Welcome to the Institute of Buddhist Studies Home

Course Listings

Course search options

Registration information | Academic calendar
Fall 2013 Early Registration: Apr. 8 - Apr. 19, 2013
Fall 2013 General Registration: Aug. 19 - Aug. 30, 2013

Course Listings for Fall 2013

HRHS 1515 : Buddhist Traditions of South Asia 

Instructor(s): Pokorny Units: 3.0
Time: Tuesday 2:10PM – 5:00PMCourse Level: Introductory
Classroom: JSC 130

Introduces the Buddhist traditions as they originated in India and develop throughout South and Southeast Asia. First half of the required yearlong introductory survey of the entire Buddhist tradition.
Course format: Seminar/lecture.
Evaluation method: Participation/term paper.

Download course syllabus

HRPH 1614 : Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought 

Instructor(s): Matsumoto Units: 3.0
Time: Tuesday 9:40AM - 12:30PMCourse Level: Introductory
Classroom: JSC 130

Introduces the major ideas of Shin thought in the context of contemporary religious and philosophic discussions. It will offer an introduction to the tradition’s primary textual sources in English translation. It will also look at the religious life of the Shin Buddhist follower, focusing on issues of practice, religious experience, rituals, iconography and community. Arrangements will be made to enable students outside of the Bay Area to participate in class sessions in real time. Required course. One of the following is needed as a prerequisite: HR-1510 Introduction to Buddhist Thought, HR-1550 Life and Teachings of the Buddha, or instructor’s permission. Faculty permission required. Auditors with faculty permission.

Download course syllabus

HR 1615 : Readings in Early Buddhist Texts: Long Discourses of Buddha 

Instructor(s): Fronsdal Units: 3.0
Time: Monday 9:40AM – 12:30PMCourse Level: Introductory
Classroom: JSC 131

This course consists of in depth readings (in translation) of selected suttas (discourses) from the Long Discourses of the Buddha (the Dīgha Nikāya), one of the most significant collections of early Buddhist scriptures. In reading these suttas and relevant scholarly articles we wil learn about a range of important teachings, spiritual practices, ethical values, cosmologies, political theories, and myths from early Buddhism and ancient India. Evaluation will be based on seven 2-3 page reflection papers, a 5 page mid-term analytical paper, and a 15-20 page final analytical paper. The course is intended for M.A., M.Div., and M.B.S. students. Auditors with faculty permission.

Download course syllabus

FE 1810 : Shin Buddhist Services and Ceremonies 

Instructor(s): Bridge Units: 3.0
Time: Monday 9:40AM – 12:30PMCourse Level: Introductory
Classroom: JSC 130

Teaches chanting and ceremonial required for ministerial service in the Jodo Shin Hongwanji-ha tradition. Offered every other semester.

Download course syllabus

HR 2850 : Buddhism and the West 

Instructor(s): Mitchell Units: 3.0
Time: Tuesday 2:10PM - 5:00PMCourse Level: Intermediate
Classroom: JSC 131

This course surveys the history of Buddhist traditions in the West. Beginning with 19th century colonial contact and Asian immigration through 21st century global exchanges, we will explore the various ways that Buddhists, Buddhist communities, and Buddhist ideas have come to and developed in Western contexts.
This course fulfills the “Buddhism in the West” or “Buddhism in America” requirement for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program.
GTU doctoral students are encouraged to enroll.
Previous Buddhist studies courses helpful but not required.
Format: discussion, lecture.
Evaluation: class participation, book review or field trip, final research paper.

Download course syllabus

PSHR 3013 : Buddhist Chaplaincy 

Instructor(s): Fronsdal Units: 3.0
Time: TBDCourse Level: Intermediate
Classroom:

The practice of Buddhist chaplaincy demands the development of compassion and non-judgemental mind, and at the same time offers intense opportunities to develop these qualities. Chaplains serve in variety of settings in which people are under stress of one kind or another, including hospitals and hospices, prisons and jails, and military. This is a two-semester sequence of training offered by the Sati Center (Redwood City, CA) in affiliation with IBS. Over the course of ten months, through discussion, readings, meditation, and internship, the student will not only learn about chaplaincy, but begin to develop the necessary skills and understandings for compassionate service to others who are in need, whether they are Buddhists or not. No prerequisites, but both semesters must be completed for credit to be awarded. Pin required. Auditors Excluded.


Separate application directly to the Sati Center program is required. Application process begins in June preceding the start of the program in September. Application and program fees are the responsibility of the student. Visit for further information: http://www.sati.org/chaplaincy-training/

HRCE 3014 : Issues in Buddhist Ministry 

Instructor(s): Yamaoka Units: 3.0
Time: Thursday 2:10PM – 5:00PM Course Level: Intermediate
Classroom: JSC 131

Explore the difficulties and direction in Buddhist Ministry within the Western context. Also, through a person-centered educational process, explore ways and means to develop one’s personal ministry for the west. To study and evaluate an educational process will be the core element of the course. Lecture/seminar with research papers which includes personal reflection documents within the words of the Buddhist teachers. Course is for MA students with an emphasis on ministry and chaplaincy.

Download course syllabus

HRPS 3016 : Psychological Aspects of Buddhism II 

Instructor(s): Kinst Units: 3.0
Time: Thursday 9:40AM – 12:30PMCourse Level: Intermediate
Classroom: JSC 130

Dialogues with Contemporary Western Psychology. This course will explore the interface of traditional Buddhist and contemporary Western psychological perspectives on the nature of human experience, the self, suffering and how it is addressed, as well as the relationship of self and other. Fundamental Buddhist teachings, including Abhidharma, Yogacara and Madhyamaka teachings, will be covered and writings of contemporary authors will be used to clarify points of contact, divergence, misunderstanding and mutual benefit.
No prerequisites are required.
Course format: Seminar, lecture/discussion.
Evaluation: Weekly 1-2 page paper or class presentation.
Auditors with faculty permission.

Download course syllabus

HR 4568 : Works of Shinran III: Teaching, Practice, Realization, continued 

Instructor(s): Matsumoto Units: 3.0
Time: Monday 2:10PM - 5:00PMCourse Level: Advanced
Classroom: JSC 130

Continuation of the study of Shinran’s major treatise, which was taken up in HR 4567 Works of Shinran II.
HR-4567 or equivalent as determined by instructor is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is recommended for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I. Faculty permission required.

Download course syllabus

HR 8145 : Buddhist Japanese I 

Instructor(s): Kurioka Units: 3.0
This is an Online CourseCourse Level: Introductory
Our online courses are co-sponsored by the Starr King School for the Ministry

This course introduces the basics of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, kana & kanji (Japanese characters), and dictionary work. Students will acquire knowledge of the characteristics of Japanese grammar and some Buddhist terminology. Students learn various types of sentences, which include simple and compound sentences. The final exam requires the student to translate two (unrelated) paragraphs of simplified academic texts related to Buddhism.
Course format: Lecture/ online.
Evaluation method: Participation/ homework assignments/ 2 exams/ 1 essay.

Download course syllabus

HR 8160 : Readings Early Buddhist Texts: Middle Length Discourses 

Instructor(s): Fronsdal Units: 3.0
This is an Online CourseCourse Level: Introductory
Our online courses are co-sponsored by the Starr King School for the Ministry

This online course consists of extensive reading of selected discourses of the Buddha from the Middle Length Discourses, one of the most important collections of teachings from early Buddhism. Readings will be organized around themes found in the collection including the nature of the Buddha and the path of practice he taught, karma, sensuality and renunciation, the practice of mindfulness and concentration, Buddhist conceptions of wisdom and spiritual liberation. Written lectures and study guides will be provided to support a careful reading of each of the assigned discourses. Prof. Fronsdal will lead online question and discussion opportunities and will evaluate the assignments. Evaluation will be based on forum entries and responses, a 10 page mid-term analytical essay, and a 15-20 page final research paper. The course is intended for M.A., M.Div., and M.B.S. students. Auditors with faculty permission.

Download course syllabus

HRHS 8307 : History of the Shin Buddhist Tradition: Premodern 

Instructor(s): Amstutz Units: 3.0
This is an Online CourseCourse Level: Intermediate
Our online courses are co-sponsored by the Starr King School for the Ministry

A survey of themes and problems in the history of Jōdoshinshū Buddhism, from Hōnen into the nineteenth century, focusing on issues other than Shinran’s doctrine and text per se (institutionalization, women’s roles, evolution of teachings, interaction with political and economic regimes, etc.). Online course, with readings and written interactions among students and instructor. Evaluation based on weekly student writings and a final paper. For all students concerned with Shin Buddhism’s interaction with Japanese history, but assumes some familiarity with Buddhist traditions.

Download course syllabus

HRPH 8455 : Topics in Buddhist Thought: Buddhism, Meat, and Vegetarianism 

Instructor(s): Grumbach Units: 3.0
This is an Online CourseCourse Level: Advanced
Our online courses are co-sponsored by the Starr King School for the Ministry

Although Buddhist monastic codes did not originally prohibit meat-eating, vegetarianism is often considered a core Buddhist practice, especially in the tradition’s East Asian forms. This course explores food as a form of material culture that has greatly impacted Buddhist doctrine and practice. We will examine the roles of meat and sacrifice in East Asian religions; how and why Buddhist doctrinal materials and practices changed over time to espouse new values that rejected meat-eating; and the political significance of religious ideas about food and killing. The focus of the course will be on East Asian, especially Japanese, Buddhist developments. Online lecture (voice-to-voice) and/or Moodle discussion. Term paper. Intended audience: M.A./M.T.S.. Auditors with faculty permission.

Download course syllabus