Theory and Practice

Subject code ABS702
Lecturer Dr Toby Mendelson
Delivery mode Online, live
Duration 10 weeks
Next start date Visit timetable

Subject Overview

This subject examines the systems of meditative practice taught in Buddhist traditions, focusing on mindfulness as the key component in the Buddhist doctrinal framework. It explores the theoretical foundations for meditative practice as well as the practical methods and techniques of meditation, and it also looks at the variety of applications of mindfulness in new contexts and environments. The subject places emphasis both on theory and on practice: apart from the study and critical examination of primary and secondary sources on Buddhist meditation, the students also explore several techniques and aspects of mindfulness in practice. They are expected to devote two hours per day to the practice of mindfulness and record and reflect on their experiences. The classes are accompanied by practical sessions of meditation as appropriate to the development of each topic.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a broad and coherent knowledge of principal Buddhist meditation traditions.
  2. Analyse and evaluate information on fundamental issues involved in undertaking meditation and the technical skills involved in its practice.
  3. Review critically, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge about the role and function of mindfulness within the Buddhist doctrinal framework.
  4. Cognitive and creative skills to exercise critical thinking and judgement to reflect on the rich spectrum of techniques for the practice of mindfulness which have developed throughout the history of Buddhism in its many schools, from the early Indian Buddhism to Chinese traditions and beyond.
  5. Develop an ability to recognise and evaluate the methods and claims of the modern meditation movements.
  6. Develop understanding of issues and challenges arising from contemporary applications of mindfulness in new contexts and solving problems with intellectual independence. 



  • Assessment 1: Summary of reflective journal outlining the experience of meditation practice (15%)
  • Assessment 2: Short essay in the theoretical foundations of mindfulness practice (35%)
  • Assessment 3: Essay on the application of mindfulness in new contexts and environments (50%)


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