Welcome to

Buddhist Philosophy in Depth, Part 3

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Jay Garfield

Buddhist Philosophy in Depth, Part 3

In this groundbreaking course, immerse yourself in the treasury of Buddhist wisdom with Professor Jay Garfield, renowned philosopher, translator, and expert on Buddhist philosophy.

What You’ll Learn

  • How the synthesis of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra philosophy helped form the early Chinese schools, and Chan, as well as the significance of the kōan tradition in Chan
  • How Buddhism was transmitted to Japan, and influenced by the famed Zen Master Eihei Dōgen
  • How the traditions of sutra and tantra were transmitted to Tibet, and gave rise to the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, carrying on the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhist philosophy
  • The distinctive features of the Buddhadharma’s transmission to the West

About this Course

The rich philosophical fabric of Buddhist thought has evolved over two millennia, within a variety of cultures, epochs, and geographies. Professor Jay Garfield takes us on an exciting in-depth journey throughout these Buddhist worlds, their texts, and the essential thinkers that have shaped Buddhist philosophy from the time of the historical Buddha.

In this third-installment of a three-part course series on the history of Buddhist philosophy we discover how the profound legacy of Indian Buddhist philosophy helped shape the Buddhist world, and follow the transmission of the Buddhadharma to China, Japan, and ultimately the West. Jay Garfield guides us through an array of influential texts across traditions, including the Avamtamsaka, or Flower Garland Sutra, the Genjōkōan by Eihei Dōgen, the Lam Rim synthesis of Tsongkhapa, and Tibet’s Rime tradition as evidenced in Patrul Rinpoche’s The Worlds of My Perfect Teacher, and The Essential Jewel of Holy Practice.

The course progresses historically from Part 1 to Part 2 and Part 3, but all courses are open for enrollment without having to take a prior course. Take advantage of our special offer to enroll in the entire Buddhist Philosophy in Depth series, Parts 1-3, a $599 value for $399! Click here to enroll in all three courses.




Lesson 1: The Transmission of Buddhism from India to China

In this lesson, Jay illuminates the transmission of Buddhist philosophy from India to China. Jay describes in detail the history and philosophy of the three early Chinese schools of Buddhist philosophy. In particular, we encounter the thought of Sengzhao and Jizang, two of the Sanlun schools most influential philosophers. We learn how Indian Buddhist philosophy, in particular the philosophy of Nagarjuna, interacted with Daoist thought, as well as how the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra informed entire schools of Chinese Buddhist thought.


Lesson 2: The Tiantai and Huayan Schools of Chinese Buddhism

In this lesson, Jay introduces us to Tiantai and Huayan schools of Chinese Buddhism, deepening our understanding of the unique evolution of Buddhism in China. With particular focus on the Huayan school, Jay guides us through the ​Treatise of the Golden Lion, by the famed philosopher Fazang, also the third patriarch of the Huayan school. Jay’s expert commentary illuminates how Fazang integrated yogacara and madhyamaka in profound masterwork of Buddhist philosophy, laying the groundwork for the development of Chan and Zen.


Lesson 3: Bodhidharma, Huineng and the Development of Chan

In this lesson, Jay guides us through understanding the growth and development of early Chan, and its central figures including Bodhidharma and Huieng. Jay reveals the sutric and philosophical underpinnings of Chan, offering insights based on the Platform Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, Madhyamaka, and Abhidharma. We learn about the Chan school’s unique understanding of the Buddhist path, it’s emphasis on meditative experience, and the direct experience of the nature of one’s own mind. Jay also helps us to grasp Chan’s understanding of gradual and sudden awakening.


Lesson 4: Chan, Zen, and the Practice of Koan

In this lesson Jay teaches us the unique views of Chan and Zen as illuminated in the practice of koan. Jay guides us through several famous koans as a means of providing a window into the philosophical heart of Zen and Chan.


Lessons 5-10: Coming Soon Available on: 18-Oct-2019

Forthcoming lessons will be released weekly on Fridays. Lesson 5 will be available on Friday, October 18. Stay tuned!

About the Teacher

Jay Garfield is Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Logic Program and of the Five College Tibetan Studies in India Program at Smith College; Visiting Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at Harvard Divinity School; Professor in the graduate faculty of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts; Professor of Philosophy at Melbourne University; and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. He teaches and pursues research in the philosophy of mind, foundations of cognitive science, logic, philosophy of language, Buddhist philosophy, cross-cultural hermeneutics, theoretical and applied ethics, and epistemology. He is the author, editor, and translator of several books on these subjects, most recently The Essential Jewel of Holy Practice, a co-translation of verses written by Patrul Rinpoche (Wisdom 2017).