This professor asked us to argue the topic sharply and critically.
Meanwhile, all of the references should be used from the required article, lecture notes, and lecture handouts, which I will provide to you. Please see the uploaded files.
I provide my previous paper for the same class and same professor. It was graded B. Please read it and make sure this paper speaks in a similar tone. Thank you.
The topic for this paper is any of the three:
Note: For the topics below, you do not have to address every sub-question in the “Some issues you may want to consider” parts. But these are included to help guide your thinking on the papers and illustrate the kinds of issues that can make for a good one.
1) “Emptiness” and the Doctrinal Foundations of Mahayana Buddhism
Some issues you may want to consider: Analyze the doctrinal foundations of Mahayana Buddhism, with particular reference to the notion of “emptiness.” How can early Mahayana teachings be seen as an elaboration of teachings already present in Foundational Buddhism? What Foundational Buddhist teachings did Mahayana react against in developing the notion of emptiness? How did the notion of emptiness change as it was elaborated in scriptural literature? Be as specific as you can in terms of Buddhist concepts, movements, and figures.
2) The Chinese Assimilation of Buddhism from India
Some issues you may want to consider: What particular challenges did the Chinese face in assimilating and understanding this tradition? What kind of Buddhism was favored in China? Which aspects of Buddhism tended to resonate with other Chinese religious teachings? What are some native Chinese Buddhist schools that arose in response to such challenges or resonances and how did they address them?
3) Pure Land Buddhism in China and Japan
Some issues you may want to consider: What are some of the fundamental devotional practices and doctrinal beliefs of Pure Land Buddhism? Analyze the tradition with reference to both its origins in China and its transmission history to Japan. Identify specific areas of continuity and discontinuity with broader Buddhist notions. What challenges does Pure Land Buddhism face in reconciling its teachings with other forms of Buddhism? How might its practices and beliefs contribute to its appeal, past and present?
Choosing one of the topics, write an analytical essay, 5 double-spaced pages long, using standard 12-point fonts and 1-inch margins. You must number the pages and staple the pages; we will subtract 2 points from the mark for any student who doesn’t. If you include a separate title page and/or bibliographic page with your papers, these do not count as part of the 5 pages. Also, don’t add extra blank lines between the paragraphs; you need the room.
The paper should be viewed as a formal opportunity to synthesize and critically apply the course material through 3/7. You must use and cite both the assigned readings and the lecture or handout material, and I recommend using both textbooks as well as any relevant eClass readings. Sources not specifically assigned or recommended should be used minimally if at all. If you choose to use sources not specifically assigned or recommended, they should be supplements to, not substitutes for, the assigned materials. That said, any source listed in the syllabus or cited in my lectures can be considered a recommended source.
Always cite your sources fully and clearly, with specific page numbers for printed material, whether you summarize or directly quote them. For the printed sources (readings), any standard bibliographic style is OK, but don’t use long footnotes or endnotes. In-class lectures can be identified by their dates (e.g., Lecture 2/28) and posted lectures or handouts by their titles and page numbers (e.g., Quinter, “East Asian Buddhism,” 2).
I will be looking for clear writing, logical organization, freedom from spelling and grammatical errors, specific knowledge of the readings and lectures, and effective synthesis of the course material. Your papers should have a clearly articulated thesis, reflect the course material accurately, and demonstrate your own insight into the issues addressed. More than just showing how your argument will proceed (“I will do X, then Y, then Z”), a good thesis statement tells the reader what you will argue (“I will argue that/This paper will show that…”).
In a short paper like this, the thesis statement should generally appear in the first or second paragraph. I will also be looking for a clear, well-considered introduction and central argument or question, a logical flow to the supporting paragraphs with effective transitions between them, and a satisfying conclusion.
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