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Active - JAN 179: Journey to Kathmandu: the Living Tradition of Himalayan Buddhism from Tibet to Nepal to the West
Bangkok, Thailand; Kathmandu, Nepal (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Jan Term
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: SMC-CA applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Jan Term 2018 12/01/2017 12/01/2017 TBA TBA
Program Description:
Course Title:Journey to Kathmandu: the Living Tradition of Himalayan Buddhism from Tibet to Nepal to the WestCourse ID:JAN 179Instructors:Tereza Joy Kramer + Larry MermelsteinContact Email:tjk2@stmarys-ca.eduLocation:

Kathmandu, Nepal, as well as a few preliminary explorations in the Bay Area

Course Description:

This course offers a portal into the world of Tibetan Buddhists exiled in Nepal and the landscape of Nepal itself, a very ancient Buddhist and Hindu culture. Tibetan Buddhism migrated to the greater Himalayan region and then to the West. We will learn by reading and reflecting on texts written by the spiritual leaders whose temples we will come to know in Nepal. We will visit, learn, and serve in monasteries where monks live, study, meditate, and teach. And we will meet revered lamas who lead and teach in those monasteries.

In Kathmandu, we will experience firsthand the social and religious structures of Tibetan exiles in Nepal, through touring the temples and other historical and sacred sites. While residing at two monasteries, we will learn basic tenets of Buddhist philosophy and history, and for those interested, meditation practice. We in turn will provide services, such as cleaning, office work, or other projects for which the monasteries need assistance. 

Before traveling to Nepal, we will read about and briefly visit Tibetan Buddhist centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our brief local explorations and our immersion in Nepal will help us consider how the spread of Tibetan Buddhism has impacted the world, from Tibet and Nepal to the United States.

In addition to exploring the world of Tibetan Buddhism and Nepalese culture, we will reflect upon our own journeys and obligations within the context of the global community of scholars and spiritual seekers the world over.

Division:Upper DivisionPrerequisites:

English 5

Informational Meetings:

Attendance at one of the following meetings is mandatory for enrollment (contact instructor if you have conflicts):

Sunday 9/4, 6:00-7:00pm, Sichel 104

Thursday 9/8, 5:00-6:00pm, Sichel 104

Monday 9/12, 2:00-3:00pm, Sichel 104

Reading List:

Karen Armstrong, Buddha, New York: Penguin, 2001.
David Grubin, The Buddha, PBS, 2010.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ. New York: Riverhead, 1995.
Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: the Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston: Shambhala, 2007.
Chogyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Boston: Shambhala, 2002.
readings in Community Engagement practices
readings about current situation:

Bay Area Buddhist center materials
news articles on Nepal
Bradley Mayhew, Lindsay Brown, and Stuart Butler’s Lonely Planet Nepal. 2015, excerpts.

Basis for Final Grade:

Service: Students will spend about two hours a day, for 15 days, providing service in the monastery, such as cleaning or office work, as needed and agreed upon by the course instructors and the monasteries. Students most likely will serve a total of 20-30 hours.

Other Course Requirements:

Participation: attendance at all events, barring illness, and daily reflective, collaborative discussions ~ 10 points
Daily written reflections: through informal writing, we allow for the creative flow of intellectual and affective exploration. Each day’s entry includes three elements: observation, analysis, and references to readings or teachings ~ 35 points
Blog entry: each student submits one blog entry ~ 5 points
Presentation to monks: On their final day in the monastery, students present their experiential observations, lessons learned, and analytical reflections, with emphasis on understanding their responsibilities within a global community. The presentations are graded using a rubric designed for these elements ~ 15 points
Final paper: Six to eight pages that build from the oral presentation -- experiential observations, lessons learned, and analytical reflections, with emphasis on understanding responsibilities within a global community -- and exhibit further understanding and reflection toward the writer’s guiding idea, which can be an argument or an observation. This paper is graded according to the Saint Mary’s composition rubric, adapted to include the required elements ~ 35 points

Total points possible: 100. Students’ final grades may range from A to F, according to the Saint Mary’s scale: A=100-93; A– =92-90; B+ = 89-87; B = 86-83; B– = 82-80; C+ = 79-77; C=76-73; C– = 72-70; D+ = 69-67; D=66-60; F=<60.

Methods of Evaluation ****

The first 3 requirements are graded for completion only, ensuring all the required elements are included. The 4th and 5th each are graded for quality, using rubrics. 

Course Fee Per Student:$3,260Description of What the Course Fee Covers:

The course fee covers:

international airfare from SFO to Kathmandu, Nepal
lodging & daily meals
local transportation
monastery assistance fee
interpreter fees
local guide

Dates Traveling:

January 10 - February 2, 2017

Dates on Campus:

Fall semester class session dates:  October 17 & 24, November 7 & 14, December 5th, 2016; January 9, 2017

Class Schedule:MTuWTh, 2:45 - 5:20 PMSpaces reserved for freshmen:No