Five College Consortium

Decoding Zen Buddhism

Subject Name: 

Humanities Arts Cultural Stu

Course Number: 
Hampshire College
According to D.T. Suzuki, one of the most influential Zen Buddhist teachers of the 20th century, Zen is not a system of philosophy, religion, mysticism, nihilism, or even Buddhism. He says, "Zen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance." Then what is Zen? More importantly, what led D.T. Suzuki to teach Zen Buddhism in this way? This course will start by reading a number of popular books on Zen Buddhism in America, followed by a close analysis of their tenets. We will then move on to study Mahayana Buddhist philosophy and Daoist thought, which influenced the rise of Zen Buddhism. We will also explore Koan and Zazen meditation practices, Zen lineage, monasticism and Satori (Enlightenment) experience. Finally, the course will focus on late 19th and early 20th century Japanese Buddhist history, which is intimately tied to a particular interpretation of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki and other modern Zen masters in America.

Culture, Humanities, and Languages Multiple Cultural Perspectives Writing and Research

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Decoding Zen Buddhism
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Ryan Joo

06:00PM-08:50PM T

Franklin Patterson Hall 108