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Buddhism and Modern Psychology , Princeton University

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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....

806 个审阅

创建者 Tobias Four

Dec 12, 2018

Really well made course with a lot of Office Hours to make the course even better. It raises a lot of questions and teach a lot about self, meditation and human mind in general.

创建者 Iqbal Nouyed

Dec 09, 2018

It will change you how you look at yourself and the world. Highly recommended.

创建者 Elizabeth Nyang

Dec 07, 2018

Excellent material and lectures.

创建者 Daniel

Nov 30, 2018

Awesome course. Professor does a great job!

创建者 Sophie R

Nov 29, 2018

Loving the content of the course, thought provoking, educational, encourages self-development. I also like the contribution from the dogs Milo and Fraser!

创建者 Sarah Voswinkel

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.

创建者 Rina Koshkina

Nov 10, 2018


创建者 William Gandre

Nov 03, 2018

I found this course fascinating. The course is developed by Robert Wright who published the book "Why Buddhism is True." Really made a strong case, within the context of evolutionary psychology and modern neuroscience, of the "truth" behind Buddhist practices and their philosophy about the world. This course strips away the spiritual aspects in a non-denigrating fashion, focuses on the core concepts, examines their accuracy in context of Western evolutionary understanding of the natural world and how the human brain was designed to function via natural selection.

Many of the claims made by Buddhist spiritual practitioners about how they've come to experience existence is generally at odds with how neurotypical people experience the world. However, if you're open to the assertion that meditative practices may change the way the brain operates and interested in how natural selection may have wired us in a way that both obscures our perceptions of reality and lead us to feel unsatisfied, even the most staunch secularist may come to appreciate how the Buddhist prescription may bring a type of Enlightenment congruent with the natural world.

创建者 David Calleja

Nov 02, 2018

Amazing course. Thank you very much to Robert Wright and the team at coursera for shining a scientific light in Buddhist teachings.

创建者 Jimbo

Oct 22, 2018

I very much enjoyed the course. The instructor is very personable. The topic piqued my interest - and raised a lot of profound questions that I think may have answers floating out there. I do think there is more in modern psychology that lends support to central tenets of Buddhism which wasn't covered. Some of the course gets side tracked on a topic that I think the learners could have been spared, even though it connects with what the instructor has focused on in his career. Nevertheless, I'd rather be watching a video lecture during dinner than watching something else on TV.