University of Hull
Tutor - Mike Horne
Introduction to these pages:-
These pages are some of the notes that I put on to the world-wide-web as part of two courses I taught for the Centre for Lifelong Learning between 1998 and 2001. The courses no longer run. but I have decided to leave the pages in the web as a resource for others, and I do continue to update them.
Please be aware that these are not the complete course notes, but are condensed notes to help students.
The course developed when Chris Cook stopped teaching his long running "Buddhism and Meditation" course at the Avenues Centre, for Hull City Council. I asked the CLL if I could run a course about Buddhism. They agreed and kindly provided new books for a book-box.
There were a few ethical problems that I had to sort out, mostly for myself. Unlike Chris Cook's course, the course at the University was assessed and required an academic syllabus. Also, my own Buddhist tradition did not permit me to 'teach' Zen meditation (in fact most traditions insist that their particular brand of meditation is only passed on by authorised people). And I was very concerned about the general rule that Buddhists should not try to convert others to our path.
Because I could not assess the students' progress in meditation in an academic way, I reduced the meditation to ten minute sessions towards the end of the two hour class, and treated them as more of a scientific experiment, in which the students could try different types of meditation and discuss the results.
I have always tried to offer students a very wide choice of assessments, perhaps because as a dyslexic person myself I am sensitive to the fact that some adult students don't like to feel that they are back at school. Some students took the opportunity to work on their own projects and present short talks to the class (I remember a couple of them about the similarities between Zen and Quakerism, and the influence of Buddhism on Chinese Art). Realising that there were some students with a deeper interest there I started a second course called "Further Studies in Buddhism" which explored some of the more complex concepts within the Mahayana Schools and allowed students to follow their own interests further.In the courses I stressed that there is a difference between studying and practicing Buddhism, or any religion for that matter. The course aimed to introduce the basic concepts within Buddhism in an academic way, but also give pointers to students about the ways in which they could find out more about the types of Buddhism we have in the west - by visiting local groups, for instance. It was important to me to provide a balanced view of the diversity that exists within Buddhism, but inevitably the 'Further Studies' course drew more heavily on my own knowledge of Zen as an example of a Mahayana School.
In the end though the courses did not recruit enough students and I eventually agreed with the CLL drop them from the prospectus. There was always a number of people interested in the subject who would contact me throughout the year, but they did not want to wait until October to enroll. Also, I suspect that the CLL was a little uneasy about running a theology course that only looked at one religion.
I did investigate the possibility of converting it into an e-learning course, but decided that although that would allow students to start whenever they wanted and would reach a wider audience, I did not have the time to set it up and give students the appropriate level of support.
So here on these pages are the course notes, course syllabus and the end of term assessment questions. I hope that you find them helpful. BUT please remember that this is not an e-learning course - I do not offer you any support and am not able to assess any work you choose to do. The assessment questions are there merely to try to stimulate your learning (I believe that people study better if they have a problem that they are trying to solve) or give you 'food for thought'.
Copyright - the author gives permission for you to copy and print the course notes - but not to edit them. This permission does not extend to external links.
Original syllabus for Introducing Buddhism Course
Original syllabus for Further Studies in Buddhism Course
Click here for some of the course notes.
Quiz questions for Introducing Buddhism Course
Essay/report questions for both courses.
My answers to the Introducing Buddhism quiz
copyright M Horne, 2012