ANS 372 • Self-Cultivation in Traditional China
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
How does one transform oneself into a better person? This question lies at the heart of so many philososphical and religious traditions throughout the world. This was especially so in pre-modern China, where concern with self-cultivation is fundamental to many intellectual and religious discourses, including Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. In this course we will examine ideas and practices in Chinese culture related to self-cultivation as they are represented in writings drawn from a wide selection of philosophical, religious, and occult traditions. Far from providing a uniform understanding of this issue, these texts provide diverse examples of motivations, beliefs and techniques related to self-cultivation. Whether the goal was to attain moral perfection, sagehood, immortality, buddhahood, or just tranquility, these beliefs and practices of self-cultivation demonstrate a concern for human refinement that is deeply embedded within the culture of traditonal China.
Class participation 20% Reading journal 20% Two short papers 30% Final Exam 30%
Selections from the Five Classics, Confucious, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Laozi, Daoist scriptures, Buddhist sutras, Zhou Dunyi, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, and others.