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 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.

In case of available capacity on the course, individual admission can be granted to the course for applicants with a relevant background (studies/practice) and a bachelor's degree. It is also required that the student is registered with Higher Education Entrance Qualification ("generell studiekompetanse") including Norwegian and English language proficiency at the University of Oslo, for example is qualified as a single course student at the bachelor level. You can register your interest by submitting an interest registration web form for LES4201 (in Norwegian) by the deadline December 15th, 2019. This registration of interest will be treated as an application for admission to the course, if there is available capacity, cf. more information on the web form.


Recommended previous knowledge

No basic knowledge of Buddhism is required, although it would be helpful if you have received or read an introduction to Buddhism within the context of the major world religions.

In order to receive credit for this course and to make it a meaningful experience for every participant, active participation is expected throughout.


The course consists of 2 x 2 full days throughout the semester.

During the 2 x2 days seminars there will be given short lectures to introduce themes of the day and short student presentations of the results of their work in small groups. We will start each day with a short mindfulness exercise.

Mandatory requirements:

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

The class will be divided into four groups. Every day one of the four groups will be responsible for guiding/moderating the work/discussion in small groups and the presentation of the results and/or one major joint question to the plenum (the same day or next morning) using a poster

Throughout the seminar the students are expected to take notes for further reflection at the end of the seminar.

The students should submit a reflection paper over a selected part of the syllabus, a book chapter or an article, mid-term in canvas for approval and response (1000-1500 words).


The exame is a portfolio submission including the formerly mention reflection paper over a selected part of the syllabus, a book chapter or an article, 1000-1500 words and a concluding reflection essay (3000- 3500 words).

The Concluding reflection essay should include the following parts: 1. Short introduction: Why did you choose the seminar, what did you expect? 2. Brief summary of the content of the lectures. 3. What skills or abilities have you gained from the course? 4. What did you miss or dislike, or what major question remains open? 5. How may the course influence your future profession or studies?

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

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response 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






Every spring


Every spring

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