Indian Buddhism

Subject Overview

‘Indian Buddhism’ recounts the growth of Buddhism in South Asia, and covers the teachings and precepts of the different perspectives from the early beginnings, through the development of Mahayana Buddhism.

This subject provides a survey of the growth of Buddhism in South Asia – from its origins in about the fifth century BCE, through to the major developments in India and Sri Lanka, including the appearance of early Mahayana forms. It integrates developments in doctrine with relevant archaeological and historical evidence from the field.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand and discuss the historical background of Indian Buddhism and its relation to the life of Sakyamani Buddha
  • Analyse the basic doctrines and key philosophical concepts of Indian Buddhism, such as the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Noble Path, dependant Origination, Karma, Samsara, Nirvana, and more
  • Learn a detailed account of the development of the Mahayana Schools of Indian Buddhism
  • Further develop the skills to pose research questions, investigate and analyse the literature, and present reports.

Subject Structure

This subject runs for five weeks, with the following structure:

Week 1: Pre-reading of prescribed texts
Week 2:  Five lecture days on campus (9am – 5pm)
Weeks 3 – 5: Submission of assessments online



Nan Tien Institute (NTI) is a private, not for profit, government accredited higher education provider offering studies in the areas of Buddhist studies, health and wellbeing, within an environment that incorporates contemplative education.

NTI offers postgraduate programs in Applied Buddhist Studies, Health and Social Wellbeing, Humanistic Buddhism, and Mental Health as well as customised Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs and special interest subjects across the areas of meditation, mindfulness and health.

In accordance with the current restrictions our campus facilities are closed. You can continue to study online and our virtual library services remain available. Our academic and student services staff are online and by phone to assist you. Please stay safe.