In this comprehensive introduction we will survey the history, core ideas and practices of the major Asian traditions, with a specific focus on the philosophical outlook behind each tradition. As the vast majority of the most well-known Asian traditions have their origins in India, most of our time will be spent examining Indian traditions. We will deal in detail with the philosophical foundations of both Hinduism and Buddhism, which are also discussed in the 100 level course World Religions. The last 3 classes of the course will be spent discussing philosophical Daoism, which has its origins in China but which has many similarities to the Indian traditions. Because all of the Eastern traditions discussed in this course are highly philosophical in nature, the course will appeal strongly to students interested in philosophy (particularly ethics, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind). Students interested in psychology will also find many dominant themes in the course of great interest, as particularly Buddhism has a refined outlook on psychological issues (for this reason, Buddhist ideas and techniques are increasingly used in therapy nowadays). Apart from theoretical knowledge, students will also gain experience of the practical dimension of both Hinduism and Buddhism, as the course will contain workshops on both Yoga and Meditation.
- Teacher: Ritske Rensma