Study the role and impact of Buddhism on society and culture with free online classes from top institutions like Harvard University.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion behind Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Buddhists follow the teachings of The Buddha, originally known as Siddhārtha Gautama before experiencing enlightenment and staying to teach the path to liberation from suffering and the cycle of birth and death. Buddha's teachings have expanded to many schools and traditions across the world. The central teachings of Buddhism revolve around the idea that all life is suffering and the cause of suffering is our attachment to the impermeable. Buddha offers another way. Through the eightfold path, followers can release suffering and eventually attain nirvana, a state that exists outside the cycle of suffering. Buddha teaches the four noble truths. The first noble truth is that all life is suffering. The second, our suffering is caused by our attachment. The third noble truth offers a way out by eliminating these attachments. The fourth noble truth identifies the eightfold path as the way. Although specific Buddhist practice varies, these four noble truths inform nearly all schools.
Why Learn Buddhism?
Religion and spirituality play an essential role in culture. Cultivating business in an international business world requires an understanding of local cultures and a sensitivity to the belief systems that may not match your own. Learning about the religious roots of some regions of the world could help inform your business practices and develop better relationships. It's also personally beneficial to learn about religion because it allows you to see the world in a different light. Buddhism practice varies across the globe from India, where it originated, to China, Japan, and southeast Asia. The enlightened one's teachings spread across the world and studying it could give you a unique perspective.
edX offers a variety of courses for the curious in partnership with leading educational institutions. You can explore the Buddhist teachings through its scriptures with Harvard University and learn what the Buddha says about right action, right mindfulness, right speech, right effort, and right concentration, among others. You can also explore Buddhism related to particular areas, including India and Tibet with Columbia. Harvard also offers a more in-depth exploration of Buddhism through the lens of Chinese history.
Expand Your Worldview with Buddhist Studies
Whether you practice Buddhism as an American or are a complete newcomer to this classic Eastern religion, studying Buddhist traditions and history can help expand your understanding of our world. Different schools from zen to Theravada to Mahayana and beyond all offer unique insights into the thoughts of the Buddha and how that has shaped parts of the world from Tibetan province to Sri Lanka. You may not be familiar with it, but this religion has shown many the way to right livelihood and escaping suffering and continues to be a powerful force in Asian cultures. Buddha taught that awareness was one of the ways through suffering, and understanding how this shapes different parts of the world could unlock your understanding of yourself and the broader international community.