PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NAROPA UNIVERSITY
Journey into the Heart of the Buddha's Teachings
Join Naropa University’s Wisdom Traditions faculty in a one-of-a-kind learning experience. Combining contemplative practice and academic study, the course illuminates the Buddha’s foundational teachings and helps awaken the spirit of personal inquiry.
Taught by Professor Amelia Hall, The First Turning of the Wheel introduces Buddhism’s Indian roots and explores the foundational teachings of the four noble truths, the eightfold path, the nature of mind and emotions, and mindfulness meditation. Those familiar with modern day and secular presentations of mindfulness will discover its foundation in the Buddhist meditation tradition.
In this in-depth six-week course, you’ll explore the historical, social, and spiritual context in which Buddhism arose, and engage personally through guided meditation and contemplation practices.
Who Should Take This Course?
The course is designed for anyone seeking a deeper, more complete understanding of the historical roots and central pillars of the Buddhist tradition.
All will benefit from the depth of insight and practical guidance offered in Naropa’s renowned contemplative learning curriculum—now available to you at home, on your own schedule.
What the Course Includes
6 weeks of prevideo classes with Professor Amelia Hall (about one hour total per week, in three sessions)
Full transcripts of each session
Weekly deep dive readings to support your study
Short quizzes to support your reflection and comprehension
Weekly contemplation or meditation to help enrich your experience
Recordings of two previously livestreamed Q&A sessions (recorded in 2019)
Meet Your Instructor
Amelia Hall gained her PhD in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies from the University of Oxford in 2012. She has led courses on Buddhism as an online religious studies faculty member at Central Michigan University, and she has served as a faculty member teaching the history of Indian Buddhism for Antioch University’s Buddhist Studies Abroad program in Bodhgaya, India.
A dharma practitioner for 20 years, she is a contributor to the Brill Encyclopedia of Buddhism and the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Amelia is currently working on a book related to her research on tantric Buddhist landscapes in the Eastern Himalayas.
Course Curriculum at a Glance
By completing The First Turning of the Wheel, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the view, practice, and roots of the Buddha’s early teachings.
Each week includes 3 short video classes (about 1 hour in total), contemplative practice instruction, plus carefully created study resources.
The Spiritual Landscape of Ancient India
- Gain historical, social, and spiritual knowledge of the context in which Buddhism arose
- Learn details of the Buddha’s life story
- Develop skill in reading foundational Buddhist texts
The Four Noble Truths
- Gain an in-depth understanding of the four noble truths
- Develop ways of understanding how suffering occurs
- Cultivate insight into patterns of craving that cause dissatisfaction in your own life
- Gain understanding of the components of “existence” according to the Buddhist system
- Cultivate insight into how habitual patterns are perpetuated
- Learn how to work with difficult emotions
What Is a Person? Introduction to the Abhidhamma
- Gain an understanding of early Buddhist psychology
- Cultivate insight into the nature of thoughts and emotions
- Develop ways to work with the core Buddhist teachings on selflessness
Foundational Buddhist Meditation
- Be able to identify the purpose of mindfulness practice according to its Buddhist roots
- Begin to develop your own mindfulness practice
- Identify common hindrances to meditation practice
- Understand why the Buddha employed various teaching methods
- Learn about the ethical considerations of the Buddhist sangha
- Explore the role of women in early Buddhism
This course is part of an immersive six-month curriculum.
The complete series—The Three Turnings of the Wheel—delivers the heart of Naropa University’s Buddhist studies program in a convenient online environment through four 6-week long courses.
The series joins immersive study with contemplative practice to explore the Buddha's foundational teachings on the nature of suffering, mind, and emotions, the bodhisattva path of wisdom and compassion, and buddhanature.
In addition, the series includes Flight of the Swans, an exploration of the origins and evolution of Buddhism in North America, its traditions of practice and training, and its impact on society.
The Three Turnings of the Wheel Series includes four courses.
You can enroll in any course individually, or the complete series. The series is designed to walk you through the Buddha's foundational body of teachings sequentially, each course building on previous knowledge and experience.
Learn about the historical, social, and spiritual context in which the Buddhadharma arose, and explore the foundational teachings of Indian Buddhism.
Explore the relationship between wisdom and compassion, the stages of enlightenment according to the "Middle Way" tradition, and compassion-based practices and philosophies that are foundational to the bodhisattva motivation.
Choose Your Enrollment Option
6 WEEKS OF COURSE MATERIAL (course 1)
The First Turning of the Wheel
ENROLL FOR $149
24 WEEKS OF COURSE MATERIAL (all 4 courses)
First Turning of the Wheel
Second Turning of the Wheel
Third Turning of the Wheel
Flight of the Swans
ENROLL FOR $299
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there scholarships available?
Yes. If you have a fixed or limited income you’re invited to apply for a scholarship. Please click here and complete the scholarship request form.
Can I take more than 6 weeks to finish the course?
We aim to provide a contemplative approach to learning—discovering new insights is an unfolding process. Take as much time as you need to work through the course, and come back to the material as often as you’d like.
I’m interested in the whole series. Do I have to take all the courses in sequence?
When you enroll in the complete series, you receive unlimited access to the First Turning, Second Turning, Third Turning, and Flight of the Swans. While you can take the courses independently in any order, we encourage taking the Three Turnings courses in sequence to facilitate continuity. Each course builds on the knowledge and practices of the previous course(s). With lifetime access you can return to any course on your own schedule.
If you prefer to take an individual course, they can be purchased separately at the following links: First Turning, Second Turning, Third Turning, and Flight of the Swans
Is any prior experience necessary?
No prior experience with meditation or Buddhism is necessary. If you’re new to meditation, you’ll definitely benefit from the practice instructions provided in the course. More experienced practitioners will appreciate the balance between scholarly study and meditative investigation. The series is designed for anyone who wants a more well-rounded understanding of Buddhism and meditation. It doesn’t matter whether you follow a certain Buddhist tradition or no particular lineage at all. Eager learners, spiritual practitioners, meditation teachers—all are welcomed, regardless of background.
Can I earn continuing education credits for this series?
Continuing education credits are not currently available for the courses.
Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, liberal arts university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs that integrate Eastern wisdom studies and the arts with traditional Western scholarship.