BUD3151EN - History of Buddhism: India and Tibet

Course description

Survey of the historical development of Buddhism from its inception in India to its assimilation into Tibetan culture. Students will study the historical and sociological factors that gave rise to the core tenets and practices represented in Buddhism’s three major schools of religious thought: Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Theravada.

How this course benefits students

Missional leaders who are immersed in Buddhist communities or cultural contexts need a foundation in the historical events, key figures, religious and sociological factors that gave rise to Buddhism in India, and an understanding of how and why Buddhism was assimilated and adapted in Tibet. In addition, they need to recognize and understand the three major schools of Buddhist thought.

Why this course is important

The worldview and religious practices of today's Buddhists cannot be understood without a foundation in Buddhism's origins and development of its major schools of thought. To engage Buddhists in missional dialogue, students need an overview of Buddhism's roots in India and Tibet.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Buddhist Studies
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

Students will start with a basic understanding of Christian doctrines. From that foundation, they will compare and contrast biblical passages and the core tenets and practices of the Buddhist schools of thought and Buddhist worldview.

Missionally driven

Students will identify and assess potential bridges for effective missional engagement.

Contextually informed

Students will use the principles of biblical contextualization to identify and assess the significant worldview differences between Christianity and Buddhism.

Interculturally focused

Students will examine historical, sociological, anthropological, socio-economic, demographic, and geographic factors to identify culturally-appropriate bridges for evangelism.

Practically minded

Students will explore the essential history, core beliefs, and common practices of Buddhism's three major schools of religious thought.

Experientially transformed

Students will be encouraged to engage in interactive dialogue that presents opportunities to learn from others who have experienced life among various cultures, religions, and countries. The interactive communication will provide an ever-expanding understanding of others and will enable everyone to be better prepared if and when missional opportunities arise.