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The Sacred Journey:
Religions of the World
Core Discovery Course 116
Scheduled of Class Topics, Assignments,
Readings, and Evening and Extra Sessions
Tentative, Subject to Change
Honors Program Events
August 24 thru September 2 - Class Topic: Equipping Ourselves for the Journey
Topics: Starting point for your journey: re-telling your own journey.
A. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going?
B. What do we seek to understand? How should we approach that which we seek to know? What should we do with that which we come to know?
"Eye Juggling" skills, for critically interpreting religious symbols, values and scared texts; issues of ethnocentrism and bias; an appreciation of another's point of view, and the example of the Burnt Face Story Text; and the difference between a theological and academic approach to the Journey. Literal, Metaphoric, and Anagogic Ways of Knowing: Issues of theological/spiritual and academic/scientific epistemologies. Nature of Religious Stories - as "Texts": art and design, architecture, ritual behavior, narrative, speech, song, etc.; sacred boundaries and transcendence.
Humanities and Social Sciences: "Sailing the Four Cs"
Pilgrimage Edicts Begin immediately
Humanities and Social Sciences, and their Integration - An Approach Begin immediately
Smith Preface and ch. 1, pp 6-15 Begin immediately
"Burnt Face," as told by Tom Yellowtail in Frey's Stories That Make the World, pp 108-22 (ol) By September 2
First Reflective Write Due during the second class session, August 26
Along with the user ID and password provided in class, you will need a reliable high-speed Internet connection (suggested at 10 Mbps, as clips are streamed at 450 Kbps) and a RealPlayer to access class videos. Remember, videos can be enlarged by dragging your mouse on the bottom right corner. For a free version, .
September 1 - Evening Session: "Stories of the Instructors" 6:00 - 9:00 pm JEB 104 (Wednesday)
September 7 thru 30 - Class Topic: The Schitsu'umsh (the Coeur d'Alene, a Plateau American Indian People) and the Apsaalooke (the Crow, a Plains American Indian People): examples of Indigenous Primal Religion
Topics: The Texts: Oral Traditions. Creation and the Animal Peoples. The Gifts and key religious teachings. The Spiritual Goal and Means to reach it - rites of passage. The Sun Dance and Vision Quest. The "wagon wheel" and the many paths to the Creator. Medicine, its efficacy and the power of story, and its applications - Burnt Face Revisited.
Frey's Stories That Make the World, pp. 5-37 (Introduction, "Four Smokes" and "Couple Befriended by the Moon"), pp. 39-45, 52-61 and 63-75, (Text: Themes, Motifs, "Coyote and Swallowing Monster" and "Coyote and the Rock"), pp. 141-158 and 162-167 (Texture, Orality and Literacy, and "Coyote and the Green Spot"), pp. 169-177 and 179-182 (Context and "Elk and the Young Man"), pp. 214-216 (Conclusion). Begin immediately
Spiritual Values of the North American Indian Begin immediately
The Living Stone (32 min., this 1958 National Film Board of Canada classic illustrates key Indigenous religious values, told in narrative form)
Sun Dance Way and Vision Quest (57 min. and 4 min., great overview of this key ceremony, as told by Tom Yellowtail; filmed during the June 1989, in honor of Tom Yellowtail) (Elements of the Dance 22 min, from many photos 1974 and others.)
Billy Yellow (18 min., intimate look into the Navajo Healing Ceremony; introduced by anthropologist David Mayberry-Lewis, as part of his Millennium Project, 1992)
Oral Narratives of Lawrence Aripa (from the Lifelong Learning Online Project 2002)
Salmon Always Goes Up River (narrative text)
Sedna and Soul Food (narrative text)
Crow Sundance (still images)
Tom Yellowtail (Crow elder; background on)
Background on the Schitsu'umsh and on "Heart Knowledge" (discussion with Cliff SiJohn, Coeur d'Alene elder, in12 video clips)
Smith ch. 9
Outline of Lectures and Key Terms
September 6 - Labor Day - No Classes
September 6 - Last Day to Drop a Class, avoiding a W (withdrawal) placed on your transcript
September 16 - Evening Session: "Nez Perce Oral Traditions" shared by Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham, Tribal Ethnographer and Storyteller 6:00 - 9:00 pm JEB 104 (Thursday)
September 30 - First Exam - See Study Guide
October 1 - 2 - Pah-Loots-Pu Powwow. Beasley Coliseum, Pullman.
October 5 thru 27 - Class Topic: Hinduism
Topics: The Texts: the Bhagavad Gita (children's story) and the Upanishads. The Goals: The Paths of Desire - kama and artha, and the Paths of Renunciation - dharma and moksha. The Landscape: divinity, the cosmos, and the self. The Process - Karma and Samsara. The Means: Yogas - raja (way of meditation), jnana (way of knowledge), karma (way of action), and bhakti (way of devotion). The Gods and Goddesses. The Pilgrimage.
Soul of a People (29 min., a 1971 film by Huston Smith and Elda Hartly on the central themes of Hinduism, and the paradoxes found in Indian and in the notion of the "Infinite Mind")
Hinduism: Faith, Festivals and Rituals (50 min., nice overview of Hinduism and its ritual life; 1995 Films Media Group)
Ganges: River to Heaven (52 min., an insightful look into Hinduism and the role the Ganges River plays within it, full of powerful images and authentic situations. This award-winning 2003 film follows the journey of four families as they prepare for the death and cremation of loved ones at Kashi, also known as Varanasi or Benares, on the Ganges River. It presents the rituals, realities, and challenges associated with this key rite of passage.)
Benares: Steps to Heaven (30 min., a 1984 film introducing this sacred city of Benares, also known as Varanasi or Kashi, and the pilgrimages associated with it.)
Three Worlds of Bali (58 min., this 1979 film introduces to the arts and religions of Bali, with particular reference to Wayang Shadow Puppets [8 min.] and the world renewal ceremony of Eka Dasa Rudra)
Shri Swami's Bhagavad Gita - Chapters 14 - 18
Jnana Yoga - the way of knowledge
Karma Yoga - the way of action
Bhakti Yoga - the way of devotion, pilgrimage, and the Gods and Goddesses
The Egg - essay by Andy Weir, another angle on some of the more elusive aspects of Hindu thought. Thanks to Wieteke Hulthuijzen (student Fall 2010 class) for suggesting this insightful reading.
October - Schedule Visit the Librarian, Rochelle Smith, and explore your research options
October 8 - Elizabeth Cook-Lynn speaks on "What About Post Coloniality?" 10:30 am Administration Auditorium American Indian Distinguish Speaker's Series
October 11 - Tipi Raising: on the lawn just east of the Commons.. Set-up at 9:00 am. Take-down at 5:00 pm Providing we are not rained or snowed out!
October 14 - Evening Session: Hindu Film 6:00 - 9:00 pm JEB 104 (Thursday)
November 2 -Exercise
October 28 thru November 18 - Class Topic: Buddhism
Topics: The Texts: the Dhammapada and Buddhist Doctrines. Siddhartha, the Great Awakening, and the Buddha. The Challenge and the Goal: the Four Noble Truths and nirvana/sunyata. The Means: the Eight-fold Path. The Landscape: at first glance, karma and samsara; and a second view, the yana - from anicca, skandhas, paticcasamuppada and bardos, through one of the Three Schools (Theravada, Mahayana and Vijrayana Buddhism) and the bodhisattvas, then arriving, nirvana/sunyata. But the questions continue: what is the nature of reality and of compassion, and what is the "great paradox"?
Maguire and Muller's Dhammapada - Introductions (pp. ix-xxii) and Chapters 1-3, 7, 9, 12-16, 19-20, 24-26 Begin immediately
Smith ch. 3 Begin immediately
Buddhist Doctrines (selected writings) Begin immediately
Requiem for a Faith (27 min., a 1971 film by Huston Smith and Elda Hartly on Tibetan Buddhism)
Buddhism: the Great Wheel of Being (52 min., presenting the tenets and history of Buddhism, including discussion of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path; 1995 Films Media Group)
The Great Liberation: Tibetan Book of the Dead (45 min., death as a "rite of passage"; this 1994 film examines the history, rites and liturgies associated with death and the afterlife, follows a young novice monk and his teacher who guide a villager into the afterlife and rebirth.) Study Guide
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama (85 min., this awarding winning 2006 Rick Ray film provides a rich background on the history of Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, capped with a wonderful interview with the Dalai Lama himself. A great segment on the Mandala.)
Alan Watts discusses Nothingness (4 min., YouTube video)
the Chenrezig Bodhisatta
Tibetan Hymns, Wheels and Mantras of the Vajrayana Tradition
Maguire and Muller's Dhammapada - chapters not assigned above
The young Buddha - Siddhartha - and mathematically calculating the size of an atom (Thanks to Wieteke for the link)
November 4 - Proposal due for your Personal Quest - Participatory Paper
November 11 - Evening Session: The Drummer 5:00 - 7:00 pm New Time JEB 104 (Thursday)
November 18 - Outline draft due for your Personal Quest - Participatory Paper
November 22 - 26 - Fall Recess - No Classes
November 30 thru December 9 - Class Topic: Taoism
Topics: The Texts: Tao Te Ching, and writings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. The Goal, Means and Landscape: The Tao - Character, The Landscape: Chapter 1 and Yin Yang, the Hexagram and I Ching. The Three "Schools" or Ways of Life (Gods and Goddesses of the Religious Way). The Aligning: the Wu Wei and Te (the Three Jewels), with the Ch'i. The Examples of Expressions: music, landscape paintings, poetry, calligraphy, medicine, mediation, symbolism, and Wuxia
Lin's Tao Te Ching - Introductions (pp vii-xxxi) and Chapters 1-81 Begin immediately
Smith ch. 5 Begin immediately
Chuang Tzu (selected writings) Begin by December 2
"Calligraphy" (25 min., set in Ancient China, it is a time in which rival kingdoms seek to kill the King of Qin, the most powerful of the kingdoms. In this scene, the King of Qin wants to know how his agent, Nameless, killed two powerful assassins, Broken Sword and Flying Snow. How are words more powerful than arrows, and how is the essence of calligraphy and swordsmanship the same? Speculate on the meaning of how color is used in various scenes and in the clothing worn. Illustrative of wuxia genre and application of ch'i. From Hero, a Zhang Yimou 2002 film. See URL link)
"Echo Game" (8 min., set in 859 AD, the once great Tang Dynasty is in decline. In this scene, a police officer "tests" a "blind" dancer, suspecting her to be a rebel. Illustrative of wuxia genre and application of ch'i. From House of Flying Daggers, a Zhang Yimou 2004 film. See URL link)
John Chang Nei Kung (8 min., YouTube. Demonstration of Chi.)
December 2 - Evening Session: Taoist Film 6:00 - 9:00 pm JEB 104 (Thursday)
December 9 - Personal Quest - Participatory Paper is due
December 12 - Course Evaluation is due (can do right now!)
December 15 - Final Exam (PDF) - See Study Guide Due by: Wednesday Time: 10:00 am Place: TLC 248, or you can e-mail or drop off your project at my office, Phinney 116 anytime earlier.
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