HRRS-4551 Topics in Theravada Buddhist Thought: Western Theravada:
What roots, both Western and Asian, gave rise to Theravada as it exists in the West? What relationships exist with lineages in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian locales? What factors have shaped its expression, both historically and in the contemporary period? We will explore lineages and communities in the United States, including Vipassana/insight groups and their relationship to colonial-era Burmese reform movements; the Thai Forest traditions deriving from Ajahn Chah; and the origins of diaspora groups in the US. We will interrogate issues of identity, doctrine, praxis, continuity of tradition, textualization, Westernization, and the transformation of Theravada in a global context. Students will reflect critically on Western Theravada with regard to questions of postcolonialism, Orientalism, modernity/postmodernity/Buddhist Modernism, privilege, power, and authority. Lecture/discussion with term paper.