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Pure Land Buddhism


Admission requirements

Enrollment in MA program; background in the study of Buddhism, indicated by successful completion of the BA course Introduction to Buddhism or equivalent


Among the most important Mahayana Buddhist traditions in East Asia is so-called Pure Land Buddhism. Assuming students’ prior familiarity with the basics of Buddhism, we will begin with the Indian scriptures of the Pure Land tradition, and examine how ideas and practices developed in East Asia (primarily China and Japan), with some attention to the teaching's spread to Tibet. This course approaches its topics through close readings (in translation) of primary sources including Indian Buddhist scriptures and works by a selection of Chinese and Japanese teachers. These sources will be combined with secondary readings, as well as consideration of art historical sources. We will consider issues including those of Buddhist cosmology, means to spiritual awakening, cultural transfers, intertextuality, the spiritual status of women, and others.

Course objectives

Students will develop abilities in close reading of primary sources from cultures very distant from their own, in analysis of argumentation in examining secondary literature, in verbal and written expression, and in creative synthesis of ideas. Secondary to these broader conceptual goals, students will become more familiar with Indian and East Asian Buddhist traditions.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

MA seminar

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:

Partial Assessment Weighing
Fill out form of partial assessment ..%
Informed participation 30%
Presentation(s) 20%
Paper 50%

In order to pass the course, students need a passing mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole.


Only the paper is subject to a resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Luis O. Gómez, The Land of Bliss.
Other assigned articles and translations.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of Contract teaching (including taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Exchange students having questions regarding registration, may contact the Humanities International Office.