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Course Information

Instructor Info:Andrew Olendzki
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Monday
09:00 AM - 11:50 AM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 4
Description: Few human beings have had as much impact upon the world as Siddhartha Gotama Shakyamuni, known to us as the Buddha. Who was this man, what sort of world did he inhabit and shape, and what body of work did he leave behind after a lifetime of teaching? These are some of the questions addressed in this course. Beginning with challenges of interpretation and literary sources, we attempt to glimpse the man behind the many layers of legend and myth and to understand his motivations and agenda. We then proceed with an investigation of the major phases of his life as represented in the early textual tradition, integrating in the process some of his core teachings. The second half of the course is devoted to a careful reading of several major discourses, which lay out the Buddha's thought in some detail. We examine his major teachings in their historical context, indicate some of the changes these undergo over 2,500 years of tradition, and explore the many ways they continue to be important today.