Stream Eight Worldly Concerns – The Buddha Dharma Series by Buddhism Guide


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We all have concerns and this is simply part of being human. Since we end up being connected to them or are unfavorable to them, The there are eight concerns that bring us unneeded suffering.

The ones we call preferable are gain, enjoyment, status and appreciation. It 4 we call undesirables being loss, insignificance, discomfort and blame. My does not matter if we see them as unwanted or preferable, they are all eventually reason for our suffering.

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Beyond Belief


A concern typically asked is whether Buddhism is a religious beliefs or whether one can practice its techniques in the lack of any belief in teaching.

Stephen Batchelor resolved this concern in his book Buddhism Without Beliefs (1997 ).

He has a fascinating take on belief, and what it indicates not to think. The latter is normally referred to as agnosticism, typically considered‘not knowing’ Yet Batchelor specifies agnosticism not as ‘not knowing’ however as ‘not wanting to know’, and the distinction in between the 2 techniques he states can be essential to one’s practice.

He explains that agnosticism has a long history in the western custom, from thinkers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece, to those of the European Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, through to the empirical sciences of our own period. All of these examples of the custom demand following factor and proof as far as it will take you, however within that point. They accept that there are merely some things which the human mind might never ever have the ability to comprehend.

The term ‘agnosticism’ was very first created in the 19th century by T HHuxley He even described it as‘the agnostic faith’ As well as significance, ‘I don’ t require or desire to understand what is unknowable’, it suggests working out one’s crucial and reasonable professors in order to find out brand-new things.

The Buddha is typically stated to have actually described something comparable in the parable of the guy injured with an arrow. If, prior to the cosmetic surgeon ran, the guy demanded very first understanding the name and clan of the archer, whether the bow was a crossbow or a longbow or whether the arrow-head was curved or disallowed, he may well pass away prior to his mission for understanding was pleased. In the very same method, the Buddha stated that he did not teach whether the world was everlasting or limited, whether the soul is never-ceasing, or the like or various from the body. These things were unknowable, even to him. He merely taught how to end suffering in this ‘fathom-length carcass’.

In by doing this, argues Batchelor, the dharma is a practice much as the clinical technique is a practice; neither are ‘isms’, and undoubtedly ‘Buddhism’, the term we utilize a lot today, is itself a fairly contemporary western coinage. The word ‘dharma’, though most likely untranslatable into English, is a much better term.

In such a technique, not understanding is not a weak point nor even mainly a recognition of our essential lack of knowledge however is rather an enthusiastic acknowledgment that ‘I do not know’, that the mind can never ever rest in certainty. Such a technique echoes that of Krishnamurti taken a look at here in previous blog sites. Truth is a living thing and when you believe you have ‘found it’, ‘understood it’ or ‘grasped it’ you have likely missed out on the point.

But then what of the 4 honorable realities? Are they not realities, certainties, concepts that we look for to comprehend? Not according to the extreme account that Stephen Batchelor lays out. Rather they are a technique.

The initially honorable reality is referred to as the truth of suffering. Its difficulty is to spot suffering prior to regular responses disable us- for instance, experiencing stress and anxiety and after that right away turning away from it or right away being gotten rid of by it. The very first reality is for that reason not mainly a piece of understanding or info however an action which includes seeing stress and anxiety for what it is- short-term, devoid and contingent of intrinsic identity.

Awareness of stress and anxiety normally results in desire or yearning to be without it. The 2nd honorable reality, the ending of suffering, explains how the existence of such a yearning supplies a chance to let it go. Letting go (or letting be) is the option to indulging or rejecting the yearning in it. Letting go needs accepting what is taking place. It is grounded in private imaginative autonomy, and enabled by ways of that autonomy, by the truth that we are representatives that can start action. Awakening then is not an ‘achievement’ or ‘realisation’ of some transcendental reality, however a procedure, a course. Batchelor states, ‘It begins with understanding the kind of reality we inhabit and the kind of beings we are that inhabit such a reality.’ (p. 10).

Seen in this light the dharma is a culture, a series of practices, worths, techniques, arts, morals, laws, custom-mades; it is a culture of awakening.

The possibility of awakening occurs from the nature of our experience, of our moment-to-moment life. As Batchelor observes, ‘The present moment hovers between past and future just as life hovers between birth and death.’ (p. 24). We normally avert both today minute, especially the uneasy ones, and the truth of our future death, by participating in a dream world. Something in us firmly insists that there is a fixed continuing self, which we can really identify a repaired picture of what we are. But to do so is to overlook or avoid the truth of our ever-changing experience. ‘Evasion of the unadorned immediacy of life is as deep-seated as it is relentless.’ (p. 25). The yearning to be otherwise, to be in other places, to attain a tension, a repaired identity, penetrates the body and our awareness of all that we experience.

In by doing this, suffering emerges from the yearning for life to be besides it is. It is the sign of the flight from birth and death, from the pulse of today. If life did not continuously bring alter it may be trusted to offer enduring joy. But due to the fact that whatever (including us) remains in flux, we can not attain joy or fulfilment by holding on to what occurs in our minds. Rather, we require to establish a clear understanding of the truth that no conditions sustain. In practicing this method, yearning is not quelched however gradually stops to hold our interest. Contentment is discovered by residing in today minute, whatever it brings. The dharma is a course we tread instead of an understanding we may have.

The desire to be without distress or of suffering is a deep-rooted routine, a dependency. In dependency, as normally comprehended, it is not initially the compound nor things of the routine which is longed for, however mainly it is the flight itself which is looked for. When we end up being mindful of its devastating nature, What desire for flight continues even. Of can challenging this impulse to run away is the practice of abiding in the minute, whatever that minute brings. ‘abide’ course, one can not truly

Batchelor in a minute that is short lived, so what is being practiced here is an approval of the circulation of experience, whatever it brings. (pp. 41-44).When observes that we typically do not see what we do, notice and see. One we walk, for instance, we are lost in idea instead of taking care of what we are doing. In of the most hard things to do is to bear in mind to bear in mind. ‘Awareness begins with remembering what we tend to forget.’ by doing this, We (p. 58). Instead forget that we reside in a body with senses, sensations, feelings, concepts and ideas. ‘The world of colours and shapes, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations becomes dull and remote.’ we mull over our issues. To (p. 59).

It stop and take notice of what is taking place in the minute is the treatment. Both is likewise a sensible meaning of meditation. Whatever awareness and meditation are procedures of deepening self-acceptance. To is observed is acknowledged. It acknowledge an unfavorable feeling, state hatred, is to accept it for what it is; a short-term however disruptive mindset. But identifies that simply as it developed it will die. The by relating to it, and hanging on to it, we sustain it.

Distraction job is to capture the impulse at its creation, and this needs a concentrated mind. (p. 59).Both drugs us into lapse of memory. Focus uneasyness and sleepiness are physical or not psychological lapses however reflexes of an existential condition. The on today is hard, not due to the fact that we are inefficient at some spiritual innovation, however due to the fact that such focus appears to threaten our sense of who we are, our sense of being a continuing, irreversible self. Restlessness act of simply settling the mind exposes a contradiction in between the sort of individual we want to be (the calm meditator) and the sort of individual we are (the agitated, understanding self). Rather and sleepiness are methods of momentarily averting the pain of this contradiction, however they are imperfect options. By, we require to deal with to end up being wakeful, with each resolution allowing awareness to be progressively alert. ‘that there is nothing within it that I can rely on, nothing I can hold on to as “me” or “mine”. (pp. 61-65).

My innate confusion in respect of my identity causes me to split the world in two, the bit that is mine and the bit that is not. Only my feelings really count. But in doing this I fail to realise that I am not a fixed essence but an interactive series of processes. Every experience (sensation, emotion, thoughts and ideas) has a tone, normally a jumble of tones as they arrive together in this place I call my mind. The tones have a range or spectrum between ecstasy and agony. But none of them is me, rather they are a crew steered by the skipper of attention. But then, even when I glimpse this, what it is that has the experience switches back into the habitual image of an isolated ego. Confusion has returned. Strangely, I habitually choose the confusion of self to the confusion of experience! (pp. 69-71).

Deep down I insist that a permanent, separate self is entitled to a life removed from the contingencies and uncertainty of existence. But craving is really a loss of direction, a compulsive becoming. Lived this way our lives are a process of mini-births and mini-deaths. (pp.73-4).

Perhaps like many people, when I first encountered Buddhism I thought of it as a body of knowledge with which I might become familiar, a series of ideas that might help me understand myself and my place in the world, a set of beliefs to which I might attach myself. But with the help of others I’ concentrating on the information of experience as it occurs we start to see how we belong of this life and And m now starting to see that the dharma is not a mission for understanding however a practice. Such among the most stunning elements of such a technique is that it turns our practice into a query about experience, and how to much better handle what we experience.

a practice turns every minute of waking experience into a chance for individual development.Buddhism #Dharma #Experience #Meditation #Awakening

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Stream 143 – Eye Of The Beholder by Secular Buddhism


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In this episode, I’ll speak about notion and the position it performs in how we expertise our actuality. Reality is within the eye of the beholder. “Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises…The meeting of the three is contact.”
With contact as a requisite situation, there may be feeling. What one feels, one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about.

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Religion & Spirituality

Good factors. Why is it known as the Honeyball Discourse although, why Honeyball?

Thinking of yogacara’s mannequin of seeds and perfuming, as linked to foundational biases, preferences, and perceptual heuristics.


License: cc-by-nc

143 – Eye Of The Beholder by Secular Buddhism


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In this episode, I will talk about perception and the role it plays in how we experience our reality. Reality is in the eye of the beholder. “Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises…The meeting of the three is contact.”
With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about.

Genre
Religion & Spirituality

Thinking of yogacara’s model of seeds and perfuming, as linked to foundational biases, preferences, and perceptual heuristics.

License: cc-by-nc

10 Guidelines for Meditation Success


10 Guidelines for Meditation Success 

Meditation and mindfulness have been growing in popularity. Even mainstream medicine is touting the virtues of meditation. Meditation is a skill that can be learned by anyone. However, learning a new skill is challenging. Try these helpful tips for greater success in your meditation.

Build the habit of meditating daily. Meditation can enhance your life in many ways, both physically and mentally. It can take years to become an expert, but you’ll notice benefits after just a few days. Go slowly and enjoy the process.

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10 Reasons Why You May Think Meditation Is Not Working For You


Meditation is simple, cheap, and highly effective, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

It actually is pretty easy, it’s just not what people expect it to be.

Beginners have all sorts of challenges when meditating, but most of them aren’t really problems. The complaints beginners have are simply part of the meditation process.

Meditation can work for everyone that puts in the time and effort.

Are these challenges holding you back?


1. Your mind is too active. Of course, it’s active. It takes practice before the mind quiets down, and it’s rarely silent even after years of practice. It takes about 20 minutes for experienced meditators to notice a slowing down of the mind.

●  This isn’t really a problem. Part of the purpose of meditating is to learn how your mind operates.

2. Your mind wanders. It’s not uncommon to suddenly realize that you’ve been daydreaming for the last five minutes. The solution is the same as the previous issue. Just return your attention to your breath and continue.

3. A lack of consistency. Meditation needs to be done daily to see the greatest benefits. It also needs to be done daily to gain a high level of proficiency. You can’t become skilled at what you don’t practice. Get as much practice as you can.

4. You fall asleep. It’s not easy to fall asleep if you have the proper posture. It should be impossible to stay asleep if you have the proper posture, as you’re sure to lose your balance and fall over.

  • The best position for meditating is to sit up straight. If you lie down, you may struggle to stay awake.

5. Body pains. Holding one position can be painful, especially when you’re just starting out with meditation. Over time, your aches and pains will largely go away.

● It’s best to try to remain still. Shifting your position will only give temporary relief, and the process starts all over again. No matter how much it hurts, you’ll find the pain fades away and eventually moves to another location if you stay still.

●  Itches fall into the same category. Just leave them alone and observe them.

6. Boredom. Yes, meditation can be boring, especially if you’re used to significantly more stimulation. Learn to sit still with your boredom and just observe it. Boredom can be more fascinating than you might think.

7. Rationalizing that quitting is a good idea. Common thoughts include things like, “This is a waste of time.” “Why am I doing this?” “Is this all there is?” Again, just sit with your thoughts and notice them. Every thought is as meaningless as the next.

8. Just realize that it’s your discomfort with stillness that’s bothering you. You’ll come to understand that many of the things you do in your life are to avoid this feeling. This includes things like staring at the TV and overeating.

9. Finding time. This excuse is hardly a valid excuse. Go to bed 20 minutes early and sit in the corner. Or get up 20 minutes early and do the same. The truth is, after a little practice, you can meditate at your desk or on a bus.

●  If you had time to watch TV, surf the internet, or play on your phone, you had time to meditate.

10. Desiring perfection. Perfection in meditation isn’t achievable, but you don’t need to be perfect. Put in the time with your best effort. That’s all that’s required.


Meditation rarely involves earth-shattering insights. It’s a gradual process that brings understanding over time.

The problems I’ve listed above aren’t really problems. They’re simply misunderstandings of what normally occurs during a meditation session. Each obstacle is nothing more than an opportunity to develop your meditation practice. Just keep at it and have faith that everything is as it should be. 

What does the path you follow look like?

Total Attention


I wish to pursue even more the difference in between idea and our broader intelligence by taking a look at what Jiddhu Krishnamurti (K) called‘total attention’ K thought that our fascination with thinking was carefully gotten in touch with the human choice (no doubt provided by natural choice) to have an ‘occupied’ mind, a mind which, a minimum of in the waking state, is animated by idea. In his view such irreversible profession was preferable nor neither essential.

Of course, he acknowledged that idea is needed to pursue an useful objective or deal with a technical matter. But outside these particular and narrow goals he saw this desire for ‘occupation’ to be a recurring and mechanical human characteristic. In its location he recommended that the mind be allowed to experience repetitive states of non-occupation, missing however awake of active idea. In these minutes the mind makes no motion towards judgement or conclusion, rather it just addresses what is taking place, whether this consists of interior experiences or external occasions, feelings, ideas and understandings. He recommended that this act of attention or passive, unconcentrated, focus is the extremely opposite of believing, for all thinking is considering revers, about contrasting and comparing, determining and evaluating, examining and evaluating, presuming and concluding. These activities are important in technical thinking when some action needs to be prepared or figured out, however in the mental sphere they typically develop dispute for the thinker and end up being the source of department and condition.

In such states where believing falls quiet, there is exposed the mind’s capability for‘total attention’ The subject-object difference of the conditioned mind falls away; there is no ‘me’ over here and ‘you’ there. There is no effort to get something. Such attention permits the private mind to let go of the determining, self-serving self. K thought that if an individual might unlearn the routine of continuous thinking, booking it just for when it was required to attain useful goals, she or he would acquire the energy and intelligence essential to see life in the entire instead of as a series of fragmented images. Indeed, ‘unlearn’ is not rather the ideal word, since K believed that such a realisation might be accomplished, and certainly in his view needed to be accomplished, instantly.

What K suggested by this kind of attention is vital to an understanding of his viewpoint. However, it can appear an evasive idea, maybe unavoidably so considering that in K’s view total attention was less an idea to be understood and more of a method of being or seeing. As I will argue listed below, the mindset imagined is extremely comparable to particular kinds of meditation.

K saw attention as what the mind performs in the immediate it exists with a brand-new experience. We now understand from neurology that brand-new experiences are acknowledged at first in the ideal hemisphere of the brain prior to being passed to the left hemisphere for assimilation and classification. It is as if K wished to stop this procedure, and certainly that in him this procedure remained in some method damaged or weakened, so that something of the instant, undigested, awareness of an understanding or experience stayed present in awareness. He thought that a totally mindful mind might comprehend this, not verbally even instantly and intuitively, which in so doing the tourist attraction of conceptual thinking would be decisively damaged. As an outcome, the tyranny that memory and mechanical cognition has more than our behaviour would be changed with participating in, with a seeing of the entire in its immediacy and freshness. Such attention does not divide the observer from the observed and does not piece the psychological procedure into subject and things. There is just a participating in, a procedure in which the self, or representative, is not actively present. Attending is a method of just ‘seeing’ and staying still.

In K’s view the core function of such attention is to free the mind from its regular requirement of being inhabited with ideas, and for that reason allow it to take a look at a reality without being inhabited or bound up with it. If the mind is thinking about an useful issue which it wants to ‘solve’ it is undoubtedly inhabited with that issue. But continuous profession with issues, with puzzles, with regular ideas constrains the mind’s workout of its broader powers of intelligence. K’s view was that complete attention to any experience was the reverse of having actually the mind inhabited with it, in the sense of analyzing it, evaluating it, trying to find a service. Rather, attention should be the workout of a ‘choiceless awareness’, a passive reflection on a reality, a feeling, an experience, without evaluating, favouring or condemning, without tourist attraction or hostility.

Total attention for that reason is defined by a variety of qualities- watchfulness, silence, awareness of one’ s psychological procedures in the minute that they occur. It is an acknowledging of the reality that a person does not understand. Not to understand, to state, ‘I do not understand’, thus ends up being the start of real understanding. It is not simply that reality can not be revealed in words, it is that reality is not part of that which can be a things of understanding, understood in the sense that it can be the things of idea and memory, something that can be accessed, evaluated and devoted to words. Truth is beyond time and for that reason beyond memory, beyond what can be understood. Truth is not part of the sphere of understanding, and since of that it can not be taught, bied far or explained. K composed,‘The mind that does not know, is not in a state of knowledge, is in the only state in which truth could be discovered. But the moment you recognize truth, say to yourself I see the truth, you are back in the sphere of memory, the conditioned……to discover what is, the mind must die to that which it has experienced’ If reality lay anywhere, it lay in the subjectless act of viewing:-

‘To go for a walk in the fields with the cattle and the young lambs, and in the woods with the song of the birds, without a single thought in your mind, only watching the earth, the trees, the sheep and hearing the cuckoo calling and the wood pigeons; to walk without any emotion, any sentiment, to watch the trees and all the earth- when you so watch, you learn your own thinking, are aware of your own reactions and do not allow a single thought to escape you without understanding why it came, what was the cause of it. If you are watchful, never letting a thought go by, then the brain becomes very quiet. Then you watch in great silence and that silence has immense depth, a lasting incorruptible beauty.’

This is why in K’ s see reality can not be discovered by browsing or be pursued. Seeking includes a things and a searcher looked for. When the things of the search is discovered it is locked into memory and enters into what has actually been experienced by a topic. But then it is no longer alive, no longer a living thing. In K’s view you can just encounter reality when the mind is totally still, when there is no making every effort. For the mind to be totally still, and for attention to be accomplished, it needs to not be inhabited with conditioned idea, certainly should be empty totally. You can never ever reach reality through the understood, that is through idea which has actually been developed with time and rests. You can just ‘reach’ it by not attempting to reach, by attempting not to comprehend on to it, by an outright lack of effort. Truth lies outside the field of the understood, is unidentified, is entirely brand-new, is permanently developed and present, and can not be caught by idea. K composed that, ‘It is only when the mind ceases to think in terms of its own continuity that the unknowable comes into being.’

Total attention releases the mind from the repeated procedure of self-consciousness and self-analysis. For K analysis of self is simple terminology, completely depending on one’ s conditioning. It can never ever be an innovative force.

‘It is only the mind that is totally unoccupied, completely empty- it is only such a mind that can receive something new in which there is no occupation…Reality cannot be measured: therefore there is no occupation with it; there is only stillness of the mind, an emptiness in which there is no movement- and it is only then that the unknown can come into being.’

K typically rejected that he was a Buddhist, however it is maybe not a surprise that a number of his fans and pals saw this exposition of attention as basically Buddhist in nature. It resonates highly with modern descriptions of insight meditation. For example, the Theravada instructor Ajahn Amaro supplies a terrific account of this in his book The Breakthrough (see particularly pp. 98-107). Here he explains how Buddhist mentor divides our experience into 5 essential classifications- body, experience, understanding, ideas (consisting of feelings), and lastly awareness itself. Commonly, we recognize the existence of an ‘I’ which accompanies each of these experiences. Such recognition totals up to a ‘grasping’ that triggers sensations of frustration, alienation and incompleteness to occur. It is the source of the self-view, of the view that there is a specific being that is different from that which is experienced.

In this context Buddhism can be seen not mainly as a set of ‘truths’, that themselves can not be totally articulated in language, rather it is a set of tools which reveal us how finest how to live. These tools, especially that of insight meditation, assist us to acknowledge that there is no ‘thing’, or series of things, throughout the world to which another ‘thing’ (specifically us) might be connected. Rather, both within our minds and bodies and out there on the planet, all that develops is modification, minute by minute. Everything depends on something else, however there is no subject and no things. Conscious entities, such as people, just experience a few of these modifications as they occur in their minds.

According to Amaro, when the mind in meditation rests in today minute there is an ‘unentangled participation’ because minute. In these minutes of meditation (as in K’s ‘total attention’) our minds and bodies just address the circulation of experience. We see that circulation pass, however do not end up being knotted in it. We release the material of experience and rather just experience the procedure of what passes in the mind. Sensations, ideas, understandings, and feelings, the whole material of awareness at that minute, simply go and come. Such meditation is an approach, however a lot more essentially it is an experience of what is occurring in today minute. It is not an insight in the sense that it can be interacted or consigned to memory. Rather, it is just an awareness of the circulation of experience, albeit one that changes the experience of all that we come across.

Four Foundations Of Mindfulness – The Buddha Dharma Series



The 4 basis practices of mindfulness are consciousness of our our bodies, of our emotions, our psychological states and objects of the thoughts.

The goal of those practices is to get to know ourselves higher. It will assist us perceive what’s working for us and what isn’t. This will enable us to alter extra successfully and positively.

My newest e-book ‘Open Awareness, Open Mind’ is offered now on Amazon and Kindle – https://amzn.to/35uboLq

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The Existential Buddhist | dharma without dogma


William James might have been the primary psychologist to take an curiosity in Buddhism, however he definitely was not the final. In Prescribing the Dharma: Psychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), psychotherapist and non secular research scholar Ira Helderman explores the historical past and present standing of the continued relationship between the American psychotherapeutic neighborhood and Buddhist traditions—no less than the Buddhist traditions as transmitted by Asian modernizers and as practiced inside predominantly European-descent Buddhist “convert” communities. His method is predicated each on a participant-observer ethnological evaluation (he attends skilled psychological conferences dedicated to Buddhist themes and interviews presenters and attendees) and on textual analyses of the writings of main figures, residing and historic, who’ve performed key roles within the unfolding relationship between Buddhism and Western psychology.

His isn’t an easy story both of the secularization, subversion, and cultural appropriation of Buddhist custom by therapists, or of the stealth transmission of Buddhist concepts into American tradition. As Helderman factors out, “psychotherapy” and “Buddhism” are socially constructed classes and, due to this fact, are usually not entities that may interact in dialogue. There are solely particular person clinicians making pragmatic choices about the way to deal with particular person purchasers whereas negotiating the boundaries set by organizations and companies that police their career and responding to the influences of a number of impinging historic and cultural forces {and professional} imperatives. These clinicians typically occupy a number of and considerably conflicting roles as scientists, healers, and non secular practitioners. They want to barter a wide range of socially constructed classes that essentially inform their choices, together with the definitional classes of faith, secularity, spirituality, science, medication, and remedy, and what the connection between these classes must be. They additionally want to think about the important goals of each remedy and Buddhist apply—whether or not they’re consonant or disparate—and their relationship to extra broadly construed conceptions of “wellness” and “the good life.”

Helderman defines six main approaches clinicians take with regard to Buddhism: therapizing, filtering, translating, personalizing, adopting, and integrating. In the chapters that observe the introductory chapters, Helderman examines every of those approaches and the work of psychotherapists who typify every method. At the identical time, he’s clear that these approaches are usually not pure sorts and that the clinicians he reads and talks to typically undertake a number of and, at instances, conflicting approaches, generally emphasizing completely different approaches relying on the viewers they’re addressing. Therapizing means explicating Buddhism within the language of psychological discourse, as when Franz Alexander explicates the objective of Buddhist apply as a narcissistic rechanneling of libidinal energies away from the exterior world and onto the self. Filtering entails choosing and selecting Buddhist concepts in keeping with how consonant they’re with fashionable Western science. Therapizers and filterers each view psychology and science as the ultimate arbiters of reality. Translating entails restating Buddhist practices in biomedical phrases, as when meditation is described as “attentional training practice” or “the relaxation response.” Personalizing entails a personal private dedication to Buddhism, whereas conserving it in a separate silo from one’s medical apply. Adopting means reformulating psychotherapy in Buddhist phrases. Adopters see Buddhism as the ultimate arbiter of reality. Finally, integrating entails discovering methods Buddhist and psychotherapeutic concepts can mutually assimilate and accommodate to one another, the place neither is seen as being essentially privileged over the opposite. As Helderman critiques these approaches, he explores the work of such clinicians and theorists as Carl Jung, Franz Alexander, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jeffrey Rubin, Polly Young-Eisendrath, Barry Magid, Steve Hayes, Mark Epstein, Marsha Linehan, Paul Cooper, Harvey Aronson, Paul Fulton, Jack Engler, Jack Kornfeld, Joseph Loizzo, Pilar Jennings, Jan Surrey, Jeremy Safran, Christopher Germer, Gay Watson, Karen Kissel Wegela, Ken Wilber, and others.

Many of the clinicians described are sad with the traditional boundaries of what constitutes faith and what constitutes secularity. They typically attempt to redefine the phrases or blur their boundaries, however their affect is inescapable. Helderman explains that is the case due to the pervasive affect of coaching and certification authorities, third-party payors, hospital accreditation organizations, first modification issues, and malpractice case legislation; the lengthy cultural historical past of how concepts are transmitted to us; clinicians’ self-identifications with their very own therapeutic lineages and the internalization of their norms; and non secular students’ critiques, which, for clinicians, typically assist outline the authenticity of their understandings of Buddhist teachings. Helderman argues that the boundaries clinicians redraw between what’s non secular, secular, religious, medical, and psychotherapeutic are inherently unstable and riddled with inside inconsistencies, and thus topic to fixed critique and revision.

Helderman views clinicians’ relationship with Buddhism towards the bigger background of what Eugene Taylor has known as psychology’s “shadow culture” (Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America [1999]). While American psychology is usually trifurcated into the three twentieth-century mainstreams of psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanistic psychology, Taylor described a “fourth stream” of other therapeutic strategies from Swedenborgianism, homeopathy, mesmerism, Christian Science, and New Thought, right down to in the present day’s mindfulness. Taylor described how this fourth stream periodically emerges, is repressed, after which makes an inevitable return as a result of the division between scientific/medical and non secular/religious elements of therapeutic is at all times unstable. Are Buddhist-oriented psychologists mixing science and faith? Or if psychotherapy is an alternative to the non secular dimension of life in a secularized age, are therapists actually mixing two various kinds of religious traditions? Psychotherapists have at all times occupied a sort of liminal area between science, artwork, medication, and spirituality, and Buddhism—or no less than Western Buddhist modernism—might be seen as the most recent import into this area.

Helderman is primarily a non secular research scholar, and he makes good use of each non secular research broadly thought-about and fashionable Buddhist scholarship particularly. One theme he revisits a variety of instances is the diploma to which fashionable Western psychotherapists’ utilization and understanding of Buddhism might be in comparison with the method of sinicization and the way in which the medieval Chinese understood and made sense of Buddhism. This is, after all, a declare that Buddhist-oriented psychologists make themselves in an effort to assist legit their work. Is Buddhism, just like the fabled Ship of Theseus, one thing that undergoes fixed transformation but stays, in some way, the identical ship, or sooner or later is it not Buddhism? Are karma, reincarnation, merit-making, and celestial bodhisattvas essential elements of any Buddhism, or can a Buddhism without them nonetheless be a Buddhism? Who will get to determine whether or not one thing remains to be a type of Buddhism, or whether or not it is crypto-Buddhism or just New Age nonsense? These are questions Helderman raises, presenting arguments on either side, however leaves basically unresolved. Helderman emphasizes that these questions are usually not mere idle questions. There is one thing necessary at stake right here. At the guts of those disputes is a clinician fighting how finest to assist a severely disturbed affected person who has not been helped by the standard and customary therapeutic measures—a therapist who, within the midst of uncertainty and controversy, should decide about whether or not and the way to make use of one thing he discovered at a convention, in a zendo, or from a e-book that he thinks may be useful however isn’t certain might be universally applauded. Helderman thinks we must have some actual sympathy for this clinician, however he additionally thinks that in an effort to do their work nicely, clinicians have to formulate and make clear their very own thought-about solutions as to what’s well being and well-being, what sort of endeavor remedy is, and to what diploma faith can and must be included on this combine.

Helderman has written a e-book that’s admirable by way of its comprehensiveness, depth, and nuance. The clinicians included on this research are a great illustration of thought leaders—psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic/transpersonal—within the subject. His historic protection of seminal figures, similar to Jung, Alexander, Maslow, and Fromm, is superb. He makes good use of the work of up to date Buddhist students, similar to Stephen Bokenkamp, José Cabezón, Francisca Cho, Rupert Gethin, Jay Garfield, Luis Gomez, Janet Gyatso, Donald Lopez Jr., David McMahan, John McRae, Ann Gleig, Robert Campany, and Robert Sharf, amongst many others, in addition to students of up to date faith and spirituality. Helderman’s e-book is probably the most correct, full, and in-depth exploration of how Western psychotherapists therapize, filter, translate, personalize, undertake, and combine Buddhism into their theories, lives, and practices but written, and is prone to stay a basic for years to come back. It has implications not just for how clinicians construe their apply but additionally in understanding the most important vector for both (relying on one’s viewpoint) the transmission of Buddhism into American tradition or its secularization and diminishment.



The Existential Buddhist | dharma without dogma


William James may have been the first psychologist to take an interest in Buddhism, but he certainly was not the last. In Prescribing the Dharma: Psychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), psychotherapist and religious studies scholar Ira Helderman explores the history and current status of the ongoing relationship between the American psychotherapeutic community and Buddhist traditions—at least the Buddhist traditions as transmitted by Asian modernizers and as practiced within predominantly European-descent Buddhist “convert” communities. His approach is based both on a participant-observer ethnological analysis (he attends professional psychological conferences devoted to Buddhist themes and interviews presenters and attendees) and on textual analyses of the writings of major figures, living and historical, who have played key roles in the unfolding relationship between Buddhism and Western psychology.

His is not a straightforward story either of the secularization, subversion, and cultural appropriation of Buddhist tradition by therapists, or of the stealth transmission of Buddhist ideas into American culture. As Helderman points out, “psychotherapy” and “Buddhism” are socially constructed categories and, therefore, are not entities that can engage in dialogue. There are only individual clinicians making pragmatic decisions about how to treat individual clients while negotiating the boundaries set by organizations and agencies that police their profession and responding to the influences of multiple impinging historical and cultural forces and professional imperatives. These clinicians often occupy multiple and somewhat conflicting roles as scientists, healers, and religious practitioners. They need to negotiate a variety of socially constructed categories that necessarily inform their decisions, including the definitional categories of religion, secularity, spirituality, science, medicine, and therapy, and what the relationship between these categories ought to be. They also need to consider the essential aims of both therapy and Buddhist practice—whether they are consonant or disparate—and their relationship to more broadly construed conceptions of “wellness” and “the good life.”

Helderman defines six major approaches clinicians take with regard to Buddhism: therapizing, filtering, translating, personalizing, adopting, and integrating. In the chapters that follow the introductory chapters, Helderman examines each of these approaches and the work of psychotherapists who typify each approach. At the same time, he is clear that these approaches are not pure types and that the clinicians he reads and talks to often adopt multiple and, at times, conflicting approaches, sometimes emphasizing different approaches depending on the audience they are addressing. Therapizing means explicating Buddhism in the language of psychological discourse, as when Franz Alexander explicates the goal of Buddhist practice as a narcissistic rechanneling of libidinal energies away from the external world and onto the self. Filtering involves picking and choosing Buddhist ideas according to how consonant they are with modern Western science. Therapizers and filterers both view psychology and science as the final arbiters of truth. Translating involves restating Buddhist practices in biomedical terms, as when meditation is described as “attentional training practice” or “the relaxation response.” Personalizing involves a private personal commitment to Buddhism, while keeping it in a separate silo from one’s clinical practice. Adopting means reformulating psychotherapy in Buddhist terms. Adopters see Buddhism as the final arbiter of truth. Finally, integrating involves finding ways Buddhist and psychotherapeutic ideas can mutually assimilate and accommodate to each other, where neither is seen as being necessarily privileged over the other. As Helderman reviews these approaches, he explores the work of such clinicians and theorists as Carl Jung, Franz Alexander, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jeffrey Rubin, Polly Young-Eisendrath, Barry Magid, Steve Hayes, Mark Epstein, Marsha Linehan, Paul Cooper, Harvey Aronson, Paul Fulton, Jack Engler, Jack Kornfeld, Joseph Loizzo, Pilar Jennings, Jan Surrey, Jeremy Safran, Christopher Germer, Gay Watson, Karen Kissel Wegela, Ken Wilber, and others.

Many of the clinicians described are unhappy with the conventional boundaries of what constitutes religion and what constitutes secularity. They often try to redefine the terms or blur their boundaries, but their influence is inescapable. Helderman explains this is the case because of the pervasive influence of training and certification authorities, third-party payors, hospital accreditation organizations, first amendment considerations, and malpractice case law; the long cultural history of how ideas are transmitted to us; clinicians’ self-identifications with their own therapeutic lineages and the internalization of their norms; and religious scholars’ critiques, which, for clinicians, often help define the authenticity of their understandings of Buddhist teachings. Helderman argues that the boundaries clinicians redraw between what is religious, secular, spiritual, medical, and psychotherapeutic are inherently unstable and riddled with internal inconsistencies, and thus subject to constant critique and revision.

Helderman views clinicians’ relationship with Buddhism against the larger background of what Eugene Taylor has called psychology’s “shadow culture” (Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America [1999]). While American psychology is often trifurcated into the three twentieth-century mainstreams of psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanistic psychology, Taylor described a “fourth stream” of alternative healing methods from Swedenborgianism, homeopathy, mesmerism, Christian Science, and New Thought, down to today’s mindfulness. Taylor described how this fourth stream periodically emerges, is repressed, and then makes an inevitable return because the division between scientific/medical and religious/spiritual aspects of healing is always unstable. Are Buddhist-oriented psychologists mixing science and religion? Or if psychotherapy is a substitute for the religious dimension of life in a secularized age, are therapists really mixing two different types of spiritual traditions? Psychotherapists have always occupied a kind of liminal space between science, art, medicine, and spirituality, and Buddhism—or at least Western Buddhist modernism—can be seen as the newest import into this space.

Helderman is primarily a religious studies scholar, and he makes good use of both religious studies broadly considered and modern Buddhist scholarship in particular. One theme he revisits a number of times is the degree to which modern Western psychotherapists’ usage and understanding of Buddhism can be compared to the process of sinicization and the way the medieval Chinese understood and made sense of Buddhism. This is, of course, a claim that Buddhist-oriented psychologists make themselves in order to help legitimate their work. Is Buddhism, like the fabled Ship of Theseus, something that undergoes constant transformation yet remains, somehow, the same ship, or at some point is it no longer Buddhism? Are karma, reincarnation, merit-making, and celestial bodhisattvas necessary parts of any Buddhism, or can a Buddhism without them still be a Buddhism? Who gets to decide whether something is still a form of Buddhism, or whether it is crypto-Buddhism or simply New Age nonsense? These are questions Helderman raises, presenting arguments on both sides, but leaves essentially unresolved. Helderman emphasizes that these questions are not mere idle questions. There is something important at stake here. At the heart of these disputes is a clinician struggling with how best to help a seriously disturbed patient who has not been helped by the usual and customary therapeutic measures—a therapist who, in the midst of uncertainty and controversy, must make a decision about whether and how to make use of something he learned at a conference, in a zendo, or from a book that he thinks might be helpful but is not sure will be universally applauded. Helderman thinks we ought to have some real sympathy for this clinician, but he also thinks that in order to do their work well, clinicians need to formulate and clarify their own considered answers as to what is health and well-being, what kind of endeavor therapy is, and to what degree religion can and ought to be included in this mix.

Helderman has written a book that is admirable in terms of its comprehensiveness, depth, and nuance. The clinicians included in this study are a good representation of thought leaders—psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic/transpersonal—in the field. His historical coverage of seminal figures, such as Jung, Alexander, Maslow, and Fromm, is excellent. He makes good use of the work of contemporary Buddhist scholars, such as Stephen Bokenkamp, José Cabezón, Francisca Cho, Rupert Gethin, Jay Garfield, Luis Gomez, Janet Gyatso, Donald Lopez Jr., David McMahan, John McRae, Ann Gleig, Robert Campany, and Robert Sharf, among many others, as well as scholars of contemporary religion and spirituality. Helderman’s book is the most accurate, complete, and in-depth exploration of how Western psychotherapists therapize, filter, translate, personalize, adopt, and integrate Buddhism into their theories, lives, and practices yet written, and is likely to remain a classic for years to come. It has implications not only for how clinicians construe their practice but also in understanding the largest vector for either (depending on one’s viewpoint) the transmission of Buddhism into American culture or its secularization and diminishment.