Buddhism has existed for more than 2,500 years and has undergone significant historical transformations in various parts of the world. In order to gain understanding of it, one needs not only to study its teachings, but also to examine its historical background and developments. At the same time, one should strive to see, from the perspective of its followers, how it has helped people. In this course, we will first examine the basic teachings of early Buddhism and then follow the trajectories of Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism in Japan and Tibet respectively. In the third and final unit of the course, we will try to understand how Buddhism adapted itself to American society and came to have the images it has now with the focus on Japanese and Tibetan Buddhism.
Talks by local and visiting faculty, as well as film screenings and performances, designed to introduce students to the multi-layered connections between Asia and Asian America. Areas that will be considered include: popular culture, youth subcultures, labor, issues of gender and sexuality, and migration and immigrant communities. Discussions emphasize how issues play out at local, national and transnational levels.