Buddhism and Modern Psychology

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Below are the top discussions from Reddit that mention this online Coursera course from Princeton University.

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.

Philosophy Psychology Mindfulness Meditation

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Taught by
Robert Wright
Visiting Lecturer
and 10 more instructors

Offered by
Princeton University

Reddit Posts and Comments

14 posts • 104 mentions • top 39 shown below

r/Buddhism • post
146 points • edtsech
Coursera Course Buddhism and Modern Psychology Starts on Aug 6
r/Meditation • post
34 points • Poop-n-Puke
Coursera - Buddhism and Modern Psychology
r/Buddhism • post
25 points • InternetIdentifier
(Coursera)Buddhism & Modern Psychology/Meditation Science Course Starts This Week
r/Buddhism • post
24 points • greencomet90
Princeton University Course-Coursera - Buddhism and Modern Psychology
r/secularbuddhism • post
18 points • enzio901
Did any one here take the Cousera course "Buddhism and Modern Psychology"? If so, what did you think of it?
r/streamentry • post
14 points • Cloudhand_
[Community] Upcoming course on Buddhism and (Evolutionary) Psychology by Robert Wright

The author of the popular "Why Buddhism is True", Robert Wright is a visiting lecturer with Princeton university. The MOOC course starts on March 19th. Info and sign up is here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

r/TheMindIlluminated • comment
8 points • philosophical_lens

>One could write a purely academic work and that would have value.

I think this is exactly what Wright did. The book is in fact based on an academic course he teaches at Princeton, which was popularized via Coursera. The few references to his own practice were merely anecdotal asides, and were not part of his main argument. At least, that's how I read it. You can just ignore everything he says about his own practice, and the book's content would not be significantly altered.

This is very much unlike, say, Daniel Ingram's MCTB, wherein his experiences are the "meat" of the book. If you remove the author's experiences, a book like MCTB completely falls apart (whereas this is not at all the case with Wright's book).

r/Meditation • post
5 points • s0ngsforthedeaf
Stanford's Buddhism and Modern Psychology course is running again
r/antinatalism • post
20 points • chrisoffner3d_
Is anger, hate and misanthropy really the only thing this sub is capable of? I don't think antinatalism requires those at all!

This sub seems to be little more than rants, anger and resentment. If the purpose of antinatalism is to reduce net suffering in the world, I don't think the words and states of mind of most people here serve this purpose very well.

When I try to calm someone who rants about being sickened and repulsed by the fundamental laws of evolution, I get downvoted to -4 and accused of 'gaslighting'.

Is this simply another version of /r/misanthropy?

I for one am convinced that you can have an antinatalist stance (myself, I'm without children and had a vasectomy) without being a hateful dick towards everyone, nor being constantly enraged and thus suffering yourself at everything.

In fact I'd argue that especially an antinatalist who's recognised that life is largely suffering/unsatisfactoriness ("Dukkha") and that a moral aim is to reduce suffering wherever possible, would be especially motivated to be kind and loving to their peers, and strive to reduce suffering in themselves as well.

To quote the stoics:

> "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

> - Marcus Aurelius

To anyone interested who finds it difficult to hold an antinatalist stance without devolving into negativity, I highly recommend Robert Wright's free Princeton University course Buddhism and Modern Psychology. You can watch the introduction here to assess whether this is something you'd be interested in.

Either way, I'd just like to see some more interesting and constructive conversations here than just hate and rage about anyone who has children. :)

r/Mindfulness • comment
4 points • tomlit

> Why we should “do” this?

I would say to stop causing our own suffering.

> For example animals don’t observe themself. They are not “happy” or opposite, they are what they are. They just live. But we can’t just live. That’s why i say maybe the root cause is this observing.

I think we can live like animals quite easily. I think that most of us do. That autopilot, self-consumed, emotion-driven state that most of us function in is similar to how animals live. Animals have no self-restraint or self-awareness.

It is worth understanding that mindfulness (well, Buddhism) is a revolt against natural evolution, or how animals are programmed to live.

Our emotions primarily exist to get our genes into the next generation. Sex feels good and status feels good (more sex). Our ancestors foraged for food and evolved to experience a rush of dopamine when they found and ate it. This encouraged them to look for more food, so they survived longer and could have more offspring.

These primitive mechanisms are useful for getting genes into the next generation, but are not conducive with happiness and peace. They cause suffering.

Mindfulness aims to train the mind to detach itself from this.

I learnt about this from this course which is well worth watching.

r/nihilism • post
8 points • JuleMickey
The first noble truth is "Existing means suffering"

Recently I got a little bit into buddhism and found out their first rule (or noble truth) is that everyone suffers just by existing. That's something nihilism also kind of concludes. Well, in the end it would probably be more like "suffering has no real meaning".

I always felt like "that's it.", like there is no follow up and there also couldn't be one. However the buddhism explains where suffering comes from, shows you a path to walk away from it and tools to reach your destination. It'sl like an easy to understand manual, something that nihilism fails to deliver, since it's hiding behind its philosophy, that sounds quite absolute sometimes.

However my message to take home. Get into Buddhism, it is quite interesting and similar to nihilistic views, imo.

Here is a well done course, if I caught anyone's attention: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation/home/welcome

r/Buddhism • comment
3 points • KingdomOfLo

I highly recommend this Buddhism and Modern Psychology course https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation, I believe part four, about the modules of the mind, specifically deals with your question.

r/exmormon • post
3 points • matt2001
James Wright is a NYT best selling author of The Evolution of God. He is giving a (free) Coursera on Buddhism and Modern Psychology.
r/Buddhism • post
44 points • FaceNibbler
Hey /r/Buddhism! If you're interested or looking for a new podcast, I'd highly recommend The Wright Show with Robert Wright

Hey /r/Buddhism! I wanted to share an excellent podcast with all of you that I think you might enjoy. It’s called “The Wright Show”, hosted by Robert Wright. Robert is the author of the recent book “Why Buddhism is True”. He also taught a course at Princeton, “Buddhism and Modern Psychology”, which is available for free on Coursera. Or if Coursera isn’t really your cup of tea, the course is also up for free on YouTube!

Robert is a journalist who’s written for The Intercept, Wired, The Atlantic, as well as the author of many books on evolution and religion. His most recent book is Why Buddhism is True, which gives an evolutionary argument for many of Buddhism’s core ideas.

Here’s just a small sampling of some of the meditators and Buddhists he’s interviewed recently. I've included links to the YouTube video if any pique your interest:

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn - Creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and popularizer of the mindfulness movement at large
  • Bhikkhu Bodhi - Monk, Buddhist thinker, and translator of Buddhist discourses
  • Daniel Ingram - Author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha and self-proclaimed Arahat
  • Stephen Batchelor - Scholar, teacher, and author of Buddhism Without Beliefs. Major proponent of “secular Buddhism”
  • Dale Wright - Professor of religion at Occidental College, author of What is Buddhist Enlightenment?
  • Sharon Salzberg - Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, well-known meditation teacher, popularizer of Metta meditation, and author of Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection
  • Miri Albahari - Comparative philosopher at University of Western Australia and author of Analytical Buddhism: The Two-Tiered Illusion of Self
  • Joseph Goldstein - Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, and also a well-known meditation teacher.
  • Josh Summers - Meditation and yoga teacher

In addition to philosophy, Robert has on a wide-variety of other guests:

  • Yousef Munayyer - Palestinian Writer and Political Analyst
  • Max Blumenthal - Leftist Journalist, Critic of US Foreign Policy
  • Greg Gutfeld - Fox News Host
  • Katherine Mangu-Ward - Editor of Libertarian Mag "Reason"
  • David Frum - Neocon, Bush speech writer, Anti Trumper
  • John McPhee - famous creative non-fiction Author
  • Michael Shermer - Science Writer/Historian, Skeptics Magazine
  • Betsy Levy Paluck - Princeton psychologist
  • Richard Vague - Economist
  • Richard Prum -Evolutionary ornithologist
  • Ann Hulbert - Literary Editor, Author
  • Molly Crockett - Neuroscientist, morality/altruism writer

There’s also a roster of other highly knowledgeable interviewers and interviewees on Robert’s YouTube channels MeaningOfLife.tv and Bloggingheads.tv, which are also stand-alone podcasts.

Also, for anyone who's interested, Robert recently started a weekly newsletter called "Mindful Resistance" which tries to bring the clarity and awareness of mindfulness to how we look at both Trump and the causes/implications of his Presidency without any of the hysterical, tribal and emotional overreactions that are often commonplace.

Just wanted to share! Thank you!

r/TheMindIlluminated • comment
2 points • Malljaja

Yes it is, and I highly recommend it. It's a great complement to Wright's book.

r/secularbuddhism • comment
2 points • McPuccio

Highly recommend the online course “Buddhism and Modern Psychology”


r/Mindfulness • comment
2 points • raam86

The course on Coursera is pretty much the book in video form https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • DiamondNgXZ


You might want to sit in for this one where modern psychology agrees with Buddhism on no self.

And he also wrote the book: why buddhism is true.

As modern psychology has it, it took 2500 years to get to what the Buddha taught, and following the dhamma allows one to become enlightened within one lifetime, it's far safer to follow the dhamma rather than to wait for science. Science is useful to talk and teach to people like you. But not essential to the practise.

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • Marlbrough

I can probably recommend only two things: • regarding benefits of meditation and how it changes you: book "Altered traits"; • really nice course on Coursera which got me into Buddhism: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation (don't mind the link, it's called Buddhism and Modern Psychology).

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • joeltb

Not really science but Coursera has a course offered by Princeton University called Buddhism and Modern Psychology. It was super interesting and highly recommended.

r/awakened • comment
1 points • dubbeat

Robert Wright describes it brilliantly in this free online course.

He explains through evolutionary psychology and buddahist principals how the self is an illusion


r/CatastrophicFailure • comment
1 points • Im_Wiz_Kalista

If you’re interested in the topic the best starting material I know of was a course I took a few years ago. It was a point of my life where I was definitely suffering and it began a total change in my life-perspective. The course is free and even though it’s in video format it is not necessary; you can listen on your commute to work or school. I can’t recommend it enough.


r/indieheads • comment
3 points • BaldKnobber123

The Oxford Very Short Introduction to Buddhism book is great, since it goes into more depth on the historical development of Buddhism, the different schools of Buddhist thought, traditional parables and the life of the Buddha, as well as core teachings and concepts like karma and reincarnation.

For more general teachings of the Buddha, this is a great, short book that focuses primarily on what the Buddha’s core teachings are: http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documents/What%20the%20Buddha%20Taught_Rahula.pdf

As well, Princeton has a free short online course called Buddhism and Modern Psychology. It links findings of modern psychology with Buddhist teachings (e.g. self as an illusion, findings about meditation). It goes over some core Buddhist concepts, such as the Four Noble Truths and Eight Fold Path, as a background to the psychology discussions: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

Everyone I have recommended the Princeton course to has enjoyed it. It definitely takes a more material position on Buddhism, so is not a perfect representation of Buddhism as a religion (it glosses over less material matter like reincarnation), but is fascinating as a intro to the subject and the links with modern research. Plus, I’ve found it good to recommend since it helps some people trapped in a more “Western” mindset wade into Eastern thought. A good primer for then delving into the more traditional, less Western Buddhist texts.

r/suggestmeabook • post
18 points • kyzl
Nonfiction books that have corresponding online lectures and/or documentaries?

I am looking for books that are adapted from (or have been adapted to) online lectures and/or documentaries.

Some examples:

Sapiens by Yuval Harari: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23692271-sapiens

(Lectures: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfc2WtGuVPdmhYaQjd449k-YeY71fiaFp)

Justice by Michael Sandel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6452731-justice

(Lectures: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL30C13C91CFFEFEA6)

Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32895535-why-buddhism-is-true

(Course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation)

Freakonomics: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1202.Freakonomics

(Documentary: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152822/)

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1842.Guns_Germs_and_Steel

(Documentary: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475043/)

Collapse by Jared Diamond: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/475.Collapse

(Documentary: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1715324/)

Are there any more?

r/Buddhism • post
2 points • Mizanthropist
Looking for someone who speaks a Chinese language (Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghai, etc) to translate a class on Buddhism...

It's a free online course called Buddhism and Modern Psychology. I'm one of the mentors for the course, and I've noticed that we get a lot of speakers of Chinese languages (English is their second or third language). They would benefit a lot from translations and I plan on working on some Spanish ones. I don't know Chinese, however, so I was hoping to find a volunteer who would help to bring more information and Dhamma to these learners.

If you are interested, please check out the course:


and considering joining Coursera's translation program:

"Subtitle translations are done by Coursera's Global Translator Community. Although our GTC members work hard to create high quality translations, the GTC is a volunteer community. Coursera doesn't guarantee that all translations will be complete and accurate.

You can learn more about The Coursera's Global Translator Community in the following help-site article.


Thank you so much!

r/Mindfulness • post
2 points • ThedorickOfYak
Coaching and becoming a coach

I'm taking this course right now and about 1/2 way through: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation/


I'm been thinking of a career change and Life/Mindfulness coaching is one of the things I'm considering. What is this community's thoughts on mindfulness coaching?

Any and all opinions are welcome!

r/samharris • comment
3 points • [deleted]

Fair, "super knowledgeable" is relative. I suppose I was comparing him to a layman. If you watch his talks with true experts like Bikku Bodhi, Stephen Batchelor etc. he seems to know his stuff and can reference a large quantity of sources and teachings. He is candid about his lack of progress but I know it's a keen interest of his. He even teaches a course called "Buddhism and Modern Psychology"'. He knows more than most people. Here's the course:


I also disagree with the "you shouldn't go around trying to explaining it" part. If everyone has to come to it their own way, doesn't precluding trying to explain it contradict that somewhat? Some people get a lot of insight trying to explain to others, and others can gain insight into bits and pieces even if trying to grasp the whole is a futile endeavor. Personally, taking Wright's course online on "Buddhism and Modern Psychology" helped me think about alot of aspects of secular buddhism in a new way and gave me a big push on my path. Alot of things fell into place for me from the way he explained things (and also greatly from his talks with others). So, that's one testimony at least. I'd suggest checking the course out if you haven't done so! I gained alot from the appeal to evolution as well, and he goes more in depth in the course. Watch his talks on "Bloggingheads" too:


I understand the hesitance with evo psych. I find it mostly interesting and a useful framework. I some of it is very convincing and alot not. As a historical science, the game is a bit different. Focusing on function helps alot. It has gained alot of traction in recent years and even people like Jerry Coyne are on board with it now. Here's a good rebuttal to common jabs at evo psych by Robert Kurzban if you are curious:


r/secularbuddhism • comment
1 points • BadFengShui

I hope to do a retreat once it's reasonable to be around other human beings again.

You might be interested in a couple of free Coursera classes: Buddhism and Modern Psychology with Prof Robert Wright and De-Mystifying Mindfulness with Prof Chris Goto-Jones. I haven't finished the second one, but they're both about the intersection of Buddhist concepts with modern, Western psychology. Prof Goto-Jones in particular has compared mindfulness practice treatment favorably to CBT, in certain cases. He's very particular in how he speaks, so that comes with a lot of conditionals, but it sounds promising.

I find Coursera itself sort of awkward, but the courses have been worth it.

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • TurboKid1997

I really enjoyed reading the book. I think Robert Wright does a good job of explaining evolutionary psychology and why he thinks Buddhism has a solution to it. Robert Wright also has a course on Coursera, that he based his book on. https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation


Since reading his book, I have started reading more and more of the Pali Canon Sutta's. I think they definitely form a basis for why Buddhism is true.

r/DecidingToBeBetter • comment
1 points • Sohakes

To be totally honest, I recommended a book but never read any about buddhism specifically, just some that touches some kind of mindful practice (such as The Happiness Trap, which I liked for anxiety but it's not that useful in this context I think). I've read a lot of articles about meditation and things like that and ended up researching about buddhism. But since I don't really record the articles I've read, a book would probably be better. There is this list https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/wiki/booklist but I can't vouch for it.

But outside books, currently I'm watching this course https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation/home/welcome and I really like it until now. The approach is secular which makes me like it more, and he also offers some book recommendations.

r/getdisciplined • comment
3 points • beingisdoing

You could try coursera. They provide free online courses offered by various universities. They are well organized and easy to access. They usually offer some materials and might require or suggest you buy a few books. I'd stick with the required to stuff to save money.

I would also try to not get carried away as it can become an addiction trying to consume as much information as possible. Do one or two courses at a time, max, depending on the amount of free time you have available.

As far as topics? Just start exploring. They have tons. But I'd suggest getting a good variety. For example, a course on Buddhism and then a course on argumentation. A course on history and then one on personal finance. Here are some of their offerings:







r/psychologystudents • comment
1 points • lastdropfalls

There is a decent selection of Psychology and Psychology-related courses on Coursera.org. I've particularly enjoyed https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation -- probably not something that would be directly relevant towards a BA in Psych, but very interesting and stimulating nonetheless. There are also some very good courses in statistics on Coursera as well as edx.org, which many Psych students have trouble with; that might be something worth looking into as well.

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • OrcishMonk

Coursera. I recommend Robert Wright's Modern Psychology and Buddhism course. Free.


Tibet House, Delhi. Under Geshe Dorje Damdul. I've known several people who've taken this program and they rave about it. There's a cost, but it's Indian pricing so it's very reasonable.


r/Buddhism • comment
2 points • OCBuddhist

These two online courses by Malcolm David Eckel, PH.D. will provide you with a good introduction:

To illustrate the connection between Buddhist teachings and modern day science, I recommend an online course by Robert Wright at Princeton:

For an introduction to insight meditation and the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths I like the Jake Dartington's 6 week video series:

r/Buddhism • comment
1 points • scatterbrain2015

Great idea!

The page is disabled, so I can't see what is already added.

What I can think of is:

r/indonesia • comment
1 points • kongKing_11

Must Read

Dhammapada - Dhammapada


On basic buddhism

Free online

What The Buddha Taught - Venerable Walpola Rahula - PDF

what buddhist believe

Not free

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching - Thich Nhat Hahn

Buddhism for Beginners - Thubten Chodron

In the Buddha's Words - Bhikkhu Bodhi

Why Buddhism Is True - Robert Wright


Basic Meditation

Mindfulness in Plain English


Online course

Buddhism and Modern Psychology







r/WatchPeopleDieInside • comment
-1 points • DualtheArtist

Is this really any weirder than Christianity?

I think you guys are being mean for no reason. I, on the other hand, am about to be very mean for the RIGHT reasons. Now suck it bitch.

I personally believe in Star Seeds, and there are far stupider things in our Western Society. Maybe not everyone who claims to be one actually is one and are just trying to find anything in their boring lives that would possibly make them feel special, but not all of them. Some of them are the real fucking deal here on earth to try and improve our situation and are just trying to bring happiness, joy, and bliss to everyone. Is that really such a terrible crime? Seems more like there is something wrong with you and your negativity.

Do you really think that Fox News is not stupider than this? That's right check your intellect at the door you little bitches. You guys are not even really trying to understand what the whole Star Seed things is about at all and are just making snap judgements based on your prejudice against people who are just different from what you are.

Are you sure she's not smarter than you? I mean I know a lot of physics PHD's that are fucking morons in every single other aspect of their lives. Why are they not being shamed? Why is this physicist not being shamed for being closed minded when supposedly he is supposed to be open to new experiences and open minded and the shining example for the students he teaches? There are MANY MANY Spiritual people who are college professors both in the humanities and the hard sciences and engineering. Religious beliefs do not stop you from being intelligent. In fact, to the contrary, Chakra work and meditation actually enhances your intelligence, and it's been scientifically proven to do so. You can even take courses in college that teach you about the phenomenon from a scientific perspective.

Ya'll a bunch of fucking prejudiced morons. Here is a course for you stupid ignorant fucks: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

Go get some education you unwashed bottom of the barrel bitches. And for the record you are all beneath me, ALL OF YOU IN THIS THREAD! Eat my ass and call my daddy when you realize you should be apologizing for being stupid.

You guys are just too closed minded to seek your true maximum potential and are willingly being closed minded and limiting your own intellect because of your prejudices. You're just sheep in the crowd making fun of a person who is different from you. That seems like some low IQ behavior to me, so I shame you. You should be ashamed of yourselves for your prejudiced way of living your everyday lives.

And if you don't like it you can fucking fight me IRL! No, seriously I'm studying martial arts and need a sparring partner. COME AT ME BITCHES! I'll educate you myself once you're on the floor.

COME AT ME BRO! If you wanna fuck with Star Seeds, who are very nice and gentle people, you have to fuck with me first. Bring it!

Yeahhhh I bet you don't have the balls to take that coursera class and actually improve yourselves and your knowledge of the world, you little bitches. I fucking dare you to get educated! I bet you wont though cause your afraid it will shatter your fragile ego. Now get the fuck out of here and go read a fucking book you ignorant pieces of shit.