Course Outline: BC101 Pre-Buddhist Indian Culture, 2011/2012, Semester 1

Basic Data
Bachelor of Arts (Buddhist Studies)
First Semester (July 11 – November 12, 2011) Academic year 2011/2012
Credit / status: 
3 Credits / Core subject
Course Organization: 

15 classes of 3 hours each will be dedicated to various topics related with pre-Buddhist religious and cultural backgrounds of ancient India. Although the course is primarily based on lectures, students are encouraged to raise questions and participate in the class discussions. Before the mid-term and the final written examinations a reasonable time will be allocated for clarifications and reviewing different topics. The course will cover the following topics:

  • Lecture 1: The sources and the nature of Indus Valley Civilization
  • Lecture 2: The Vedic Civilization- Vedic literature and the Vedic Gods
  • Lecture 3: The Upanishads
  • Lecture 4: Synthesis of the two cultures: Indus Valley and the Vedic culture
  • Lecture 5: The Shramana and the Brahmana movements- their relation to the two pre-Buddhist Indian cultures
  • Lecture 6: Upanishads as the link between Shramanism and Brahmanism
  • Lecture 7: The institution of Ashrama
  • Lecture 8: Social and Political condition during the time of the Buddha
  • Lecture 9: Religious environment during the time of Buddha
  • Lecture 10: Contemporary Religious thoughts according to the Brahmajalasutta
  • Lecture 11: Six teachers of the Sāmaññaphalasutta
  • Lecture 12: Buddhist criticism on the views of the six teachers
  • Lecture 13: Sāṅkhya and Buddhism
  • Lecture 14: Yoga and Buddhism
  • Lecture 15: Buddha’s path an ancient path, Buddha’s goal an ancient goal
Course Requirements: 

All students are expected:

  • 1.To attend minimum of 80% of the schedule classes to be eligible to sit for the final examination
  • 2.Students are required to write an essay not less than 2500 words
  • 3.Class Participation
  • 4.Mid-term written examination or Presentation
  • 5.Final written examination
  • 6.For essay writing related helpful guide:
Allocation of Marks: 
  • Class Participation 10%
  • Assignment – Essay Writing 30%
  • Mid-term written examination / Presentation 20%
  • Final written examination 40%
Course Objectives: 

Indus Valley civilization and the Aryan civilization played an important role in the emergence and development of various Brahmanical and Shramanical religious schools in India. A study in depth of these two civilizations will reveal the origin of Buddhist culture and thought. With a sound knowledge of pre-Buddhist cultural background, the students can learn Buddhism in its broader and rightful context.


All tests, assignments and examinations are graded as follows with grade point and numerical marks:

Grade Performance Grade value Percentage Equivalence
A+ Excellent 4.0 90-100
A Almost Excellent 3.75 85-89
A- Fairly Excellent 3.5 80-84
B+ Very Good 3.25 75-79
B Good 3.0 70-74
B- Fairly Good 2.75 65-69
C+ Fair 2.5 60-64
C Satisfactory 2.25 55-59
C- Minimum Satisfactory 2.0 50-54
D+ Fairly Poor 1.5 40-49
D Poor 1.0 30-39
F Fail 0.0 29 or less
I Incomplete
W Withdrawn
WF Withdrawn because of failure
AU Audit