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Buddhism and Psychology

Semester and Year SP 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1211
Section 001
Instructor Lee Robbins
Days TR
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM



This course introduces basic concepts of Buddhist psychology, and then compares Buddhist insights into the nature of the mind with the modern depth psychologies of Freud and Jung. Special attention will be given to theories of the self in Buddhist and Western texts, for it is the idea of the "false self" or a belief in an unchanging ego that has emerged as a key common ground between Buddhist and Western forms of psychology. While Western psychology attributes the false self to the deficiencies of upbringing, Buddhist psychology takes the changing self as its starting point to claim that traditional models of therapeutic intervention fail to free people from narcissistic craving. Our goal is to bring this insight, and classical Buddhist strategies for healing the mind, into conversation with the models and strategies of Western psychology and postmodern theory. Texts may include: Olendski, The Radical Experiential Psychology of Buddhism ; Gay, The Freud Reader ; Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker ; Jung, Psychology and the East ; Meckel and Moore, Self and Liberation: Jung and the Buddhist Dialogue ; Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism ; Bhikku Bodi, In The Words of the Buddha (translation of suttas from the Pali Cannon); Batchelor, Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist ; Thanissaro Bhykkhu, The Mind Like Fire Unbound ; and David Loy, Lack and Transcendence .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)