SUMMER | Buddhism 307
3 Credits: Six Weeks, May 16, 2011 – June 24, 2011
Summer Session Registration Begins March 28thDo you ever wonder why it is that the second pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby does no better at
overcoming a broken heart than the first? Well, Buddhism has answers to this and other profound and
relevant questions in our lives.
In this six‐week, online class, we will explore Buddhism as a religion, a philosophy, an ethics and a
psychology, all the while focusing on it as a personal path to happiness which can help us overcome the
“suffering,” “un‐ease,” or “unsatisfactoriness” that arises in our lives simply due to the very fact of being
a human being.
As a religion, Buddhism addresses the pains associated with being human and teaches us how to
transcend forever the “suffering” we experience from our broken hearts and other human
As a philosophy, Buddhism helps us to appreciate the true nature of what it is to be human and our
relationship to the world. Armed with these truths about reality, we come to realize Buddhist ethics:
how to live in the world in ways that bring about well‐being rather than “suffering.”
Finally, Buddhism focuses on the mind, and as a psychology, Buddhism not only teaches us why it is that
we reach for Chubby Hubby in the first place; but it offers us skills so that we can overcome habits of
mind that bring about “unease” and replace them with habits of mind that truly bring about personal
and global well being.
Required Texts: Approximately $58
- Buddha, Karen Armstrong
- What the Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula
- Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
- Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Wisdom of No Escape, Pema Chodron
Required Films: Available through Netflix and other DVD providers
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should take this course?
Well, everyone of course!
If you are interested in Buddhism per se, psychology, philosophy of religion, religion, and/or personal
growth, this course may be right for you. We will approach Buddhism from both doctrinal and practical
perspectives, so whether you are interested in Buddhism purely from an academic perspective or as a
path for personal growth, this course may be right for you. And then, if you would just like to cut down
your ice cream bills, this too would be sufficient reason to sign up today!
What can I hope to learn from the course?
Six weeks is a very short time, but by the end of the course, past students were not only familiar with
the main Buddhist doctrines, but many had gained some personal insight into how Buddhist practice
might apply in one’s life.
What will be expected of you?
First of all, a serious time‐commitment is required. Over the six weeks, you will be busy reading, taking
quizzes on those readings, writing short papers, interacting with other students and myself through
online discussion postings, writing reviews on movies you will watch, and keeping a journal of the whole
experience. You can expect to do something for the class five days a week minimum, and reading the
other two. You are advised to use your time wisely.
Please don’t sign up for the class if you don’t think you can manage this or if you’ve planned a vacation
while the class is taking place.
That being said, past students would tell you that the class is worth the work!
What kind of an Internet connection do I need?
You will need to have a reliable connection (or to have access to a reliable connection, e.g., at a
university or public library), as there will be specific and inflexible deadlines for assignments and
discussion postings. There will be no content in the course that requires a high bandwidth, so the speed
of your connection will purely be a question of your tolerance level.
Who’s the instructor?
My name is Jay P. Feldman. I have an M.A. in Philosophy and have studied Buddhism academically for
eleven years and have been a practicing Buddhist for seven. This is my seventh year teaching Buddhism
at UI; and, although I have taught other classes online for a number of years, this is my third time
teaching Buddhism online.
How will I interact with the other students and the professor?
For the most part, you will interact with other students and myself via a threaded‐discussion online. I
also am very good about responding to email; you can call me by phone, or if you’re local to Moscow,
Idaho, schedule a time to stop in to my office.
If you have questions or I can help in any way, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org