Sacred Text Archive. Free. You can find old texts of almost all major religions in the world in this site and you can also copy the full texts if you wish. For instance, you can find the Sacred Books of the East. Website: http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm
JSTOR The Scholarly Journal Archive, good for you to find papers and articles for writing your term paper. You can access the Archive through HKU Electronic Recourses. http://www.jstor.org/jstor

NII Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator. Mostly Free. The National Institute of Informatics (Japan) has incorporated approximately 2.8 million full text articles (PDF) in NII-ELS, from 1,000 published academic journals . Currently NII has obtained permission of 271 academic societies. NII-ELS also provides full text (PDF) of Research Bulletins of Japanese universities. All of the full text articles incorporated in NII-ELS are available through CiNii along with bibliographical information on other academic papers.

Persée. Free, French Journals in French online, http://www.persee.fr/web/guest/home/

Persée is a program which was created for the digital publication of scientific journals in the field of the humanities. The entire printed collection of journals is digitized and published online through a portal which offers access to the collections as well as advanced functionalities which facilitate and enhance use of the portal’s resources. The journals are selected by an editorial board, thereby guaranteeing the collection’s scientific coherence. You can create your own account and use save your searches.

SAGE full text collections. Free. SAGE publishes more than 520 journals in Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology and Medicine. SAGE Journals Online is the delivery platform that provides online access to the full text of individual SAGE journals. The SAGE Full-Text Collections, SAGE's award-winning, discipline-specific research databases, are also available on SAGE Journals Online. http://online.sagepub.com/

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