Introduction to Buddhism. The doctrine of Buddha and other Buddhisms

The course, given by the renowned Tibetologist Ramon N. Prats d’Alós-Moner and coordinated by Josep-Maria Terricabras, took place from 1 to 18 July 2013. The classes alternated the study of the central aspects of Buddhism with discussion, analysis and critical evaluation of these aspects, which were related to modern thought and science. Relaxation, meditation and contemplation techniques, which are characteristic of the various currents of thought and practice, both religious and secular, in Buddhism, were also taught.

Ramon N. Prats received his doctorate in Tibetan studies and Buddhism in 1979 from the prestigious Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples, where he was professor of Tibetology from 1981. His professional career continued in the United States, where, from 1998 to 2011, he worked mainly at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (a digital library with eight million scanned and annotated pages of Tibetan texts) and at the Rubin Museum of Art (specializing in the arts of the Tibetan and Buddhist world) in New York.

The programme was as follows:


Introduction to Buddhism. The doctrine of Buddha and the other Buddhisms

  1. Historical and geographical context
  2. The original core of the Buddha’s teaching.
  3. The languages of Buddhism. Fundamental lexicon and keys to vernacular terminology.
  4. A heterogeneous system of beliefs and practices.
  5. Hinayana: first generation Buddhism. Initial interpretations of the primary teaching and training of the first schools. The supremacy of the norm. The Theravada tradition.
  6. Mahayana: second generation Buddhism. The subsequent development from some schools. Devotion, divinization and the formation of archetypes. Chinese and Japanese Buddhism.
  7. Vajrayana: third generation Buddhism. The adoption of theoretical and practical elements of Hindu Tantrism and the formation of Tantric Buddhism. The yoga of subtle energies and the bio-psycho-spiritual principles of the tantric system.
  8. The world of Tibetan Buddhism.
  9. The Tantric Revolution. The mystification of tantrism in the West.
  10. Radical Buddhism. Beyond tantra. The system of the Great Whole (Dzogchen).
  11. Meditative experience and mental stability.
  12. Techniques of relaxation, meditation and contemplation.