Buddhism TRS4084

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the central teachings, practices and texts of Buddhism from its origins to the present day. The historical development of Buddhist thought and practice will be examined through the consideration of a variety of Buddhist texts and themes in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.


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


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

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

TRS3005 TRS 3: Buddhism 

TRS4010 TRS: Buddhism

TRS3032 Buddhism Non Honours




Essay (2,500 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? Not applicable

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. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ examine the central teachings, practices and texts of Buddhism from its origins to the present day, with specific emphasis on the first one thousand years of its development;

■ develop the critical skills necessary to analyse key Buddhist 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 Buddhist traditions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ offer a general account of the historical development and diversity of Buddhist traditions;

■ identify key Buddhist teachings and practices and rigorously analyse them in historical, cultural, and ethical contexts;

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

■ present an in-depth analysis of a key teaching or practice within Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism;

■ analyse the interpretive and theoretical problems involved when using prevailing western notions such as "religion," "philosophy", "God," "faith" and "scripture' to discuss Buddhist teachings and practices.

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.