Study Abroad
Buddhist Studies Certificate Program
Faculty Publications
Faculty Seminar
Public Talks & Conferences
Summer Institute in Museum Studies
Tibetan Studies in India
Religious & Spiritual Life

Related Links

SPRING 2016 Courses

BUX 141 Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Debating Styles
Ngawang Singey
W 7:30 - 9:30 pm

Critical analysis is highly esteemed in Tibetan Buddhism; as the Buddha said: “Monks and wise men, just as a goldsmith would test his gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so must you examine my words and accept them, not merely out of reverence for me.” Debate is a traditional technique in Tibetan monastic education for investigating philosophical concepts and sharpening analytical capacities. Taught by a Tibetan Lharampa Geshe, this is an experientially-based class presenting a challenging, interactive, and energetic approach to metaphysical and cosmic questions. Students get a brief overview of the Tibetan debate system and an opportunity to participate in a debate forum. Meets first half of semester only. Graded S/U only. (E) 1 credit

REL 266 Colloquium in Buddhist Studies
Topic: Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
Constance Kassor
TTh 10:30 - 11:50 am

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of Buddhist religious practice and philosophy from the standpoint of the Tibetan tradition, a tradition that endeavors to preserve the Mahayana tradition transmitted to Tibet from India. Among the topics to be addressed are the distinction between the Mayahaya and Hinayana vehicles, the difference between sutra and tantra, teachings on emptiness and the two truths according to different Tibetan schools, and the intersections of Tibetan religion and politics. {H} 4 credits

REL 269 Buddhism Along the Silk Road
Richard Taupier
M 7 - 9 pm

This course will trace early Buddhism on the Indian sub-continent and its evolution through Central Asia along the Silk Road. We will consider the emergence of the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle) Buddhist traditions and their development as they moved into Central and East Asian territories. We will examine Buddhism among the Chinese Northern Wei, Tang and Yuan dynasties, among the Turkic Uighurs and the ethnic Tibetan Tanguts, and finally the eastern and western Mongols and sub-groups who practiced Buddhism within the Russian Empire. (E) {H} 2 credits

REL 270 Sites and Sights: A Pilgrim’s Guide to Pre-Modern Japanese Buddhism
Jamie Hubbard
MW 2:40 - 4 pm

The development of Buddhism and other religious traditions in Japan from prehistory through the 19th century. Topics include doctrinal development, church/state relations, and the diffusion of religious values in Japanese culture, particularly in the aesthetic realm (literature, gardens, tea, the martial arts, etc.). {H} 4 credits

REL 276 Religious History of South Asia: Medieval to Modern
Andy Rotman
MW 1:10 - 2:30 pm

An introduction to the ideas and practices of South Asian Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jews, with an emphasis on how these religious identities are constructed and contested. Materials to be considered include philosophical writings, ritual texts, devotional poetry, comic books, legal treatises, newspaper clippings, personal memoirs, as well as ethnographic and popular films. {H} 4 credits

REL 360 Problems in Buddhist Thought
Topic: Enlightenment
Jamie Hubbard
Th 3 - 4:50 pm

Buddhists the world over understand the Buddha as an enlightened being and Buddhahood as the highest goal of Buddhist practice, but there is little agreement beyond this. What do Buddhas know? Is enlightenment our innate nature or a nurtured quality? Is nirvana a state of joyous ecstasy or the elimination of all passions and pleasures? Can women be Buddhas? How can a Buddha simultaneously be free from all desire yet want to save all beings? Can Buddhas be found in the world today? Does this ideal still make sense in light of contemporary psychology? Is Prozac easier and faster than meditation? We will explore contemporary views of Buddhahood as well as earlier ideas drawn from the classical Theravada, Tibetan, and East Asian traditions. Prerequisite: one course in Buddhist traditions or permission of the instructor.{H} 4 credits

Five College Courses Spring 2016

There are also many Buddhism-related courses offered throughout the Five Colleges. You can use the Five College Course Guide to find courses in Buddhism.

Amherst College
Catalog available October 26

Hampshire College
Catalog available October 27

Mount Holyoke College
Catalog available October 27

UMass Amherst

Catalog available November 2

Graduate Study

Many students from Smith College have continued their study of Buddhism in graduate school. You could be next. See this online guide to graduate programs in Buddhist studies that was compiled by H-Buddhism.