Engaged Buddhism

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Engaged Buddhism
Humanities Course
Course CodeEBUD
Year Opened2019
Sites OfferedHKU
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2019):

Engaged Buddhism is a course on the history and culture of Buddhism from the ancient world to the contemporary present. In the past hundred years, Asian Buddhist activists and leaders such as Thich Nhat Hanh, B. R. Ambedkar, Tenzin Gyatso (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama), Sulak Sivaraksa, Chao Hwei, and Karma Lekshe Tsomo have transformed Buddhism through their insistence that Buddhism and Buddhists be socially engaged. Twentieth and twenty-first century American, Australian, and European Buddhist teachers have also combined Buddhist ethics, Buddhist patterns of community, and Buddhist practices (meditation, ritual, pilgrimage) with social and political activism, addressing issues such as war, social inequity, racism, environmental degradation, poverty, mass incarceration, and nuclear proliferation in a Buddhist mode. In this course we take contemporary engaged Buddhism as our point of entry for exploring the complexities of the world’s Buddhist cultures, especially the classical Buddhism of ancient India that is still authoritative for all Buddhist traditions globally, even modernist ones. We will tack from now to then and back to now, delving into the pre-modern roots of engaged Buddhism and analyzing contemporary innovations on the classical tradition. Making use of the rich resources in Hong Kong, students will visit the Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po.