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.
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.
par Madras A R K•
I found this course a lot of learning and great deal of fun. Prof. Wright's method of teaching allows us to come up with our own ideas and insights from our experiences and journey. I found the extra suggested readings, more importantly the video discussions (one hour long with Bhikku Bodhi, Prof Kurzban) meaningful and augmented the learning substantially. I am planning to enroll in Vipasana for 10 days in Igatpuri, India.
Also the last two weeks I was in Myanmar and met with Therevada Monks. The country follows the teachings of the Buddha quite in a pure form. Most kids go through being a 'novice'. Most come out. But that grounding seems to help.
par David D•
I really enjoyed this course which was novel to combine some of the essential Buddhist teaching with what modern psychology could support and interpret. I would say, even if you studied psychology and read some Buddhist writers, that Dr. Wright delivers a professional and engaging course that will give one food for thought as well as making clear some esoteric Buddhist concepts one may struggle with. It's refreshing to find similarities between what science and the Buddha postulate regarding the self, attachment and that the assigning of form/feelings to our environment may cause unhappiness/dissatisfaction. Great course and well presented!
par Olivia G•
I have never encountered a discussion of the first two noble truths that made so much sense to me. Having studied biology and discovered that science could not give me the answers I was seeking, I explored many different thought avenues. I am not a Buddhist, but I can identify with Buddhist thought. But what I absolutely agree with is what His Holiness the Dalai Lama says about the necessary collaboration between Buddhism and science. I think it is the only way for humanity to go to the next level and I think all spiritual and scientific directions should participate in the dialogue.
I am looking forward to the rest of the course.
par Deleted A•
What a great course! It may sound a bit dry or tedious but Robert, the instructor, makes it very exciting and above all hilarious. I'm not sure if he's aware of it but he's a really funny guy. The course strikes a good balance between the seemingly abstract ideas of Buddhism and the learning and insights from psychology. The course starts off quite basic and gradually builds up solid pieces of (sometimes sophisticated) proof/insights that logically answers the question if Buddhism can be considered a (naturalistic) religion. Highly recommended if you're interested in the topic of meditation/mindfulness with a light spiritual touch!
par Ann S•
Loved this course. It was a lot of fun. The Prof. really cares about the subject and how his students contribute to his own understanding of it. (He takes a lot of time reading students' comments and replying to them during "office hours.") He also reaches out to experts in both psychology and Buddhism and shows you his dialogue with them. Finally, the guiding questions for the assignments are a good challenge and the instructions for structuring the paper very clear. I didn't have time to write the papers but will as soon as I've the time. Bonus: you get to meet his dogs, and they're awesome.
I've taken more than 10 courses on coursera, edx and udacity and this is the one course that I love most so far! I've read a few books on meditation and evolution by now and I have to say I learned from this professor more than any other people on these two subjects. And let's not forget it's actually a course on buddhism. So thank you so much for this course! One big aha moment for me for example is "evolution doesn't care about whether we're happy but it does care that we care about we're being happy. And that's how evolution 'designed' us to do its bidding." That's so mind blowing.
par Francois Y L•
Well I really got what I was looking for when I enrolled for the course; which is some sense of what Buddhism was about. I not only got that, but I also got a really good view of how it is linked to Modern psychology. The materials made available for the course are really precious to me and are very useful as I tried to understand the two subjects. They not only deepened my knowledge but also inspired me on different themes and things I want to look into next. I am very grateful to Coursera for making this freely available and for Prof. Wright for teaching his passion with passion.
par Jose M M•
First, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Robert Wright, for his dedication and human warmth. This course on Buddhism and modern psychology allowed me to add new tools to face daily life situations from another perspective. All the material presented in the course is developed in a clear and enjoyable way and encourages us to go on investigating and reflecting. I have enjoyed this course from the very beginning to the end, and taking responsibility for reading my classmates´ assignment has been enriching. Once more, thank you so much Professor Wright.
Jose M Muñoz.
par Susanne W•
A very informative and intriguing course that draws clear parallels between evolutionary psychology and the concepts behind Buddhism. Robert Wright's lectures offer thought provoking ideas and combine them with vivid, everyday examples to aid understanding of each concept on the deepest levels. . His personal experience, knowledge and enjoyment of the topic at hand are evident in each lecture and he is a joy to learn from. I also enjoyed hearing from the other experts he interviewed throughout the course in this very interesting field of study.
Thank you for a great course!
par Dharav S•
I personally believe this course should be taught in residential campuses and colleges all around the world. The course does introduce Buddhist ideas, but more importantly, it helps us realize our flaws in a Darwinian setting. It is more about Darwin and evolution than it is about Buddhism. It helps us understand why people sometimes are vicious, irrational or why we act in ways that we don't associate with us. I would recommend the course to everyone I know, and any one who is reading this: just finish the course in one small video at a time and put all of this in practice!
It has been an absolute pleasure to study Robert Wright's course in Buddhism and Modern Psychology. As a UK journalism graduate, with no previous knowledge whatsoever in this field,
I had the urge to branch out a try something different during this pandemic, I am so glad to have taken took that leap.
I have been constantly gripped into the lectures, independent study and research. It is an insightful course that teaches you at an introductory level but progresses you to strive further and learn more about the traditional Buddhist teachings and modern psychology perspectives.
par Tom S•
I admit to being a novice when it comes to Buddhist thought, but I've followed Robert Wright's work since reading The Moral Animal many years ago. I found the course to be a wonderful introduction to Buddhist thought, but more importantly an inventive and thoughtful attempt to connect that worldview and its prescriptions to current thinking in western psychology. Whether you're interested in evolutionary psychology, neuroscience or mindfulness - or better yet, all three - I think you'll find this course well worth your time. Mr. Wright is a wonderful writer and teacher.
par Kristina R•
Professor Wright is very engaging and knowledgeable! He breaks down Buddhism in an intellectual manner that does not demean the spirituality of it, but also does not adhere to it. This makes the course both educational and easy to digest, for anyone with an aversion to spiritual matters (which you will learn in this course may be a source of suffering...). I am only on the 2nd week of lessons and can't wait to see this through to the end! In an unattached appreciative manner of course... haha. Thanks to everyone that put forth the effort to design and share this course!
par Zoraya M O V•
I am infinitely grateful to Dr. Robert Wright for planning this course, I feel that it will be of great use to me from now on, my idea of meditating had nothing to do with what I now learned from the course, the psychological part was made to me very interesting, but what really caught my attention is how our mind can be so powerful and how we can help it to have control, understand that we still have a lot to know and know each other individually, how meditation is not at odds with science and how both, hand in hand, can contribute so that people have a better life.
par Ricardo A•
It is a pleasant and amusing introduction to Buddhism and Modern Psychology. This course focuses on meditation as a way of trying to reduce the impact of unproductive patterns of thinking. I find it an interesting and worthwhile course. Mr Wright proposes interesting theories based on natural selections. The central points in the course is how our modern life presents us with stimuli that were useful in our prehistoric environment but which cause us to overreact. Meditation makes us realize this and temper down or eliminate our responses and bring peace to our mind.
I loved this course, the professor is very clear at explaining and giving different points of view of the theories. Personally it was a huge help because of the situation I was in when I enrolled in the course and I think having a different view of the world and ourselves is incredibly useful and positive, This course helps attain just that so I highly recommend it for someone who wants to test a little their ideas and perceptions of the world and themselves because its not just a theoretically course because it has science and experiments that help support ideas.
par María d R M G•
Considero que es un curso fundamental para todos los seres humanos.
Mediante el esfuerzo del Dr. Robert Wright y sus invitados a este curso, se puede concluir que sí es posible afirmar que la sabiduría ancestral del budismo tiene un sólido respaldo científico a través de las investigaciones y descubrimientos de la psicología evolutiva contemporánea. Estos descubrimientos brindan comprensión y certeza a la práctica de la meditación como elemento para alcanzar una vida más tranquila y acercarnos lo más posible al camino del sentido de la vida.
par Anna P M•
Overall, the course has been very satisfying and it has provided me with precious knowledge concerning not only psychology and Buddhism in particular but also religion, philosophy and the way science can creatively interact with them. The lectures were almost always very easy to follow and Dr. Wright explained all concepts in a very clear and interesting way. I would maybe decrease the length of certain video lectures though. It is totally recommendable to anyone wanting to discover new perspectives that are based on really up to date facts.
par Daniel S•
Prof. Wright provides students with an insightful range of knowledge which is bound to impact the way you see the world. I congratulate the professor, the teaching/research assistants, my colleagues and Coursera as a platform for making this a truly enriching experience. I registered for this course not knowing what to expect and it is revealing to see how an online class has provided me a way to see the world anew, bridging differences between the East and the West, the ancient and the modern, and the humanities and the sciences. Thank you!
par Tamer D A•
Buddhist principles and values have come to the attention of all scholars in all ages since its inception thousands of years ago.
Wright has an academic approach to Buddhism and treats his sources impartially and with the requisite profundity needed in this field. Wright has briliantly structured the course to be accesible for all while demanding submissions and participations from students hailing from a wide-range of backgrounds.
Wright´s good sense of humor brings new light to Buddhism.
Thank you Coursera and Mr Wright at Princeton.
par Jay L•
Intellectually challenging yet clearly explained, this is the best class I have taken through Coursera. Dr. Wright is an insightful lecturer and provides a look at both Buddhism and modern psychology in a straight forward way clearing both subjects of unnecessary cultural clutter and jargon. As both subjects are analyzed in a logical, compelling manner, it becomes evident how their relationship informs us about the human situation through our evolutionary past and in our crisis ridden modern world. Very thought provoking and inspiring.
par Kiwi P•
An excellent online course! It's my very first Coursera course - and I'm glad that I've committed a total of six weeks to study Buddhism and Modern Psychology. I learned so much from Professor Robert! His teaching styles, reading assignments, and paper exams are all super-comprehensive and well-designed. I can't believe this course was filmed six years ago - the topic is still relevant. And I'm sure this fantastic course will inspire more future students!!! Now, I will move on to my next lesson on Coursera. Stay foolish, stay hungry:)
par Harika B•
I loved this course. It certainly changed my life understanding how mindfulness can help me lead a happier and healthier life. It also helped me benefit from my meditation practice more because understanding the why of what you are doing is so powerful. Now I m trying to prepare a course to help my students meet these ideas, just simplifying them as they are quite academic. Thanks a million to Robert Wright and everyone who contributed to this course. I will spread the ideas and hopefully this will help make the world a better place.
par Ali H•
The course is essential in understanding the concepts of Buddhism that seem alien or Eastern to North Americans. The way the terms become defined and understood in a logical manner assisted by scientific evidence and rationale promotes Buddhism no longer as a religion but as mechanism for perfecting life that can be attached to any way of life. The presentation of this evidence is unquestionable and scientifically valid. I would not have expected anything less than this level of deliberation from such an esteemed thinker in our era.
par Rajendran V•
A great course evaluating the Buddhist teachings from the evolutionary psychology point of view. For those who are following a Buddhist way of life this will be a very good course which will fill in many gaps and the confirmation that the Buddhist teachings are true from a scientific perspective as well. For those of you totally new to the Buddhist teachings, the topics presented may be a bit difficult to follow but if you really dig in and do some background study, then the course will be very interesting.