Get a grip on the history, evolution, impact, and sustainability of Buddhism in North America with this, the latest online course from Naropa University, the nation’s leader in contemplative higher education.
Carefully designed for students of Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness, Flight of the Swans explains the origins and evolution of Buddhism in North America, its traditions of practice and training, and its impact on society. The course also focuses on the development and distinctive qualities of socially engaged Buddhism in response to issues of gender, race, power, and the climate crisis.
Judith Simmer-Brown, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative Religious Studies at Naropa University, is your guide through six weeks of insightful and engaging lectures, supported by guided practice, deep-dive readings, a live Q&A, and short quizzes.
✔ Consider how and why people identify as Buddhist, and how that identity manifests — in lifestyle, practice, community, and ethics
✔ Learn about Japanese Zen’s entry into America, its leading pioneers, and the basics of Zen meditation practice and training
✔ Explore the history, culture, and sustainability of the American Vipassana and Vajrayana traditions, and their influence on the American mainstream
✔ Identify the distinctive qualities of socially engaged Buddhism, beginning with its foundational teachings on relieving suffering and creating social harmony
✔ Learn how North American Buddhists are uniquely addressing climate change, drawing from classical teachings on interdependence
✔ Investigate how American Buddhism will need to further change in order to survive beyond the current generation
18 short lessons over 6 weeks (1 hour per week)
Downloadable transcripts for convenient offline study
DEEP DIVE READINGS
A curated selection of weekly readings to expand your understanding
Weekly meditation or contemplation to deepen your experience
Plus, you'll be able to join Judith Summer-Brown live online for a course orientation and a live Q&A session midway through the course. Enjoy dialogue and discussion with your peers in a moderated online discussion board reserved for enrolled students.
Short weekly quizzes will support your reflection and comprehension of the course material. Upon completing the course, Naropa University will acknowledge your participation with a Certificate of Accomplishment.
Talk 1: Welcome to Flight of the Swans
Talk 2: U.S. Buddhists: Who Are They?
Talk 3: What Will Ensure the Future of Buddhism in North America?
Talk 1: A Look at Formative U.S. Zen Communities
Talk 2: What Does the Practice of Zen in the U.S. Look Like?
Talk 3: Zen and the Arts in America
Talk 1: Vipassana and Its Practice in North America
Talk 2: A Look at The Practice — and Growth — of Vipassana in the U.S.
Talk 3: Vipassana’s Influence in U.S. Society
Talk 1: Himalayan Buddhism Takes Root in the U.S.
Talk 2: A Look at the Shape and Practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the U.S
Talk 3: The Impact of Tibetan Buddhism in the U.S.
Talk 1: Contending With Social and Personal Issues Through, and in, U.S. Buddhism
Talk 2: Awakening from Patriarchy and Exclusion in U.S. Buddhism
Talk 3: Contending With Racism and Privilege in U.S. Buddhism
Talk 1: Environmental Activism in U.S. Buddhism
Talk 2: Social Activism and Interreligious Dialogue in U.S. Buddhism — and Its Cultural Impact
Talk 3: Toward a Sustainable, Genuine American Buddhism
JUDITH SIMMER-BROWN is a founding faculty member at Naropa University, Judith is also Senior Advisor to the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education. She co-chairs the Contemplative Studies Steering Committee for the American Academy of Religion, and serves on the Board of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies.
Judith is the author of Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala) and editor, with Fran Grace, of Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY).