Buddhist Literature: Indian Mahāyāna, Buddhism in China and Japan
The course will explore later Buddhist literature in India, China, and Japan through selected excerpts chosen from biographies, poetry, narratives, meditation manuals, doctrinal treatises, historical accounts, and scholastic texts. After an overview of the life of the Buddha and early Indian Buddhist teachings and practice, we will turn to later Indian Mahāyāna texts and finally to certain Buddhist teachings and practices in China and Japan. In addition to the characteristics of different textual genres, attention will also be given to the themes of textual composition, authorship, audience, transmission, context, and function. Readings include both translations from primary texts and background material, which will situate the topic in historical and cultural context.