History of Japanese Buddhism

HIST 3627
TTh 11:00-12:15
Brewster D-103
John A. Tucker, Ph.D.
Brewster A-304 
Office Hours TTh 9:00-10:00 
or gladly by appointment 
Email: Tuckerjo@mail.ecu.edu 
Office: 328-1028
Home: 756-4126

A. Course Description:  This course examines the history of Japanese Buddhism from ancient times to the present. After opening with an introduction to Japanese history and culture, consideration is given to the extent to which "Shinto" was a presence within the spiritual landscape of pre-Buddhist Japan. The course also examines the historical circumstances surrounding the introduction of Buddhism to Japan and its significance for the emergence of "civilization" in Japan. Earlier developments in the history of Buddhism in Asia are explored in an effort to contextualize the distinctive and derivative features of early-Japanese Buddhism. In depth consideration of Nara, Heian, and medieval forms of Buddhism are followed by scrutiny of later trends in the early-modern and modern periods. Contemporary forms of Buddhism and Buddhist practice are examined as well as ideological and social issues related to historical appropriations of Buddhist thought. 

B. Grading: Grading will be based on regular quizzes (40%), two exams (40% each), and a ten-page paper examining, with the use of primary sources, a topic related to Japanese Buddhist thought (20%). 

The first exam will be given on Thursday, March 8; the last on Thursday, April 19. The paper will be due on April 26.

Exams will include objective (true/false, multiple choice) and essay questions. At least 60% of the exam will consist of essay questions. 

Perfect attendance is expected. Repeated unexcused absences may result in a reduction of the final grade. While the instructor will lecture regularly, class participation in the form of insightful questions and comments, are welcomed. Readings will be discussed weekly. 

C. Academic Integrity: Adapted from the ECU Faculty Manual, Part IV: Academic integrity is expected of every East Carolina University student. Academic honor is the responsibility of the studentsand faculty of East Carolina University. Academic Integrity violations consist of the following: (a) cheating - unauthorized aid or assistance or the giving or receiving of unfair advantage on any form of academic work; (b) plagiarism - copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and adopting same as one's original work; (c) falsification - statement of any untruth, either spoken or written, regarding any circumstances relative to academic work; (d) attempting any act which if completed would constitute an academic integrity violation as defined herein. This information is found at: www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/fsonline/customcf/facultymanual/part4/42.htm. 

D. Disability Statement: East Carolina University seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a covered disability must go to the Department for Disability Support Services, located in Slay 138, to verify the disability before any accommodations can occur.  The telephone number is 252-737-1016. 

E. Required Readings: 

De Bary, Wm. Theodore. The Buddhist Tradition: In India, China, and Japan.  New York: Vintage, 1972.

Hershock, Peter D. Chan Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Kasulis, Thomas. Shinto: The Way Home. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Victoria, Brian Daizen. Zen War Stories. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003.

Watson, Burton. The Lotus Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Weekly Lectures and Assigned Readings

January 9/11: Reading Days: The Buddhist Tradition, "Introduction" and 

"Buddhism in India," pp. xv-122.

The Origins of Buddhism in Ancient India

Professor Tucker will be in Washington, D.C. reviewing applications for the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship Program, for the U. S. Department of Education. Students should use this week to begin intensive reading for the course.
January 15: Martin Luther King Holiday 

January 16/18: Introduction to Japanese History and Culture and the Problem of Shinto

Required Reading: Shinto
January 23/25: Buddhism in China
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in China," ch. 5
January 30/February 1: Buddhism in China, continued
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in China," ch. 6
February 6/8: Buddhism in China, continued
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in China," ch. 7
February 13/15: The Introduction of Buddhism to Japan
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 8
February 20/22: Nara Buddhism    Heian Buddhism: Saicho and Tendai
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 9
February 27/March 1: Heian Buddhism, continued: Kukai and Shingon
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 10
March 6/8: Review and First Exam

March 11-18: Spring Break 

March 20/22: Medieval Buddhism: Pure Land Buddhism

Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 11
March 27/29: Medieval Buddhism: Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 12
April 3/5: Medieval Shinto and Buddhism: Zen Buddhism
Required Reading: The Buddhist Tradition, "Buddhism in Japan," ch. 13, and Chan Buddhism
April 6-7: Easter Holiday 

April 10/12: Early-Modern and Modern Buddhism 

Required Reading: Zen War Stories
April 17/19: Review and Last Exam

April 23: Last Day of Classes 

April 26: Papers Due