Connections between Buddhism and Psychology
Buddhism includes an analysis of human psychology, emotion, cognition, behaviour and motivation along with therapeutic practices. A unique feature of Buddhist psychology is that it is embedded within the greater Buddhist ethical and philosophical system, and its psychological terminology is coloured by ethical overtones.
Psychotherapists such as Erich Fromm (buy his books from Amazon) have found in Buddhist enlightenment experiences the potential for transformation, healing and finding existential meaning.
Some contemporary mental-health practitioners such as Jon Kabat-Zinn (buy his books from Amazon) increasingly find ancient Buddhist practices (such as the development of mindfulness) of empirically proven therapeutic value, while Buddhist teachers such as Jack Kornfield see Western psychology as providing complementary practices for Buddhists.
The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
The first noble truth is life full of suffering. The very essential conditions of life appeared to be fraught with suffering-birth, old age, disease, death, sorrow, grief, wish, despair, in short, all that is born of attachment, is suffering.
The second noble truth is that there is a cause of this suffering. Suffering is due to attachment. Attachment is one translation of the word trishna, which can also be translated as thirst, desire, lust, craving, or clinging. Another aspect of attachment is dvesha, which means avoidance or hatred. A third aspect of attachment is avidya, meaning ignorance.
The third noble truth about suffering is that suffering can be extinguished. Nirvana is the state of being wherein all clinging, and so all suffering, can be eliminated here, in this very life. Buddha pointed out that work without attachment, hatred and infatuation (rāga, dveṣa, moha) does not cause bondage.
The fourth noble truth about suffering is that there is a path – marga -which Buddha followed and others can similarly follow-to reach to a state free from misery. He called it the Eightfold Path to liberation.
The Eightfold Path
Eight fold Path – astangika-marga as advocated by Buddha as a way to extinguish the sufferings are right views, right resolve/aspiration, right speech, right action/conduct, right livelihood, right effort right mindfulness and right concentration.
|Division||Eightfold Path factors|
|Moral virtue (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)||3. Right speech|
|4. Right action|
|5. Right livelihood|
|Meditation (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)||6. Right effort|
|7. Right mindfulness|
|8. Right concentration|
|Insight, wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)||1. Right view|
|2. Right resolve|
Mid-twentieth century saw the collaborations between many psychoanalysts and Buddhist scholars as a meeting between “two of the most powerful forces” operating in the Western mind. Buddhism and Modern Psychology overlap in theory and in practice. Over the last century, experts have written on many commonalities between Buddhism and various branches of modern western psychology like phenomenological psychology, psychoanalytical psychotherapy, humanistic psychology, cognitive psychology and existential psychology.
Buddha was a unique psychotherapist. His therapeutic methods helped millions of people throughout the centuries.
Since the 1970s, clinical psychology and psychiatry have developed a number of therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people experiencing a variety of psychological conditions. These ailments of the psyche range from depression and anxiety to addiction and full-blown personality disorders, such as narcissistic or borderline. Mindfulness is derived from the concept of Sati, am important element in Buddhism, merged with influences from Zen, Vipassana and Tibetan practices.
Although the numerous benefits of practicing Mindfulness have been researched and demonstrated, we can still observe a veil of mystery and prejudice surrounding the practice. Almost every one of them is rooted in cultural and religious prejudices associated with elements of Asian lifestyle and thought. The truth is, the practice can be stripped of its religious and cultural origin and can be seen as a secular practice that has the potential of improving your psychological well-being and overall productivity. Let’s personify the most common preconceptions in four different characters and look frankly at what they signify for each one of us. Our goal is to see for ourselves what mindfulness really is and is not.
The term collective unconscious was originally coined by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) and has been elaborately explained in his book Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. It represents a form of the unconscious ( the part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware) common to mankind as a specie and it originates in inherited structures of the psyche, passed on from generation to generation.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from Sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.
Mindfulness practice has been employed to reduce symptoms of depression, to reduce stress, anxiety, and in the treatment of drug addiction. Moreover, research has shown that people who meditate are happier, healthier, and more successful than those who don’t.
In this articles we present the most effective and easy-to-practice mindfulness approaches for everyday life.
Mandala is a graphical representation of the center (the Self at Jung). It can appear in dreams and visions or it can be spontaneously created as a work of art. It is present in the cultural and religious representations.
Examples of mandala can be found in all the ancient cultures. We find it in Christianity under the form of frescos with animal images representing apostles and under the form of the zodiac. The astrologic zodiac and its versions are an excellent example of mandala. Also, in the Indian spiritual practices we find fascinating representative cases of mandala, with symbols of the local pantheon.
Emotion represents a complex of affective states that implies conscious or unconscious experiences which lead to psychological responses that either inhibit or facilitate the motivation of behaviour.
Emotions exert an incredibly powerful force on human behavior. Strong emotions can cause you to take actions you might not normally perform or to avoid situations you enjoy. Why exactly do we have emotions? What causes us to have these feelings?
In the analytical psychotherapy, which includes the recognition and the conscious integration of the contents of the collective unconscious, the spontaneous drawing of mandala is required. While a finished mandala bears importance as a focus for meditative practice, the creation process remains equally important. You can analyze your finished mandala using a map that shows the areas corresponding to important symbols of the psyche and Jungian Archetypes, such as the Persona, Animus & Anima and the Shadow.