asian relsty 112l religion essay

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asian/relsty 112l, fall 2019 Midterm Essay Assignment assignment

Write an essay addressing one of the following fve topics:

1. Asceticism is an important dimension of the Jain and Buddhist religions. Compare and contrast the roles of asceticism in these traditions, in both ideology and in practice. Base your paper on examination of the following assigned readings, with support from the textbook chapters on Jainism and Buddhism:

a. Jainism: “Jain Stories Inspiring Renunciation” (Blackboard)

b. Jainism: “Te Basic Doctrines of Jainism,” in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

c. Buddhism: “Basic Doctrines of Teravāda Buddhism,” pp. 101–2 (“Te Four Noble Truths”), pp. 114–20, and pp. 167–68 in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

d. Buddhism: Terīgāthā: Poems of the First Buddhist Women (Blackboard)

2. Analyze the ways in which the Mahayana Buddhist view of ultimate truth as “emptiness” relates to older Buddhist doctrines, such as anātman (“no-self ”) and the aggregates (fve skandhas). Base your paper on the following assigned readings, with support from the textbook:

a. Teravāda Buddhism: “Basic Doctrines of Teravāda Buddhism,” pp. 100–109 in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

b. Mahāyāna Buddhism: Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, “Examination of the Four Noble Truths” (Blackboard)

c. Mahāyāna Buddhism: “Mahayana Buddhism,” pp. 173–75 in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

3. What kinds of values and practices form the path of the Bodhisattva of Mahāyāna Buddhism? How does the Bodhisattva ideal compare with earlier, Teravāda Buddhism? Base your paper on the following assigned readings, with support from the textbook:

a. Mahāyāna Buddhism: “Mahayana Buddhism,” pp. 160–72 in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

b. Mahāyāna Buddhism: Te Bodhicaryāvatāra, “Adopting the Awakening Mind” (Blackboard)

c. Teravāda Buddhism: “Basic Doctrines of Teravāda Buddhism,” pp. 114–20 in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

4. In To the Land of Bliss, we encounter a contemporary Buddhist community grieving over the death of an elder teacher. How do the various individuals flmed understand death and the afterlife? In what ways are their views shaped by Pure Land Buddhist belief? Base your paper on the flm (, with support from the textbook and the following reading:

a. Te Sutra on Amitāyus Buddha Delivered by Śākyamuni Buddha (Blackboard)

5. Te Zen Buddhist nun and celebrated chef, Jeong Kwan, links her cooking closely to her Buddhist faith, as shown in Chef ’s Table, season 3, episode 1. How so? What particular aspects of Buddhism inform her cooking practices? How important are Zen Buddhist practices and ideas (such as self-nature/Buddha nature), in particular? Base your paper on the documentary (which requires access to Netfix) and the following readings, as well as the textbook (and if you would like to bring in other readings, feel free to do so!):

a. “Jeong Kwan, the Philosopher Chef,” Te New York Times (Blackboard or 2jJJQK0) asian/relsty 112l, fall 2019

b. “Mahāyāna Buddhism,” pp. 170–72 (“Te Evils of Meat-Eating” and “Te Gift of Food”), in Sources of Indian Tradition (Blackboard)

c. “A Zen Master Interprets the Dharma” (Blackboard)


a. Essays should be approximately 1250–1500 words long. You may use any standard, non-italic font, 10–12 points in size.

b. Essays should be based upon the specifed assigned course readings: the primary sources listed under each topic, with support from the textbook (World Religions: Eastern Traditions). If you draw on other sources, cite these clearly and completely using any standard format, such as author-date. In this case, add a bibliography. Any such sources should be scholarly publications—never Wikipedia or other non-academic websites.

c. Drafts will be peer-reviewed in class in small groups in class on Nov. 13 & 15. Please bring four printed copies to class. Timely completion of a full, good draft, and participation in peer-review in class will be worth 5% (2.5% each).

d. Final drafts, worth 20% of one’s overall grade, are to be submitted electronically, via Blackboard (not by email, please). Te deadline is Friday, Nov. 22, before midnight. Te fle must be in one of the following formats: .pdf or .doc/docx.

e. Late fnal drafts will be accepted without penalty only in the case of (documented) illness or emergency. Otherwise, these will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 29 before midnight, with a penalty of two grade increments, or until Dec. 18, for a penalty of four grade increments. f. Note: this paper is appropriate for the Writing Profciency Requirement Portfolio.

g. Students are required to adhere to the University Policy on Academic Standards and Cheating, to the University Statement on Plagiarism and the Documentation of Written Work, and to the Code of Student Conduct as delineated in the University Catalog and Student Handbook. Te Code is available online at: Papers will be screened for plagiarism using Blackboard’s SafeAsign.

grading criteria Te essays will be graded on the basis of the following criteria:

a. Focus and organization 1. Does the essay stay focused upon the assigned topic? 2. Is the essay organized efectively? Does it contain a compelling introduction and conclusion, unifed paragraphs, and appropriate transitions?

b. Comprehension 1. To what extent does the essay demonstrate comprehension of the subject matter? 2. Does the essay draw upon and demonstrate understanding of the relevant course materials, and make connections between them?

c. Writing mechanics and style 1. To what extent are grammatical errors and spelling mistakes present? 2. Are citations provided consistently and in the correct format? 3. To what extent is the prose carefully crafted, clear, and well-edited?

d. Insight 1. To what extent does the essay make a clear and convincing argument? 2. Does the essay contain signifcant insights and original thinking?

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