Buddhism and Modern Psychology - Princeton University



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  • Online

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Where and when

Starts Location
09 September 2016

What you'll learn on the course


Course programme

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?Online learning plays a key role in lifelong learning. In fact, a recent report by the United States Department of Education found that "the courses that include online education (either completely virtual or blended learning) produce, on average, much stronger learning outcomes for students courses They are conducted exclusively in person. Based on an approach developed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, the mastery learning helps students to fully understand a subject before moving on to a more advanced. In Coursera, usually we give an answer immediately to the concepts that the student does not understand feedback. In many cases, we offer random versions of assessments for the student to return to school and retrying until mastered the concept.