Fall 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6399 Section 501
R Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Zen History, Teaching, & Thought

Description of Course:

This course introduces students with no knowledge of Zen/Chan to its history, basic ideas, practice, and profound impact upon the thought and life of East Asia and the West. It intends to: 1) learn historical facts about Chan Buddhism and intellectual thought; 2) read selected writings on Zen stories, legends, poetry, and practice; 3) examine interconnections between Eastern and Western thought; 4) explore possibilities of understanding Zen enlightenment; 5) locate alternative ways to cope with the tensions and anxieties of the contemporary world through Chan meditation. We will start with readings of the historical development of Chan Buddhism and survey its beginnings and roots in India, its origins and full maturity in China, its migration to Korea, and its full flowering in Japan. Then we will read core Chan texts, koans, and writings selected from the Chinese, Japanese, and Western traditions. Finally, we will read writings on Chan enlightenment and comparative studies of Zen and Western thought. We will also supplement readings of Chan writings with Chan meditation and practice. All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese language, literature, and culture is required.

Required Texts:

1) Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism: A History, Vol 1 (New York: MacMillan, 1988).
2) ___________, Zen Enlightenment: Origins and Meanings (New York: Weatherhill, 1983; 2nd edition by Shambhala, 2007).
3) The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, tr. Red Pine (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1989).
4) Hui-neng, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, ed., and tr., Philip Yampolsky (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987).
5) Stanley Lombardo et al, eds., Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea, and Japan (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2008).
6) Garry Shishin Wick, tr. The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans (Wisdom Publications, 2005).
7) Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (Rutland, VA: Charles Tuttel, 1973).
8) The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice and Enlightenment (New York: Anchor Books, 1980).
9) Eric Fromm, D. T. Suzuki and Richard De Martino, Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis (New York: Harper Collins, 1970).
10) Masao Abe, Zen and Western Thought (Honolulu: U. of Hawaii Press, 1989).
11) A Course pack containing writings on Zen/Chan Buddhism by Chan scholars and selected Zen poems by Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Western poets.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1. Summary and Review of Readings 10%
2. Leading the discussion of two assignments 10%
3. Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%
4. Term paper 70%
Total: 100%

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