COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Won Buddhist Studies 

WON BUDDHIST STUDIES COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

WBS 500 (3 CREDITS) CRITICAL THINKING AND WRITING
RESEARCH PAPERS
This course focuses on developing skills in research
and analysis. Primary emphasis is on critical thinking
and reading; clarity in thinking, listening, and speaking;
evaluating evidence and questioning assumptions;
responding thoughtfully and bringing one’s own insights
to bear on a topic; and structuring a presentation or essay.
This course also guides students in developing the skills
needed to compose graduate-level research papers.

WBS 505 (3 CREDITS) BASIC BUDDHIST TEACHINGS
The goal of this course is to explore the central teachings
of Buddhism. The basis of our examination are the
foundational dialogues, or suttas, of classical Buddhism.
Later sutra and tantra material may also be included. The
course also allows the student to actively cultivate skills
such as close reading, critical reception, and engaged
dialogue.

WBS 515 (3 CREDITS) ISSUES IN INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
In this course, students examine the reasons for religious
conflicts through understanding the main teachings of world
religions and study possible solutions. Students examine
trends in contemporary American spirituality including the
variety and character of individual Americans’ spiritual
quests, the attraction of Islam for the African-American
community, and the influence of the religious “right” in
American social and political life. Students will consider the
effect of diverse religious perspectives on social and ethical
issues.
WBS 520 (3 CREDITS) BUDDHIST MEDITATION:
ANAPANASATI SUTTA
This course introduces the student to the basic principles
of classical Buddhist meditation practice and theory. The
primary source for the course typically is the Anapanasati
Sutta. This text delineates a comprehensive meditation
training program extending back to the earliest days of
Buddhism.

WBS 531 (3 CREDITS) HEART OF AWAKENING
Prerequisites: PWB100 Canon I and PWB110 Canon II.
This course investigates the content of the awakening
of Master Sot’aesan as elaborated in the Canon of Won
Buddhism. Beginning with the Four Great Principles as
the four pillars of the teachings, this course explicates. the fundamental teachings with contextual enrichment
from various Won Buddhist scriptures. Students reflect
on the Founding Motive and Outline of the Teaching,
the Truth of Il Won Sang, Faith in Il Won Sang, Vow to
Il Won Sang, the Dharma Words of Il Won Sang, and
Transmission Verse as the foundation to understand
Master Sot’aesan’s Awakened Truth. Using readings from
the Scripture of Master Sot’aesan and Dharma Words of
Master Chongsan, students contemplate the fuller meaning
of the fundamental teachings through Master Sotaesan’s
own sermons and conversations with his disciples. To aid
students in developing a fuller appreciation of the place
of Won Buddhism in the world, the course provides a
critical analysis of the Canon from textual and historical
perspectives and comparisons with the doctrines of
Mahayana Buddhism as well as practical application of
Master Sot’aesan’s teaching in our daily life.

WBS 536 (3 CREDITS) CULTIVATING THE MIND
Prerequisites: PWB100 Canon I and PWB110 Canon II.
This course is to deepen understanding of Won Buddhist
practice and its significance and relevance to the
contemporary world through a close reading of relevant
parts of the Canon and other Won Buddhist scriptures.
Beginning with the Essential Dharmas of Daily Practice
as an overarching statement, the course particularly
focuses on the Threefold Study. Students also analyze
and reflect on the methods and meaning of Won Buddhist
mindfulness practice, the training system of Won Buddhism,
and timeless meditation. Readings from relevant parts of
the Principal Book of Won Buddhism, Scripture of Master
Sot’aesan, and Dharma Words of Master Chongsan provide
the deeper context and meaning of the practices. The
course also unfolds the significance within Won Buddhist
practice of the Eight Articles, Prayer, Repentance, the
Precepts, the Wholeness of Spirit and Flesh and the Stages
of Dharma Ranks. For further contextualization, the course
investigates the relationship of Won Buddhist practices with
Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

WBS 541 (3 CREDITS) GROUND OF WON BUDDHIST ETHICS
Prerequisites: PWB 100 Canon I and PWB 110 Canon II.
The doctrine of the Fourfold Grace, which expresses the
interconnected relationship of all beings, is the foundation
of Won Buddhist ethics. This course is to broaden
students’ perspectives on the ethical implications of
Won Buddhist teachings by critically analyzing the Won
Buddhist metaphysics of morals and methods of moral
improvement. Through close readings of the Canon
chapters on the Fourfold Grace, the Four Essentials, and other key moral teachings, illuminated by the commentaries
of Master Sot’aesan and Master Chongsan in their
respective Discourses, students research the reality of
Master Sot’aesan’s teachings and relate them to the moral
challenges of modern American life.

WBS 550 (1 CREDIT) PRACTICUM I
For pre-minister students, this course is to develop the
student’s abilities as a temple kyomu (minister) to care for
and guide Korean and American members, for example,
through teaching meditation, explaining the teachings
in terms that are suitable to the American audience,
developing an American community of practitioners with
an awareness of their special needs and an understanding
of the diversity of the religious and cultural backgrounds
of Americans. The course fosters the ability to balance the
demands of acculturation with the need to maintain the
authenticity of Won Buddhist practice. For non-minister
track students, the practicum design is determined in
accordance with the needs and interests of the student, in
consultation with the faculty practicum supervisor.

WBS 560 (3 CREDITS) TOPICS IN BUDDHIST MEDITATION
This course covers the essential character of Buddhist
meditation and the techniques developed as Buddhism
spread beyond India to Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan.
Students will study the techniques of meditation practiced
in Theravada and Mahayana with special focus on Zen
Buddhism and Won Buddhism. Through this course,
students will understand the historical continuities and
discontinuities of Buddhist meditation techniques and the
principles of Buddhist meditation. Using the Anapanasati
Sutra, Satipattana Sutra, and other core Buddhist
meditation sutras, students will reach an increased
appreciation of the role of awareness and prajna as the core
elements of Buddhist meditation.

WBS 570 (3 CREDITS) APPLICATION OF MEDITATION FOR
THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY
In this course, students examine the application of
meditation and mindfulness practice in settings such as
schools, prisons, hospices, hospitals, and businesses,
in other religious denominations, and to enhance human
services. The appropriateness of meditative practice for
diverse settings is explored. Learning takes place through a
combination of lecture, discussion, and readings. During the
course, students observe the application of meditation in
one of the settings listed above. This course also examines
techniques for the design and delivery of meditation
training.

WBS 580 (3 CREDITS) BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY

This course is an introduction to the principles of Buddhist
psychology teased out from the traditional texts of the
Abhidharma. It also looks at the influence that Buddhist
Psychology has had in contemporary Western Psychology.
The course will focus on basic similarities and differences
between these two perspectives. Furthermore, the impact
of Buddhist psychology principles in psychotherapy
and pastoral care work will be examined. This course
includes meditation sessions and discussion regarding the
experiential dimension of the concepts learned.

WBS 585 (3 CREDITS) SURVEY OF CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICES
This course presents the diverse faces of contemplative
practice from various secular disciplines and religious
traditions. Topics may include material from a broad range
of Buddhist traditions as well as from disciplines and
traditions such as psychoanalysis, the creative arts, radical
theology, philosophy, and literature.

WBS 610 (3 CREDIT) BUDDHIST PASTORAL COUNSELING
This course is designed to help students develop basic
pastoral counseling skills based on Buddhist teachings. It
provides an introduction to the integration of contemplative
Buddhist wisdom and clinical psychology. Students
will work with each other to practice compassion and
mindfulness-awareness in a counseling relationship. Both
general-track and ordination-track students are eligible for
this course.

WBS 620 (3 CREDITS) HISTORY OF BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY
AND PRACTICE
This course focuses on understanding the continuity and
discontinuity of Buddhist philosophy and practice. This
course will help students understand Won teaching in the
context of Buddhism’s evolution through different ages
and countries and to develop their capacity to apply Won
teaching to contemporary American cultural and spiritual
life.
WBS 625 (3 CREDITS) WON BUDDHISM
ENCOUNTERS THE WEST
This course gives students a greater awareness of some
of the major American religious traditions and the cultural,
religious, and spiritual issues facing contemporary
American society. In this course, students will consider
the core teachings of the Won Buddhist Canon in the light of contemporary issues and learn to apply the teachings
of the Canon to those issues in a way both relevant and
adequate to their complexity.

WBS 640 (3 CREDITS) FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF WON BUDDHISM
This course focuses on understanding the history of
Won Buddhism and its future development. The course
examines how Won Buddhist teaching has been explained
and interpreted through the successors of Master Sot’aesan
(1891-1943), namely Master Chongsan (1900-1962), the
second Head Dharma Master, and Master Daesan (1914-
1998), the third Head Dharma Master. Students think
through ways to apply the wisdom of the teachings to the
future development of Won Buddhism on American soil and
around the world.

WBS 645 (3 CREDITS) THE SCIENCE OF MEDITATION
In this course, students analyze scientific research
on meditative practice, focusing on the physiological,
psychological, and neural correlates of meditation. This
study provides the necessary foundation for students to
interpret and critically evaluate studies of meditation and
its effects. Topics include psychophysical components of
meditation, and how practice modulates major domains
of cognition (sensation, perception, attention, memory,
creativity, and self- and emotion regulation). Identifying
methodological and conceptual challenges in the scientific
study of meditation, and promising future directions, will be
emphasized.

WBS 650 (3 CREDITS) WON BUDDHIST HOMILETICS AND LITURGY
Liturgical portion of the course: This course will expose
students to the liturgical rites and rituals of the Won
Buddhist ministry as practices in Won Buddhist temples in
America. Students will visit and interview current temple
ministers in the area to gain exposure to the liturgies
being practised. Homiletics Portion: Students will explore
the variety of roles and perspectives encompassed the
homiletical task of the minister. Emphasis will be on finding
one’s voice as a minister in the midst of preparation and
delivery of homilies.
WBS 655 (3 CREDITS) WON BUDDHIST TEMPLE MANAGEMENT
This course is to prepare a WBS student to effectively
manage a Won Buddhist temple in the U.S. The scope of
Won Buddhist temple management may include organizing
and managing edification groups, leading a Won Buddhist ceremony, managing temple finances, planning and running
events and projects in the temple.

WBS 660 (3 CREDITS) MASTER’S DEGREE PROJECT
A candidate for the Master of Won Buddhist Studies
(MWBS) is required to submit a final project, which is an
opportunity for the student to fashion a fitting and unique
culmination to his/her studies. A main advisor and second
reader selected by the student will oversee the project. As
such, the master’s project may take the form of a traditional
thesis (historical research, textual study, doctrinal or
discourse analysis, etc.), an application program, case
study analysis, theory, memoir, or creative writing. Students
should obtain a copy of the Masters Project Manual for
further information.

WBS 675 (3 CREDITS) INDEPENDENT STUDY
Students seeking to do an Independent Study should work
out the details with the Won Institute faculty member who
will supervise the study. The student and faculty member
present a proposal to the WBS Chair, who has final approval
of the Independent Study.

WBS 680 (1 CREDIT) PRACTICUM II
This course continues the Practicum I development of the
student’s abilities as a temple kyomu (minister) or as a
lay practitioner and teacher, such as teaching meditation
and other Won Buddhist practices. The student has
the opportunity to achieve a growing depth and clarity
in explaining Won Buddhist doctrine and practice, and
delivering the original meaning in English. This is to include
the ability to compare and contrast Won Buddhist terms
and concepts with similar ones from the American religious
background. The student will develop an awareness of
American cultural sensitivities and social norms.
See Common Courses section for course descriptions for
Moving Meditation, Sitting Meditation, and other elective
courses.

ACS 641 (2 CREDITS) CLINICAL SKILLS/MENTOR GROUP PREPARATORY WON BUDDHIST STUDIES COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
PWB 100 (3 CREDITS) WON BUDDHIST CANON I
This course introduces students to the basic intent
and doctrines of Won Buddhism, as expressed in the
first two parts of the Canon: General Introduction and
Doctrine. Students become familiar with the historical and
philosophical context of Won Buddhism. Students analyze
and understand the tenets of Won Buddhism as the basis of a firm faith and practice and as the basis for inquiring
further into the teachings.

PWB 110 (3 CREDITS) WON BUDDHIST CANON II
This course prepares students to develop confidence in
their personal practice based on the Practice section of the
Won Buddhist Canon. Students explore the characteristics
of Won Buddhist practice and how they differ from those of
traditional Buddhism. The course explains the two ways of
training: training in quietness (sitting meditation, chanting,
etc.) and training in action. As practitioners, students will
gain insight into the relationship between faith and practice
and how they lead one to a deeper contemplation of the
teachings.

PWB 120 (3 CREDITS) HISTORY OF WON BUDDHISM
This course examines how Won Buddhism was founded
and how it has progressed over the past hundred years.
Students will learn how Won Buddhist teachings and the
organization have been clarified and defined through the
successors of the Ven. Sot’aesan (1891-1943), namely the
Ven. Chongsan (1900-1962), the second Head Dharma
Master, and the Ven. Daesan (1914-1998), the third
Head Dharma Master. Students gain an understanding
of the socio-historical context of the development of Won
Buddhism.

PWB 130 (3 CREDITS) THE DISCOURSES OF MASTER SOT’AESAN
Part III of The Scriptures of Won Buddhism, entitled “The
Scripture of the Founding Master,” is a collection of the
Ven. Sot’aesan’s formal and informal discourses, primarily
through conversations with his disciples regarding the
application of the basic principles of the Canon to daily life
and practice. This course explicates Sot’aesan’s teachings
and how each chapter of the discourses is related to the
Principal Book, providing insights into the meaning of the
doctrine.. Students become familiar with the historical
background of the formulation and editing of the discourses
and have an opportunity to compare the three existing
English translations of the Scriptures.

PWB 136 (3 CREDITS) THE DHARMA WORDS OF MASTER CHONGSAN
The Dharma Words of Master Chongsan consists of two
parts: the Canon of the World and the Dharma Words. The
Canon of the World suggests truthful paths for a human
being for a wholesome and harmonious life. The Dharma
Words explicates the teachings of Master Sot’aesan and
other religious/spiritual traditions with special emphasis on Buddhism. Master Chongsan’s creative and contextualized
hermeneutics also exemplify how students can understand
and apply Dharma in contemporary society.

PWB 140 (3 CREDITS) BUDDHIST SUTRAS
This course introduces the basics of the Buddha’s
teachings and explicates the teaching of emptiness in
particular, which is the essence of Mahayana Buddhism.
Students have firsthand experience and explanations of
classical sutras. Sutras to be covered each year will be
chosen from among the Diamond Sutra, the Heart Sutra,
the Sutra of Forty-two Sections, Chinul’s Secrets on
Cultivating the Mind, and others. Students become familiar
with important traditional Buddhist concepts and terms and
have an opportunity to compare traditional Buddhism with
the doctrines of Won Buddhism.

PWB 160 (NON-CREDIT) PRACTICUM OF VISITING THE
SACRED PLACES IN KOREA
This 8-week practicum gives students an opportunity to
experience first-hand and understand directly the spirit and
Dharma lineage of Won Buddhism by staying at the sacred
places associated with its history. Students will learn the
history of Won Buddhism through visits to the memorial
museum of Ven. Sot’aesan, Won Buddhist educational
institutions, the birthplace of the founder at Sambat Peak,
Youngsan, the place of Master Sot’aesan’s enlightenment at
Norumok, and the site of the embankment project. Students
will meet the current Head Dharma Master and have an
opportunity to express their motivation, awakenings, and
specific goals in life. They will have time to ask questions
and get appraisal from the Head Dharma Master.

CERTIFICATE IN WON BUDDHIST STUDIES
COURSE DESCRIPTION

WBC 600 (1 CREDIT) INTENSIVE RETREAT I
Students in the Won Buddhism Certificate program may
receive one credit for participation in a meditation retreat
at the Won Dharma Center or a Won Buddhist temple. The
retreat must meet the minimum requirement of 30 hours
of formal sitting and/or moving meditation practice. For
completion of the retreat, the student submits a letter of
completion from the retreat’s sponsor or leader together
with a written reflection essay, and a WBS faculty member
interviews the student about the student’s learning and
experience from the retreat.