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An Introduction to Buddhism


Thu 10 Dec 2020, 6:30pm–9:00pm

Where: Artmakers Community Artists Trust, Cnr Ward St & Seddon Rd, Hamilton, Waikato

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Waged (8 sessions): $104.00
  • Unwaged (students, seniors, unemployed) (8 sessions): $84.00
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Listed by: EarthDiverse


This series provides an in-depth look at the world’s main religious traditions. Over an entire Term of eight sessions focused on a single belief tradition, we’ll examine the history and development of each tradition, key figures associated with its founding or development, its sacred texts, contemporary beliefs and practices, and the major festivals and commemorations associated with each.

All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions.


This eight-week class provides a detailed introduction to Buddhism. Individual class sessions will focus on:

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


This class meets in Hamilton for eight consecutive sessions on Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:00pm beginning Thursday 22 October and ending Thursday 10 December. Class is held at Artmakers, 2 Seddon Rd, Hamilton. Distance-learning options are available.

COST for all 8 sessions: Waged: $107; Unwaged: $86. Registering for one class registers you for all eight sessions.


Our Buddhism course is taught by Todd Nachowitz, PhD. Todd has been a part-time lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato where he taught introductory courses on Comparative Religion; Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism; Religion in Secular Society; and Islam. Todd has 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 & Public Policy where he completed his thesis on diversity governance and the Indian diaspora in NZ. Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan & 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, Brattleboro, Vermont) that focused on language, culture and religion. Todd speaks Hindu and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. Todd’s recent research and publications involve religious diversity, the Indian diaspora, and the history of multiculturalism in New Zealand. He was a founding Trustee and former Centre Coordinator of the Religious Diversity Centre, based in Auckland, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council. Todd is also the Founder and Executive Director of EarthDiverse.

COURSE LOCATION(S): Both in-person classes in Hamilton and on-line distance-learning options available for this course, allowing anyone in New Zealand to register. If the time doesn't suit, you also have the option to watch the video recorded sessions to learn at a more convenient time or study at your own pace.

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