Asian Philosophy (Fall 2002)  0122-340-01

Professor Yoko Arisaka
415-422-6424 (office)

Final Paper Topics

(Due Thursday, December 12th, 3pm: 6-7 pages.)

Select ONE question from below.

1. Explain the concept of the Middle Way.  In what way it is considered “radical skepticism?”  How is the Middle Way related to the Buddhist notion of the “Interdependent Co-Arising?”

2. Explain the Mahayana Buddhist notion of “sunyata” or “emptiness.”  Refer to at least one of the following to explain: Ten Ox-herding Pictures, Suzuki on “self the unattainable”, Abe on emptiness/suchness. How is it related to the Middle Way?

3. Explain the relation between the “Four Noble Truth” and the theory of “emptiness.”  Explain in particular the meaning of “attachment” and how that is supposed to be the cause of suffering.  How is the theory of “Interdependent Co-Arising” related in relieving oneself from suffering?  How is this related to the Middle Way?  Be sure to use passages from selected sources of your choice.

4. Explain in what way there is no “self” in Buddhism.  If there is no “self,” how is it possible for one to practice “compassion,” the ultimate Mahayana goal?  To explain, be sure to refer to the notions of “emptiness,” “detachment,” “Interdependent Co-Arising,” and the Middle Way.  Be sure to refer to passages from the selected sources of your choice.

5. If you have a topic or focus of your own, let me know—but one way or another you will have to explain the Middle Way, emptiness, Interdependent Co-Arising, and the Buddhist notions of compassion and detachment for this assignment.

6.  If you would like to do a paper on an aspect of Indian Philosophy, please let me know.  We can work out a topic.

7.  If you would like to work on a paper for the last part of the Reader, Contemporary Issues, please let me know—given your interest, we will work out a topic.  (This section may involve Confucianism and human rights, Socially Engaged Buddhism, and Japanese Philosophy and modernity.)

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