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Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Princeton University via Coursera

students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Psychology
  • $ Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Effort 2-5 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 6 weeks long

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Overview

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The Dalai Lama has said that Buddhism and science are deeply compatible and has encouraged Western scholars to critically examine both the meditative practice and Buddhist ideas about the human mind. A number of scientists and philosophers have taken up this challenge. There have been brain scans of meditators and philosophical examinations of Buddhist doctrines. There have even been discussions of Darwin and the Buddha: Do early Buddhist descriptions of the mind, and of the human condition, make particular sense in light of evolutionary psychology?

This course will examine how Buddhism is faring under this scrutiny. Are neuroscientists starting to understand how meditation “works”? Would such an understanding validate meditation—or might physical explanations of meditation undermine the spiritual significance attributed to it? And how are some of the basic Buddhist claims about the human mind holding up? We’ll pay special attention to some highly counterintuitive doctrines: that the self doesn’t exist, and that much of perceived reality is in some sense illusory. Do these claims, radical as they sound, make a certain kind of sense in light of modern psychology? And what are the implications of all this for how we should live our lives? Can meditation make us not just happier, but better people?

All the features of this course are available for free. It does not offer a certificate upon completion.

Taught by

Robert Wright

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Reviews for Coursera's Buddhism and Modern Psychology
4.5 Based on 26 reviews

  • 5 stars 62%
  • 4 stars 35%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 4%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

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  • 1
Tianyi C
5.0 3 years ago
by Tianyi completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Rooswilhelm R
5.0 3 years ago
by Rooswilhelm completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I really liked this course. Prof Robert Wright is very likeable and somehow manages to discuss issues that are both complex and vague in a very clear way. The course looks into evolutionary psychology and buddhist philosophy, and how this relates to daily life. Although this may sound rather heavy-handed, the course remains light-hearted, academic (you do not have to fear any kind of preaching) and very interesting.
21 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Dolly Y
5.0 3 years ago
by Dolly completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I took it last October, at the lowest point of my point. Robert Wright has introduced me to the fascinating world of evolutionary psychology,moral psychology and neuroscience. He's the most compassionate and interesting teacher I've known.Strongly recommend his book "The Moral Animal" and "The Evolution of God." They are hands down the best books ever written on the subjects.
7 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Tim A
5.0 a year ago
Tim completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Robert Wright examines classical Buddhist teaching and meditation practice through the lens of evolutionary psychology. He posits the question "Is Buddhism True" (also the title of his new book based on the course) and finds that indeed some Buddhist ideas and practices do fit rather well with the latest science. This confluence of ideas offers no less than a way to reduce human suffering and to see the world more clearly.

The course consists mainly of lectures to camera and further reading and so is pretty tradintional, but I did find Wright to have a genuine and winning style. The course is further enhanced by links to Wright's video blog channel 'meaningoflife.TV' where he interviews many eminent buddhist scholars and social psychologists.

Overall, highly recommended for anyone interested in human behaviour and how to live a more moral and harmonious life. My tip for best course of 2017.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Peter H
5.0 2 years ago
Peter completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Robert Wright is an excellent secular guide to this fascinating subject. He speaks from a good critical position: one of deep interest, but not complete immersion.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Sylvia A
5.0 a year ago
by Sylvia completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
It's a very interesting course in you have both interests in psychology and buddhism. It's a course which helps you to be a better person and to helps you to reflect on the world and what you really are.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Taich T
5.0 2 years ago
Taich completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very interesting course comparing Buddhist teachings with some current psychological theories. The professor is quirky and fun as well as competent and interesting.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 6 months ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
The class is well organized and deals with very interesting topics in a clear and entertaining way.

Comparisons of profound ideas to daily life make this information easy to understand and relate to.

Nice job

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Zack B
5.0 2 years ago
by Zack completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I found this to be a terrific course, which is basically a psychological investigation of Buddhism. Great lectures which included interesting interviews.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 2 years ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Very good teacher. Very satisfied about the giving course.

I began three weeks ago and I am starting to have a very clear picture about the Buddhism and the culture around it.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Richard G
4.0 7 months ago
by Richard completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I have already recommended this course to others. I consider this to be appropriate for both Beginners and Intermediates. Instructor is very professional. It is hard to believe that this is his first time in conducting an on-line course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Manivannan R
5.0 3 weeks ago
Manivannan completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Helped me to understand the different concepts of buddhism and psychology and relationships. Definitely will go deep into the buddhism .
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Tonolmo T
5.0 4 years ago
by Tonolmo completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Aleksandra W
4.0 4 years ago
Aleksandra completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
0 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
David A
4.0 4 years ago
by David completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
0 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kerrie M
1.0 3 years ago
Kerrie is taking this course right now.
Help! No one can tell me why I am locked out of all the videos. Is this normal? No one to contact. Can you only unlock one a week..please help?? Email me..artfullantiques@gmail.com Thanks Kerrie !!
1 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Manolo B
4.0 2 years ago
by Manolo completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Luis R
4.0 3 years ago
Luis completed this course.
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Sławomir J
4.0 2 years ago
by Sławomir completed this course.
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Batuhan S
4.0 2 years ago
by Batuhan completed this course.
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  • 1

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