image of Bill Waldron
Office
Munroe Hall 209
Tel
(802) 443-2040
Email
wwaldron@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring Term: Tuesdays 4:30-6:30pm and Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm

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 Taught

Course Description

Independent Study
(Approval required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Rites of Passage: Buddhism
In this course we will explore the topics of symbolic death and rebirth as expressed in rites of passage and initiation, especially in Buddhism and the Blues. We will draw upon sources from religions and cultures around the world, examining them from multiple perspectives: mythology, psychology, anthropology, religion, literature, and popular music. Since the transition from childhood to adulthood is one of the most celebrated and challenging rites of passage, students will make connections with their own lives. We will also consider larger, macro-level processes, such as the transition from traditional worldviews to modernism and postmodern worldviews. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

CMP, CW, PHL

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Course Description

South Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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Course Description

Seminar in Buddhist Philosophy: Yogacara Depth Psychology and Philosophy of Mind
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.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AAL, CMP, PHL, SOA

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Course Description

Research in Philosophy
Supervised independent research in philosophy. (Approval required).

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Buddhist Traditions in India
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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

PHL, SOA

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Course Description

Buddhism in the Modern World
In this course we will survey and analyze Buddhist traditions around the world, from the mid-19th century to the present. We will begin by examining traditional Buddhist cultures in Asia—their teachings, practices, and social and political organizations—and then analyze how they have variously responded to the challenges of colonialism, nationalism, science, individualism, and democracy. We will examine how these led to the assumptions underlying ‘Buddhist Modernism’ both in Asia and the West. Materials will include texts and films on traditional Buddhism, historical, social, and intellectual analyses of its transformations, as well as narratives of individuals’ lives. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, PHL

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Course Description

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. (Open to psychology, religion, and neuroscience majors) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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Course Description

Mindfulness: Buddhism and Science
In this course we will be examining the practice of mindfulness. Students will learn about traditional Buddhist meditation, how to analyze original sources in translation, and to assess ways that religious traditions are transformed in the modern era. We will look at the origins and aims of mindfulness in traditional Asian Buddhism, see how it came to the West, and examine the processes of secularization and psychologization that led to its popularization. We will read Buddhist primary sources in translation, trace its history from colonial Myanmar through India to the contemporary West, examine its development in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, and its proliferation in various institutions within the United States. We will read scientific studies examining its psychological benefits and watch some films about it. (Students who have completed RELI 0209 are not eligible to take RELI 0210)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CMP, PHL, SOA

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Seminar in Buddhist Philosophy: Yogacara Depth Psychology and Philosophy of Mind
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 PHIL course or RELI 0120, RELI 0121, RELI 0122, or RELI 209) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, PHL, SOA

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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Course Description

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Buddhism in the Modern World
In this course we will survey and analyze Buddhist traditions around the world, from the mid-19th century to the present. We will begin by examining traditional Buddhist cultures in Asia—their teachings, practices, and social and political organizations—and then analyze how they have variously responded to the challenges of colonialism, nationalism, science, individualism, and democracy. We will examine how these led to the assumptions underlying ‘Buddhist Modernism’ both in Asia and the West. Materials will include texts and films on traditional Buddhism, historical, social, and intellectual analyses of its transformations, as well as narratives of individuals’ lives.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

CMP, PHL, WTR

View in Course Catalog

Publications

Yogacara Illusions Racism w_out Races.pdf<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”></span> Waldron Yogacara Illusions Racism w_out Races.pdf

Yogācāra Buddhism and the Cognitive Study of Religion: Sublating Modular Theory

    Presentation at Conference on Cognitive Study of Religion, Aarhus, DK, 2011

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy: Abhidharmic and Scientific Perspectives

    Presentation at AAR, 2012

Ālaya-vijñāna as Keystone Dharma: The Ālaya Treatise of the Yogācārabhūmi

   Forthcoming 2011

A Buddhist Critique of Cartesian Dualism in the Cognitive Sciences: Naturalizing Mind and Qualia

   2011. Brain Science and Kokoro: Asian Perspectives on Science and Religion, Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture. pp. 68-78.

Buddhist Modernity and the Sciences

   2009. Unpublished

A Buddhist theory of Unconscious Mind (ālaya-vijñāna)

   2008. Handbook of Indian Psychology,ed. K. R. Rao, Cambridge University Press India.

On Selves and Selfless Discourse
   2006. Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices, ed. Mark Unno. Boston: Wisdom Pub. pp. 87-104.

The Co-arising of Self and Object, World, and Society: Buddhist and Scientific Approaches

   2006. Buddhist Thought and Applied Psychological Research: Transcending the Boundaries. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. Pp. 175-208.  (Shorted version of ‘Buddhist Steps’, 2002)

A Comparison of Ālaya-vijñāna in Yogācāra and Dzogchen (co-authored with David Germano)

   2006. Buddhist Thought and Applied Psychological Research: Transcending the Boundaries. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. Pp. 36-68.

Encyclopedia of Religion-Ālaya-vijñāna

   2004. New York: MacMillan. pp. 228-229.

Common Ground, Common Cause: Buddhism and Science on the Afflictions of Identity

   2003. Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground. B. Alan Wallace (ed.). New York: Columbia Univ. Press. pp. 145-191.

Review: Lusthaus “Buddhist Phenomenology” (2002) H-Buddhism

   2003. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=7876

Buddhism and Social Science on the Afflictions of Self-identity

   (Shorted version of ‘Common Ground,’ 2003) Unpublished.

Buddhist Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Thinking about ‘Thoughts without a Thinker

   2002. Eastern Buddhist, Vol. XXXIV, No. 1, pp. 1-52.

An End-Run ‘Round Entities: Using Scientific Analogies for Teaching Buddhist Concepts

   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.

Beyond Nature\Nurture: Buddhism and Biology on Interdependence

   2000. Contemporary Buddhism,V.1, no. 2, pp. 199-226.

‘How Innovative is the Ālayavijñāna?’ JIP 1994-5

   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