Fall 2023 - PHIL 342 D100

Topics in Asian Philosophy (3)

Buddhist Ethics

Class Number: 5782

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 12:30–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    One prior philosophy course (not including PHIL 110, PHIL 105, PHIL 310, PHIL 314, or PHIL 315). (This prerequisite may be waived in some cases, at the discretion of the instructor.)



A discussion of philosophical issues raised by works of Asian philosophy, either historical or contemporary. This may include classical Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and/or other Asian philosophical traditions. May be repeated for credit. Students who have taken PHIL 322 in Spring 2020 or Spring 2021, PHIL 333 in Summer 2015, or PHIL 357 in Fall 2020, under the same topic may not take this course for further credit.


Selected Topics: Buddhist Ethics and Philosophy

Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, claimed to have discovered the key to eliminating suffering. Suffering, he thought, arises because our most basic experiences of the world are mistaken. In the thousands of years that followed, his philosophical and psychological insights have been developed by thinkers around the world. This course will present an introduction to the basic philosophical concepts of Buddhist philosophy and their relevance to ethics.



Students who have taken any of:

  • PHIL 322 in Spring 2020
  • PHIL 357 In Fall 2020
  • PHIL 322 in Spring 2021
  • PHIL 342 in Fall 2022
may not repeat this course for further credit. 


  • Short Assignments: There will be four short assignments. They will consist of five or six short-answer questions and will be uploaded to Canvas on Monday after the lecture. They will be due Fridays at midnight PST. 40%
  • Weekly Response Questions: On weeks without a short assignment, there will be a very small assignment of a few questions. The purpose is mostly to remind you of key points from lecture. These will go up on Canvas Mondays after lecture and will be due Friday by midnight PST. 30%
  • Participation: This is based on participation in class discussions. This means doing your part to make lectures and discussions beneficial: things like showing up and listening, asking questions, following up on what others have said, and in general contributing to an atmosphere where people can learn. (Needless to say it also means not being rude, mean, or disruptive!) 15%
  • Take-Home Exam: A short take up exam that will unlock after the final lecture. 15%



Nicolas Bommarito, Seeing Clearly: A Buddhist Guide to Life, ISBN: 9780190887506

Other reading will be available online in electronic format.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philcomm@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.