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C O U R S E 
Buddhism and Modern Psychology
Robert Wright, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Eightfold Path and the Matrix
Notes taken on August 31, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
first two noble truths
the bad news and good news respectively
the bad news is that life is full of unsatisfactoriness
the good news is that we have at least isolated the cause: craving, clinging to things that don't last
third and fourth noble truth
more good news and then some bad news
the third noble truth tells us what the cure is, i.e. the abandonment of craving and clinging
the fourth noble truth spells out the path you are going to have to follow to obtain full liberation, and it turns out that it is an eightfold path, i.e. eight things you have to master if you want to be liberated:
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech (virtue)
4. Right Action (virtue)
5. Right Livelihood (virtue)
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness (meditation)
8. Right Concentration (meditation)
many people are surprised that so many items on the list do not have to do with mediation
most lay Buddhists in Asia don't meditate at all
many Buddhist monks meditate
many people in the West feel that Buddhism doesn't have this hangup that the Abrahamic religions have, that there are not all these oppressive lists of do's and don'ts
however, 3, 4, and 5, have quite a bit of overlap with the ten commandments and in some ways they are more demanding
e.g. 3. Right Speech
don't say things that are not true, avoid idle gossip, don't say mean things about people
7 and 8
more heavy lifting: abandon craving and clinging, lose our aversion to unpleasant things
this isn't just liberation, it's enlightenment
meditative practice exists on a spectrum
one end: therapeutic practice
come home from work stressed out
ten minutes of medication
don't think about any Buddhist doctrine
if you can't eliminate all of your unsatisfactoriness, you can eliminate some of it
other end: practice with goal to achieve nirvana
in the middle: spiritual practice
not just about self help
desire to become a better person
see world more clearly
desire to strip yourself from delusions and misconceptions that seem to be happy for human beings
spiritual practice is about more than self-help
the Matrix
modern psychology nor mainstream Buddhism tells us that we are as deluded about reality
as in in The Matrix movie
many western Buddhists identify with this film
call it a Dharma movie
allegory of a process of overcoming delusion in a significant sense and fighting for liberation
Buddhist practice in this sense involves having a little Keanu Reeves
someone who is adamant about seeing things more clearly
Buddhist enlightenment
what a psychologist today would say your consciousness would be like if you stripped it of all the misconceptions and delusions that seem to be built into us by natural selection