Topics for Paper II, REL101 World
Religions: Asian Traditions
Due Friday, October 27, 2017 in class.
- Double-spaced, 2-3 pages. (You may use
parenthetical notation to indicate page numbers for textual
references. BE SURE TO INCLUDE PAGE REFERENCES FROM THE READINGS.)
- Be sure to write your name; the name of the
class, GTF, and section meeting time; and your TOPIC NUMBER
at the top of the page.
- I encourage you to discuss these topics with one another.
- I also strongly encourage you to read the
essays on my Writing web pages, especially "Four Keys to Writing
in the Humanities," "Paper Writing Guidelines," "Checklist for
Papers," and "Writing: The Bridge between Consciousness and
may choose to do either "Your Own Topic" or one of the "Defined
Topics" below. Be sure to follow the instructions in either case.
Whether you do your own topic or one of the defined topics, you
must provide page references/direct quotations from the
readings to back up your ideas and arguments.
- A. Your Own Topic
- Select one passage from a primary source we have read for the
course up to this point. i) Discuss why that passage is key to
understanding the main ideas of the reading as a whole. ii) Relate
that passage to two other passages from the reading to show how your
idea about what the passage means is confirmed by other passages
from the same or related texts. iii) What do you find compelling
about the ideas in the passage in question, and what do you find to
be problematic or questionable? iv) Discuss how the ideas
represented in that passage made you reconsider your ideas about
religion and/or ethics. AS THE TITLE OF YOUR PAPER, write "A."
followed by an appropriate TITLE for your paper based on its
content. For example, you might write: A. Confucian Rituals and
Human Beings as Conduits for Cosmic Virtue.
- B. Defined Topics
- 1. The Goddess from The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti (course
- In the "Goddess chapter" The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti the
Goddess engages in a series of exchanges with the monk Sariputra.
Discuss how two of the three following episodes from the "Goddess"
chapter illustrates the two-fold truth of form and emptiness in different
ways: a) the flower petals sticking to Sariputra and other
monks' (disciples') robes, b) the Goddess' admonishment to Sariputra
not to fall silent, and c) the exchange of gender between the
Goddess and Sariputra.
- 2. Chinese Philosophical Schools
- Compare and contrast the presentation of the two-fold truth made
by Chi-tsang of the San-lun (Emptiness) school and Chih-i of the
T'ien-t'ai school as explained by T. Unno in "Chinese Philosophical
Schools" (course reader). Specifically describe how Chi-tsang's
"Four Middles" and how Chih-i's view of the inherent karmic evil of
sentient beings (human beings) each express the practical
realization of the two-fold truth of form and emptiness differently.
- 3. Critiquing the Orchestral Vision of Confucius
- Confucius sees society and the cosmos like the orchestral
performance of a classical symphony: A fixed script, roles for
everyone, ritualized behavior, and when combine properly, social and
cosmic harmony. First, present this basic picture in your own words
in 1-2 pages by identifying four or five key aspects of the
orchestral vision. Second, offer a critique of this view using one
of the other thinkers we have examined in this course (such as the
Goddess from The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti or Krishna
from the Bhagavad Gita).
- 4. Fingarette, Confucius-The Secular as Sacred
- Describe what Fingarette means by each of the following in
describing Confucius's philosophy: Human Community as Holy Rite, Way
without a Crossroads, A Confucian Metaphor-The Holy Vessel.
Illustrate each of your points using direct quotations from
Confucius' Analects as cited in Fingarette's book.
- 5. Influence on View of Religion
- Describe how two of the readings we have done thus far have
changed or influenced your view of religion. At least one of those
sources must be from Week 3 onwards. BE SURE
TO INCLUDE PAGE REFERENCES FROM THE READINGS.