Shakyamuni Buddha

NEW YORK, New York, May 15, 2019 — Columbia University has released the open online course Indian & Tibetan River of Buddhism with Robert A. F. Thurman. The course is free and open to all on with an optional paid verified certificate program.

The course begins with a survey of the origins of Buddhism on the Indian subcontinent in the mid-first millennium BCE, as well as its transformation in the first millennium CE into the Sanskrit-language-based Mahayana Buddhism(s) that permeated the monastic traditions and flourished in India until around 1100 CE, and that persists up to present day in East Asia, Central Asia, and Vietnam.

The Tibetan aspect of this course surveys the Tibetan and Central Asian reception and development of these Indian Buddhist traditions that occurred in two distinct historical periods: (1) from 650 CE until ca. 850 CE, and (2) from ca. 950 CE to the present, exploring the 20th and 21st century manifestations and developments of Tibetan Buddhism throughout the global modern world.

Robert Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies. Educated at Phillips Exeter and Harvard, he then studied Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, and Asian languages and histories for fifty years with many teachers, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama (CU Ph.D., hc, 1989). He has written substantial scholarly works, founding and editing a new series through Columbia University Press, Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences. He also writes popular books, lecturing all over the world in the “public intellectual” tradition, with special concern for ethics and human rights in general, and the fate of the endangered Tibetan culture and people in particular. His main academic interest is in the Indo-Tibetan philosophical, scientific, and psychological traditions and their history, with a view to their all-too-little-known relevance to critical contemporary currents of thought in philosophy, science and spirituality, especially concerning the undeniable role of mind in nature.

Visit ColumbiaX to register for the Indian & Tibetan River of Buddhism and to keep informed about upcoming online course releases from Columbia. Register today!


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This post was originally published on on May 17, 2019.