Wisdom of the east
The class, Wisdom of the East, was indubitably the best class ever offered at TIP. The class was about Hinduism and Buddhism as they are practiced in India and China. The class was only offered once during Term 1, 2009, at Duke East, which happened to be the year of the swine flu. The class had ten students.
The class was taught by Ben, who looks remarkably like Mr. Clean. The TA was Betsy, who is amazing.
On the first day, all the students introduced themselves and talked about their religious backgrounds. After that, most days consisted of reading until the first break, and then having seminar-style discussions for the rest of the day. Evening study was usually yoga or meditation, and sometimes we watched movies.
We read the Bhagavad-Gita and discussed it, as well as a book of Buddhist texts. During the middle of the second week, we took a field trip to three Hindu temples and two Buddhist centers. We borrowed traditional-looking Indian garb for the occasion. The next day, the entire campus was quarantined and none of us were allowed to leave the campus.
We managed to only lose one person to the swine flu on the very last day, which was a very impressive feat during the year of the swine. We felt like since we were so super-bonded, we were immune to the swine. Then one of us got the swine on the very very last day and it was the most disappointing thing ever.
We learned about all the major gods and important beliefs and rituals of Hinduism, and the four noble truths and the eight-fold path of Buddhism.