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Buddhism and Modern Psychology , Princeton University

4.8
3,095 ratings
876 reviews

About this Course

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....

Top reviews

By CV

Mar 03, 2016

Engaging content and excellent pace. While the level is introductory (I'd have liked a bit more depth), I would expect this from a lower-division/breadth course—and even more so from a MOOC like this.

By VC

Nov 16, 2015

I have been practicing meditation for two years already.In so far I have attended all Deepak Chopra meditation experiences which I found very helpful but not as helpful this course provided me so far.

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858 Reviews

By Sionade Colby Kilcommons Kyllo

Apr 14, 2019

AWESOME AND VERY INTERESTING MATERIAL.

By Mirjam Blokker

Apr 08, 2019

very interesting, and high level of teaching. The only downside is that the course is mainly talking heads, and some dogs :-) . It could be improved with some more reading material.

By Leonardo Jorge Tito

Apr 08, 2019

excelente ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

By Petar Jerčić

Apr 08, 2019

Up to date adn relevant course.

By Joanna Heintze

Apr 03, 2019

Excellent course! This has both deepened my understanding of Buddhism, and helped me to see how it can be applied to understanding the modern human condition.

By CHEN NI

Apr 02, 2019

Amazing!

By Helen Percival

Mar 27, 2019

Excellent thought provoking course, with an amiable and watchable presenter. I very much enjoyed it!

By Rita Appio

Mar 26, 2019

Following this course I opened my mind.

I suggest it!

By Salian Anish Sadashiv

Mar 22, 2019

Very good learning

By Monica Goyal

Mar 21, 2019

Excellent course. Professor Wright is an excellent lecturer. I especially enjoyed office hours with his dogs.