Harvard University’s new “Buddhism Through its Scriptures” free online course.

The rise in demand to learn about Buddhism has resulted in a number of unique ways that experts in the religion have come out to teach Buddhist ideas to people. Recently, Buddhist monks have been conducting meditation sessions on New York City streets and other busy areas of the city. Colleges and universities too have been coming up with new options for students to study Buddhism, among other religions.

Realizing this need of the people to learn Buddhism, Harvard University has now come forward to offer free online lessons on Buddhism. Harvard has a series of course on religious studies titled “World Religions through their Scriptures.” The lesson on Buddhism, “Buddhism Through its Scriptures” is the third in this series. The course is no longer available as an interactive course. However, all the course material and resources have been made available on their online learning platform.

This can come as great news for enthusiasts who are looking for to a simple way to learn Buddhism, but are unable to do so due to various reasons. The course has been designed for almost 40 hours of work spread over a time frame of four weeks. This can be of great help to people who are unable to find the time or means to spend a lot of time studying the religion.

therigatha-poems-of-the-first-buddhist-womenThe course has been guided by Buddhist expert, Professor Charles Hallisey, who belongs to the faculty at Harvard Divinity School. Professor Hallisey is an authority on Buddhist scriptures and literature and is the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist works. He also authored a book that featured poems by Buddhist women, Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women.

The course will be self-paced, giving takers the opportunity to complete it according to how time permits them. Professor Hallisey says that the course is not about learning a Buddhist scripture, because Buddhism doesn’t actually have a main book like the Abrahamic religions do. Instead, he says the course will be an examination of various scriptures that the Buddhist considers sacred, so that the course-taker will develop the right mindset to understand the Buddhist way of life better.

From the course syllabus, the course is made to suit all kinds of enthusiasts- whether you’re simply interested in knowing more about the religion, or researching on Buddhist traditions. Apart from Buddhist texts, the course will also examine Buddhist art, meditation and practices as well.

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