If you've ever had an interest in learning about Buddhism, now is the perfect opportunity. You can take a Harvard University course on the beliefs, practices and scriptures of Buddhism online for free.
The Buddha at Ryozen Kannon, Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Patrick Allan.
The course, hosted on edX, is taught by Professor Charles Hallisey, Harvard's senior lecturer on Buddhist literature. It's a fully interactive online class with discussion boards, in-depth video lectures, and no previous knowledge of Buddhism is required to participate. All you have to do is sign up.
The concepts, philosophies and teachings of Buddhism vary depending on the school, but you'll get acquainted with various forms of the religion throughout the course. You'll also be exposed to various scriptures, art, devotional acts and literary works. More importantly, Professor Hallisey explains, "you will learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and apply the teachings of Buddha to your own life." Considering that the concepts of Buddhism include living as moral a life as possible; practising meditation and self-reflection; letting go of cravings and attachment to physical things; cultivating wisdom; and being a loving, kind, and compassionate being, it's a good freebie class for anyone out there. It's also an opportunity to open your mind and learn to appreciate a world religion that may be unfamiliar to you.