Research Project

Please Read this CAREFULLY
Topic & thesis:

Anything you like! Choose any topic related to Buddhism that you would like to explore, locate primary and/or secondary sources that are helpful in this exploration, devise some kind of independent thesis to argue, and write it out. This final research paper must focus on developing your own central thesis and your own original arguments in support of that thesis. I do not want you to write a book or research report, which just explains what you have read. I want you to identify and engage an important debate on the topic of your research project. You should form your own argument on the basis of this debate, and this argument should be sufficiently evidenced from the sources used in your research. You should also be sure to engage important potential counter-arguments to your thesis. If you cannot see why someone would disagree with your thesis, and why your thesis nonetheless withstands critiques, then either you don’t have a thesis or your arguments are weak.

Sources, citation, and bibliography:

For this project you must locate and employ at least five outside sources – i.e., sources not on the syllabus – that are either Buddhist primary texts (in translation) or secondary, scholarly books/articles. None of these sources can be websites (e.g., Wikipedia), although scholarly journals or other academic books/articles published online may be acceptable. As a general rule, if you find an online source through the Bucknell library website, then it is okay to use. Otherwise, use only printed sources – books and journal articles. If in doubt, please ask me.

Your paper should included a bibliography of all sources used and cited, arranged alphabetically by authors’ last names. Each bibliography entry for a book should include author, title, publisher, location of publisher, and publication date, in that order. Each article entry should include author, title, journal name, journal edition, and publication date, in that order. All sources used – either by quoting directly, paraphrasing, or gleaning arguments – must be cited parenthetically in the body of the paper [e.g., (Gethin, p. 70)], and then listed in the bibliography. Otherwise, if you use sources without citing them properly, you will be guilty of plagiarism and will fail the assignment and potentially the course.
Paper mechanics:

Your paper should be 8-10 pages in length (not including bibliography), typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins. Include your name and date at the top of the first page, and number all other pages.

Deadline:

1. Is the paper clearly written, well organized and does it offer the reader a logical, easily followed development of ideas?

2. Has the paper been carefully proofread, corrected and is it free of mechanical errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.)?

3. Does the introduction give the reader an idea what to expect by describing the scope, focus, intent, and thesis of the paper? Is there a clear, direct thesis statement?

4. Does the paper have a succinct conclusion that focuses the reader’s attention on the main arguments and ideas and/or suggests further directions for analysis of the topic?

5. Is the argument supported by evidence from the assigned and other readings?

6. Is the thesis of the paper developed in sufficient depth that the conclusions drawn seem warranted? In other words, is there a clear, persuasive argument being made that reflects both the complexity of the subject and alternative points of view?

7. Does the paper adequately engage important potential counter-arguments?

8. Does the analysis of the topic indicate both a clear understanding of the issues/concepts involved and provide a substantive contribution from the student’s own thinking (i.e., was the paper more than re-arranging or reporting ideas gathered from other sources)?

Things you CANNOT use as citations:

Buddhacarita
Mahaparinibbna Sutra
Satipathana Sutra
Lotus Sutra
Heart Sutra

Gethin, Rupert, The Foundations of Buddhism
Thurman, Robert, trans., The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture
Wijayaratna, “Solitude,
Buswell, The Zen Monastic Experience
Lopez, “Religions of Tibet in Practice
Queen, “Dr. Ambedkar and the Hermeneutics of Buddhist Liberation“
Strong, “The Tibetan Cultural Area,”
Links that might help:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/22/world/asia/buddhism-violence/

http://buddhism.about.com/od/mahayanasutras/fl/The-Arya-Bodhisattva-gocara-upayaisaya-vikurvana-nirdesa-nama-mahayana-sutra.htm

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/southasia/2014/09/buddhist-monk-fight-jihad-threat-asia-2014928153512953861.html

http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/war.htm

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