(2 credits)  Guatama Buddha famously experienced the four sights in the form of encounters with the human experiences of aging, sickness, death, and a wandering renunciate. These encounters are said to have led directly to his realization of the dissatisfactory nature of conditioned existence and, ultimately, were part of his motivation to seek realization and enlightenment.

In this course, the understanding of the four sights along with an analysis of “birth” offer a frame for comparison with non-Buddhist religious traditions. During the term, we will explore how human beings have approached these basic realities of human experience and their soteriological role in the lives of the faithful. We will explore ways that doctrines and living communities create meaning, ritual, celebration, and offer solace in various theistic and non-theistic religious traditions, including some pre-Christian, Abrahamic, Asian, and Native American traditions. 

*This course is a course equivalency to THL330 and THL325; satisfying the MDiv degree requirement for 2 credit hours in world/comparative religions.