Religious Studies | Introduction to Buddhism
B210 | 13187 | N. Willock


This course examines the historical development of Buddhism from its origins in South Asia,
through the transmission of teachings and practices to East Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet,
and finally to transformations in contemporary societies across the globe. We will begin by
examining the biographical and ritual expressions of the Buddha’s life story, the foundational
teachings attributed to the Buddha, and the formation of the Buddhist community. Then we
will turn to the rise of Mahayana Buddhism and the flourishing of Mahayana traditions in
China and later Japan focusing on different transmission lineages and associated ritual
practices. Finally we explore Tantric Buddhism in India, then on the Tibetan plateau and in
other areas of East Asia. We will close with a look at contemporary Buddhist groups in the
west and East Asia.