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

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

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.

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.

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201 - 225 of 1,778 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By Anselmo D A

Dec 11, 2017

An awesome course. I took it because of the proposal to relate Buddhism and modern psychology, even me knowing too little of both. Professor Wright makes it easy to follow the Buddha's ideas, while relating those to modern science, and my view of what both subjects are changed for the best. From here, a lot of reading and practice of meditation to improve life!

By Juan G

May 18, 2020

Excelente curso. El profesor Wright desarrolla muy bien los contenidos, de manera amena y con intervenciones precisas con otros profesionales. El material complementario es muy interesante (lástima que los videos completos de las entrevistas no estén subtitulados en español) y los autores que cita permiten hacerse una mejor idea sobre el budismo en occidente.


May 13, 2020

Excelente curso; muy sólida exposición y presentación del profesor. Muy valioso el recurso de las entrevistas a diferentes expertos con perspectivas también diferentes, como parte de la discusión y de la sustentación de las tesis. Me fortalece aspectos de fundamentación en la comprensión del comportamiento humano. Quedo muy agradecido. Saludos desde Colombia.

By 钟慧

Mar 7, 2019

I really like this course, which shows a very different perspective to think about the religion that I usually heard of but never thought into. It stimulated me to think of the inbuilt modes of human's mind/brain by birth (psychology part), and subjectively think of buddhism by getting rid of those overwhelming superstitions. Thank you very much, professor!

By Tyler W

Jun 10, 2020

This course is a fantastic overview of Buddhism in general, mindfulness meditation practice/philosophy in particular, and the multiple ways in which modern science adds a sort of rigor and validation to the claims of Buddhist philosophy. I encourage all to read Wright's subsequent book called "Why Buddhism Is True" to continue the immersion in these ideas.

By Shikha A

Jun 15, 2019

Its a great course for anyone who wants to understand Buddhism in relation to modern psychology. The topics have been covered with lot of depth and clarity. And there are many talks with eminent people in respective fields to give additional inputs about the topics. I really like this course and would look forward to do more courses by the same instructor.

By Cindy R

Oct 26, 2017

Awesome class! Loved the way Buddhism was tied into psychology. If I didn't quite understand the Buddhist way, the psychology of it made sense. I learned so much in this class. The professor added humor to his videos along with his cute dogs. I loved all the interviews with various people. It really helped in the discussion forums and for my own use.

By abha r S

Mar 6, 2021

Though Buddhism as a religion need no introduction but its relationship with evolutionary psychology was an eye opener for me. We need more such courses and researches which brings out the scientific dimensions of religion, instead of depicting it as full of superstitions and dogmas. I enjoyed the course and would look forward for similar work in future.

By Alice T

Oct 18, 2020

I enjoyed the course a lot even though sometimes it seems like a lot of materials and coursework, but I think they actually helped me solidified the knowledge from the lessons. I'm interested in both psychology and buddhism, and I've always thought there's some overlap between the two, and it's really interesting to see that science actually backs it up.

By Evgueni K

Jan 24, 2019

It is one of the most important courses that I have ever took. This course has provided me with a very valuable insight into my own mind, as well as basics of Buddhism, and its cross with modern science. The course will change my life, as it provides me with better understanding of my own though process and emotional functioning. Thank you so very much!


Apr 21, 2017

This is a brilliant course by an amazing professor. One of my favourite courses ever.

I took this course twice. And it made a huge impact on my life, without exaggeration. Since then I went a couple of times to silence retreats Prof. Wright mentions in the course, follow and learn from the teachers he talks about.

Can't be more grateful for this course.

By Lloyd A

Mar 23, 2016

This was such an enjoyable course and has had a profound impact on my life. I now meditate and use mindfulness much more than I did. Robert Wright as a lecturer is easy to understand, patient and also adds humour to the course, with the consideration of the level of Buddhist temperament shown by his dogs during the tutorials. Time well spent. Thank you.

By Mike H

Aug 28, 2019

Loved this course. It was exactly what I was looking for: a concise, enjoyable and informative insight into the psychological aspects of Buddhism. Professor Wright is a skilled and knowledgeable communicator who makes each lecture engaging, ably supported by his two dogs, Milo and Frasier. The detailed support material is also very useful. Thankyou

By Anastasia A

May 6, 2020

This course supplies you with more than enough information in many different learning styles. Any questions I had were answered and the vast system of peer contact improved the experience. Each students education can expand through the discussion board, FB and Twitter page as well as and suggested readings. Thank you Professor Wright!


Apr 2, 2016

Excelente ! Ofece una perspectiva diferente sobre lo que damos por sentado acerca del "yo", nuestra mente y la posibilidad de autoreflexividad sobre nuestros pensamientos y conductas "automáticas" asociadas a estos pensamientos o ideas. Esto con base en las enseñanzas de buda y su relación con investigaciones recientes en neuropsicología cognitiva.

By Jung H L

Apr 5, 2020

Simply an excellent course! I'd like to thank everyone involved, specially Dr. Wrights and colleagues, in the creation of the content and the team of Coursera and Princeton University to facilitate this knowledge to of us for free in these times of need. I will definitely honour your time, resources and generosity by referring and sharing the course.

By Diana P

Apr 5, 2017

I found this course very insightful and Dr. Robert Wright explained the lessons very clearly. I learned Buddhist principles that I now see myself applying to my daily life, making me a more mindful and thoughtful person. The office hours at the end of each week's lecture were also very entertaining and insightful. Highly recommend taking this course.

By una

May 28, 2020

Honestly, one of the most interesting things I have listen in long time. I started course just to see whats it about, but it absolutely grasped me in. Very informative, great different views from different people in field, great assignments, and lovely light humour in office hours to lighten up rather difficult subject. Truly great course. Thank you

By Jean H

Feb 19, 2016

Delightfully straightforward and easy to understand presentation on Buddhism and how Buddhist ideas on self and suffering intersect with current ideas in the field of psychology, particularly evolutionary psychology. The only thing I found odd is that Robert Wright seemed to put enlightenment in the league of something unobtainable for most people.

By Benoit B

Jun 30, 2019

Exciting! Very good and condensed course. A rich and deep summary of all studies done and shared by Robert Wright about evolutionary psychology and Buddhism. My personal output of this MOOC is really great, I learned a lot and it changes the way I think and conceive the world. I recommended to my best friends, found of philosophy and spirituality.

By Daniel M C

Apr 2, 2018

This is a very interesting topic, or combination of topics. Whether you're coming from psychology, evolution, Buddhism, or meditation, you'll get interesting new insights and interconnections. The lecturer and guest lecturers are excellent. This isn't a flashy new-age MOOC with lots of digital wizardry, but more of a traditional university course.

By Sridevi R

Jul 12, 2020

I enjoyed Prof Wright's deep and accurate analysis of the Buddha's position on morality, human mind, consciousness and learning from him the positions of evolutionary psychology - a new subject for me. Fascinating journey, it gave me a deeper understanding of the Buddhist psychology which I had been studying for a while. Thank you Prof Wright.


Dec 12, 2016

This course lends scientific support to Buddha's views about human mind, self, meditation, and builds a helpful connection between Buddhism and evolutionary psychology. It expands my knowledge of both Buddhism and psychology. Thanks to Mr Wright's efforts in preparing and sharing this course around the world and his great insights and teaching.

By Doug F

Jan 10, 2018

Excellent course, I learned a lot about Buddhism and evolutionary psychology. The lectures were informative and entertaining. The course was well targeted to people like me, who are starting with a very limited knowledge of Buddhism. And yet we got into more advanced topics as well. Good use of short video interviews with experts in the field.


Jul 13, 2020

He concluido el curso ´Buddhism and Modern Psychology´Agradezco la oportunidad gratuita. ha sido un curso muy interesante que bien puede explicar los porqués de muchos de nuestros aspectos.

Agradezco especialmente a Robert Wright y a todos los entrevistados que dieron claridad a este curso.

Muchas Gracias

María del Carmen Lourdes Celorio Gaytán