4 Best Buddhism Online Courses Are Free Right Now

online courses in buddhism

Good news! Four of the very best Buddhism online courses are free right now, including Coursea.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced colleges and universities to move their regular in-person lectures and courses in Buddhism online and make them free to the public.

This makes it the perfect time for anyone interested in learning the religion to take a Buddhism online course (plus you can learn Buddhist meditation in our free guide).

With the sheer number of different Buddhism online courses free right now, you can literally study every part of Buddhism and dharma.

These classes offer the best that universities have to offer (including Harvard, Columbia University, and Princeton) combined with the delivery of great online services like Coursera and EdX. They have been specially devised to help students during the pandemic. But they’re free to the public.

Leah Belsky [Chief Enterprise Officer, Coursera] says, “The majority of institutions in the world do not have the digital infrastructure to suddenly flip the switch and have people learn online”. For this reason, Coursera and EdX have been helping universities and colleges to move their Buddhism courses online. And you can take them for free.

Coursera is opening their library of nearly 4000 courses to universities and colleges who are affected by COVID-19. There is an obviously commercial goal behind this, and Coursera is forcing universities and colleges to sign-up for their services online in order to be able to use the service for their students.

One institution that has already done so is Duke University, which has been using Coursera for their Chinese students for a few weeks now

Yes, the whole world is now moving onto the internet with the current pandemic and the inability to teach students on campus or at venues. This includes yoga studios, meditation studios, colleges and universities.

It is an incredible challenge for teachers to hurriedly move from in-person courses to online ones; however some have already been successful in doing so. Professors and online education platforms are working together to create content online so students can continue learning, and this includes Buddhist courses.

But for you and I it is a win / win. We get the best courses in Buddhism online for free!

So, what are the best online courses in Buddhism to take for free right now?

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The Best Buddhism Online Courses (Free Right Now!) 

Naturally you might also like to book an online meditation class with me.

1: China’s First Empires and the Rise of Buddhism [take it here]

This is history-of Buddhism online course free for everyone at the moment.  It covers the Qin dynasty and how that led to the establishment of Buddhism in China. It was during this time that the imperial ideology of Cosmic Resonance came into existence. Later on, the course explains how self-actualization became important to Chinese culture. And from there we see the establishment of Buddhism and how the religion spread throughout China.

2: Buddhism And Modern Psychology [take it here]

This is one of the best Buddhism online courses that revealed the link between Buddhism and science. Just as the Dalai Lama himself said, the principles of Buddhism are deeply compatible with modern science. This is something we are learning as science continue to discover how Buddha was right about things like the self, enlightenment, and Sukha and Dukkha. Enrol in this online class (for free) and you will learn all about different meditation techniques like Vipassana and other meditations. And you will learn how those meditation techniques and Buddhist dharma (the teachings of Buddha) related to modern Western science.

3:  Indian & Tibetan River of Buddhism Course Online (Free to take here)

This course from Columbia University starts during the origins of Buddhism in the mid-first millennium BCE and the transformation of Buddhism into Mahayana Buddhism that flourished into 1100 CE. From there we see the development of Buddhism up to the present day.

The Tibetan aspect surveys Tibet and Central Asia’s response to Buddhism and the evolution of Budhist traditions. From there it leads right up to today and the current interpretations of Buddhist dharma.

The course is led by Robert Thurman, Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies.

4: Buddhism Through its Scriptures (take it here)

This course from EdX and Harvard promises to be the best online Buddhism course for beginners. And there is plenty for more advanced Buddhists to learn too. It gives you the opportunity to learn Buddha’s teachings, Buddhist lessons (like the story of Mara), Karma and more, and to discover yourself through the dharma.

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Lessons include Buddhist reading and exposure to various Buddhist practices including art, devotional acts and Buddhist books.


We’re so lucky to have the Buddhism online courses free right now! Which will you take?

These courses cover all different aspects, with lessons on Buddhism in all its forms. Which courses will you be taking, and what do you hope to learn from them? Perhaps you will take them all. After all, Om Mani Padme Hum!

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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