Bernard Faure

Dec 2019

Professor Faure is a knowledgable guy, but his class is super unstructured. Half of the class was him talking about stuff which did not always relate to the novel, and the rest was a class discussion which felt weird because we were not sitting in a circle and it just felt like we were listening to each other comments. Professor Faure went on way too many tangents! Would not recommend a seminar class with him, even if I liked him. Also the books in the syllabus were not the best... I can think of a lot of other sci-fi books on the topic which would have been a lot more engaging.

May 2014

Chinese Religious Traditions with Bernard Faure was a great class. Professor Faure is very knowledgeable on the subject and his lectures are fun and interesting. He has a rule about no electronics out during lecture, and he will call you out if he sees you not paying attention or sleeping, or if you arrive significantly late to class. He's a nice guy though, so he's mostly just making fun of you. There are mandatory discussion sections for this class (you can choose a time and TA) and the TAs can help answer your questions when you are unsure of something Faure mentioned in class. Faure's lectures are somewhat improvisational, so they can be rambling sometimes, but I always thought that his stories and details were interesting. He really knows a lot of stuff, so if you're curious about something specific, you can ask and he'll deliver a pretty good answer. I'd say that this class is a solid choice for a global core, or if you're just curious about the subject. The readings are really interesting, and the lecture/discussions were chill. Learning about these religions really helped me with my mindset in my own life.

Dec 2012

The main thing Faure wants you to know is that the notion of Buddhism as "spiritual" or "philosophical" rather than "religious" is a modern, Western interpretation that completely ignores what Buddhism really is in its various cultural contexts. Buddhism is a religion, not a philosophy, and it has all the same attributes and problems as every other major world religion (i.e. gods, demons, heavens, hells, tons of superstition, institutional corruption, gender discrimination). A surprising amount of this course focused on learning the names and characteristics of various bodhisattvas and demonic creatures, while very little dealt with the philosophical side of Buddhism or with meditation. Faure's lectures are boring and rambling. He seems to cover the same ground over and over. Several times he called students out for falling asleep in class, which frankly is very easy to do. East Asian Buddhism is definitely an interesting topic, but I'd recommend finding a different prof if possible.