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Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Coursera · Princeton University · 1 HN points · 9 HN comments

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 ...
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I suggest you skim through these lectures.

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

It touches on the connections between mindfulness and modern understanding of the mind. Most important, it talks about this problem, that you are not aware of the amout of decisions and input/output data is hidden from you, and how much of your life is narrating outcomes, rather than deciding them.

Fascinating stuff. Makes me feel like a batch of hidden layers struggling for consensus with one tiny human-interaction module that tells a consistent story about why certain outputs are weighted, and that story is called "free will and personality".

Buddhism and Modern Psychology by Princeton. This course was just mind-blowing for me. It talks a lot about how our evolutionary survival mechanisms prevent us from seeing the world clearly. If anyone has taken similar courses would love to hear.

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

tra3
I will +nth this course. Tying an ancient philosophy with modern science lends both a lot of credibility. Note that religious aspects are not addressed. Practical aspects of buddhism (such as a regular meditation practice, approach to emotions, etc) are discussed. I find it very useful in day to day life.
wwwater
This is an absolutely amazing course! It's also about how Buddhism actually guessed so many things correctly about how our brains work. The author explains about Buddhist ideas and almost for every of them, there is a scientific experiment, that indicates it could be true.
Mar 02, 2018 · 1 points, 0 comments · submitted by blocked_again
Please look up Judson Brewer and Gary Weber (sorry for brevity, I'm on the go).

EDIT: actually this is an excellent resource for the HN crowd, 100% BS free. It explains DMN and much more: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

This reminds me of the Mental Modules popping in and out of existence from the Coursera course "Buddhism and Modern Psychology", in week 4: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation#syllabu....
And meditation is? Sitting in a public place in yoga pants holding fingers in a mudra? Vacation defined as? Does vacation include visiting Buddhist countries and Indian meditation retreats? How long a vacation should be?

Hint: meditation requires a profound changes in ones assumptions about his own nature and conditioning. That's why the teaching of the Buddha has been a philosophy, not a book of asanas. Meditation is the tool to realize accuracy and correctness of Buddha's insights. To test and validate his hypothesis by yourself.

there is a good place to start: https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

aaimnr
The course mentioned by parent is definitely worth watching for anyone interested. Lot of valuable information both on neuro/psychology of meditation and Buddhism.

I wouldn't agree with the statement that medidtation requires profound changes in ones assumptions. One can start with just a simple instruction, eg. "don't think about the breath, but watch for sensations that constitute the experience of breathing" and, as they develop mindfulness, incporporate more and more conceptual knowledge about what Buddha called Right View while testing it in practice.

I guess you're right, though, that without right information you could possibly sit in your yoga pants and mudra (vide any stock photo with 'meditation' tag) and don't get anywhere for years.

Aug 16, 2016 · gagagababa on Optimism
I found Princeton's Buddhism and Modern Psychology particularly interesting [1]. You can read the course's overview to decide if it would be of any interest to you.

[1] https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

Buddhism and Modern Psychology by Robert Wright (author of The Moral Animal). It uses evolutionary psychology, modularity of mind, and other modern cognitive science theories to explain why some modern version of the buddhist teachings (like meditations) work. It includes interesting interviews and solid book/article recommendations. It's very eye-opening to me and gave me a whole new perspective about happiness and meaning in life.

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

Rambunctious
On the subject of happiness, Prof Raj Raghunathan's "A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment" is also something I would highly recommend. The learner stands to gain a lot of insights on the types of motivations serve to enhance as well as undermine happiness.

Check out https://www.coursera.org/learn/happiness

Have changed for the better because of it :)

I'm not familiar with Minsky's book, but the core idea seems to have a lot in common with the modular theory of mind [1], which was explored in a MOOC that I found fascinating, and which is now available in a self-paced form [2].

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modularity_of_mind

[2] - https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation

The book that really got me going was The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. I felt like that was a good introduction for myself (a Westerner who didn't want the religious component of Buddhism).

From there it was pretty much a lot of sitting, breath meditation, and hard work - it's very tempting to chase thoughts that pop-up during meditation, but reminding yourself to let it go and move back to focusing on the breath builds the ability later in "everyday" life to notice you have a poor/misguided thought pattern motivated by ego or emotion and to step back and realize you are not that emotion or thought, it is just something happening, and you're able to let those emotions go much easier and make calmer and more rational decisions. I am in no way an expert of any sort, I'm still figuring out this stuff as well, but it's been significantly beneficial just from the short time I've been practicing.

Honestly the /r/meditation FAQ has some good resources and links there, especially ones relating to mindfulness in plain English (it cuts out the spirituality aspect quite a bit). There is also a course on Coursera called Buddhism and Modern Psychology ( https://www.coursera.org/course/psychbuddhism ) that I was interested, but I have no experience with it. Hopefully this helps in some way :-)

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