Purification, Ethics and Karma in Early Buddhist Discourse -
Studies in the Madhyama-āgamahttp://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... =126#c1640
[This link seems to keep changing - I've updated it 5 Feb 2010 - but you should be able to google for it if it changes...]
An e-learning online course by Bhikkhu Anālayo
Thursdays 18.15 to 19.45 CEST
14 April - 21 July 2011
Online registration starts on the 15 February 2011 on this webpage
The main purpose of the course is to introduce central themes of Buddhist thought from an historical-critical perspective through the medium of a comparative study of the early discourses. Extracts from the Madhyama-āgama preserved in Chinese will be made available in English translation to participants, so that these can be compared with their Pāli counterparts, which mostly, but not exclusively, are found in the Majjhima-nikāya. The course follows the order of the discourses in the Madhyama-āgama so as to give the participants an opportunity for a first-hand impression of this collection, so far not available in translation in any European language. The coverage of the first chapters of this collection during the course held in 2011 will alternate between brief surveys of some discourses and in-depth studies of other discourses (see below for the discourses selected for this term).
Participants are expected to have a basic acquaintance with central ideas of Buddhism. There are, however, no language requirements apart from a reasonable degree of fluency in English. Participation in the course would provide those who are relatively new to the early discourses with a first-hand understanding of early Buddhism through textual study of the primary sources. At the same time, the course should also be of interest to those who, being already well familiar with the Pāli canon, are interested in the differences and similarities between the Pāli discourses and parallel versions transmitted by other early Buddhist traditions. In the present case, the parallels taken into consideration are from the Madhyama-āgama translated into Chinese towards the end of the 4th century, a collection that with considerable probability stems from a Sarvāstivāda line of transmission.
The course is open for free participation after online registration for
a) "active participants"
b) "passive participants"
The e-learning platform of the University of Hamburg allows a limited number of "active participants", which can directly participate in the discussions during the online lecture. Though not meant for university students only, the option of becoming an "active participant" would be appropriate for students who wish to get credits, which requires regular and active participation as well as preparing a written outline of a paper and presenting this online during the course.
The number of "passive participants" is not limited, so that anyone interested can gain access to the lectures through previous registration. This option allows viewing the lecture either live or else at any time of convenience later on. During the week that follows each lecture, an internet forum will enable discussion and an exchange of opinions among participants. Some of the points that have arisen during these discussions will be taken up at the beginning of the subsequent lecture, so that in this way passive participants have an indirect way of also giving an input to the lecture.
Technical requirements for participation are an internet connection and Adobe Flash Player, which is available for free download on the internet and is already installed in most computers. For "active" participation, a webcam and a microphone are moreover required (i.e. the basic technical set-up for being able to skype etc.). The managing of the access to the course does not require any specialist knowledge and should thus not be a barrier for participation.
These discourses selected from the Madhyama-āgama for a more detailed study are in one way or another related to the topics of "purification", "ethics" and "karma", which are the central themes that will be explored during the course. These discourses are:
Discourse: Pāli Parallel: Topic:
MĀ 9 MN 24 Rathavinīta-sutta the seven purifications
MĀ 10 MN 2 Sabbāsava-sutta seven methods for removing the āsavas
MĀ 14 MN 61 Ambalaṭṭhikārāhulovāda-sutta basics of ethical conduct
MĀ 15 AN 10.208 Karajakāya-sutta karma
MĀ 16 AN 3.65, Kesamutti- / "Kālāma-sutta" principles underlying ethical conduct
MĀ 27 MN 97 Dhānanjāni-sutta karma and mettā
As a preparation for the course, in order to acquaint themselves with central tenets of early Buddhism and to acquire some familiarity with reading the discourses participants are kindly requested to study:
- Bhikkhu Bodhi 2005: In the Buddha's Words, Boston: Wisdom,
During the course, participants will need to consult regularly:
- Bhikkhu Bodhi (ed.) 2000: The Middle Length Discourses, Boston: Wisdom.