Buddhisms in Asia

Traditions, Transmissions, and Transformations

Edited by Nicholas S. Brasovan & Micheline M. Soong

Subjects: Asian Studies, Buddhism, Education, Asian Religion And Philosophy, Asian Literature
Series: SUNY series in Asian Studies Development
Hardcover : 9781438475851, 210 pages, September 2019
Paperback : 9781438475844, 210 pages, September 2019

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Peter D. Hershock


Nicholas S. Brasovan and Micheline M. Soong

1. The Buddhist Canon and the Liberal Arts Classroom
Andy Alexander Davis

2. Awakening in the Hongzhou School of Chan Buddhism: Reading a Gongan/Koan Comparatively
Ann Pirruccello

3. Seeking the Pure Land (in the Classroom)
Kendall Marchman

4. The Representation and Transformation of Nāgas, Dragons, and Dragon Kings in Chinese Painting
Jacqueline Chao

5. Trials of Devotion: Orphaned Children and the Boundaries of Horror in Japanese Buddhist Fiction
R. Keller Kimbrough

6. The Buddhist Gift: Merit-Making, Donations, and the Ambivalence of Reward
Jessica Falcone

7. The Puzzle of the Socially Engaged Buddhist Agent and a Thai Buddhist Philosophical Response
Geoff Ashton

8. Five Themes toward Teaching the History of Vietnamese Buddhism
Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox

9. Not Knowing Is Most Intimate: Introducing Buddhism into a Humanities Course
Jane Collins


A guide to Buddhism’s rich variety of traditions and cultural expressions for educators who would like to include Buddhism in their undergraduate courses.


Over its long history, Buddhism has never been a simple monolithic phenomenon, but rather a complex living tradition—or better, a family of traditions—continually shaped by and shaping a vast array of social, economic, political, literary, and aesthetic contexts across East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Written by undergraduate educators, Buddhisms in Asia offers a guide to Buddhism's rich variety of traditions and cultural expressions for educators who would like to include Buddhism in their undergraduate courses. It introduces fundamental yet often underrepresented Buddhist texts, concepts, and material in their historical contexts; presents the major "ecologies" of Buddhist belief, practice, and cultural expression; and provides methodological insights regarding how best to infuse Buddhist content into undergraduate courses in the humanities and social sciences. The text aims to represent "Buddhisms" by approaching the subject from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, including art history, anthropology, history, literature, philosophy, religious studies, and pedagogy.

Nicholas S. Brasovan is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Central Arkansas and the author of Neo-Confucian Ecological Humanism: An Interpretive Engagement with Wang Fuzhi (1619–1692), also published by SUNY Press. Micheline M. Soong is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Hawaiʻi Pacific University.


"Buddhisms in Asia is both practical and thought-provoking in its comparison of pedagogies. The strength of the book is that it brings multiple authors together for a candid discussion of what needs to be changed within introductory material in the liberal arts classroom. The essays are pertinent for instructors asked to teach Buddhism in a survey of world religions. It provides a concrete approach to tackling decontextualized and ahistorical paradigms still in circulation in the study of Buddhist traditions, for nonspecialists and instructors seeking to revitalize their curriculum." — H-Net Reviews (H-Asia)

"Most valuable are the essays that bring to the table areas that typical syllabi neglect, for example, Buddhism in Vietnam and Pure Land Buddhism." — CHOICE

"I teach an introductory course on Buddhism on a regular basis, and every single chapter of this book gave me ideas for materials I could incorporate, new modules I might develop, and/or better ways I might organize and present existing content to students. I think that the book will be particularly useful to educators in Asian studies who are not themselves specialized in areas of Buddhism or religion. The collection gives them the information on Buddhist philosophy, doctrine, and practice that they would need to better incorporate the role of Buddhism into classes on Asian culture, history, society, and politics." — Leah Kalmanson, coeditor of Buddhist Responses to Globalization