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Spring 2018 Religion GU4526 section 001

Call Number 61196
Day & Time
R 10:10am-12:00pm
201 80 Claremont Ave
Points 4
Approvals Required None
Instructor Robban A Toleno
Course Description This course is an upper-level seminar on appetite and its management, designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Our focus will be on the appetites of food hunger and sexual desire, and how Chinese Buddhist teachings propose to manage these. Food and sex are separate domains of experience, but as the primary objects of bodily appetites, they are analogous. Eating and sex both involve a direct and substantive interaction with the material world that is driven by powerful desires. In Buddhist teachings, these desires are said to bind us to the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra) and to shape the actions (karma), both mental and corporeal, that constitute our moral engagement with the phenomenal world. Hence it is important to know how a Buddhist on the path out of suffering is to manage these activities. What do monastic codes stipulate? What disciplines did lay Buddhists undertake? How are transgressions identified and handled? How do ancient Chinese and Daoist ideas inform the development of Chinese Buddhist attitudes toward sex and diet? How did Chinese Buddhist monastics come to adopt a meatless diet? How do religions use food and sex as tools for determining one's ritual purity (i.e., moral worth)? We will explore these and related topics. Despite the common perception of Buddhism as a world-denying religion focused on transcending bodily needs, Chinese Buddhists (and their Indian or Central Asian counterparts) engaged in numerous body practices with worldly benefit, while at the same time mitigating the dangers of desire through various doctrinal and practical means. This course is an exploration of those means. 
Web Site CourseWorks
Department Religion
Enrollment 16 students (25 max) as of 11:30PM Thursday, March 15, 2018
Subject Religion
Number GU4526
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Open To School of the Arts, Barnard, Columbia College, Engineering and Applied Science: Undergraduate, Engineering and Applied Science: Graduate, Graduate School of Arts and Science, General Studies, School of Professional Studies, Global Programs, International and Public Affairs
Campus Morningside
Section key 20181RELI4526W001

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