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

4,985 ratings
1,671 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 16, 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.


Mar 03, 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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251 - 275 of 1,641 Reviews for Buddhism and Modern Psychology

By larry g

Sep 01, 2017

I studied Buddhism decades ago from a historical prospective but could never really get a grasp on the underlying nature of the concepts involved. (Too much the engineer I guess.) This course finally provided the levers that I think may get me beyond dabbling in meditation techniques for stress relief only.

By Marcelo d J

Oct 07, 2015

Hice este curso hace un par de años y me pareció realmente excepcional, tanto que ahora lo estoy haciendo de nuevo y me parece cada vez mejor. El interés de los temas expuestos, la sencillez y accesibilidad a la hora de transmitirlos... Robert Wright es un verdadero maestro! Enhorabuena a él a todo su equipo!

By Helen R

Jun 09, 2016

Firstly I enjoyed it - it was interesting. Secondly I found it did what it said it would do - it was informative. The teaching was good. The assessments were relevant and did assess learning without being too time consuming or difficult. There was a forum which was interesting. I'd definitely do another one.

By Brendon M

Nov 15, 2016

Have been looking for something like this for twenty years - exploring Buddhism with a technical bent and relation to modern understandings of the mind. thank you. impressed with Robert Wright.

Would have liked to see a certificate and would have been a=happy to pay for this aspect if that was the barrier.

By Balthazar M

Aug 25, 2020

It was great! The material wasn't too hard to follow, not to mention very interesting and may I dare say, life-changing. I would just like to note that some of the supplemental readings were really long and tedious. Some material could have been cut off. But the central course itself was perfect, I think.

By Graham A

Mar 09, 2016

I find the subject and the material fascinating. Robert is a great lecturer with an obvious wealth of knowledge on the subject to impart to his students. I am thoroughly enjoying it and I look forward to studying with Robert again in the future. It has really opened my mind to a whole new field of study.

By Greer B

Jul 21, 2016

The professor is relateable, funny, and understandable. He explains the information thoroughly and provides a multitude of resources for deeper investigation. He approaches the topics from multiple points of views, and goes in depth in each of those views. It has been a very enjoyable experience so far.

By Denise T

May 13, 2016

Well worth the time. I am someone who has been meditating for a few years and I am practicing Psychologist and Psychotherapist. I was interested to understand how my experiences with meditation can relate to the word of modern psychology and this course was very persuasive in its approach and content.

By Juan G S

Aug 08, 2020

Though an objective course in understanding Buddhism, it actually helps you understand a bit of yourself more and more you listen to the lectures. You begin to identify and make sense of the world and the assessments really reflect what you understand and even go personal with your beliefs as a person.

By Samantha S

Jul 28, 2019

Robert was very thorough in his lectures, including the use of many scientific studies as examples. I admire his energy and would love to meet him someday! To non-attachment and reducing dukkha in our lives!!! Thanks for a great course and better psychological understanding of Buddhism as a philosophy.

By Gabriela Q

May 15, 2020

Profesor Wright not only is super clear, but he makes the lessons with various contents, sources and information useful. He explains with detail, he is funny (the dogs made me laugh more than once) and the subject is interesting. I am so happy I could find something like this during these hard times.

By Chee K N

Oct 10, 2019

Good course to relate the modern psychology to the buddhist view on human mind and thinking and how modern psychology supported the teaching of the buddha. Great course and special thanks to Dr Robert Wright and course provide Coursera. I truly enjoyed the course and the time was well spent. Thank you

By Manju A

Feb 27, 2019

The course designed beautifully, gives complete insight on Buddhism and modern Psychology. Mr. Robert Wright awesome teacher, he explains the concept in a very simple and effective way. I learned a lot from this course and would definitely practice some learnings in my day to day life. Thanks Coursera

By Nida R

Nov 17, 2015

I'm really enjoying this course, and especially like the written midterm and final (which we haven't submitted yet) and the peer review system which allows us to read other students' thoughts on the course material as well. Definitely recommended for anyone interested in either Psychology or Buddhism.

By Sarah V

Nov 14, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Dr. Wright did an amazing job intellectualizing core concepts of Buddhism and relating them to modern psychology- specifically evolutionary psychology. I finished this course with a strong curiousity to learn more about some of the subjects we looked at in the class.

By Ramchander K

Feb 04, 2016

This is a fantastic course with a fantastic premise. I look at the Buddha more as a scientist than a philosopher and hence it is very interesting for me to know similarities between Buddhist thought and psychology. Also the interviews of Buddhist monks that are intercut with the lectures are lovable!

By Scott H

Apr 08, 2020

Good short lectures, interesting essays, and interesting peer-review process. The class provides a synthesis of some core Buddhist ideas with modern psych. Where the class deviates from 'conventional' Buddhist teaching, it flags the deviation for you to separately research if you are interested.

By Jim K

Nov 16, 2016

It is a very interesting topic for me. Dr Wright's teaching are also great for us the learn the basic knowledge about both Buddhism and modern psychology, though the topic itself are very difficult because Buddhism is far more profound than we can expect and modern psychology are still very young.

By Francesco P

Oct 16, 2017

A very insightful course, that even if it does not release any certificate, can be a wonderful starting point to learn how the Coursera platform works and to those that are passionate about social sciences and spirituality can be a source for inspiration, further researches, and a detailed study.

By Martin O

Aug 17, 2017

This was a truly fascinating course. Robert Wright does an excellent job delivering the material in a very humorous and down-to-earth way. It's a great combination of spirituality and science. The finding from the course will change the way you live and give you ideas for improving your own life.

By Gretta M

Jun 15, 2020

I have a background in Buddhism from a minor while pursuing my undergrad, but none is psychology. The course wasn't too technical and both a good introduction to Buddhism and to mind modules in psychology. I definitely understand myself better after taking this course and highly recommend it!

By Clara A

Aug 18, 2020

As a Psychologys it was really interesting to learn about Buddhist ideas and correlate them with knowledge i already knew regarding my career. Robert Wright was very clear on every single one of his explanations and i am really happy with all the content that has been given to me as a student.

By Mateo P J

Jul 26, 2020

Un curso que te muestra de forma practica la conexión que existe entre la ciencia moderna y el camino Budista, y te invita a una sencilla practica que en lo personal me ha servido para grandes cosas en mi vida. Te recomiendo hacer este curso con la mente abierta y el corazón dispuesto. Gracias

By Nicholas G

May 24, 2020

Thank You Robert Wright and Coursera. This is a great introductory course into the potential role Buddhist practices and teaching are relevant into today's world. While I was stumped during many lectures the more I pondered and meditated on the subject the more truth and understanding "I" see.

By Tomer T

Apr 26, 2020

Great and interesting course! I feel like there are few, although not many, new scientific evidences about material in course. Therefore, some additional modifications might be required. For example, the notion of consciousness as a "flashlight" and not as aggregate that we have no control of.