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Unit information: Buddhism in Practice in 2021/22

Unit name Buddhism in Practice
Unit code THRS30081
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Langer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to provide students with an overview of Buddhist practice from its beginnings in India to its modern forms, focusing especially on the southern (Theravāda) tradition of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The unit will offer students in depth knowledge of several important topics: Buddhist ethics, monasticism, the monk-laity relationship, rituals of magic and protection, the position of women, controversy over the nuns’ ordination, and the issue of Buddhism and violence. These themes will be investigated by using various kinds of sources ranging from primary textual sources in translation and the writings of historians and social anthropologists to audio-visual material generated in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

(1) a comprehensive understanding of the actuality of Buddhism in Asia

(2) an in-depth knowledge of significant topics in Asian Buddhism, including Buddhist ethics, the position of women, and issues of Buddhism and violence

(3) advanced ability to critically evaluate scholarly theories and popular assumptions regarding the nature of the relationship between religion's theory and practice

(4) advanced skills in the researching, reading and presentation of complex material at a standard appropriate to level H/6.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 2000 words portfolio (formative) [ILOs 1-4] 1 x 3000-word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 1-4]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. THRS30081).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.