Harvard University Offers Free Online Course in Buddhist Scriptures

Buddhist scriptures featured in the introductory video of “Buddhism through its scriptures”.

Harvard University Free Interactive Course “Buddhism through its Scriptures” starts today on their e-learning platform.

“Buddhism through its Scriptures” is the third module of the HarvardX series “The Religions of the World through Their Scriptures”.

The course is taught by Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Lecturer in Buddhist Literatures at Harvard Divinity School. There are eight days of lessons presented by both video and text which can be completed in the user’s free time.

The course was previously available as archived content, but today starts again as an interactive course that includes discussion threads in each lesson. Students have until August 30, 2018 to complete the course, at which time its content will be archived. Students have the option of purchasing a certificate of course completion, but anyone can register and participate in the course for free.

The course syllabus reads as follows:

Whether you are new to the study of religion or the study of Buddhism or have studied and/or practiced it for years, this course will give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with a variety of Buddhist scriptures. while guiding you to reflect. about them – their content as well as their place in Buddhist life – in new ways.

Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informative, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as meditation, art, devotional acts and literary works, you will also learn to interpret, reflect and connect Buddhism. scriptures to your own life and deepen your understanding of the world as well as Buddhism in the process.

Hallisey notes that unlike Christianity or Islam, there is no central Buddhist text, but there are many scriptures and writings to study. Excerpts from the Lotus Sutra, The Golden Light Sutraand The Heart Sutra are all studied in the course, alongside many other Buddhist writings and related articles.

You can find more information about the course here.