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

4.8
stars
5,298 ratings
1,810 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

LW
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.

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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176 - 200 of 1,778 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By bighenmanu@hotmail.com

Apr 11, 2021

I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and have found Robert Wright to be an excellent teacher. The lectures have been well-presented and sometimes difficult ideas explained in a logical clear way making arguments easier to follow than they might have been. Attendant videos and invited speakers have been well chosen, interesting and engaging giving real world insight into the subject matter.

By Gloria O

Mar 29, 2021

This is very esoteric material and not easily simplified. I am a significantly educated person (two master level degress) and it was difficult to digest. Our teacher did a very good job of breaking down the material so it could more easily be digested. I appreciate his lectures and also his dry humor. Thank you Professor Wright. I look forward to running across your lectures in the future.

By Paula S

Jun 22, 2017

I am only half way through this course but I am addicted! It is exactly what I have been looking for not only to help me understand the basics of Buddhism in layman terms but in to offer scientific explanations to back it up. Robert Wright is easy to understand and easy to connect to, I think he has done an amazing job at putting this course together and presenting it, so I say THANK YOU!

By Matthew B

Sep 21, 2016

Robert Wright does an excellent job presenting Buddhist ideas and putting them into context with modern psychology studies. I felt he offered a unique and scientific approach to the discourses and very much enjoyed his interviews and insights. The questions at the end of every lecture were very helpful to solidify new concepts. I look forward to digging deeper into supplemental materials.

By LARA D C S D O

Jun 11, 2020

I would classify it as an intruduction course to the subject, because the reltion between Buddhism and Evolutionary Psychology bears more substantial and deeper study. Dr. Wright is very knowdgable and the resources and materials he includes in the course are very interesting.

PS - I strated looking forward the Office hours videos due to his humour and his special guests Frasier and Milo.

By Gavin D

Jun 7, 2016

This is the first Coursera course that I have taken, and I was extremely glad to have taken it. Robert Wright is a wonderful lecturer - extremely intelligent, engaging and also adds some fun to the content.

Thank you Robert - I learnt a surprising amount in many unexpected areas. I am glad to have encountered you and am already beginning to seek out other material that you have produced.

By Andrea P M

Jul 27, 2020

I liked this course a lot. If you don´t know anything about Buddhism or Modern Psychology, you don´t have to worry, the concepts are easy to grasp and the content throughout the whole course is very interesting. If you do have some knowledge of Buddhism and even in Psychology this course will give you another perspective on their basic and core ideas and how they relate to each other.

By Brianna C

Dec 1, 2019

I took this course more than four years ago and I still think about it often. I have taken in-person classes at three different institutions and am now pursuing my PhD. Among all the courses I've participated in throughout my education, this remains one of my favorites. It stretched my thinking and caused me to reconsider some of the ways I thought the world and human experience work.

By Carlos S

Jan 20, 2016

Good Balance explaining Modern Psychology and Buddhism as well as how the former has aided to support empirically most of the observations laid out by the latter centuries ago. Lectures are very insightful and carefully crafted turning the whole six week course into a delightful experience to those interested not only in Buddhism but also in Modern Psychology and behavioural theory.

By Martin E

May 26, 2020

I would like to recommend this course to anyone interested in Buddhism who is looking for different and more down-to-earth perspectives on the teachings. I personally gained a lot of valuable insight on how the mind works and how this correlates with Buddhist ideas. Prof. Wright is a wonderful teacher, I especially enjoyed the office hours videos featuring his "enlightened dogs". :)

By Erika N F P

May 24, 2020

Me encantó el formato de las clases a través de vídeos ya que me trasladaban en mente a una clase presencial. Robert Wright ha sido un excelente mentor, explicando y analizando cada elemento del budismo y de la psicología moderna; las entrevistas y estudios que nos presentó fueron recopilados excelentemene. Aprendí mucho más que si sólo hubiera leído textos de la tradición budista.

By Guillermo G B

May 20, 2020

Agradezco mucho al Profesor Wright por este excelente curso. El Profesor Wright es un excelente académico que me llevó de manera fácil a entender temas muy complejos y que son muy valiosos para comprender nuestra naturaleza humana. Se planteó un gran reto: relacionar el budismo con la psicología moderna y me motivó a enfrentar ese reto! Muchass gracias y felicidades Profesor Wright!

By Sukruth G M A

Jul 20, 2020

This course in the current pandemic situation made me to think myself and know about moving from self to not self. Extremely thankful to the professor. The course made me to clear my mind and made a way for me that i was in search of buddhism, this also made me to think about zazen teaching. Thanks a lot lot lot to the professor who made me to think and become what i wanted to be

By Ruth L

Jun 24, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed this course even though it was challenging for the tired brain! Robert Wright has a wonderful manner - dry humour, modest, self-deprecating - and patently loves his subject (and his dogs).

The staff at Coursera also have a great manner, kind, helpful, friendly and efficient. Thank you all so much.

With appreciation and gratitude

Ruth Lensvelt

(South Africa)

By Gregory L G

Jun 21, 2018

In this excellent course Robert Wright shares his research that went into his latest book "Why Buddhism is True." I am now starting to read that book, but I suspect the course Buddhism and Modern Psychology will turn out to be a spoiler. That's okay, the course also made me want to learn more about Buddhism, meditation in particular, and also related science and neuroscience.

By Shubhada

Oct 20, 2016

I want to say a big thank you to Prof. Wright for designing this course excellently. This course has provided an enlightening outlook on life. It's a must for not only people who are studying Buddhist philosophy but also for people who are tackling with turbulence in life & need a long term solution to dealing with life's ups & downs. Thank you Prof. Wright, I will miss you!

By Elsa S

Sep 8, 2020

Great Course!!!, I am really happy an excited to finish !!! Thanks a lot to profesor Robert Wright the way he explain and questions he make are really enjoyable and interesting !! >Great work proffesor thanks for sharing it, and thanks to Buddha to give me more light in my life , thanks to coursera to make this available!!, my best regards to all. Elsa Santoyo from Mexico.

By Tarey L K

Oct 28, 2015

I am very attached to this Course & would find it extremely difficult not having an affective reaction to it. This is the second time I have audited this Course & hope to audit it each time it is available. Dr. Wright is a wonderful teacher & presents some very difficult concepts in very clear, concise, understandable language. Thank you so very much for this Course.

By Ernesto R R

Apr 26, 2021

This was an exceptional course, with a great teacher and very useful and interesting material. I recommend this course to all interested people, I am sure it will exceed your expectations.

Este fue un curso excepcional, con un gran profesor y material muy útil e interesante. Recomiendo este curso a toda la gente interesada, estoy seguro que superará sus expectativas

By Amit I

Jan 2, 2020

Robert Wright's class is amazing. I had been reading about Advaita Vedanta and studying writings of various Buddhist writers. Both these philosophies are very close and touch many aspects of our belief systems. I found Prof Wright's class to be the most engaging and insightful. It started me on a journey to learn more about the psychology and the neurobiology.

By Dilshan S

Oct 17, 2016

Engaging and stimulating, this course offers fresh perspectives on looking at the world. With captivating video lectures backed with interviews with world-class experts on subject matters, this course is a must for those interested in the intersection of Buddhism and modern psychology. A big thank you to Mr. Wright for putting all the material together. Thank you!

By Mónica M T

Jun 6, 2020

It is an interesting course. I learned many things that i had no idea before. Every topic was explained clearly.

However, I have a commment. There was an argument that wasn't mentioned along the course: how modern science, with a positivist approach, would lend support to a practice or paradigm that it isnt positive (not measurable, that can not be observed, etc).

By Joanna F

Jul 17, 2017

The course is prepared very, very nicely. I appreciated Mr Wright's knowledge on the topic as well as his style of presenting it. I think it is an excellent course for those who are ready to receive the teachings. I also enjoyed Mr Wright's sense of humor and his anecdotes about the dogs - Milo and Frazier. They are no worse teachers of Buddhism than their boss.

By Pankaj R

Oct 2, 2016

This is my second go for this course and let me tell, that this course is an excellent connection of pragmatic theories of BUDDHISM.I am practicing meditation "Vipassna Meditation" which is a form of very intense meditation technique thought by Lord Buddha himself, i can easily correlate every word what is being thought.Thumbs up for such an insightful course!!!