4 Best Buddhism Online Courses Are Free Right Now

If you love Buddhism as much as I do, you dont want to miss this.

In case you’re wondering why these courses are free, it’s because of the pandemic and students being at home. Education has suddenly gone online.  This makes it the perfect time for we Buddhism lovers to take an online course (plus you can learn Buddhist meditation in our free guide). 

So let’s take a look.  Naturally you might also like to book an online lesson with me.

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

Ive always been fascinated by the history of Buddhism, and this is a great chance to learn about it.

This is a history-of Buddhism course that is 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 scientific Buddhism courses. It reveals the link between Buddhism and science.

Just as my hero 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) relate to modern Western science.

3:  Indian & Tibetan River of Buddhism (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 a great 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.

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



There are some great courses to take right now. And there are more to come. 

Coursera is opening their library of nearly 4000 courses to universities and colleges who are affected by COVID-19. 

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

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.

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 Buddhist courses for free.

These courses cover all different aspects, with lessons on Buddhism in all its forms.

You might also like to read our list of the best online meditation courses. 

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 BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations.

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