This reading group, organized by the University of Toronto Robert H.N. Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies, will look at “introductions to Buddhism” proper and “histories of Buddhism” conceived of as introductions, that cover the main articulations of Buddhism through the ages and across the globe. The discussions will help historicize past and present introductory literature in the light of the current state of the field and of the participants’ own research. They will also help assess the potential of the existing introductory literature in view of the participants own experiences with participating in or designing and teaching introductory courses as part of current Buddhist Studies curricula. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and other academics are welcome. The group will reach out to authors, translators, or editors who have contributed to introductory monographs to join them as discussants.
Our first reading will be Eugène Burnouf's Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism (1844; 1876; transl. 2010). During our upcoming October 26 session the group will focus on the first 113 pages of the English translation but participants are encouraged to read also the first section of the book that deals with the "sūtras." The plan is to dedicate the session of Nov. 23 to the remainder of Burnouf's book.