Psychologists test the Dalai Lama’s teaching on Compassion, and it works

Anyone in a relationship knows that it feels good to do something nice for your significant other. In fact, in general, it just feels good to give. Theorists have posited a spectrum of reasons why this is so, from the "egoist" position that we only give in hope of receiving back to accounts that suggest that "we" are merely giving to support similar genetic material or to strengthen social bonds.The Dalai Lama's famous quote (or paraphrase) is that "If you want others to be happy, practice … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week three

I'm a bit later than usual posting on week 3 (week 4 lectures have just been posted). Such is life. Part of the reason is that the topic this week was "not-self"(anātman in Sanskrit, anattā in Pāli) in Buddhism and in Modern Psychology, which I am not terribly interested in writing more about at this time.I've written extensively about the topic here, here (on metaphysics),here (comparing with Sartre), and here; along with guest posts at Danny Fisher's blog and (around the topic of purific … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week two

It has been a busy week here, with a trip to Cheltenham to lead metta meditation for students in Dave Webster's course on Buddhism and a journey to London to see Professor Ian Harris talk on Buddhism and Politics at Kings College. So I haven't been able to write as detailed a post on week two of the Buddhism and Modern Psychology course as I wrote for week one.This week's lecture looked at "The Buddhist Prescription" - focusing on the 3rd and 4th Noble Truths and meditation in particular. As … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week one

Buddhism and Modern Psychology, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), started yesterday. So far it is excellent, with Prof. Wright laying out some foundations of Buddhism, trying to narrow the scope of what is used with terms like supernatural (which is excluded) and secular (included) and science (the method of choosing which is which). He also gives overviews of a few psychology experiments that have proven relevant to Buddhist understandings of the first two noble truths.Questions of … [Read more...]