William L. Mikulas, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology
Buddhist Psychology

Tibetan Buddhists create sand mandala at UWF

Tibetan Buddhists create sand mandala at UWF.

These two courses are open to seniors and graduate students, and others with permission. In addition to Psychology majors, these courses are designed for other majors and people in the community. They are also usually co-listed as a single 4000-level honors course.

Please note that these are not courses in philosophy or religion; the Buddha was very clear on this! Rather, these are practical courses on how to apply the rich Buddhist knowledge to many aspects of daily living. The first course is primarily conceptual and has no prerequisite other than a serious interest to learn and an open mind. The second course is a lab course and is primarily experiential. Prerequisite for the lab is taking the first course.

Almost everyone should take both courses (e.g., You can't claim to be learning about Buddhism if you don't meditate). However, some people with psychological problems and/or are going through major life changes should avoid the lab. If in doubt, talk with the instructor. Also, space permitting and with permission of instructor, the lab is open to people who have previously had the first course.


Lecture/Discussion Course

A practical overview of the psychological implications of various schools of Buddhism. Topics include the 4 Noble Truths, 8-fold path,3 marks of existence, dependent origination, enlightenment, attachments, nature of self, concentration and mindfulness, sunyata, tantra, personal-spiritual growth, and the interfacting of Buddhist and Western Psychologies. The course will be lectures and discussions. The main requirement is one or two papers integrating lectures, readings, and personal thoughts.


Lab Course

Most of the lab will emphasize meditation practice. It will begin with the fundamentals of concentration and mindfulness, assuming no prior experience or knowledge. (Wise people with previous experience will appreciate a review of the fundamentals, which apply equally to the beginner and advanced practitioner.) Later practices will focus on meditation which is more specifically Buddhist, such as vipassana. Course requirements are regular attendance and participation, meditation practice outside of class, a paper about this practice, and construction of a personal mandala. The text is the instructor's lab manual "Taming the Drunken Monkey".


Note to Serious Seekers:

If you are seriously interested in learning real Buddhist practice, now is the time. These courses are only offered once every two years. Currently, there is no equivalent instruction in Northwest Florida. There are, of course, several local and regional Buddhist groups, all of which will be described, and some of which may be involved. But the fundamentals of Buddhism, such as a strong conceptual understanding and experiential insight regarding the Four Noble Truths, is basic to all branches and traditions, as strongly argued by everyone from the Buddha to the Dalai Lama.

Student Mandalas



Buddhist Writings

Readings in Theravada Buddhism

Majjhima Nikaya (Nyanamoli & Bodhi) and Digha Nikaya (Walsh).

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Last modified 11/28/07
Copyright 1999-2007. All rights reserved.
Department of Psychology
University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL 32514