Portland State University

PHL 319U Introduction to Asian Philosophy (4)

Instructor: David Komito, Ph.D.
Phone: 541-663-6264; this is my cell phone, I do not have an office phone. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is on Mountain Time (one hour ahead of Pacific Time).
Email: komito@pdx.edu

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course students will have acquired:

About Your Instructor:

I trained as a scholar of world religions at Indiana University, from which I received M.A., M.S.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees. My primary interests are in the religions and philosophies of India and Tibet and the Psychology of Religion.  I am the author of three books on Buddhism and was a member of the translating team for a fourth book, which is a meditation manual used in the Dalai Lama’s monastery. In my view the more that you know the simpler that things will appear.  This means that I will try to make things seem simple and while you can expect to be challenged and to learn a lot in this course which (hopefully) you will find personally useful and I will try to keep instruction clear and straight forward. In addition, you can expect me to be respectful of your religious and philosophical views, and to address the curiosity of the students in this course.

Required Texts:

Asian Philosophies; by John M. Koller; 6th Edition or 7th Edition, (you can use either edition).

Available online at no charge:

Course Requirements:

Students will be expected to

Discussions with instructor:

You may arrange a telephone or Zoom conference with me to discuss anything about the course by emailing me in advance at <komito@pdx.edu> or using the Canvas email client so we can find a mutually convenient time to talk.

I will annotate and comment on your essays. I am happy to schedule a Zoom meeting to talk about your essays. We can learn from each other.

Means of Assessment and Grading Policies:

Each quiz has fewer than 20 questions. Dates of quizzes and due dates for the essays are indicated in the weekly content, below. NOTE THAT A "WEEK" IN THIS COURSE RUNS FROM MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAY. QUIZZES AND ESSAYS ARE TO BE SUBMITTED BY THE END OF THE ASSIGNED WEEK, WHICH IS A SUNDAY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF QUIZ 4, WHICH IS TO BE SUBMITTED ON EITHER MONDAY OR TUESDAY OF FINALS WEEK. The assessments and points are as follows:

The following grading scale is applied for assigning final grades:

• 100 is the maximum number of points for the course.
• 90 points = A-
• 80 points = B-
• 70 points = C-
• 60 points = D-
• Less than 60 points = Fail

There is no "extra credit."

Weekly Readings and Assessments

IMPORTANT NOTICE: A password is required to open all hyperlinks on this page. This password is posted in the course Canvas site, and is available for students beginning on the first day of the term for which they have registered.

Be sure to read or listen to assignments in the numeric order indicated for each week.

Week 1: Introduction to the study of Philosophy in Asia

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: About Philosophy in Asia
  3. Read Koller, Chapter 1
  4. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapter 1
  5. Lecture: Early agricultural cultures and nomadic invasions: the dynamic tension in the history of Asian religions

Week 2: Vedas and Upanishadic Philosophy

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: About the Vedas and Upanishads; the philosophical schools of Samkhya and Vedanta
  3. Read Koller, Chapter 2
  4. Audio Comments part 1 on Koller, Chapter 2
  5. Audio Comments part 2 on Koller, Chapter 2
  6. Text and Commentary: The Katha Upanishad
  7. Mandukya Upanishad

Week 3: Samkhya and Vedanta

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Read Koller, Chapters 8 and 10
  3. Article on Samkhya Philosophy
  4. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapter 8
  5. Article on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
  6. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapter 10
  7. Lecture: The Bhagavad Gita
  8. Ramana Maharshi: Basic teachings
  9. Ramana Maharshi: The movie metaphor

QUIZ I at the end of the week.

Week 4: Basics of Buddhist Philosophy

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: About Buddhist philosophy
  3. Read Koller, Chapter 4
  4. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapters 4 and 5
  5. Lecture: The Individual Path: Hinayana/Theravada
  6. Lecture: Buddhist origins: a systematic psychology for liberation
  7. Lecture: The Buddha's teaching about the "I" or "self"

Week 5: Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Read Koller, Chapter 5 and 6
  3. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapters 5 and 6
  4. Lecture: Buddhist universalism: interactions with Hinduism, Taoism and the Mahayana Buddhist envelopment of Asia
  5. Text and commentary: Tsongkapa's The Three Principal Aspects of the Path
  6. Lecture: Source consciousness and mental images

QUIZ II at the end of the week.

Week 6: Roots of East Asian Philosophy in Taoism and Confucianism

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: About East Asian Philosophy
  3. Read Koller, Chapters 14, 16 and 18
  4. Lecture: Taoism: finding truth in nature
  5. Lecture: Nature and reality in East Asia

ESSAY 1 IS DUE by the end of the week.

Week 7: Neoconfucian Philosophy

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: Neoconfucian Philosophy and the management of the empire.
  3. Read Koller, Chapters 15 and 21
  4. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapter 15
  5. Lecture: Confucian Philosophy
  6. Article: Sung Dynasty Culture

QUIZ III at the end of the week.

Week 8: Buddhist Philosophy in China

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Lecture: About Zen
  3. Read Koller, Chapter 20
  4. Audio Comments on Koller, Chapter 20
  5. Text and Commentary: The Platform Sutra of the 6th patriarch of Zen

Week 9: Buddhist Philosophy in Japan

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. What is Zen?, a talk by Ed Sattizahn, San Francisco Zen Center
  3. Audio Lecture: Zen and martial Arts
  4. Lecture: Zen and archery
  5. Lecture: Zen gardens
  6. Read Koller, Chapter 23
  7. Lecture: Modern Zen

Week 10: Comparing and Studying Indo-Tibetan Views on Existence and Consciousness

  1. Commentaries/announcements in Canvas
  2. Audio Comments on Evan Thompson's comparative philosophy and the neuroscientific studies of meditation.
  3. Dalai Lama 14: Training the Mind
  4. Dalai Lama 14: Science at the Crossroads
  5. "Seeing: What is Consciousness?", Chapter 1 from Waking, Dreaming, Being; by Evan Thompson
  6. "Waking: How do we Perceive?", Chapter 2 from Waking, Dreaming, Being; by Evan Thompson
  7. "Being: What is Pure Awareness?", Chapter 3 from Waking, Dreaming, Being; by Evan Thompson.
  8. Article: "How Meditation Changes your Brain - and your Life"

ESSAY 2 IS DUE by the end of the week.

Week 11 (Finals week): Fourth quiz

QUIZ IV is available on Monday and Tuesday of finals week.

This course ends at 11:59 PM, Tuesday, week 11.

PSU values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to fostering mutual respect and full participation for all students. My goal is to create a learning environment that is equitable, useable, inclusive, and welcoming. If any aspects of instruction or course design result in barriers to your inclusion or learning, please notify me. The Disability  Resource Center (DRC) provides reasonable accommodations for students who encounter barriers in the learning environment.

If you have, or think you may have, a disability that may affect your work in this class and feel you need accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center to schedule an appointment and initiate a conversation about reasonable accommodations. The DRC is located in 116 Smith Memorial Student Union, 503-725-4150, drc@pdx.eduhttp://www.pdx.edu/drc.

Portland State is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our school policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, which regards sexual misconduct — including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We expect a culture of professionalism and mutual respect in our department and class. Please be aware that as a faculty member, I have the responsibility to report any instances of sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or other forms of prohibited discrimination to PSU’s Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Equity and Compliance or the Dean of Student Life and cannot keep information confidential. You may report any incident of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, to either the Office of Equity and Compliance or the Office of the Dean of Student Life. If you would rather share information about sexual harassment or sexual violence to a confidential employee who does not have this reporting responsibility, you can contact a confidential advocate at 503-725-5672 or by scheduling on-line (psuwrc.youcanbook.me) or another confidential employee found on the sexual misconduct resource webpage. For more information about your obligations and resources for sex/gender discrimination and sexual violence (Title IX), please complete the required student module Creating a Safe Campus in your Canvas.