The University of Arizona is rapidly ramping up Coronavirus mitigation efforts to keep our community as safe as possible. All Humanities Seminars Program courses offered through August 2020 will be held ONLINE ONLY. 

Course Registration

How Buddhism Changed World Civilization

Spring 2020
In Session
1 PM - 3 PM
Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 17, 24, 31, and April 7, 2020


Main Campus



Sorry! This course has sold out. Click here to join the course waitlist

How did Buddhism change world civilization? This is a puzzling question for many people interested in philosophy, spirituality, and practice. As a major religious tradition, Buddhism deserves our attention because of its increasingly strong presence in the West and its power to shape our culture. This course is designed to introduce you to Buddhist core beliefs, meditative practice, history, major sects, and its encounter with different cultures, including the West. Moving chronologically and geographically, we will survey the various kinds of Buddhism across Asia and the West. From this class you will gain a deeper understanding of what enlightenment and civilization mean historically and spiritually.

Registration Opens Online: Monday, November 25, 2019 at 8AM (AZ Time)

Watch the video to learn more about this course: 

Required Reading: 

  • Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).
  • William Theodore de Bary, The Buddhist Tradition in India, China and Japan (New York: Vintage Books, 1972).
  • Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo (Routledge, 2006)
  • Bill Porter, Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China (Counterpoint, 2010)
  • Daniel Cozort, The Highest Tantra (Snow Lion, 2005)
  • Donald S. Lopez Jr., A Modern Buddhist Bible: Essential Readings from East and West.  (Beacon Press, 2002)
  • Michael Downing, Shoes outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, and Excess at San   Francisco Zen Center (Counterpoint Press, 2000).

Meet Your Professor

Department of East Asian Studies

JIANG WU is Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and Director of the Center for Buddhist Studies. His publications include Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-century China; Leaving for the Rising Sun: Chinese Zen Master Yinyuan and the Authenticity Crisis in Early Modern East Asia; and Spreading Buddha’s Word in East Asia: The Formation and Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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