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PA 250/EV 261: Topics in Asian Studies: Buddhism, Society, and Ecology

Block B1 CC Unit (4 semester hours)Bandarage, Asoka

Course Description: At the root of contemporary global environmental and social collapse is a world view and a social system based on human domination of nature and of each other. There is now a growing recognition that environmental sustainability and human well-being require a shift from the prevailing system of domination and extremism to a global consciousness and a socioeconomic system based on interdependence and partnership. In this course we examine the contribution that the teachings of the Buddha can make to this global scientific and ethical discourse and the movements for psycho-social transformation.
This interdisciplinary course draws upon a broad range of fields including global political economy, sociology, philosophy, ecology and Asian Studies. The course will provide an overview of interrelated contemporary crises of climate change, economic inequality and violent conflict; introduce the ethics and basic philosophical concepts of Buddhism, such as, impermanence, interdependence, non-violence and the Middle Path: explore ecological and ‘socially engaged Buddhism’ in Asia; and engage students in the discourse and efforts for personal and collective change.

Course activities will include an overnight field trip to Baca Campus where students will have an opportunity to meet with Buddhist practitioners in Crestone.

Class Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon 

Course Limit: 25

Prerequisite: None

Meets the Critical Perspectives: G, S

Program Fee: $90