Buddhist Studies

The Buddhist Studies Program is taught by the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

About the major

Buddhist Studies is a unique interdisciplinary program integrating language and non-language units of study within the School of Languages and Cultures. This program familiarises students with the dynamic nature of Buddhist philosophical, textual, meditative, artistic, and ritual traditions in Asia, as well as the ways that Buddhism has engaged with Globalisation and the West in modernity. It also provides students with an understanding of the historical, social, cultural and political contexts in which Buddhist traditions emerged and continue to develop, as well as how ideas, doctrines and practices have changed during the course of Buddhism's transmission across cultures. Selected non-language units of study from other programs may be counted toward the Buddhist Studies major. If you are considering Buddhist Studies as a major you are also encouraged to take at least one of the relevant Asian languages (Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), as this enables sophisticated engagement with primary textual sources (such as Buddhist philosophical and meditative treatises) as well as facilitating direct engagement with contemporary Buddhist communities in Asia and in Asian diasporas around the world. An emphasis is placed upon equipping students with the necessary analytical and methodological skills to carry out higher level research in Buddhist Studies.

Pathways through the major

A major in Buddhist Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 18 credit points from core units of study of which at least 6 must be taken at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Buddhist Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

Entry into senior-intermediate (2000 level) units of study in Buddhist Studies requires at least 12 junior credit points in: Buddhist Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Biblical Studies, Gender and Cultural Studies, Studies in Religion, Sociology or Philosophy (PHIL1011, PHIL1013).

The junior unit of study, BDST1602 Introduction to Buddhism, can be taken as an introduction to the topic but is not required for progression to senior units of study in Buddhist Studies

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

You complete 12 credit points of core BDST units of study at 2000 level before enrolling into 3000 level units of study. To complete the major you also complete 6 credit points of core BDST units of study at 3000 level.

You can chose pathways focussed on particular geo-cultural areas, textual studies, cultural studies as follows:

Textual studies focus

  • BDST2612 Buddhist Meditative Practices
  • BDST2616 The Buddha’s Words
  • BDST2613 Zen and Chan Buddhism
  • ASNS2620 Classical Indian Philosophy
  • BDST3611 Buddhist Philosophical Traditions

In this sample cluster, students gain foundational knowledge of Buddhist history, thought, and practice through the lens of textual studies and philosophy. The development of higher-level analysis of sources and methodological competency is achieved through close reading of Buddhist literature and comparable material in other traditions. For those with the necessary language skills, reading Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean fosters integration of Buddhist studies methods of philological analysis with language study.

Geo-Cultural Area: East Asia focus

  • BDST2612 Buddhist Meditative Practices
  • BDST2613 Zen and Chan Buddhism
  • ASNS2613 Chinese Thought
  • BDST2615 Buddhism and Contemporary Issues
  • BDST3611 Buddhist Philosophical Traditions
  • CHNS3607 Chinese Buddhist Texts

In this sample cluster, students gain foundational knowledge of Buddhist history, thought, and practice in the East Asian geo-cultural area. Alternatively, students could focus on South Asia. The development of higher-level analysis of sources and methodological competency is achieved through the integration of Buddhist material and area-specific critical theory. For those with the necessary skills, reading texts in the original languages adds depth and scope to a geo-cultural focus.

Cultural Studies focus

  • BDST2614 Buddhist Lived Worlds
  • BDST2613 Zen and Chan Buddhism
  • BDST2616 The Buddha’s Words
  • BDST2615 Buddhism and Contemporary Issues
  • ASNS2623 India: Tradition and Modernity
  • ASNS2626 Religious Traditions of South Asia
  • ASNS2627 India, China Tibet: Cultural Relations

In this sample cluster, students gain foundational knowledge of Buddhist history, thought, and practice through the lens of cultural studies. Buddhist Studies is particularly well-suited to enable students to gain expertise in comparative study of traditional and contemporary religious and cultural phenomena. The development of higher-level analysis of sources and methodological competency is achieved through the integration of Buddhist material and interdisciplinary theories and methods. For those with the necessary skills, reading texts in the original languages adds depth and scope to a cultural studies focus.

Honours

Admission to Buddhist Studies honours requires completion of 48 senior credit points taken from Buddhist Studies with a Credit average or better including completion of the major and a minimum of 12 senior credit points from any of the following languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese (Classical or Modern), Japanese or Korean. Students with existing knowledge in any of these languages should consult the Honours Coordinator to discuss an alternative study plan. As part of honours year, you may take one Asian Studies or Studies in Religion Honours first semester (methodology) seminar.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information

Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/buddhist_studies
Chair of Department: Dr Mark Allon,
Undergraduate coordinator: Dr Chiew-Hui Ho,