Level 5 - DT2009-02

This module focuses on the exploration of the ‘Three Jewels’ of Buddhism, i.e. the Buddha (its founder and inspirational icon), the Dharma (his teachings, including doctrinal developments in subsequent centuries, and systems of practice) and the Sangha (the communities of those who identify themselves in different ways as ‘Buddhists’). 

The module will look at how Buddhists perceived the world and deities in the pre-modern period, and how they analysed human experience as a background to religious practice. It will examine core religious practices including meditation and look at major historical developments of Buddhism in India and Southeast Asia.

Topics covered

  • Dharma, the Buddha’s teaching 
  • The Buddha and the bodhisattva; polytheism and atheism
  • The Sangha: The role of monastics and the rules they follow
  • Women in Buddhism
  • Buddhist practice: meditation
  • Buddhist Ethics: karma, precepts, non-harming. Buddhist approaches to disability, abortion, suicide and euthanasia 
  • Buddhist Ethics: the environment, attitudes to meat-eating, and social engagement
  • Buddhist scripture
  • Doctrinal developments in India: the Mahayana
  • Ritual and ‘magical’ dimensions from soteriology to protection: Vajrayana; apotropaic practices including amulets.


Forum participation (10%); a two thousand-word essay (40%) and a 1.5-hour unseen written examination (50%).

Tutor in the Study of Religions

Photograph of Dr Ligeia Lugli

Dr Ligeia Lugli

Dr Ligeia Lugli holds a PhD in the study of religion from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages (Berkeley, CA) and later Newton International Fellow at King’s College London (UK). Since completing her PhD in 2011, she has participated in a number of digital humanities and lexicographic projects.

She has worked on an online reference resource for Indian Philosophy (Śastravid, University of Oxford), and on digital dictionaries of Buddhist Sanskrit (as the Director of the Buddhist Translators Workbench, Mangalam Research Center) and Tibetan (SOAS) and on Buddhist Sanskrit Natural Language Processing. She regularly publishes in the fields of both Buddhist studies and Lexicography and is currently a Visiting Professor in applied linguistics at Sao Paulo University in Brazil (UNESP).