But now look again: where are the boundaries of the wave? Loy, D. (1993). . Think of a room illuminated by seven lightbulbs. As long as the wave was unaware of the nature of the ocean, believing itself to be separate and independent of it, it might develop attachments and aversions, fears, jealousies, and worries about its size, its purpose, its importance, its possessions, or its destination. This can be grasped best with another metaphor, often found in Buddhist literature. What is needed is appropriate action in the relative world, while maintaining awareness of the big picture. New York: Pantheon. There is no little man inside of the head, no thinker of thoughts, no doer of deeds, no inner ego or self, other than the temporary gestalt formed by the skandhas. Western psychotherapy, in its efforts to heal the neurotic individual, attempts to strengthen the ego, or to foster the development of a stronger “self,” and yet it is this very notion of self which Buddhist psychology sees as the root cause of human suffering. (Original work published 1940) While understanding universal interconnectedness and absolute reality, the emptiness or, The different conceptions of the self in Western and Eastern psychology have clear implications for psychotherapy and everyday life. True wisdom is automatically manifested as universal compassion, just as true compassion manifests itself as wisdom. The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. (1961). In the same way, all human problems and suffering disappear when the illusion of a separate self is eliminated. Feelings are feelings about something, about one’s body, one’s perceptions, one’s impulses, one’s state of consciousness. Implications for psychotherapy and everyday life are discussed. Concepts of the Self: Western and Eastern Perspectives. The illumination is one ongoing phenomenon, integrating the contributions of the individual bulbs. Hahn, N. (1974). The same is true for anything else in the universe, including a person. All things (including human beings) are composites, in other words, they are composed of parts, and have no real existence other than as temporary (impermanent) collections of parts. In this example, the electricity that activates them is the equivalent of the alayavijnana. Everything in the universe is connected to this piece of paper through a web of causal conditions. The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. A still forest pool: The insight meditation of Achaan Chah. Certainly. On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinarin... Conceptions of the Self in Western and Eastern Psy... Genjo Koan: Actualizing the Fundamental Point. Glad you’re reading this book, I found it very helpful. Buddhist training consists largely of short-circuiting the reification process, by using non-verbal, non labeling experiential practice (such as meditation) to become “awakened” to the “as-it-is-ness” of inexpressible reality. Focusing on and exploring the similarities, strengths and weakness, and history of both Western and East Asian culture, the book is one of the most iconic works written during the Sierran Cultural Revolution. Yes I agree, what an amazing piece of writing. It is the repository of all potential activities of the other consciousnesses. Start studying Understanding the Self - Western/Eastern Thoughts. In J. Strachey (Ed. These “seeds,” upon development, produce all sorts of mental phenomena. The theological dimensions of the concept of soul were elaborated by Augustine of Hippo as well as by Thomas Aquinas, from where it passed into the hands of Rene Descartes, and from there, almost unchanged, but referred to as “mind,” into the realm of 19, Although some Eastern conceptions of the self, most notably those derived from Hinduism, which center on the Vedic notion of the, Reification is the process by which the mind makes a thing (res), or a material object, out of a concept or an abstraction. In J. Strachey (Ed. Pattern and growth in personality. 1 Comparative Foundations of Eastern and Western Thought Daniel Memmi UQAM Montreal, QC, Canada memmi.daniel@uqam.ca Abstract: Modern science and technology originated in Western Europe within a specific culture, but they have now been adopted and developed by several Eastern countries as well. Culture may play a critical role in this process. While these aggregates are together, the functioning gestalt we call a person exists; if they are removed, the gestalt ceases to be. Western heritage: The western tradition is commonly acknowledged to be “imbued with a style of When we carry a burden, it is heavy; when there is no one to carry it, there is not a problem in the world! Just like the term “fist” is a convenient label to designate a particular (and transient) arrangement of the fingers, the term “self” or “I” is nothing but a label for an impermanent arrangement of the skandhas. & Breiter P. (1985). But what about a person? The Buddha conceived of the universe as composed of an infinite number of Dharmas, which are described as “point-instants” having infinitesimal extension and only momentary duration, somewhat analogous to the particle-waves of quantum physics (Soeng, 1991). The psychological insights of the Buddha were explicated by a number of commentators after him. I cannot imagine how I could have gotten anywhere with Self Inquiry or the "no-me" pointers BEFORE repairing my extremely damaged ego/self thanks to very bad parenting. Eastern psychologies maintain that, as a result of social and self-conditioning, our ambitions, beliefs, desires, expectations, preconceptions, and views of the nature of reality are illusory. Each skandha is in turn a transient pattern formed by the interaction of the other four. ), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. Such part, if found, would have represented the essence or the “soul” of the car, and yet it was nowhere to be found. In a Platonic tradition, concepts were seen to entail universals, applying always and for ever. It is to “thing” an event or a phenomenon, to transform an ongoing, fluid process, into a frozen and static spatial or temporal cross-section of the same, endowing such construction with the qualities of reality and separateness. Abstract. Now all we have is a pile of parts—where is the car? The origins of the notion of an inner self in Western psychology and philosophy are found in the idea of the soul in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which notion was actually derived in part from the writings of Philo, a Jewish theologian, and Plotinus, a pagan neo-Platonic philosopher. The practice and theory of individual psychology. All things (including human beings) are composites, in other words, they are composed of parts, and have no real existence other than as temporary (impermanent) collections of parts. Because of the delusory nature of any labeling process, with its consequent reifications, any attempt to offer a name for the unnamable Reality must always fall short, although sages have offered terms such as Thusness, Tathagatagarba, Buddha Nature, Dharmakaya, Suchness, the Big Self, the Absolute, or the Tao. Culture may play a critical role in this process. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. According to Vasubandhu, all that can be experienced to exist is “mind only,” or the mental processes of knowing. Thoughts without a thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective. An outline of psycho-analysis. With Jung the self, transcending the ego, became ultimately identical with the whole psyche. What would remain of it, if one removed one’s perception of it, one’s feelings about it, one’s impulses to act on it or with it, and one’s conscious awareness of it? Adler, A. Watts, A. Both philosophies center on virtues. In its simplest expression, dependent origination is a law of causality that says “this is, because that is; this is not, because that is not; when this arises, that arises; when this ceases, that ceases.” Despite the apparent simplicity of this formulation, it is a farreaching principle, that leaves nothing untouched, and, in fact, causally connects everything in the universe, for it implies that all phenomena, whether they be external objective events or internal subjective experiences, come into existence depending on causes and conditions without which they could not be. But for the logger to be, his parents had to be, and the food they consumed, and all the conditions that made their lives possible, and those lives upon which theirs in turn depended, and on, and on. Just as an automobile is a temporary collection of car parts, a person is a temporary arrangement of these five aggregates or skandhas. Nevertheless, it is not enough for the healthy, liberated individual to eliminate the delusion of the separate self. (Kornfield & Breiter, 1985, p. 174). It seems so real, and yet, if we look deeply, we can see that there is no thing called “wave” there at all; all there is, is the movement of the water. At which point did the car disappear? In Eastern philosophy , though, the self is often treated as an illusion. It is the source of all the troubles in the world, from personal conflicts to wars between nations. The illumination is one ongoing phenomenon, integrating the contributions of the individual bulbs. These causes and conditions can themselves be either internal mental states or external events. This same piece of paper, is also because there was rain and sunshine, for without them the tree could not have grown. “Conceptual self” (Neisser, 1997), “Relational Self” (Jordan, 1991), “Public and private selves” (Morin, 1998) have just been a few amongst the many terms offered in the explanation of the ways people perceive themselves and their world. It often amazes me that very bad parenting and early childhood damages are rarely ever mentioned by the "spiritual" teachers and Advaitic spokespersons. The illumination is one ongoing phenomenon, integrating the contributions of the individual bulbs. Wisdom and compassion are dependently arisen, they “inter-are.” In the final analysis, wisdom is compassion, and compassion is wisdom (Mosig, 1989). This means that nothing is ever truly independent or separate from everything else. 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