The Harvard University Divinity School.
The Harvard University Divinity School.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — Harvard University’s online platform is now offering a free course called “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures.”

The class is the third installment of the university’s HarvardX series titled, “World Religions through their Scriptures.” While the course is no longer served in an interactive form, every piece of lecture material has been archived for public use, using video for education software that makes it easy to record and store lectures online for students to look back on whenever they so need to.

The course is taught by Charles Hallisey, the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures at the Harvard Divinity School. There are eight days of lessons presented through both video and text that can be completed on the user’s own time.

The course syllabus reads:

Whether you are new to the study of religion or the study of Buddhism or you have been studying it and/or practicing it for years, this course will provide you with the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of Buddhist scriptures while guiding you to think about them—their contents as well as their places in Buddhist life—in new ways.

Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informational, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as meditation, art, devotional acts, and literary works, you will also learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and connect Buddhist scriptures to your own life and deepen your understanding of the the world as well as of Buddhism in the process.

Unlike that of Christianity or Islam, Hallisey notes there is no central Buddhist text, however still a multitude of scriptures and writings to be studied. Excerpts from the Lotus Sutra, The Sutra of Golden Light, and The Heart Sutra are all studied within the course, alongside many other Buddhist writings and associated articles.

You can find more information about the course here.