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

4.8
stars
5,260 ratings
1,788 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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151 - 175 of 1,757 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By Kate

Jun 19, 2016

This course was excellent. Robert Wright clearly and entertainingly covered complex and interesting material. He wove important themes throughout the course. His use of guest speakers and interviews was very helpful. His office hours were engaging and meeting his dogs was fun and instructive. I feel I really learned a great deal about Buddhism and Modern Psychology. I would definitely take another course with Professor Wright.

By Joly F Z

Sep 11, 2016

Thank you for putting this course together. I found it is extremely useful to understand Buddhism. especially selflessness with psychology knowledge. It gives the Buddhist philosophy a scientific foundation. It also helped my mindfulness meditation journey, gave me much clearer picture on what to 'watch' during the meditation journey. I recommend this course to anyone who's interested in Buddhism, Mindfulness, and meditation.

By Victoria D

Oct 13, 2018

This was my introductory course into Buddhism but also into how the neurological processes inside our brain impact our thoughts, feelings and actions. The material was very clearly presented but most importantly it was engaging enough to get me interested in the theory of self and mindfulness in a way I did not think possible. So I would say the course gave me an entirely new perspective on life, which is why I appreciate it

By Rebecca A S G

Dec 10, 2015

I loved Robert Wright before I took this class (I have read all his books and have REALLY enjoyed them!), and I love him even more after taking this class. His personality is fun, thoughtful, open, and kind (... and he's not bad to look at either), and his knowledge regarding Buddhism and Psychology is great. I learned quite a bit from this class. Thanks so much for this course. It's my favorite Coursera course thus far.

By Ming C

Jun 2, 2020

Great free course with good organization, user friendly IT platform and supporting materials. Dr. Wright is presented clearly and the messages are precisely delivered. One of my feedback to improve is, as a Chinese , I find the translation is even worse than I straightly studying the English . Also, the Chinese translation is not attached in every session and hence I prefer I don't rely on it. Hope someone can revise it.

By Patty L

Sep 17, 2016

Professor Wright did an outstanding job of presenting the fundamental principles of Buddhism and Evolutionary Psychology in a manner that a newcomer to these disciplines can understand. My greatest take away from the course will be further exploration of these ideas through the varied and rich resources he provided. My personal favorites were Bikkhu Bodhi, Judson Brewer and Joseph Goldstein.

Thank you Professor Wright

By Joseph S

Jun 9, 2020

Pleased to find a course that enables me to update personal views on Science and Meditation. I plan on reading more of professors Wright's books. Buddhism brought me to meditation a practice which has enriched my life considerably. I began practice at a time when science and psychology were just beginning to investigate meditation. It is very gratifying and beneficial personally to find this course on-line. Thank you.

By Jasna T

Jul 18, 2017

Robert Wright gives and amazing integration of Buddhism with Psychology. He teaches in unique way, integrating professionals and spiritualists and their conversations and insights into the lessons. The lectures are interesting and enjoyable adding much value to one's own personal development. It was a wonderful couple of month journey, I even feel like I'm gonna miss Robert and Maylo and Frazier. Strongly recommended!

By Shannon O

Oct 29, 2015

I still only partially through this course but I am very impressed. The professor is excellent; he brings humor into the lessons and explains everything in a way that we can understand. I also love the fact that he interviews various experts throughout the course in order to bring in even more perspectives. This class is extremely interesting to me and beyond my expectations. Thanks to the professor and to Coursera!

By Sian P

Jun 28, 2020

I gained a lot from this course - specifically from the style of dialogue and reflective discussions that Robert Wright adopts as his teaching approach on this complex subject. I thoroughly enjoyed the Professor's humourous engagement with his dogs in sharing in his reflective teachings of Buddhism, and will personally take a lot from this course into my own approach to life and meditation practice. Thank you!!

By James F

Apr 21, 2020

I found this course a good way to consolidate what I learned through reading Professor Wright's book 'Why Buddhism is True'. The lectures contain much of the same content, it is great to hear the delivery from Robert and I found the Office Hours segments interesting and engaging. Completion of the two course assignments provided some focus and I enjoyed writing a couple of essays for the first time in 20 years.

By Mihkel H

Feb 6, 2017

I'm very happy to have found this course. He has put together a sound explanation of what ulimately troubles us, the origins of those feelings, and solutions, starting with first taking a step back and understanding the big picture and then, well, in theory that shoud do it. However far teachings like this take people, I only see positives for someone, who understands the inner workings of a brain a bit better.

By Charles d S

Jan 11, 2017

Excellent course. Thoughtfully presented, by an instructor with considerable expertise in the field of evolutionary psychology who has also spent a lot of time thinking about religions and religious experience. Wright is ideally suited to navigate the content, and his interviews with other experts in the fields (and the fields are diverse) add greatly to the learning experience. Fantastic experience overall.

By DanielSubach

Feb 21, 2016

Terrific course and delivered by one of the most intellectual persons I have ever encountered. Fabulous course and well presented in a logical flowing detail covering the concepts and technical relationships exceptionally. Robert Wright is one of the best teachers and assembled a difficult course for delivery in a beautiful fashion. All modules excellent. The flow of the information and logic was great.

By Maria D

Jul 11, 2020

El curso me ha servido mucho, proporciona bastante información en los dos aspectos. tanto el científico como el del budismo y te lleva a sacar tus propias conclusiones.Creo que personalmente me deja una alternativa confiable para mejorar mi calidad de vida y mejorar mi relaciones con los demás y el entorno. Estoy satisfecha y Mi reconocimiento al Dr. Robert Wright por compartir sus conocimientos. Gracias

By Cinzia Z

Apr 2, 2021

I enjoyed this course enormously. It took me some time to complete it and I basically finished it at two different moments of my life but I assure you it is well thought through, well delivered and a lot of "fun" to follow and complete. I will be looking forward to more courses by Professor Wright and in the mean time congratulation to him, his staff and Coursera for an excellent learning opportunity.

By Ruth P

Jun 2, 2020

I learned so much about evolutionary psychology and Buddhism and how they might be connected from excellent lectures cleverly sectioned into easy bites to digest, from the highly entertaining office hours and from the diverse variety of additional resources to compliment the main content. You honestly can't cover more ground in a six week online course - and if you like dogs, this course is for you!

By Deleted A

Dec 3, 2020

Really great content! I joined this course to understand the mechanisms behind meditation and learned so much more than I thought I would, which really allows me to buy into meditation. It also helps me set intention in my meditation practice and reflect more meaningfully. Everything is also well packaged, organized, and the office hours include clips of the instructor's dogs, which is always fun(:

By GAYATRI G

Jun 8, 2020

I enjoyed this course by Prof Wright - found it to be very interesting and at the same time quite intense. The references to evolutionary psychology and the various writers, scientists and practicing Buddhists he introduced us to via their work and videos was especially informative. His office hours were refreshing and I always looked forward to seeing Milo and Frasier. Thankyou for a good course.

By Anna C M

Feb 10, 2021

I enjoyed taking this course, the interviews and lectures. I learned a lot from both Buddhism and modern Psychology. However I thought the office hours videos should not be mandatory, specially those in week 6. I will surely remember Mailo and Frazier, both very cute, more than anything else in them. In general, the interviews from the further reading sections were more relevant and interesting.

By Katya R

Nov 4, 2015

I really enjoyed this course! I have had an interest in Buddhist ideas, particularly meditation, but come from a very scientific mindset and want to see all ideas supported by experiments and empirical evidence. This course does a great job connecting results from psychology and neuroscience that aren't specifically about testing Buddhist philosophy and explaining how they support these ideas.

By Jagdeep G

Aug 18, 2016

The Course is well designed. It takes you through the Buddhist principles and co-relates how the findings of Modern Psychology are supportive of Buddha's teachings.It has normally been held that Religion and Science cannot converge.However this Course has to a large extent been able to show that it is possible to explain the matters of conciousness and beyond in terms of modern psychology

By Joe W

Jul 6, 2016

I think professor Wright is an effective teacher. The class introduces these concepts in a clear way. It isn't academically challenging in the sense that there are difficult assignments, but there are a couple essays that help ensure that you are understanding the content. It's a great introduction for someone who knows little about Buddhism or how it stands from a psychological standpoint.

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.