LES4201 – Buddhist care practices

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course, students of Buddhist and other beliefs or life philosophies will learn about the practices of Buddhist chaplaincy, spiritual care, and counseling that exist within the mainstream Buddhist traditions in contemporary societies across the globe. The course will focus in particular on the importance of attitude and self-reflection as well as on concepts and practices of mindfulness and compassion. Depending on the individual backgrounds of the participants, by means of input, self-thinking, work in small groups, and exchange in the plenum, we will discuss and reflect, how to apply Buddhist care practices in Norwegian institutions such as hospitals, hospices, prisons, the army and other counseling contexts such as public counseling centres and Buddhist communities.

Learning outcome

1. Upon completion of the course, students should have obtained knowledge from across the three mainstream Buddhist traditions, how Buddhists care for each other within their communities, not only in Asia and Europe, but also in Norway. How is such caring based in Buddhist root texts, how are these texts applied to contemporary contexts, and how are they complemented by today’s knowledge and skills? 

2. By means of self thinking, creative work, joint reflection, and discussion a basic understanding and sensitivity should be developed to realize, what Buddhists have in common, and how their views, practices, and needs may differ, especially when facing suffering in existential crises, conflict, and other difficult situations. How do Buddhists deal with old age, illness and death, which rituals are important to them, what are they ultimately striving for, and how do they relate to questions such as organ donation, abortion, domestic violence, or sexual abuse?


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

No basic knowledge of Buddhism is required, but you should have received or read an introduction to Buddhism within the context of the major world religions.


The course consists of 1 x 2 full days (classroom teaching 14 hrs) and 4 session á 3 hrs (= 12 hrs) throughout the semester. Active participation is expected throughout.
The course will start with a kick start in week 2 (digital). During the 1 x 2 days seminar short lectures will be given to introduce themes followed by short student presentations of the results of the work in small groups. We will start each day with a short mindfulness exercise. In preparation for the three following sessions (digital) you will be assigned tasks including reading texts and thinking on them on your own (self-reflection). During the sessions there will be inputs and group works followed by panels presenting and discussing the results.

Mandatory requirements:

The course requires a minimum of 80% mandatory presence from the students in the classes.

Course diary: Throughout the seminar the students are expected to take notes (course diary) which will become part of the exam portfolio. One entry per seminar session max. 100 words each.  

The students should submit a reflection paper over a selected part of the syllabus, a book chapter or an article, for approval and response (500-1000 words).


The exam is a portfolio submission including three parts:

1. The course diary (max. 100 words per session, i.e. max. 1200 words)

2. The (revised) reflection paper over a selected part of the syllabus, i.e., one article or book chapter (500-1000) words.

3. A concluding reflection essay (2500-3000 words). For this essay you can either use the revised reflection paper (part 2) as abstract and deepen it by adding other sources from the syllabus (and your own research or experience), or you can change topic and write a complete new independent essay which should include a selected part of the syllabus and something from your own research or experience.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You submit your portfolio in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2022

Spring 2020


Spring 2022

Spring 2020

Teaching language