Introduction to the Buddha's Teaching

Bring the dharma of early Buddhism into your life

Are you interested in learning what the Buddha taught? Are you interested in knowing how the Buddha taught? In this course you will learn the basics of the Buddha's down-to-earth teachings, and you will witness his teaching style in action when we look in detail at one of his discourses.

Many courses look at "Buddhism" the religion, but here we will look at the Buddha's teaching itself, using as a roadmap a step-by-step outline of the dharma that the Buddha gave to a layperson. The course will contain:

Fourteen video lectures.

• One sutta study video which will introduce you to the early texts through a salient example.

Downloadable notes to each lecture which you can print out, keep, and refer to.

• Sections for comments, questions, and discussion with each video lecture.

• Suggestions for ongoing practices that you can take into your daily life.

• A downloadable list of introductory readings and resources with detailed descriptions of each.

• A certificate of completion that you can print out and keep on completion of the course.


Your Instructor

Doug Smith
Doug Smith

You may have seen Doug's popular YouTube videos at Doug's Dharma. He is a contributor to the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and the Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has many years of practice in the Zen and Insight traditions. As well as being the Founder and Director of the Online Dharma Institute, he is also Study Director at the Secular Buddhist Association.

After taking this course on the Introduction to the Buddha's Teaching, Bo wrote me the following note:

"Hey Doug! Just wanted to say thank you for these courses. I‘ve been fascinated with buddhism since high school, but in my attempts to educate myself the information never stuck with me. Your lessons are well-presented and easy to understand, and thus I’ve been eating them up and wanting to know more. Thanks for your dedication!"

- Bo L.

A Short Introduction to the Introduction

What is this course all about?


Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Are these videos different from material on YouTube?
Yes! All the material in courses here at the Online Dharma Institute is completely new and none of it is available on YouTube.
Who should take this course?
If you're new to the teachings of the Buddha or early Buddhism, or if you already know about Buddhism but want to know more about how the Buddha might actually have taught laypeople, then you should take this course. If you want to find wisdom in your life, then you should definitely take this course!
Does this course follow any particular Buddhist tradition?
The courses on the Online Dharma Institute are aimed at presenting the teachings of early Buddhism in contemporary language and in a contemporary format. The Online Dharma Institute takes a generally secular approach to the dharma, striving to present the teachings that are most down-to-earth and directly beneficial to our present lives. We also aim to be ecumenical in the presentation of historical material, and will discuss more speculative elements of the early teachings as well.

Learn the basic skills the Buddha recommended to laypeople.

Bring the practical wisdom of early Buddhism into your life today!

Get started now!