OL BMT: Basics of Mahāyāna Thought

This short course considers both the depth and the breadth of the philosophical thought systems of the Mahāyāna tradition of Buddhism. Students will explore the origins of Mahāyāna thought from the Prajñāpāramitā sutras through the philosophical systems of the Madhyamaka and Yogācāra schools and their methods of refutation in attempt to understand ultimate truth. This course also includes lectures on Laity and Women in the Mahāyāna. This course works well as a companion to RYI's Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamikakārikā) course, helping contextualize Nāgārjuna's classic text.

This online course assumes no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, history, or practice. Taught by Professors Joanne Larson and Hilary Herdman, this short course is part of the larger semester-long course Foundations of Buddhism. Foundations of Buddhism is built to span an entire semester of coursework at RYI, and this short course comprises the sixth and seventh weeks of the semester-long course.

Students can study at their leisure in this short self-study course format. This course is also available in the interactive format for group study. Course content will be presented as video lectures and visual lectures created from MS PowerPoint©. Students will also explore course readings via Rupert Gethin's Foundations of Buddhism and other supporting material.

Students will navigate the material via Moodle, an open source e-learning environment. Internet access is required for studying this course. Students will have access to this short course for four months from their date of registration.