William S. Waldron

Professor of Religion

 
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Professor Waldron teaches courses on the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan religion and history, comparative psychologies and philosophies of mind, and theory and method in the study of religion. His publications focus on the Yogacara school of Indian Buddhism and its dialogue with modern thought. Professor Waldron has been at Middlebury College since 1996. His monograph, The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, was published by RoutledgeCurzon in 2003.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

NSCI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)

Spring 2015, Fall 2015

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NSCI 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)

Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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NSCI 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Senior NSCI majors who have completed one or more terms of NSCI 0700, who have a GPA of 3.3 in their major courses, and who plan to complete a senior thesis should register for NSCI 0701 for the final semester of the senior thesis process. Students enrolled in NSCI 0701 write a thesis, give a public presentation of their research, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least two Neuroscience faculty members. Faculty may recommend High honors in Neuroscience after considering the quality of these components of a student’s thesis and the student’s GPA in major courses. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (NSCI 0700, Approval required)

Fall 2015

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PHIL 1025 / RELI 1025 - Buddhist/Western Phil of Mind      

Buddhist and Western Philosophies of Mind
In this course we will examine traditional and contemporary Buddhist and Western philosophies of mind, comparing Cartesian mind-body dualism and contemporary materialism with Buddhist conceptions of mind, which seek a middle path between the two. Other topics include Buddhist and contemporary Western views of self; notions of the unconscious construction of reality; and recent scientific studies on meditation. We will read works by traditional authors such as Descartes and Vasubandhu, recent authors (e.g., the Dalai Lama and Owen Flanagan) who combine Buddhist and Western views, and articles on contemporary philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and phenomenology. The course will also include a practicum on meditation as a method for investigating consciousness directly. This course counts as elective credit towards the Religion major or as elective credit towards the Philosophy major. CMP NOR PHL WTR

Winter 2012

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RELI 0120 - Asian Religious Classics      

Asian Religious Classics AT
An introduction to the classics of the major religious traditions of Asia: Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Central themes from these traditions will be studied through the selected scriptures and texts of each tradition. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. AAL CMP PHL

Fall 2014

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RELI 0121 - Buddhist Traditions in India      

Buddhist Traditions in India AT
An introduction to the development of Indian Buddhist thought, practice, and institutions. The course will begin with an examination of the life of the Buddha and the formation of the early tradition. It will then explore developments from early Nikaya Buddhism, through the rise of the Mahayana, and culminating in Tantric Buddhism. Attention will be given throughout to parallel evolutions of doctrine, practice, and the path to Nirvana. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL PHL

Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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RELI 0209 / PSYC 0209 - Mindfulness and Psychology      

Religion and Science: Mindfulness and Modern Psychology
Mindfulness meditation is now widely embraced as a way to enhance personal wellbeing. To better understand this ancient practice, we will explore its traditional Buddhist background alongside its application and study in modern psychology and neuroscience. We will first study mindfulness in its historical context and examine how a traditionally religious practice was adapted for modern individualistic and therapeutic purposes. We will learn basic neural and psychological foundations of emotion, cognition, social behavior, and psychological disorders and raise theoretical and methodological issues in the scientific study of mindfulness. As an experiential component, students will also receive meditation training throughout the semester. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Spring 2012, Spring 2015

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RELI 0220 - Buddhist Tradition in India      

Buddhist Traditions in India AT
An introduction to the development of Indian Buddhist thought, practice, and institutions. The course will begin with an examination of the life of the Buddha and the formation of the early tradition. It will then explore developments from early Nikaya Buddhism, through the rise of the Mahayana, and culminating in Tantric Buddhism. Attention will be given throughout to parallel evolutions of doctrine, practice, and the path to Nirvana. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL PHL

Fall 2011

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RELI 0320 / PHIL 0320 - Seminar in Buddhist Philosophy      

Seminar in Buddhist Philosophy: Yogacara Depth Psychology and Philosophy of Mind AT
In this seminar we will survey the basic ideas of Yogacara Buddhism (4-6th c. CE), one of two major schools of Indian Buddhism, in relation to cognitive science and philosophy of mind. We will examine these ideas historically, philosophically and comparatively. We focus on the Yogacara analyses of the largely unconscious ‘construction of reality’ and its systematic deconstruction through forms of analytic meditation. We will read primary and secondary texts on Indian Buddhism and texts espousing similar ideas in modern philosophy and the social and cognitive sciences. (one course on philosophy or RELI 0120, RELI 0220, RELI 0223, RELI 0224, RELI 0225, RELI 0226, RELI 0227or RELI 0228.) 3 hrs. sem. AAL CMP PHL

Fall 2011, Spring 2015

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RELI 0400 - Seminar: Study of Religion      

Understanding Religion: Foundational Theories and Methods
In this seminar we will examine the genesis of the academic study of religion in the modern world by reading seminal texts of such founding thinkers as: Durkheim, Weber, James, Freud, Jung, and Eliade. We will analyze these and more recent theories and methods in the sociological, psychological, and comparative study of religion, discerning their assumptions and implications, strengths and weaknesses, and utilizing them in focused written assignments. We end with the study of text-critical methods, interpreting the Garden of Eden story from multiple perspectives. Open to juniors and seniors who have had two religion courses or by waiver. 3 hrs. sem.

Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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RELI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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RELI 0601 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012

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RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion      

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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Publications

 

    Presentation at Conference on Cognitive Study of Religion, Aarhus, DK, 2011
 
    Presentation at AAR, 2012
 
   Forthcoming 2011
 
   2011. Brain Science and Kokoro: Asian Perspectives on Science and Religion, Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. pp. 68-78.
 
   2009. Unpublished
 
   2008. Handbook of Indian Psychology,ed. K. R. Rao, Cambridge University Press India.
 
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   2006. Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices, ed. Mark Unno. Boston: Wisdom Pub. pp. 87-104.
 
   2006. Buddhist Thought and Applied Psychological Research: Transcending the Boundaries. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. Pp. 175-208.  (Shorted version of 'Buddhist Steps', 2002)
 
   2006. Buddhist Thought and Applied Psychological Research: Transcending the Boundaries. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. Pp. 36-68.
 
   2004. New York: MacMillan. pp. 228-229.
 
   2003. Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground. B. Alan Wallace (ed.). New York: Columbia Univ. Press. pp. 145-191.
 
 
   (Shorted version of 'Common Ground,' 2003) Unpublished.
 
   2002. Teaching Buddhism in the West: From the Wheel to the Web. 2002b, Hori, Hayes, Shields, (eds.). London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon. pp.84-91.
 
   2000. Contemporary Buddhism,V.1, no. 2, pp. 199-226.
 
   1994-5. Reformatted by Gelong Lodrö Sangpo from Journal of Indian Philosophy, Part I, 1994, 22: pp. 199--258; Part II, 1995, 23: pp. 9-51
 
 
 

Department of Religion

Munroe Hall
427 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753