Zen Buddhism 101 - Awaken Your Natural Joy
4.5 (169 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,417 students enrolled

Zen Buddhism 101 - Awaken Your Natural Joy

It is in our True Nature to be fully alive and joyous. Learn how to reclaim your Natural Joy.
4.5 (169 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,417 students enrolled
Created by Marshall Stern
Last updated 8/2016
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $11.99 Original price: $39.99 Discount: 70% off
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This course includes
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Students will be able to use meditation and other skills to access their natural joy at all times.
  • One should prepare buy coming to the course with an open mind. Once engaged you will find that very easy to do.

Buddhism is the oldest and most successful Self-Help program on Earth. There is debate over whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy. When asked to weigh in on this question my answer is always definitely yes! There is no Divine figure to worship, no cosmogony and no dogma in Buddhism. In that respect it does not appear to be a religion. But if you consider a religion to be a set of ideas around which you live your life and that in turn brings you to peace and a deep understanding of the True Nature of life, then Buddhism is most definitely a religion. This incredibly practical and adaptive tradition is something that everyone should learn about. 

I designed this course especially for Westerners who have had little or no contact with Buddhism other than the few words and ideas that have filtered through to the West. It is presented in a very entertaining and light fashion including stories and humor. The simplicity of the course however should not fool you into thinking the content is in any way compromised.  I have had lifelong Buddhists in Asia take the class and remark to me that this was the first time they truly understood their own religion. Though that may be true the course is especially designed for those who are looking for a clear and simple explanation of Buddhism.

So whether new to the subject or very experienced you will find knowledge of great value to you and your life in this course. In the end, you will understand why it is that you have been living less than you are deserving of and how to regain your Natural state of Joy, Compassion, Love and Freedom.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is best suited for those who have been searching for the Great Truth that will set them free.
Course content
Expand all 58 lectures 04:24:32
+ The Life Of The Buddha
8 lectures 40:48

Meet your instructor Marshall Stern as he prepares you for the first section, Life Of The Buddha.

Preview 00:38

Just about everyone has heard of The Buddha but what exactly is a Buddha and what relevance does his life hold for us?

The Life Of The Buddha

The life's journey of Shakyamuni Buddha begins with a dream of a white elephant. 

The Birth Of The Buddha

The King calls in all the soothsayers to predict Siddhartha's future. He receives a mixed message part of which he is not happy about.


Young Prince Siddhartha experiences life changing events that set him on the course of becoming a Buddha.

Early Lessons

After leaving the palace and his life behind Siddhartha begins seeking in earnest for the way to liberation from suffering. After trying extreme methods he finds a middle path.

Finding The Way

Having settled upon meditation as his method he begins to attain enlightenment only to be confronted with the likes of Mara the Hindu God of Illusion who seeks to thwart Siddhartha.

Becoming The Buddha

Having attained Liberation and Become the Buddha, the next 45 years of the Buddha's life are spent reading the Dharma. (Note- Special piece of information at the very end for your eyes only)

The Journey
+ What The Buddha Taught
9 lectures 41:58
What The Buddha Taught Intro

This is a Zen story set up to prepare your palette for the classes to follow. Spoiler alert- It has to do with attachment and freedom.


The Buddha, The Dharma and the Sangha are called the three jewels in Buddhism. Here is what they are and why they are so important.

The Three Jewels

Though Buddhism is expressed differently in different countries there is a core that runs through all the different Buddhist sects. This is what the Buddha taught and it comes down to The Four Noble Truths.

The Core

The First Noble Truth acknowledges the existence and universality of the experience of suffering though not as an organic part of life. Joy and Love are our natural state. Suffering is an aberration.

The First Noble Truth

If suffering his not an organic part of life, what causes it? This is the Second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering.

The Second Noble Truth

The Third Noble Truth is about the end of suffering.

The Third Noble Truth

The Fourth Noble Truth lays out an eight fold plan for specifically ending suffering and returning to your own natural state of joy.

The Fourth Noble Truth Pt. 1
The Fourth Noble Truth lays out an eight fold plan for specifically ending suffering and returning to your own natural state of joy.
The Fourth Noble Truth Pt. 2
+ Important Buddhist Concepts
10 lectures 44:58

Buddhism takes on different forms including two major schools. We will be focusing on the older off these two schools called Theravadan. 


This Zen story about a cloud that grows enamored with its own power illustrates the idea behind the Concepts we will be looking at.

The Cloud

This is the basis of the Buddhist thought that all are one. It really does make sense as you will see.

Dependent Co-Arising

Everything changes constantly therefore everything is impermanent. What are the implications?

Preview 03:14

The idea of No-Self is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Buddhism. Here it is explained and made clear.

No Self

Who and what we think we are in daily life is a construct created by us but it has no reality beyond that which we invest in it.


Who we are and what we are become obscured when we mistakenly identify with things that are not us.


This is another Buddhist concept that is badly misunderstood. As with other explained concepts this will clear up any misunderstandings about, and clarify  the importance of non-attachment.


So now that we know what we aren't what exactly are we?

Our True Nature
+ Meditation
12 lectures 59:12

There are two different types of meditation as described by the Buddha. Focus and Insight meditation.

Focus and Insight

Aside from being the actual 8th step of the Noble Eightfold Path, meditation is integral to making the Path come alive.

Practicing The Eight-Fold Path

Our bodies are like instruments and meditation is the tuning of our instruments.


What waits for us in Stillness and Silence is the thing we are all searching for.

Silence And Stillness

From a very practical point of view how does meditation benefit us?

Benefits Of Meditation

Remember Mara who tried to interrupt the Buddhas enlightenment? Who exactly is he and what does he symbolize?


Meditation is one of those Buddhist concepts that has made it to the West but with many misunderstandings. We will clear those up in this class.


There are many ways to meditate. Some of the more popular Zen positions are shown and explained.


Preparing yourself to begin our Meditation in the next class.

Preview 03:59

Relax, get comfortable and enjoy this guided and silent meditation.

Preview 11:10

Buddhism is nothing if not practical. Applications of Meditation you can use in your daily life are explored.

Practical Applications Of Meditation
+ Birth, Death and Rebirth
12 lectures 48:24

Do you have to believe in Reincarnation in order to be a Buddhist? What is the connection between the two?

Reincarnation and Buddhism

A Zen story about a wave that finds its own True Nature.

The Wave

All beings fear death. There is no reason to as you will see in this class.

Fear And Death

Birth is going to sleep, death is waking up and life is a dream. 

The Dream

The greatest pain associated with death is that of loss but loss is also our greatest teacher.


Cycles are everywhere. Why would life and death be any different?

Preview 02:46

Compelling evidence in support of Reincarnation.

Evidence Of Reincarnation

Reincarnation is not seen as a desirable thing in Buddhism. The idea is to stop the cycle.

The Cycle Of Suffering

What is the mechanism that keeps us returning and determines the conditions of our lives?


What  des it look like when you have transcended the cycle of suffering? Spoiler alert: It's very good!

Transcending The Cycle

The top five regrets of those for whom death is imminent and what we can learn from them.

The Five Regrets
+ Meet The Buddha Kill The Buddha
6 lectures 28:24

A Zen story illustrating the idea behind Meet The Buddha Kill The Buddha.

The Boat

What does it mean to really Meet The Buddha?

Meet The Buddha

Where the Buddha is and where he is not.

Finding The Buddha

The whole idea behind Buddhism is to transcend everything, this includes the Buddha.

Kill The Buddha

The end goal and our Natural State of Joy and Peace.

Preview 05:30