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Buddhism: Topics


Admission requirements

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including Griekse en Romeinse filosofie, History of Modern Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Analytische filosofie or Philosophy of Mind.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


The topic of this years Bhuddism course is Mādhyamaka Philosophy and the Concept of Emptiness. In the course, we will learn about the concept of emptiness in Chinese and Indian Madhyamaka Buddhist texts. The course will engage in a close reading of the text “non-complete emptiness,” written by Seng Zhao, as well as Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Prajñāpāramitā sutras. It will also relate to Daoist texts that have influenced Mādhyamaka philosophical movement in China and secondary readings associated with studying these texts.

The course will deal with the interpretations and applications of emptiness, the migration of the term from India to China, and its reception there. We will also engage in the question of translation of philosophical terms and cross-cultural Buddhist philosophy.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have:

  • a good understanding of emptiness as a formative concept in Buddhist philosophy;

  • familiarity with the Mādhyamaka school of philosophy;

  • familiarity with the formative period of the assimilation of Buddhism in China and its meeting with local thought systems.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • present this knowledge in written and oral form (presentations and paper);

  • critically analyze ideas and notions presented in primary and secondary resources;

  • formulate critical responses to these philosophical texts and ideas and present them.


The timetables are avalable through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Final essay

  • Presentation

  • Attendance and participation in course discussion


  • Final essay: 70%

  • Presentation (to be further explained in the syllabus): 15%

  • Attendance and participation: 15%


The resit will consist of an opportunity to resubmit the final semester paper that was not sufficient.
The grades for other exam components (presentation, attendance and participation) remain in place.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the course cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Required readings will be announced through Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.