Investigation of the major analytical frameworks and methods for the study of Buddhism. Students will examine the “classic” approaches to understanding Buddhism as a social phenomenon, an “experience,” and a body of lived practices, and explore the influence of issues defining the nature of contemporary Buddhism, e.g., colonialism, cultural difference, postmodernity, secularism, and pluralism. Prerequisite: History of Buddhism
The major analytical frameworks for the study of Buddhism include (a) Buddhism as a social phenomenon, (b) Buddhism as a spiritual experience, (c) Buddhism as a philosophy, and (d) Buddhism as a body of lived practices. Students need to understand the contributions and differences between the various frameworks and develop models for assessing the role of tradition, reason, culture and experience in shaping the different expressions of Buddhism.
Understanding how Buddhists self-identify is an important part of engaging them in missional dialogue. By understanding the differences between the major interpretational frameworks, students will be able to develop more meaningful evangelistic approaches.
Students will evaluate each of the major interpretive frameworks of Buddhism from a biblical-theological perspective.
Students will consider how the various conceptual frameworks of Buddhism shapes a meaningful approach to Buddhists for missional dialogue.
Students will develop contextual models for engaging each of the major Buddhist interpretive frameworks.
Students will explore how significant cultural issues influenced the interpretation and expression of Buddhism.
Students will explore the various ways people self-identify as Buddhists and consider the importance of history, experience, tradition and culture on the development of a person’s faith.
Through assignments, research and personal interactions with Buddhists, students will gain personal understanding in what Buddhism means to its adherants and develop helpful commuication strategies accordingly.