Chan and Zen Traditions Non Honours TRS3033

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course is designed for students who wish to acquire a foundational knowledge of the Chan and Zen Buddhist traditions of China and Japan and how they shaped and were shaped by social and historical contexts in Asia and now in the West.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Level 3 options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Grade D3 or above in any TRS level 2 course or at the discretion of the Head of Theology and Religious Studies.

Excluded Courses



TRS4085 Chan and Zen Traditions Non Honours




Essay (2,000 words) - 40%

Examination (90 minutes duration) - 50%

Ten weekly one-page response papers - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

response papers are not available for reassessment.

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ engage the full range of Chan/Zen traditions with attention to central teachings, practices and texts both historically and in the present;

■ develop the critical skills necessary to analyse key Chan and Zen religious texts and practices in their historical contexts and to hone those skills in close reading, persuasive writing, and oral presentation;

■ engage critically with recent debates in the discipline of religious studies concerning Chan and Zen religious traditions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ offer a good working analysis of Chan and Zen Buddhist practices in historical and cultural context;

■ read and understand key Chan/Zen texts, and drawing on primary textual evidence present a clearly argued analysis of religious positions taken in these texts;

■ offer a general analysis of a key teaching or practice within each of the major strands of Chan and Zen Buddhism;

■ analyze and evaluate the interpretive and theoretical problems involved when using prevailing western notions such as "religion," "philosophy", "God," "faith" and "scripture' to interpret Chan and Zen traditions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.