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New courses Buddhist Studies by dr. Helmut Tauscher in Leiden – free attendance

There are two courses offered by dr. Helmut Tauscher, one on Bachelor level (BA), the other on Master (MA) level, so please read all content of this news item. The courses are free of charge for everyone, with the exception for students attending as part of their study program.

The BA course (start: 23-2-2017) is Buddhism Past and Present in the Western Himalaya, and the MA course (start: 20-2-2017) is Introduction to the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy. The courses are open to all. Students who wish academic credit for the course need to register. Those who wish simply to attend need not register, and may simply attend the lectures.

Courses are financed by the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies Fonds,

For more information please refer to below descriptions on the two courses available or please contact prof. dr. J.A. Silk.

  • Bachelor Classes are on Thursdays from 19:00 to 21:00 in Lipsius 0.30. Classes start on February 23.

Description for the Bachelor class “Buddhism Past and Present in the Western Himalayas”

This course will deal with:
• Reception and propagation of Buddhism in Tibet and the Western Himalaya, with an emphasis on the second diffusion (11th c., phyi dar) and the role of the translator Rin chen bzang po;
• General characteristics of Tibetan Buddhism, with an emphasis on its various “schools” and non-Buddhist influences;
• We will concentrate especially on the areas of Ladakh and present-day Himachal Pradesh, now politically part of India but culturally Tibetan, and discuss monastic organisations as well as lay Buddhist activities.

Course objectives: 

Students will gain a familiarity with Buddhist history in the Western Tibetan regions, including main doctrines and the development of schools, but also locations (monasteries etc), and main personages.

  • Master Classes are on Mondays from 19:00 to 21:00 in Lipsius 2.35. Classes start on February 23.

Description for the Master class “Introduction to the Madhyamaka School of  Philosophy

After a general introduction to basic philosophical ideas and concepts (doctrine of 2 truths/ realities, emptiness, dependent origination, argumentative methods) of the Madhyamaka school and to the life and works of Tsong kha Blo bzang grags pa (1357-1419), the following passages from Tsong kha pa’s works will be read in Tibetan and English:

rTsa she ṭik chen Rigs pa’i rgya mtsho: Commentary to the introductory verse of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, and – if time allows –
Lam rim chen mo: some parts of the chapter on the object of Negation (dgag bya).

Course objectives:

Students will gain a basic knowledge of Madhyamaka philosophy, especially as developed in Tibet.