“Open are the doors to the deathless!”
~ MN 26
Modified: January 22, 2023
Table of Contents
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the religion founded by the Buddha in approximately the 5th century BCE in the Ganges River Valley of India.
The Buddha taught that everything has a cause. He then used this idea to tackle the problems at the heart of the human condition: death, anxiety, suffering and evil.
He discovered that the cause of our spiritual disease is our erroneous perception that we are at the center of things. The Buddha called this self-centered perspective “ignorance,” and he taught that it is what causes us to suffer when the things which we think of as “me” (my body, my career, my relationships, etc) change in ways which we don’t like or fail to change in the ways we would.
The religion the Buddha founded is the set of contemplations, practices and beliefs which he and his disciples discovered help us to overcome our “selfish” tendencies and to attain liberation from the tyranny of “me.”
This course will give you:
- A comprehensive introduction to the core teachings of Buddhism
- A gentle, guided introduction to the Buddha’s own words
- Thorough lectures delivered by living masters with decades of teaching experience
- Free textbooks and reference material you can use long after the course is over
- Exposure to teachers from a variety of different Buddhist traditions
- Practice applying Buddhist wisdom to your very own life.
This course is not a commercial, academic tour of Buddhism. This course will instead immerse you in Buddhism, teaching you the fundamental concepts and how they build up to a unique and compelling worldview.
There will be homework and challenges, but there will not be grades or certificates. This is a self-directed course for those who are eager to learn what Buddhism is for themselves.
This course will take about 2 months to complete and will contain readings and lectures in college-level, American English. To peruse the material in advance, see the bibliography.
Note: This course is geared towards complete beginners. If that isn’t you, consider taking one of our more advanced intro-level courses instead, covering: