This course is an introduction to the world’s major religions, particularly the dominant religious traditions in the countries we will visit in Asia and Africa. To live and work in a global village where we interact with people and communities from different religious traditions we need to understand and appreciate these neighbors’ religious worldview. In this course we will examine and compare the beliefs, texts, figures, rituals, and shrines of the world’s major religions and explore how these traditions answer life’s “big questions” (why we exist, what happens after death, and how we should live our lives, etc.) and how they help their members to negotiate life’s crises and passages and to get along with fellow believers and religious strangers.
Field WorkCountry: Japan
Day: 2 - Monday, 25 January
This field lab will take us to the shrine district of Kamakura to observe a variety of Buddhist and Shinto shrines. Students will be able to see the inclusive nature of religious diversity in Japan at present and consider the country’s prior religious history. They will also be able to experience a form of multi-site pilgrimage in which Japanese pilgrims walk from shrine to shrine, often visiting holy sites of multiple religious traditions.
1. Observe Buddhist Pilgrimage Rituals.
2. Investigate Buddhist stupa style pagoda architecture.
3. Observe Buddhist rituals.