Online Buddhist Studies

Please note that these courses differ from the courses that we are currently offering online while the campus has closed due to the pandemic which consist of live classes in order to accommodate RYI students who can no longer attend campus, and are offered to anyone else who would like to participate in those courses. The online courses listed below are pre-recorded with some being facilitated by a moderator, and unlike the live online courses the classes are not scheduled at any particular time meaning you can watch them at a time that best suits you.

Online Buddhist Studies courses (also known as Specialized Textual Studies courses) focus on studying a specific Buddhist text. Your course will be taught by a monastic instructor (khenpo or lopon) in Tibetan and translated into English by a skilled interpreter.

Courses are delivered via Moodle, an open source e-learning environment. Each class session includes a video or audio lecture of the monastic instructor teaching along with the English translation. The courses also include supplementary review classes created by our Western academic instructors to clarify, illustrate, or reiterate important points, and English-language transcripts of the lectures.

 

The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra) Part One

The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyāvatāra) is Śāntideva’s classic work on Mahāyāna philosophy. This text teaches the preciousness of bodhicitta, the awakened mind, and explains how to practice generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, and meditation while striving to recognize that awakened mind. Chapter Nine, the Wisdom Chapter, is both a refutation of the philosophical positions of other Indian philosophical schools of the time, and of Buddhist non-Madhyamaka (Middle Way) schools. In its entirety, this important text blends instruction in ethical conduct, meditation, and wisdom to show us how to follow the path of the Bodhisattva. This online course assumes no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, history, or practice. This text is taught over the span of two semesters: Part One covers the first half of the text up to chapter 6, verse 86 and Part Two, which requires separate registration, completes the text. Read more..

The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra) Part Two

This online course takes one semester to complete and covers the second half of the The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra) starting from chapter 6 verse 87, including Chapter Nine. The prerequisite for registration in this course is successful completion of The Way of the Bodhisattva Part One. The methodology of the course combines traditional Tibetan monastic word-for-word text commentary with a Western-style academic contextualization. This approach mirrors the courses offered in our on-site classrooms in Kathmandu.  Read more...

Wisdom - Chapter Nine of The Way of the Bodhisattva

This online course examines Chapter Nine of The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra) by Śāntideva, which provides an overview and refutation of various Indian philosophical schools, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, in order to show the primacy of the Madhyamaka view. The course begins with a short introduction to the first eight chapters of the text to set the context, and then examines Chapter Nine in detail. Read more... 

Cultivating Patience - Chapter Six of The Way of the Bodhisattva

In The Sixth Chapter of The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryāvatāra), Śāntideva details the crucial importance of the Perfection of Patience in relation to the bodhisattva path of the Mahāyāna, or the Great Vehicle. This online course assumes no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, history, or practice. Taught over 33 sessions, this short course is designed to be viewed daily over the course of a month, or at the student’s leisure in the self-study format. Read more...

Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamikakārikā)

What is real? Examine various aspects of experience through Nāgārjuna's classic text which brings to light the Buddha's doctrine of dependent origination. Studying this text as a philosophical treatise is an adventure in itself, and for those who practice meditation, it is the perfect complement. 

Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) Part One

The Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) by Nāgārjuna is a classic Buddhist text that uses logic to challenge our assumptions about the nature of reality. Nāgārjuna analyzes various phenomena we generally assume to be real, such as motion, cause and effect and the sense faculties. He also analyzes doctrines accepted by the tradition, such as the four Noble Truths. In each case, he shows that their reality is illusory, fabricated by our deluded minds. Studying this text as a philosophical treatise is an adventure in itself, but for those who practice meditation, it is the perfect complement to practice. Read more...

Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) Part Two

This online course is the continuation of the first part of the Root Verses of the Middle Way (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) course, which explores this classic text by Nāgārjuna in depth. Root Verses of the Middle Way by Nāgārjuna is a classic Buddhist text that uses logic to challenge our assumptions about the nature of reality. Nāgārjuna analyzes various phenomena we generally assume to be real, such as motion, cause and effect and the sense faculties. He also analyzes doctrines accepted by the tradition, such as the four Noble Truths. In each case, he shows that their reality is illusory, fabricated by our deluded minds. Studying this text as a philosophical treatise is an adventure in itself, but for those who practice meditation, it is the perfect complement to practice. Read more...