Produced in Partnership with Naropa University

Join Naropa University’s Wisdom Traditions faculty in a contemplative learning experience as they illuminate the Buddha’s foundational teachings and help awaken the spirit of personal inquiry.

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, buddhanature: the seed of enlightenment, and the evolution of dharma in the West.

The Three Turnings of the Wheel—an immersive 4-course learning series—delivers the heart of Naropa University’s Buddhist studies program in a convenient online environment. It’s like having a Naropa University classroom in the comfort of your home, available on your own schedule.

A one-of-a-kind learning experience.

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 Series Includes

Discover Buddhism’s Indian roots and explore the foundational teachings on the nature of mind and emotions and the path of meditation, with Amelia Hall.

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Explore "The Middle Way" teachings on the union of wisdom and compassion, the bodhisattva vow, and mind training, with Phil Stanley.

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Examine key texts of the third turning teachings, the development of the Yogacara School, buddhanature, and the qualities of enlightenment, with Amelia Hall.

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Track themes of the dharma’s transmission from Asia to America, and survey the evolution of dharma traditions in the West, with Judith Simmer-Brown.

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Each Course Includes

6 weeks of pre-recorded video classes with your Naropa University instructor

(1 hour total per week, in a few short sessions)

Full transcripts of each session

Weekly deep dive readings to expand your understanding

Weekly contemplation or meditation to help enrich your experience

Short quizzes to support your reflection and comprehension.

Recordings from two original Q&A Sessions (recorded in 2019)


By enrolling in the complete series, you'll get access to all four courses and SAVE 50%.

Meet Your Teachers


Amelia Hall received 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 twenty 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.


Phil Stanley received his PhD in Religious Studies in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from the University of Virginia. He is also Dean of Academic Affairs and authorized teacher of Nitartha Institute, devoted to translating the entire Tibetan monastic college curriculum of the Kagyu tradition into English and to training and authorizing Western teachers of that curriculum. He is a recipient of a Fulbright-Hays scholarship. Phil is the author of Primer of Classical Literary Tibetan, which is used in language classes at Naropa, and he does Tibetan textual translation for Nitartha Institute courses.


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).

Curriculum Summary

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

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. The course 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.

By completing The Second Turning of the Wheel, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the roots of the Mahayana tradition, including the relationship between wisdom and compassion, the bodhisattva vow, the stages of the path to enlightenment, and skillful, compassionate action.

By completing The Third Turning of the Wheel, you’ll understand the development of the Yogacara School and seminal teachings on 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?

By completing The Flight of the Swans, you'll get a grip on the origins and evolution of Buddhism in North America, its traditions of practice and training, and the distinctive qualities of socially engaged Buddhism in response to issues of gender, race, power, and the climate crisis.


By enrolling in the complete series, you'll get access to all four courses and SAVE 50%.

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 the courses at my own pace?

Yes. 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 courses, and come back to the material as often as you’d like. 

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, and 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). 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.