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

5,254 ratings
1,787 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

Oct 25, 2020

I thought this was a great introduction to both modern Buddhist thought and evolutionary psychology. Professor Wright is an excellent lecturer, and his office hours are informative as well as amusing.

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.

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1701 - 1725 of 1,756 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By Prem k N

Sep 2, 2020


By 方淳

Jul 1, 2016


By Chemychen

Apr 10, 2016


By Justin H

Dec 29, 2020

A lot of emphasis on the modular perspective of psychology.

Much of the video content in this course features "office hours" material which is a mail bag type of discussion reflection on student somments.

The course had a few references to interesting studies; such as a look at human perception using illusion art and mood setting environments.

The philosophically inclined peer-reviewers seem stricter than the usual peer-reviewers you see on Coursera.

I am disappointed that this course does not offer a certificate; unlike most other Coursera courses.

By Ryugan M W L

May 30, 2020

Good course. I learned great deal and especially valued the connection between the Buddha's early teachings and the theory of evolution. Caveats to set expectations though: the "Buddhism" is Theravada Buddhism, and the "Modern Psychology" is evolutionary psychology. A major issue is the strong emphasis on the "modular theory of the mind," which is entirely theoretical and not broadly shared as accepted psychology. Especially as "modern" fMRI and MRI scans find no physiological structure to correspond to such operating models.

By Corinne S

Mar 8, 2016

The Professor is excellent. I enjoyed this course solely because of Professor Wright. If you have a positive outlook on Buddhism but do not know the ins and outs of the religion/practice I do not recommend this course. I have a totally different outlook on it now that I wish I didn't have. It is interesting information but the essays are in depth and difficult...and there is no chance to even purchase a certificate.

By Priya K C

Sep 4, 2020

I found the course interesting and learnt a lot of new things during this study. I hope this will help my study in psychology even more better. Although the provided resources were easy to understand, it would have been even better if the lecture contained few presentation slides or may be few animation because only listening to the professor got me bored at some moment.

By Monica S

Oct 9, 2020

The content was captivating and fascinating. However the videos were too long, 20mns-30mns videos are too long to watch in one sitting. In addition, not being able to access the videos from my mobile phone was inconvenient so I couldn't listen when I was out and about. More flexibility in the way to consume the content would be more aligned with my learning preferences.

By Asia T

Jan 13, 2021

I found the beginning very interesting with good argument and some material to progress.

After especially regarding the self issue, there is a process to intellectualized the questions and come with some hypothetical theory , which become simply too long.

Psychology is a soft science , so it is better to synthesis. Too much talk and not enough interview or summary .

By Osman V

Feb 9, 2017

Great lectures. I really enjoy discovering the world of the teacher and friends. I'll give it 3 stars since it doesn't arrive at an awe inspiring conclusion or life changing experience as somebody interesting into these subject would expect. The part where our own importance is challenge is enlightening. Cheers to the good professor.

By James B

Mar 24, 2016

An interesting class but left me wanting more. I realize that this is an overview but the field of secular Buddhism seems very shallow. After going through this class and reading three of Steven Batchelor's books I have the distint feeling that I may have reached the end of the subject.

By Triana B

Jun 15, 2020

The course is somewhat interesting, unfortunately the way to provide the information is disengaging. Even though the professor clearly posses a lot of knowledge, he has a hard time landing the information.

By German G S

May 4, 2020

Very interesting material, however, I found that the lectures are sometimes difficult to follow due to the lack of visual slides or schemes. It would help tremendously to the lectures imo!

By Deleted A

Dec 13, 2016

The beginning is well prepared, interesting and informative, the end is undercooked, subjective and repetitive. Be it 2 separate courses, I would rate them 5 and 2.

By Marni S

Oct 2, 2016

I enjoyed the course material and the idea behind linking Buddhist concepts with psychology; I just found some of the videos a little dry.

By Abhishek S

May 25, 2020

The contents are in too much details if compared to the other courses of coursera,,only thing it should be made little precise

By Krishna S

Apr 17, 2020

Good course. It was informative and gave me information from the perspective of Evolutionary Psychology

By Emil

Feb 4, 2021

Strange course or maybe I find it strange, because I am not a buddhist.

By Pavankumar B

Mar 22, 2020

A unique course that has encouraged a fresh approach to theology.


May 26, 2020

Could provide certificate. As of now no certificate provided

By Riya B

Sep 13, 2020

There is no certificate for this course so don't join in

By Beatriz S

Jul 6, 2017

Excellent! Pity there is no certificate for this course.

By Darleen M

Jun 13, 2016

Loved the professor. Do not like essay questions.

By Beatriz C

Feb 7, 2019

good but not what i expected, too boring

By Kamala .

Oct 4, 2020

Nice course more information its give