Theory and Practice

Subject Overview

Mindfulness Theory and Practice 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

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concepts, beliefs and world-view underlying the principal Buddhist meditation traditions

  • Critically analyse fundamental issues involved in undertaking meditation and the technical skills involved in its practice

  • Understand and situate the role and function of mindfulness within the Buddhist doctrinal framework

  • Critically evaluate and 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

  • Develop an ability to recognise and evaluate the methods and claims of the modern meditation movement

  • Develop understanding of issues and challenges arising from contemporary applications of mindfulness in new contexts

Subject Structure

This subject runs for five weeks, with the following structure:

Week 1: Pre-reading of prescribed texts
Week 2: Digital Intensive Classroom (5 days x 8 hrs/day)
Weeks 3 – 5: Submission of assessments online


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