This course explores sangha from a range of Buddhist traditions in the context of "polity," the way a lived spiritual community is organized and functions to meet the needs of its members. Themes central to the course include: how monastic traditions are being adapted in the present- day modern West; the nature and organizational structure of various forms of American sanghas and their practices; leadership, power and governance; the concept of a "Buddhist identity" in community; issues of race, gender and diversity; and the nature of power and authority between ordained and lay leadership. We also discuss shaping sustainable polity among developing Buddhist communities in terms of "skillful means" as attending to the specific needs and structure of a given organizational vision. Includes group discussion, in-class presentations, guest speakers, and field analysis of local sanghas as part of the final project.
Note: A concentration requirement for Buddhism and Interreligious Engagement students.