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Religion and Spirituality Picture
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Course Description


"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion...arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.  If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism."  Albert Einstein


The worldwide resurgence of interest in Buddhist philosophy demonstrates that its ideals of logic, individualism, tolerance and freedom have appeal in the 21st century. Of the four major religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, Buddhism alone makes no attempt to convert others or to persecute those whose beliefs are different.  Its message of nonviolence and personal responsibility may be needed more now than ever.  


This course examines the known historical facts of the Buddha's life. His teachings are introduced, including the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment, and the Five Noble Precepts. Participants will learn the nature of Karma, and the distinction between Rebirth in Buddhist philosophy and reincarnation as it is envisioned in Hinduism and other religions.  Participants will analyze the history of Buddhist philosophy in the 2500 years since its inception and the differences among the three main branches into which Buddhism has evolved. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the nature of Nirvana and Enlightenment, and the distinction between the two.  This course will also provide an overview of Buddhism as it becomes increasingly influential in the modern world, including the areas of art, architecture, science, politics, and culture.

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Religion and Spirituality Picture
Religion and Spirituality Picture

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Course Lessons

  • Lesson 1: Who Was the Buddha?

    This lesson will examine some of the facts and legends about the life of the Buddha.
  • Lesson 2: The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

    This lesson will examine the basis of Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths, the core philosophy and practice of Buddhism.
  • Lesson 3: The Eightfold Path

    This lesson will present the structure and sequence of the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment.
  • Lesson 4: The Five Precepts

    This lesson will teach the five moral precepts of Buddhist practice.
  • Lesson 5: Karma

    This lesson will explore the topic of Karma.
  • Lesson 6: The Cycle of Birth

    This lesson will explore the Buddhist view of the cycle of rebirth.
  • Lesson 7: The History of Buddhism

    This lesson offers an overview of the history of Buddhism around the world.
  • Lesson 8: Buddhist Art and Architecture

    This lesson will provide an overview of Buddhist art and architecture.
  • Lesson 9: Roots and Branches

    This lesson discusses the philosophical differences between some of the branches of Buddhism
  • Lesson 10: Nirvana

    This lesson will analyze the concept of Nirvana.
  • Lesson 11: Modern Buddhism

    This lesson will examine the impact of Buddhism on modern life.
Average Lesson Rating: (179 votes)
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Online CEU Certificate
1.0 CEUs
10 Contact Hours
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Course Title: Buddhism 101
Course Number: 8900294
Languages: English - United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education
CEU Value: 1.0 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: C. Michael McKenna
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $75.00

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize who Buddha is.
  • Describe The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the Eightfold Path, and the Five Precepts.
  • Define and recognize karma.
  • Describe the cycle of birth.
  • Summarize the history of Buddhism.
  • Describe Buddhist art and architecture.
  • Describe roots and branches of Buddhism.
  • Define nirvana, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
An IntroductionAssignment5
Lesson 1 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 1: Who Was the Buddha?Exam10
Lesson 2 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 2: The Four Noble Truths of BuddhismExam14
Lesson 3: The Eightfold PathExam10
Lesson 4: The Five PreceptsExam15
Lesson 5 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 5: KarmaExam10
Lesson 6: The Cycle of BirthExam15
Lesson 7: The History of BuddhismExam13
Lesson 8: Buddhist Art and ArchitectureExam12
Lesson 9: Roots and BranchesExam14
Lesson 10: NirvanaExam11
Lesson 11 AssignmentAssignment25
Lesson 11: Modern BuddhismExam14
The Final ExamExam41
Total Points:284

Student Testimonials

  • "All the readings were appropriate as were the assignments. Thanks so much for the timeliness of your feedback." -- Kathleen S.
  • "Very nicely done. Much of the information I read came together more clearly for me through the required essays. Thank you! I was looking for an overall understanding of Buddhism. This class did provide that, and more. The most helpful areas were the actual teachings of the Buddha." -- BARBARA P.
  • "The instructor was very in-depth when grading assignments. She added the information that would have made my assignment more well rounded and it taught me to read and review before completing. Thank you." -- Pam N.

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