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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Buddhism and Modern Psychology by Princeton University

4.8
stars
5,266 ratings
1,793 reviews

About the 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

VC
Nov 15, 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.

CV
Mar 2, 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.

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1551 - 1575 of 1,763 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By Gary M

Feb 6, 2019

I wanted to work through this course for interest as I have been following Buddhist philosophy for approx 10 years during which I attended the local Buddhist Centre for lessons given by a Tibetan monk, Rinpoche Tupten, for three years (3 times a week).

I also had purchased and read "Why Buddhism is True" written by Robert Wright.

I have enjoyed this course and the approaches taken and structure together with the input from practitioners.

Thank you Robert and Princeton University

Kind regards

Gary Morton

New Zealand

By Tomek C

Feb 2, 2017

This is an excellent course. It's very thought-provoking and provides insight into meditation--a subject that eludes many people. The course needs more quizzes to help students learn and remember the knowledge taught in the lectures. It also needs a better evaluation scheme--the two essay-only evaluation form does not do enough to test student knowledge. Test are needed. A better evaluation scheme would weigh testing and essays, for example, 60% testing, 40% essay.

By Nicky V

Feb 16, 2016

It was pretty good for most of the time. I found the professor engaging and interesting. He was an effortless speaker who never seemed bored--you could tell he was passionate, but did not alienate students by using too much jargon or academe-speak. I sort of fell off of the course toward the end mostly because I felt much of the material began to repeat (or at least became extremely predictable). Overall, really great course.

By Nicolle M

Apr 26, 2017

Very interesting and enjoyable. There is much to contemplate in this rich dense course. I think I'll do it again and extract even more now that I've been through it once. I find the material consistent with my own practice of mindfulness meditation, and with my studies in psychology.

Thank you for a wonderful and stimulating experience. I am recommending it to family and friends so we can discuss this matter in greater depth.

By Tony O

Sep 14, 2020

well connection with buddhism and modern psychology. While psychology is still evolving, buddhism is also evolving. The original teaching of Buddha is also evolved to suit the needs and desires of people in different culture and country. in some way, it sustain the teaching of buddha. In another, it distort the teaching and makes it more complicated and difficult to practise as there are too many school of thought.

By juan c p m

May 11, 2020

Es un buen curso desde el punto de la psicología evolucionista. Pero desconoce otros aportes muy importantes de la psicología moderna. No debería llamarse budismo y psicología moderna, sino budismo y psicología evolucionista.

No es muy profundo en cuanto al pensamiento budista. Me hubiese gustado más temática budista que desde la psicología evolucionista.

se podría pensar en un segundo curso mas profundo.

By Julián P E

Nov 28, 2017

Great course! Robert Wright is a wonderful teacher that explains in a very simple and easy to understand way some difficult concepts from Buddhism and modern psychology. My only complaint is that there were a lot of Buddhist ideas that were left out, like the moral ideas of Buddhism. Also the last lecture on Enlightenment was really hard to grasp without understanding previous Buddhist precepts.

By Eesha L

Jul 6, 2020

Course material is really challenging and thought provoking. It really gives you a new perspective to look at everyday things. it would have been better if the course could provide a certificate however it is rather ironic to ask for such a amendment shortly after learning about how illusions are often related with certain reinforcements. I really enjoyed the course and the reference material.

By Rytis R

Aug 24, 2020

Generally well designed and presented. It gets somewhat repetitive towards the end, it would have been good to include more scientific theories and evidence, especially considering the advancements in neuropsychology. The shift towards morality at the end of the course is unsubstantiated and unnecessary. The course is on the links between Buddhism and psychology, not ethics.

By MC

May 26, 2020

Great introduction to the study of Buddhism through the lens of modern science. If you are "prove it" person this course is very helpful to get over some obstacles. Science is an wonderful tool to help us learn, even if takes centuries to "prove" what many cultures have known for millennia. Thanks to Prof. Wright and his faithful companions for taking us on this journey.

By Barbara M

Oct 31, 2015

Lectures were interesting, fun, and...dare I say...enlightening? Though I was initially put off by having to write papers, I did see the value in it as I had to review the written transcripts of the video lectures and work to assemble my ideas and arguments for the essays. I would definitely take another class by Prof. Wright, Milo and Frasier.

By Peter C

Jul 1, 2019

I liked it a lot. After a while, it occurred to me that modern psychology, a new and highly fad and change prone academic interest, has a lot of gall to judge a tradition that remains strong after 2500 years.

But I had to know enough about Buddhism and psychology to ask that question in the first place. And that's what I got from this course.

By Lyla B

Feb 25, 2018

I thought the course was very helpful as an introduction to Buddhist philosophy and the companion material about brain studies that have been undertaken to prove/disprove some Buddhist teachings was very interesting. The Office Hours piece was a little burdensome, especially toward the end, but all in all the course was definitely worthwhile.

By Oliver S

Aug 23, 2016

An interesting supplement to my Zen studies and practice. While somewhat speculative in some parts (largely due to fact that the brain's complexity makes full understanding just a little out of reach even today), the course is clearly built upon the foundations of rigorous science, thousands of years of Buddhist inquiry and common sense.

By Tharindu R

Nov 11, 2020

Very Important and valuable course, contrasting both Buddhism and modern science. I feel it will be much effective if the course coordinator can edit the video adding more graphics, texts, images, examples and summarized points other than showing the speaker continuously. Anyhow thank you for all the knowledge you shared. Good Luck

By Vu H

May 30, 2020

Interesting view of an ancient religion through the scope of modern psychology. I was born and raised in a Buddhist family but I do not really understand the details about the religion as I do now after the class. Thank you Dr. Wright for expanding my own view of Buddhism and making sense of the inner workings of the human mind.

By john l

Feb 16, 2019

From this course, a book is born! Buddhism is True, in the sense that the secular practice is validated by Evolutionary Psychological scientific experiment and research. Thus, one can take step to ameliorate ones pain, suffering, and dissatisfaction of life. Nirvana can be achieved with the right view and effort.

By Ruth G

Nov 14, 2017

Excellent course provoking much thought. However, did think that week 6 was a little rushed with lots to review and think about and then to write an essay. I would have liked more time to assimilate the final week with longer time to write the final assignment. However did enjoy and would recommend to others.

By Sam T

Oct 16, 2016

For those interested in what Buddhism has to offer regarding the mind, but without any of the religious aspects, this is a good course both for information as well as for being thought-provoking/stimulating. The online environment enables contact with people and materials which might otherwise be beyond reach.

By Irina N

Jun 13, 2016

Very nice course, very interesting. I really liked the professor's specific sence of humour in examples he makes. The course was a little boring because of a lot talking about things already talked and understood, lots of specifications for people who might argue or disagree, or might feel offended.

By ritesh m j

May 17, 2020

very well explained.in this i learned that how buddhism and modern science is related and in this its shows that how important meditation is to see the world more clearly and how to work on your emotions in right manner. this course shows how to think and organise your thoughts in positive way.

By Carlos V H

Jun 4, 2020

It is a full and long course with many interesting concepts to compare and learn. The only problem I see is the monotony of the classes, which sometimes make it difficult to follow in a suitable activacion. Maybe I should focus on streghten my concentration, but I think it could be more dynamic

By Huanglei P

Dec 27, 2017

A good introduction course for buddhism and its relationship to modern psychology. Some of the illustrator's idea are really innovative. However, most of the video lessons are in lecture format and lack of summary slides for logical structure during each lesson, so I might get confused somehow.

By Van d t

Jun 28, 2020

The topic was very interesting and well taught. I read the book as well and I am a great admirer of Robert Wright ever since I read the Moral Animal in 1999 or so. I feel we could have gone a little deeper and could have had an even better course if we did. It was basically a bit short