CCCH9018 China: Culture, State and Society
[This is a certified Communication-intensive (CI) Course which meets all of the requirements endorsed by HKU’s Senate, including (i) the teaching assessment of oral and written communication ‘literacies’; and (ii) at least 40% of the course grade assigned to communication-rich assessment tasks.]
This course is designed to help students to understand Chinese culture and its Buddhist influences. For over two thousand years, Buddhism has interacted with all levels of Chinese culture such as literature, philosophy, mores and behavioural norms, arts and architecture, and religions of all classes. As a result, Buddhism has become one of the three pillars of traditional Chinese culture and its influence is seen in many aspects and at all levels of Chinese culture. The aim of the course is to enhance students’ intellectual understanding of Chinese culture, way of life, and belief through historical analysis and theoretical enquiries into the key aspects of China’s long interaction with Buddhism. Attention will be paid to the open attitude of both Buddhism and Confucianism as a basis for integration and mutual assimilation. Topics include: Buddhist impact on Chinese culture; intellectual exchange between Buddhism and Chinese culture; Buddhist and Chinese attitude to life: A comparative study; Buddhist and Chinese ethics of filial piety; Buddhism and Chinese visual art; Chan and Chinese culture; Buddhist influence on Chinese language and literature; Buddhist influence on religions and popular beliefs; Guanyin belief in Chinese life. Lectures are organized in such a way as to first introduce students to the philosophical traditions and their thoughts, with follow-up discussions on specific topics.
Course Learning Outcomes
On completing the course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate a better understanding of the role Buddhist culture played in the various forms of Chinese life such as thought, value, visual art, architecture, literature, language, and folk beliefs.
- Describe and explain briefly the Buddhist influence on Chinese culture in general in both written and oral formats.
- Use relevant information to critically examine how significant Buddhist culture is in Chinese people’s daily life such as Guanyin belief and ancestor worship in a learning report.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the characteristics and diversities of China’s cultural heritage and the impact of Buddhism.
- Apply the knowledge and understanding gained to study the deeper implications of Buddhist thought for modern society together with other philosophical and religious systems in an argumentative essay.
Offer Semester and Day of Teaching
Course will be offered twice:
Section 1 – First semester (Wed); Section 2 – Second semester (Wed)
|Activities||Number of hours|
|Reading / Self-study||60|
|Assessment: Essay writing||22|
|Assessment: Quiz (incl preparation)||3|
|Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation)||15|
Assessment: 100% coursework
|Lecture and tutorial participation||20|
|Mid-term essay / Quiz||25|
- Guang, X. (2011). Avalokiteśvara in China. The Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies, 11, 1-22.
- Guang, X. (2012). Buddhist influence on Chinese religions and popular beliefs. International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture, 18, 135-257.
- Guang, X. (2012). Yulanpen Festival and Chinese ancestor worship. Journal of Buddhist Studies, 9, 123-143.
- Guang, X. (2013). Buddhist impact on Chinese culture. Asian Philosophy, 23(4), 305-322.
- Guang, X. (2013). Buddhist influence on Chinese language. Journal of Buddhist Studies, 10, 130-152.
- Guang, X. (2013). Early Buddhist and Confucian concepts of filial piety: A comparative study. Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 4, 8-46.
- Guang, X. (2014). Buddhist and Confucian attitudes toward life: A comparative study. International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture, 21, 7-48.
- Guang, X. (2022). Filial Piety in Chinese Buddhism. New York: Peter Lang.
- Rahula, W. (1974). What the Buddha taught. New York: Grove Press.
- Thorp, R. L., & Vinograd, R. E. (2001). Chinese art and culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams.