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REL 212: Asian Religious Traditions

Professor: Cat Prueitt
TTh 8:30-9:45
Candler Library 124

Overall Goals and Structure of the Class:

This course examines the intertwined development of Hindu and Buddhist traditions in
South Asia. We will focus on sacred texts, stories, ideas, practices and rituals over a
period spanning from the revelation of the Vedas in the Indus Valley to the advent of
Buddhism in Tibet. Through extensive engagement with primary texts in translation,
we'll develop an appreciation for the internal diversity of these traditions and the ways in
which they influenced each other over time.

Grading structure:

1) Blog and Class Engagement: 30% (15% for doing it and 15% for quality).
Each week’s engagement is worth 3% of your final class grade. We will have a total of
10 blog posts. The 15% for quality is measured by the extent to which your discussions
on and off-line thoughtfully engage with the readings. In order to get full credit, you must
explicitly cite some portion of the week’s readings. The other 15% comes just for
attending class and putting up something related to our weekly topic.

Link to our blog:

One post can simply say "I'm sorry I got overwhelmed this week and cannot post" and
still earn full credit; after this one free post, you'll get 0.5% credit just for posting that you
can't post. Your posts can be short as long as they’re substantive. You can respond to
other students’ posts, but please do so in an independent post rather than as a comment
(it’s easier for me to keep track this way). You can ask questions or say that you don't
understand some part of the reading. If you ask me a direct question in a post, I will
respond to it in a comment. Posts are due by 8pm on Wednesday so that I have time to
read them and prepare for our discussion on Thursday. Late posts get half credit if they're
done within 2 weeks of when they were due.

2) Unit Papers: 3 papers at 20% each = 60%.
1000-1500 words (approximately 3.5-5 pages). I’ll provide a topic at least one week
before the paper is due.

3) Final Reflection Paper: 10%.
1500-2000 words (approximately 5-7 pages). This take-home paper will be due on our
exam date (~one week after the end of class). In it, you will reflect on the themes of the
class as a whole and your understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, and how the traditions
relate to each other. Sit back, take a breath, think about what you’ve learned, and tell me
about it.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.” 1-5. Office Hours: By appointment. “Veda and Upaniṣad. Unifying Hinduism. ISBN-10: 0199658595. Gethin. Just talk to me and try not to worry.” 59-100. ISBN-10: 0192892231. Required Texts: Ganeri. selections from the Ṛg Veda. Holdredge. please send me a ridiculous excuse. an account of how mutant dinosaurs devoured your computer. New York: Routledge. selections from the Upaniṣads Week Two: The Buddha’s Challenge .” from The Hindu World. Patton. Blog post #1 due Wednesday by 8pm September 3rd: Ganeri. I’d love to talk with you! Please don’t hesitate to contact me to set something up. The Concealed Art of the Soul. including for blog posts. 37-51. The Concealed Art of the Soul. New York: Oxford University Press. I can be flexible with the timing.” from The Hindu World. I will deduct 1% from your final grade on an essay for each day it is late. If you would like an extension. The Character of the Self in Ancient India. It can be a story about how an alien in a blue telephone booth whisked you away to the far corners of the universe. Mittal and Thursby. or anything else you fancy. eds. “Hidden in the Cave: the Upaniṣadic Self.” 13-38. “Debates between Brahmins: The Competitive Dynamics of the brahmodaya. Black. Unit I: Early Movements Week One: Vedas September 1st: Nicholson. 2004. Late Policy: If you do not ask me for an extension. “Dharma. 2013. Jonardon. “Introduction: Contesting the Unity of Hinduism. 1998. The Foundations of Buddhism. The Hindu World. 213-248. This is a hard and fast policy. It can be short and you can ask for the extension on midnight the day the essay is due if you need to. Rupert.The Honor Code is in effect at all times in this class.

” 61-94 (optional). Ganeri.” 7-34 and 133-162. selections from Buddhacārita Blog post #2 due Wednesday by 8pm September 10th: No-self and dependent origination Gethin. Selections from the Rāmāyana. “Chapter 5: Past and Future Buddhas” and Appendix I and II. “The Story of Koṭikarṇa” and “The Story of Svāgata. “Chapter 3: A Cloak of Clever Words.” 116-128.” 97-118.” “Karma. Nirvana. Divine Stories. “Mahābhārata.” (optional) and “Mokṣa. Fitzgerald. Ganeri. selections from the Nikāyas Week Three: Beginnings.” from The Hindu World. 309-330. Selections from the Mahābhārata *Unit I paper topic handed out in class* Blog post #4 due Wednesday by 8pm September 24th: Avadānas and Jātakas Collins. 126-184.” from The Hindu World. selections from Vedas Week Four: Early Narratives September 22nd: Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata Goldman and Goldman. Nirvana. “Chapter III: Four Truths” and “Chapter VI: No Self. The Foundations of Buddhism. “Rāmāyaṇa.September 8th: Life and times of the Buddha Gethin. “The Origin of Things. The Foundations of Buddhism. The Sayings of the Buddha. “Chapter II: Dangerous Truths. and the World in Between September 15th: Gethin. Gethin. Collins.” 39-60.” 39-70 and 289-324 Unit II: Creating Self and Other Week Five: Early Systematic Thought September 29th: Abhidharma and Nyāya . “Purāṇa.” 112-132. 52-74. Rotman. “Nirvana as concept. 228-308. “Chapter 5: The Buddhist Cosmos. Ends.” 29-60 Blog post #3 due Wednesday by 8pm September 17th: The Hindu World. 75-96. “Chapter 1: The Buddha” and and 59-84.

Chapters 1-3. no class Blog post #6 due Wednesday by 8pm October 15th: Selections from Rāma’s Last Act. “The Motive and Method of Rational Inquiry. “Mīmāṃsā” and Eltschinger. Chapters 2 and 3: Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Mādhyamika (up to p.” 49-82 Week Eight: Anti-Realism October 20th: Madhyamaka Williams. 134-168. Shulman.” Philosophy in Classical India. “Mahāyāna Buddhism”. 1-79.” Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Week Seven: Take a break and more kāvya October 13th: Fall Break.” 85-132. October 2nd via Blackboard*** Week Six: Expanding Narratives October 6th: Mahāyāna Sūtras Reading: Williams. selections from the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra Blog post #5 due Wednesday by 8pm October 8th: Kāvya Shulman. Mahāyāna Buddhism. “Chapter 11: Advaita Vedānta. “Chapter 2: The Work of Intention. 7- 41 October 1st: Mīmāṃsā and Buddhist logic Bartley. Ram-Prasad. 81). selections from the Mūlamadhyamakakārika Blog post #7 due Wednesday by 8pm October 22nd: Advaita Bartley. Advaita Epistemology and Metaphysics (selections) Week Nine: The World is Mind . “Dharmakīrti” ***Unit I paper due by 11:59pm on Friday. Ganeri. The Forerunner of All Things. More than Real.Heim. “Bhavabhūti on Cruelty and Compassion.

and Devotion Week Ten: Review and Classical Yoga November 3rd: Review day November 5th: Classical Yoga Selections from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra ***Unit II Paper Due Friday. Mahāyāna Buddhism. Blog post #8 due Wednesday by 8pm October 29th: Pratyabhijñā Ratié. “Chapter 4: The Semiology of Transgression” and “Chapter 5: The Practice of Indian Tantric Buddhism. Blog post #10 due Wednesday by 8pm November 19th: Clarifying the Natural State . Tantra. Chapter 4: Yogācāra. November 6th at 11:59pm via Blackboard*** Week Eleven: Tantra what??? November 10th: Tantra Part I Wedemeyer. “Chapter 1: Origins.” (selections: 24-29.” 105-169 Week Twelve: A bit of clarity November 17th: Internalizing tantra Sanderson. “The Yogin and the Dreamer” *Unit II Paper topic handed out in class* Unit III: Yoga.October 27th: Yogācāra Williams. 76-87). Religion. 36-53.” 17-67 Blog post #9 due Wednesday by 8pm November 12th: Buddhist Tantra Wedemeyer. “Pāramārtika or Apāramārtika? On the Ontological Status of Separation According to Abhinavagupta”. Madhyāntavibhāga Chapter 1. “Meaning in Tantric Ritual. and the Origins of Tantrism” and “Chapter 2: Narrating Tantric Buddhism.

“Bhakti. 185- 210 Last Day of Class December 7th Reflection papers due on Tuesday December 15th by 11:59pm .” The Hindu World. November 30th by 11:59pm via Blackboard*** December 1st: Bhagavadgītā December 3rd: Love Song of the Dark Lord. Lorenzen.*Unit III Paper Topic handed out in class* Week Thirteen: No class Thanksgiving Week! (I’m at a conference Tuesday the 24th) Week Fourteen: Kṛṣṇa and Devotion ***Unit III Paper due Monday.