Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture

Subject Code: 

Understanding Buddhist art is an essential part of understanding and analysing the influence of Buddhism from historical to modern times.

'Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture' explores the history and development, form and meaning of Buddhist arts and their influence in different cultures and contexts.

While Buddhism is notable for its sacred texts and sutras, Buddhist art also encapsulates Buddhist thought and makes it accessible to different cultures. From the early days of Buddhism, paintings, sculptures and icons embody Buddhist enlightenment and mark the stages of the spread and development of Buddhism.

Topics include the beauty of Chan and Purity Land, Buddhist architecture, spiritual totems of Tibetan Buddhists, calligraphy and stone inscriptions, as well as the influence of Buddhism on art, music and dance in different cultures.

Students will:

  • Analyse and critically evaluate the inter-relationships between Buddhism and culture.
  • Demonstrate critical knowledge of the history, form and meaning of Buddhist art.
  • Analyse the history and development of Buddhist arts and their cultural influence in different contexts.


Who is it for?

'Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture' is ideal for:

  • any student in NTI’s postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters program in Applied Buddhist Studies
  • artists, art critics, art gallery curators, art publishers, and art appreciators
  • Buddhist academics, teachers, teachers, publishers, librarians
  • anyone interested in the beauty and messages of Buddhist art and
  • Buddhism devotees and anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism.



Preliminary reading

1 week – 9-15 June 2014

Lectures and workshops (5 day intensive on-campus)

16-20 June 2014 (9:00am - 5:30pm daily)


3 weeks - Final assignments due 11 July 2014



Attendance and class participation

Lecture Week


Individual class presentation (15 minutes)

Lecture Week


Assignment on critical literature review, research methods, critical analysis and interpretation (2500 words)

11 July 2014


Journal reflection on Buddhism - personal practice, social impact, religious change, global future, etc. (500 words)

11 July 2014



'Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture' can be taken as a non-award subject, or as part of NTI’s Applied Buddhist Studies or Health and Social Wellbeing postgraduate program.

This 6 credit point subject can be part of:

Master of Arts (Applied Buddhist Studies)

72 credit points

Graduate Diploma of Applied Buddhist Studies

48 credit points

Graduate Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies

24 credit points

Study costs/scholarships

Australian and International Students are eligible for an automatic $400.00 scholarship subsidy:

Total cost:

Australian students


International students


Entry requirements

There are no prerequisites to study this subject as a non-award student. Buddhists and non-Buddhists are welcome, and no prior knowledge is required.

There are academic and/or program and work experience prerequisites for studying this subject as part of the NTI Applied Buddhist Studies program. Contact NTI for details on entry requirements.