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Free e-Course: “Buddhism: Past, Present, and Future”


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Buddhism course

Brought to you by the Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, and Tzu Chi University, it is a self-paced online course designed to impart a core understanding of Buddhist teachings, traditions, and schools of thought, as well as their evolving cultural, social, and spiritual role in the modern world and their implications in human rights and social justice.

Delivered through five engaging and in-depth modules, the course’s content and its structure cater to self-motivated students of all ages, regardless of their religious affiliation or prior education/knowledge of Buddhism. Each module contains approximately 18 hours of reading or video material, in addition to periodic quizzes, essay or research assignments, self-reflection assignments, and other homework.

Modules include…

  1. Origin and Core Concepts of Buddhism
  2. The Early Development of Buddhism: Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna
  3. Later Developments of Buddhism and Buddhist Modernism
  4. Buddhism in Contemporary Society
  5. Buddhism as a Changemaker in the World

Within these modules, thought-provoking sub-topics include…

  • The Buddha’s Time and Life 
  • The Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
  • Madhyamaka & Yogācāra Thought
  • Development of Chinese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism
  • The Dōgen and the Japanese Sōtō Zen Schools
  • Pure Land Teachings
  • Buddhist Modernism and Reform
  • Contemporary Buddhism in Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan, and Japan
  • Buddhism in the West, including American Buddhist Communities
  • Buddhist Social Engagement
  • Buddhism on the International Stage
  • Women and Gender in Buddhism
  • Buddhist Chaplaincy
  • and many more

Course contributors are professors and scholars from international institutions including…

The course runs from March 1 to December 31, 2024 and is estimated to take two to five hours per week (for those taking the course as scheduled). During these 10 months, modules will be released on two-month intervals. Students who complete the entire course by December 31 will receive a certificate of completion. Access to the course will remain available once the course ends on December 31.

Enrollment for the class ends Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

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