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Intro to Buddhism Professor Fails Students Who Don't Reach Nirvana by End of the Course


Photo by Joshua Ng / The Daily Pennsylvanian 

Religious Studies Professor Michael Gordon took an unorthodox approach to his Introduction to Buddhism course this semester. Tired of hearing students complain about his confusing exams and weighting system, Gordon decided to simplify the grading process. “Reach Nirvana or you fail,” said Gordon. “I don’t think I could be more clear.”

College junior Charles Roderick applauded Gordon’s new approach. “I got pretty close to enlightenment the last time I did acid. I’m definitely excited to give it another shot.”

Other students were concerned about Gordon’s decision. “He told us it came to him in a dream,” said Erin Thomas (C ‘20). Gordon remained steadfast, “Where else would a professor come up with the course content?”

Gordon explained that there is a simple path to passing this class. “Look, I don’t want to hear any more complaints because I’m about to spell out exactly how to get an A in this course. You’re gonna find a tree, and not just any tree—a Bodhi Tree. There’s actually only one in existence, though, and it’s in India. I would suggest booking your tickets ASAP.”

“Next, you’re going to have to sit under that tree and meditate until you reach Nirvana. It’s not like it’s hard. It took the Buddha, what? Like 3 days? Maybe 45? Depends who you ask I guess—you have the whole semester. You’re welcome.”

Students were receptive to Gordon’s detailed explanation, but worried about its time consuming nature given their other demanding courses. Gordon was shocked by this news. He asked: “wait, you guys have other classes?”