Eastern Philosophy: The Quest for Happiness


What if you could always be happy? Do you think that’s even possible? If so, how? 2,500 years ago, philosophers in India and China were asking themselves these questions, and their answers may surprise you.

Using the novel The Circle of Happiness and the accompanying The Circle of Happiness Travel Guide, we will go on a quest together for the meaning of happiness, encountering along the way the ideas of influential Eastern philosophers such as the Buddha, Confucius, and Lao Tzu. We will also dive into the vibrant historical period known as the Axial Age, a time when philosophical activity flourished all over Asia and Europe. Throughout the course we will explore our own personal idea of happiness and debate whether or not we think these philosophers were onto something.

If you’ve ever wondered what Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Confucian, or Daoist philosophy is all about, this is the class for you! This course will include reading assignments, short writing assignments, and other projects. You’ll have the opportunity to finish with a creative project to share what you learned on your own quest for happiness.




Ingrid Klass

Class Details

Live Class: Yes

Frequency: Tuesdays, 1:00, Eastern Time. Students have the option to watch the live class recording if they are unable to participate.

Duration: One semester: January 14 to May 17

Every Tuesday the online classroom will list the assignments, resources, and activities for the next week. This will always include reading from our texts and optional fun videos or other resources. Each week students will also be asked to complete various activities based on the readings, such as posting to class forums, answering poll questions, contributing to class wikis, or discovering creative ways to think about the material. All required assignments are due the following Tuesday before the next class.

Student Support:
Instructor is available by email.

Feedback will be provided on written responses and other substantial assignments.

Students will need to purchase the books The Circle of Happiness and The Circle of Happiness Travel Guide. PURCHASE BOOKS FOR THIS COURSE

Students should be able to read at a fifth-grade level and participate in course activities via the Moodle classroom, including submitting thoughtful written responses. The course reading and activities are layered so that students at a variety of levels will have a substantive learning experience.

For Suggested Ages:
This course is geared toward children ages 10 and up. Please contact the instructor about enrolling a child under the age of 10.

Approximate weekly time allotment:
2-3 hours