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The Academic Program
     
GDS 3559 - New Course in Global Development Studies

Buddhism takes an ethical and practical view of how individuals and societies can develop
toward greater equity, sustainability, and satisfaction. In this course we will investigate a
Buddhist examination of development practice in developed and developing countries, of
modernization and the market economy; development programs in Buddhist societies—Bhutan,
Thailand, and Sri Lanka; and we will focus on personal growth and development, questioning
our own places in the world and what possible directions our lives may take given this body of
knowledge and perspective. This is a practical exercise in which we will explore development
through mindfulness meditation and the literature that has come from the application of Buddhist
thought to development issues of peace, human rights, sustainability, consumption, conservation,
and change, to name but a few of the topics to be addressed.

Why learn mindfulness meditation? We often are not fully conscious of the choices and actions
we take. Many of us do not know how our minds function from moment to moment. A Buddhist
approach to development entails a view encompassing not only the choices in means and ends
to programs and projects, but also the motivations and intensions of everyone involved. This
includes us. We will learn mindfulness meditation as the vehicle for evaluating our personal
roles in the development processes. This activity is like a laboratory section of a science
class; we will be our own laboratory setting for the inspection of ideas concerning growth,
consumerism, environmental impact, ethnocentricity, sustainability, and the like. I am interested
to show you how the conditions of the development process on a global level are also played out
in the personal choices we make. I want you to learn to be mindful of your thoughts and actions,
and the possible consequences. This is not merely a self-help exercise that finds popularity in
today’s culture; it is, as the Buddha described, a cultivation of the mind—mental development.

Finally, we might ask ourselves the question that Denis Goulet asked in 1968, “Development for
What?”

A Buddhist Approach to Development

20196 

001

Lecture (3 Units)

Open

0 / 20

Clifford Maxwell

MoWe 3:30PM - 4:45PM

New Cabell Hall 542