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Buddhism and Modern Psychology , Princeton University

2,953 ratings
832 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....
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814 Reviews

By Alice Zerr

Jan 15, 2019

The basis of Buddhism is strop making excuses and that is what this course implicitly implies.

By Prince Ahuja

Jan 14, 2019


By Andrea Spila

Jan 13, 2019

Great course. Bodhisattva Robert Wright is an entertaining and inspiring teacher and I'm looking forward to his next course. Meanwhile, I enjoy reading his books.

By Zhen Liang

Jan 10, 2019

Great course。

By Yann Marchand

Dec 31, 2018

Amazing course. Would recommend to everyone. This is what MOOCs are meant to be!

By Sudharaka Palamakumbura

Dec 24, 2018

Incredible course. A great and wonderful introduction to meditation and Buddhism in general in a psychological standpoint.

By Iromi Perera

Dec 23, 2018

This is a great effort which should be appreciated. Just because at a time like this, some are curious to know about the Buddhism, & with the psychological background, which adds more value for this.

By John Hamilton

Dec 22, 2018

Best explanation of what Buddhism is I've seen since [many decades] I've been trying to figure it out.

By Tobias Four

Dec 12, 2018

Really well made course with a lot of Office Hours to make the course even better. It raises a lot of questions and teach a lot about self, meditation and human mind in general.

By Iqbal Nouyed

Dec 09, 2018

It will change you how you look at yourself and the world. Highly recommended.