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REL 69 — An Introduction to Buddhism

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 7 weeks
Date(s): Apr 6—May 18
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 19
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Gary Gach
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 6—May 18
7 weeks
Drop By
Apr 19
1 Unit
Gary Gach
A recent poll found one in eight people affirming that they have encountered teachings of the Buddha and consider them a positive influence in their lives. So you don’t have to be a Buddhist to enjoy Buddhist teachings on the art of happiness. This course will survey the basics of Buddhism. Alongside theory, we will encounter a variety of nourishing practices. Buddhist wisdom, ethics, and meditation apply to, and are informed by, our everyday lives.

We will review the Buddha’s transformative insights on suffering (and liberation therefrom), karma, impermanence, interconnection, selflessness, and compassion. We will study Buddhist morality, with emphasis on how it pertains to the challenges of contemporary life. Four major Buddhist schools will be explored: Zen, Pure Land, Vajrayana (Tibetan), and Vipassana (from which mindfulness originates). Each school has a substantial following in the Bay Area, and each furnishes guidance for lifelong learning about the nature of self, awakening, and healing.

Optional meditations will be offered during the hour before each class to supplement our understanding.

Gary Gach, Adjunct Faculty, Sofia University

Gary Gach is an ordained member of the core community of Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Buddhism and the editor of What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop. He has taught at the Asian Art Museum, Green Gulch, Markham House, Montalvo Arts Center, NalandaWest, Spirit Rock, Sydney Zen Centre, University of the West, and elsewhere.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Gary Gach, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhsim, 3rd Edition (ISBN 978-1592579112)
(Recommended) Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices, Happiness (ISBN 978-1888375916)
(Recommended) Taitetsu Unno, River of Fire, River of Water: An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism (ISBN 978-0385485111)
(Recommended) Lama Thubten Yeshe, Introduction to Tantra, Revised edition (ISBN 978-1614291558)
(Recommended) Arnold Kotler, editor, Engaged Buddhist Reader (ISBN 978-0938077985)
(Recommended) Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake, 3rd revised edition (ISBN 978-0877736318)
(Recommended) Norman Fischer, Susan Moon, What Is Zen? (ISBN 978-1611802436)
(Recommended) Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (ISBN 978-0767903691)