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.

According to Mahayana Buddhism, all beings without exception have buddhanature—the inherent purity of mind and seed of enlightenment. Faced with confusion and negativity in the world every day, what does it really mean to say that our true nature is already perfectly awake? 

In this six week course, The Third Turning of the Wheel, you will explore the good news of Mahayana Buddhism, which teaches that the confusion and negativity we experience is temporary and removable–merely obscurations of the true nature of mind, like passing clouds in front of the sun.

Join Amelia Hall, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the Wisdom Traditions Department at Naropa University, for a clear and accessible introduction to the historical, philosophical, and spiritual view of the third turning of the wheel of dharma. 

Please note that this course builds upon The First Turning and The Second Turning courses. Although you can take the Third Turning of the Wheel independently, we encourage you to complete the previous courses for continuity of knowledge and understanding.

Who is the Course Designed For?


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 pre-recorded video classes with your Naropa University instructor (about 1 hour total per week, in a few short sessions)

Full transcripts of each session

Weekly deep dive readings to expand your understanding

Short quizzes to support your reflection and comprehension

Weekly contemplation or meditation to help enrich your experience

Recordings from two original live Q&A sessions (2019)

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 Third Turning of the Wheel, you’ll understand the development of the Yogacara School and seminal teachings on buddhanature through a preliminary study of key texts, along with guided meditation and contemplation exercises to help you deepen your understanding.

Each week includes 3 short video classes (about 1 hour in total), contemplative practice instruction, plus carefully created study resources.

• Introduction to the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma

• Bodhicitta and the Bodhisattva Path

• The Yogacara view of Consciousness

• The Development of Yogacara

• Determining What’s Real

• Key Sutras in East Asian Buddhism

• The Eight Consciousnesses

• The Three Natures

• Exploring Illusion

• Untying the Knot

• Realizing the Ultimate

• Entering the Flow of Experience

• Introduction to the Uttaratantra

• All Beings Have Buddhanature

• Five Errors on the Path

• Describing Enlightenment

• Qualities of an Enlightened Being

• Buddha Activity

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, along with the motivation of the bodhisattva vow. Investigate views of emptiness according to Buddhism’s Tibetan and East Asian schools.

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.

Explore the history, evolution, impact, and sustainability of Buddhism in North America, including the development and distinctive qualities of socially engaged Buddhism in response to issues of gender, race, power, and the climate crisis.

Choose Your Enrollment Option


The Third Turning of the Wheel


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


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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 TurningSecond 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.

About Naropa University

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.