Welcome to the Institute of Buddhist Studies Home

IBS Core Curriculum

The courses below represent the Institute of Buddhist Studies core set of classes. Please consult the current class schedule for available classes.

Introductory Course   |   Intermediate Course   |   Advanced Course

Introductory Courses

No background expected, provide basic introductions to area of study.

Introduction to Buddhist Thought
HR 1510

Introduces the major ideas of Buddhist thought in the context of contemporary religious and philosophical discussions. Recommended for introductory study.

Life and Teachings of the Buddha
HR 1550

Course examines the life and fundamental teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, providing an understanding of the Buddha’s time and world. It then follows the developments in the story of the Buddha as the popularity of Buddhism increases and it spreads throughout Asia. Recommended for introductory study.

Buddhist Traditions of South Asia
HRHS 1515

Introduces the Buddhist traditions as they originate in India and develop throughout south and southeast Asia. First half of the required year long introductory survey of the entire Buddhist tradition. Usually offered each fall semester.

Buddhist Traditions of East Asia
HRHS 1518

Introduces the Buddhist traditions transmitted to East Asia and the development of new traditions. Second half of the required year long introductory survey of the entire Buddhist tradition. Usually offered each spring semester.

Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought
HRPH 1614

Introduces the major ideas of Shin thought in the context of contemporary religious and philosophic discussions. Required course. One of the following is necessary as a prerequisite: HR 1510 Introduction to Buddhist Thought, HR 1550 Life and Teachings of the Buddha, or instructor’s permission.

Intermediate Courses

More specialized, background expected, primarily for MA level students.

Readings in Mahayana Texts
HR 3017

Introduces a major Mahayana sutra or sastra in English translation. May be augmented with work on text in canonic languages. Usually alternates annually between the three Pure Land sutras required of ministerial aspirants and other Mahayana texts. HRHS 1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia and HRHS 1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia are recommended as background. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

History of the Pure Land Buddhist Tradition: The Seven Masters
HRHS 3250

The Shin Buddhist tradition traces its origins to the works of Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T’an-luan, Tao-ch’o, Shan-tao, Genshin and Honen. This course examines their contributions to the development of Shin Buddhism. Required of ministerial aspirants. HRPH 1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought recommended as background.

History of the Shin Buddhist Tradition
HRHS 3075

This course takes the history of the Shin Buddhist tradition forward from the seven masters, examining the formation of the tradition by Shinran and its revitalization by Rennyo, as well as further developments into the Tokugawa and modern eras. Required of ministerial aspirants. HRHS 3250 History of the Pure Land Tradition: The Seven Masters recommended as background.

Shin Buddhist Texts: Modern Japanese
HR 3070

Reading tutorial introducing the study of Shin Buddhist texts written in modern Japanese. HRPH 1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought, and at least one year of college level Japanese language study minimal level: ability to use character dictionary, or instructor’s permission is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Shin Buddhist Texts: Classical Japanese, I
HR 3072

Reading tutorial introducing the study of Shin Buddhist texts written in classical Japanese and kambun. HR 4560 Shin Buddhist Texts: Modern Japanese, or instructor’s permission is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Shin Buddhist Texts: Classical Japanese, II
HR 3073

Reading tutorial continuing the study of Shin Buddhist texts written in classical Japanese and kambun. HR 4562 is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Topics in the Buddhist Traditions of South Asia
HRPH 3243

Specialized topic related to the history or thought of Buddhism as it developed in South Asia is selected by instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different. HRHS 1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia recommended as background.

Topics in the Buddhist Traditions of East Asia
HRPH 3242

Specialized topic related to the history or thought of Buddhism as it developed in East Asia is selected by instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different. HRHS 1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia recommended as background.

Advanced Courses

Very specialized, background study definitely expected, may be taken by both MA and PhD level students.

Topics in the Buddhist Traditions of Japan
HRHS 4540

Specialized topic related to the history or thought of Buddhism as it developed in Japan is selected by instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different. HRHS 1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia recommended as background.

Topics in Japanese Religions
HR 4542, HR 4543, HRPH 4543

Specialized topic related to the history or thought of Japanese religions is selected by instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different. HRHS 1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia recommended as background.

Works of Shinran, I: Shorter Writings
HR 4566

Introduction to the teachings of Shinran through a study of his shorter writings. Course will utilize the English translations of Shinran’s works to support the study of the original texts. HRPH 1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought, and at least one year of college level Japanese language study minimal level: ability to use character dictionary, or instructor’s permission is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Works of Shinran, II: Teaching, Practice, and Realization
HR 4567

Introduction to the teachings of Shinran through a study of his major treatise. Course will utilize the English translation to support the study of the original text. HRPH 1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought, and at least one year of college level Japanese language study minimal level: ability to use character dictionary, or instructor’s permission is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

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

Continuation of the study of Shinran’s major treatise. Course will utilize the English translation to support the study of the original text. HR 4567 Works of Shinran, II is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Works of Shinran, IV: Tannisho
HR 4569

Introduction to the teachings of Shinran through a study of a key summary of his thought. Course will utilize the English translation to support the study of the original text. HRPH 1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought, and at least one year of college level Japanese language study minimal level: ability to use character dictionary, or instructor’s permission is prerequisite to enrollment. Course is required for ministerial aspirants. Fulfills the Area Distribution Requirement for Area I.

Numata Lecture Series
HRPH 4575

Special lecture series organized around a different topic each year. Usually offered in the fall semester. Course may be repeated for credit.

Ryukoku Lecture Series
HRPH 4576

Featuring a visiting professor from the Ryukoku University faculty, these lectures focus on different topics each year. Usually offered in the spring semester. Course may be repeated for credit.

Topics in Shin Buddhist Thought
HR 4548

Specialized topic related to the history or application of Shin Buddhist thought is selected by the instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different.

Topics in Buddhist Thought
HRPH 4556

Specialized topic related to the history or application of Buddhist thought is selected by the instructor. Course may be repeated for credit, if topic is different.

Independent Study
HR 9999

Individual students may select a topic to explore on their own. Bibliography and study is overseen by an instructor who is responsible for evaluating work produced. Independent study should be used only with the approval of the student’s advisor.