Buddhist Studies

Courses in this category are theme-based and look at Buddhist traditions through a lens other than the philosophical, such as through history, anthropology, meditation, ritual, and art. Many also explore the categories, doctrines, and problems of the philosophical study of Buddhism in the modern academy. These courses add important contextualization to the formal study of Buddhist philosophical texts. In most cases, courses are taught by Western academic professors in English.

Courses are delivered via Moodle, an open source e-learning environment. Depending upon the chosen format, each session includes a video lecture by the Western instructor and academic readings related to the topics covered in those lectures. Courses also include visual lectures created by our Western academic instructors to expand upon each topic, or clarify, illustrate, or reiterate important points in the course.

Students can watch the video lectures, visual lectures, and then read the supplementary material for each session using Moodle. #RYIonline

Foundations of Buddhism

Explore integral points of history, culture, and philosophy in this course designed to contextualize the study and practice of Buddhism. This course is ideal for anyone who wishes to develop a thorough understanding of the breadth and depth of the Buddhist tradition. Read more...

The Life of the Buddha

Buddha Śākyamuni left a profound legacy: methods to address suffering in all its forms in order to attain enlightenment. This course explores the socio-political climate of ancient India prior to and during his life and helps us understand the potency of that legacy. Read more...

Buddhist Ethics

“Aren’t all Buddhists vegetarian?” “Women can’t attain enlightenment?!” “Buddhist cultures are definitely more peaceful.” Join Professor Stephen Jenkins from Humboldt State University as he guides an exploration of Buddhist ethics from a variety of perspectives. Read more...

Basics of Mahāyāna Thought

The emergence of the Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna) goes hand-in-hand with significant shifts in practice and philosophical thought embodied by the Madhyamaka and Yogācāra schools. Delve into the basics of the Great Vehicle with this companion course to RYI's Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamikakārikā). Read more...

Basics of Buddhist Philosophy

From the four noble truths to the fruition of the path, this short course explores a variety of topics, dependent origination and the Buddhist cosmos for example, while building a solid foundation for the study of Buddhist philosophical texts like the Root Verses of the Middle Way and The Way of the Bodhisattva. Read more...