BUD140 Core Teachings of the Buddha II

Required Reader:

Core Teachings of the Buddha (II)-Kamma and Dependent Origination

Course Description

This course is the second on the core teachings (II) of the historical Buddha: karma (in Sanskrit) or kamma (in Pali) and Dependent Origination (pratītyasamutpāda in Sanskrit; paṭiccasamuppāda in Pali) or the Twelve Nidanas.

Course Objectives: The students will
  1. Define the theory of karma, as taught by the Buddha, from an academic point of
  2. Identify how karma can be properly applied to personal
  3. Develop a basic understanding of the twelve links of causation.
  4. Describe how the twelve links of causation constitute all physical and mental manifestations within an individual.
  5. Examine their personal experience based on the twelve links of dependent origination.
Course Credit

Upon completion of this course, students will earn one continuing education credit, stated on the certificate, from University of the West. Each student will also receive a certificate of completion that will be placed in his or her file.

Class Structure (time subject to change) – face to face instructions only

30 minutes: Sitting Meditation
 15 minutes: Lecture
 45 minutes: Open Discussion

If the student is not able to attend the lecture or in another institution, he or she can take class and complete all written assignments and mail them to the instructor. The course is designed in such a way that the student can study and receive credits as long as all required work is completed.

Class Sessions
1. Karma: Theory and Practice

Reading due before class: Chapter 1-9

Essay 1A

Before reading any articles, write down what you think karma/kamma is. Reading all five articles in Kamma I (pages 1-40)

Essay 1B

After reading all articles in Kamma I and Kamma II: Define what karma/kamma is based on your reading and understanding.

2. Karma: Theory and Practice (continued)

Reading all four articles in Kamma II (42-72)


Based on the proper understanding of karma, describe a personal experience (or one that you witness first hand) in terms of karma, basically cause and effect.

3. Dependent Origination

Reading both articles in Dependent Origination I (74-205)


Briefly summarize the twelve links of Dependent Origination to the best of your knowledge.

4. Dependent Origination (conitnued)

Reading all three articles in Dependent Origination I (207-267)


Using a minimum of two (more is acceptable) out of the twelve links of Dependent Origination, explain how the chosen links relate to your personal experience.


Please write your feedback on the course: the book and assignments. Is this course helpful? What would you like to change, if any?

The number of class sessions is subject to change, meaning more sessions may be added in addition to the current four sessions.

NOTICE for face-to-face instruction:

The students have the option of presenting up to two assignments orally in front of the group based on his study and understanding. Each presentation is between 5-7 minutes with a short Q&A session. Notes can be submitted for grading in place of an essay.


Please write your feedback on this course regarding the topics and the assignments.


The class is pass/fail. All essays must be completed and of your own writing in order to receive a passing grade. Each essay can be three to five pages written and show that you are making a sincere effort in learning about karma and Dependent Origination, understanding and application of both topics in your experience based on insights from your mindfulness meditation practice. Assignments can be handed in during class. At the top of the first page of your assignment please include your name, course number, assignment number, CDC number, and location in the prison (cell number or bunk number).

If you mail your essay, PLEASE MAKE A COPY FOR YOUR RECORD in case it gets lost in the mail.​​The mailing address below is a PO box on the University of the West campus, NOT a private mailing address:

This mailing address is for a PO box on the University of the West campus. It is NOT a private mailing address:

The University of the West Prison Initiative (or UWest PI)
1409 Walnut Grove Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770