Offered :

This course is offered each year during Term 4 (Oct-Dec). It is also currently being offered at a discounted price for the live-recorded video sessions.

Date & Time:

This course was offered in 2022 Term 4 on Thursday afternoons, 2:00-3:30pm beginning 20 October 2022 (NZ time). It is currently available as a video-only course.


This eight-week course, part of our World Religions series, provides a detailed introduction to the history, texts, beliefs & practices, and different denominations of the Buddhist tradition.

Individual sessions focus on: Week 1: Course Introduction; Buddhism: Overview & Historical Context; Week 2: The Life of the Historical Buddha; Week 3: Development and Spread I: Early Theravāda: Emperor Ashoka, Sangha, Early Buddhist Schools of Thought; Week 4: Development and Spread II: Mahāyāna Buddhism; Week 5: Development and Spread III: Vajrayāna (Tibetan) Buddhism; Week 6: The Buddhist Path: Core Concepts (Saṃsāra, karma, rebirth & reincarnation, anātman, Nirvāṇa, emptiness, Mādhyamikā philosophy, dependent co-origination) and Precepts & Practice (The Three Jewels, the Four Noble Truths, the Eight-Fold Path, The Four Immeasurables); Week 7: Buddhist Scripture: Sacred Texts and Teachings: Tripiṭaka, the Sutras, Dharmapāda; Week 8: Historic Decline in India, Growth and Diversification; Buddhist Denominations and Sects today;

Meet our Instructor:

Executive Director, Senior Lecturer Dr Todd Nachowitz, PhD

Dr Todd Nachowitz, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of EarthDiverse. Todd is a Hamilton-based lecturer, anthropologist, environmentalist and diversity educator. He previously taught in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato, teaching courses on Comparative Religion and Religious Fundamentalism & Extremism. Todd holds a Masters Degree in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University in upstate New York (1991) and a PhD from the University of Waikato (2015) in Political Science and Public Policy where he completed his thesis on diversity governance and the Indian diaspora in New Zealand. Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent 11 years in South Asia as the Academic Director for university study-abroad programmes in Varanasi, India (for the University of Wisconsin-Madison); Lahore, Pakistan (for the University of California-Berkeley); and Kathmandu, Nepal (for School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) focusing on language, culture and religion. Todd speaks Hindi and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. He also currently teaches our Hindi and Urdu language courses and the Religious Diversity courses at EarthDiverse.


EarthDiverse, 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (see map below), online via Zoom, or through video recordings of our live-streamed sessions posted 1-2 days after each class. CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON-LINE BY WATCHING THE LIVE-RECORDED VIDEO SESSIONS

We're located just a couple of shops north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station on the same side of the Street. We're located on the first floor, above Copier Word. Our Entrance is on the left side of the building. Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front of Anglesea Street.


This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered: attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time, attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time, watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule. These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.

Distance Learning Options:

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom. Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time. Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components are available on the course curriculum page after completing registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options:

This course is currently offered as a video-only session available to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Register now for instant access. Price in New Zealand dollars and includes GST.

Course curriculum

    1. EarthDiverse Zoom instructions (for those who need it)

    2. Recommended Readings: Buddhism

    1. 20221020 T4.1 Buddhism I-Origins & Foundations PDF

    2. 20221020 T4.1 RD304 Buddhism video

    1. 20221027 T4.2 Buddhism II-Life of the Buddha PDF

    2. 20221027 T4.2 RD304 Life of the Buddha video

    1. 20221103 T4.3 Buddhism III-Development-Theravada PDF

    2. 20221103 T4.3 RD304 Buddhism video

    1. 20221111 T4.4 Theravada 2, Mahayana 1 PDF

    2. 20221110 T4.4 RD304 Understanding Buddhism-Theravada (con't) and Intro to Mahayana video

    1. 20221124 T4.5 Mahayana 2 PDF

    2. 20221124 T4.5 RD304 Understanding Buddhism - Mahayana (con't) video

About this course

  • $50.00
  • 18 lessons
  • 13 hours of video content


This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams. All classes encourage questions and group discussion. PDF copies of each class presentation are to the course webpage the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions! The video recordings of each class session are available 1-2 days after each live class session so that you can catch up on any missed classes.


A detailed syllabus is posted on the course webpage. Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses. This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams. All classes encourage questions and group discussion. PDF copies of each class presentation are on the course webpage within 1-2 days of each class so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. There are no refunds for missed classes. Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge. Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.

Prerequisites :

There are no prerequisites for this course