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18181RE: [Meditation Society of America] Question about the Eightfold Path and "catharsis"

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  • Aideen Mckenna
    Feb 24, 2012
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      I’m certainly no “maven” in this (or any other) field, but I think you’d be interested in An Introduction to Buddhist Psychology (2005).  It’s by Padmasiri de Silva as well.  I’ve only dipped into it lightly.

      A.

       

      From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com [mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of walto
      Sent: February-24-12 4:25 PM
      To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Meditation Society of America] Question about the Eightfold Path and "catharsis"

       

       

      Thanks again, Aideen. That's really interesting--if you could suggest some literature on Buddhist takes regarding the unconscious, I'd be interested. The two things I've come across are a book by de Silva on Buddhism and Freudianism and _Contexts and Dialogue_, by Tao Jiang.

      Best,

      W

      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Aideen Mckenna" <aideenmck@...> wrote:
      >
      > One acknowledges the feeling but does not act on it. On one occasion, the
      > Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh was giving a lecture in the US during the
      > Viet Nam war. The spiritual leader had gone through extremely difficult
      > years during the war in Viet Nam, where he founded a relief organization.
      > With that group, he rebuilt bombed villages, resettled the families made
      > homeless by the bombings, set up schools & medical centres, etc. Then he
      > went to the US where he met with Dr. Martin Luther King & urged him to ask
      > the American people to influence their government to stop the destruction &
      > carnage. During the lecture's question period, someone spoke very angrily,
      > saying, in effect: "If you care so much about your country, what are you
      > doing here in the safety of the US while your people are suffering & dying?"
      > Apparently the monk was silent for a few moments, after which he answered
      > calmly, without anger. When asked later about whether the question hadn't
      > angered him, he said it had enraged him. During the brief silence, he had
      > had to do the hardest work he'd ever done in his life calming himself with
      > a breathing exercise. He said he had nearly passed out during that pause.
      > He hadn't suppressed it, he confronted the feeling & dealt with it, leaving
      > no residue, no impulse to scream at the questioner.
      >
      > According to Buddhism, the "kleshas" (negative afflictions) cannot be
      > overcome by acting them out. Although they are never displayed, they are
      > patiently rooted out by painstakingly thorough mental observation as they
      > arise from the unconscious. It requires great discipline to completely
      > purify the mind, but it can be done. The internal work involves a deep
      > understanding of "anatta" (no-self) & "anicca" (impermanence). I guess one
      > can say there is a catharsis, but it's a gradual one, & it's final. Or that
      > there are many catharses, as layer after layer of the poisons (another
      > translation of kleshas) arises from deeper & deeper levels of the
      > unconscious & are removed entirely.
      >
      > That's my understanding, at any rate.
      >
      > Aideen
      >
      > From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of walto
      > Sent: February-24-12 10:25 AM
      > To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [Meditation Society of America] Question about the Eightfold
      > Path and "catharsis"
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Thanks, Sean!
      >
      > W
      >
      > --- Ints, sean tremblay <bethjams9@> wrote:
      > >
      > > I am reminded of some of the teachings of Islam, when they mention not to
      > supress your feelings, but simply do not act on them, just allow them to
      > pass though you.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ________________________________
      > > From: walto <calhorn@>
      > > To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:52 PM
      > > Subject: Re: [Meditation Society of America] Question about the Eightfold
      > Path and "catharsis"
      > >
      > >
      > > Â
      > > Thanks, Aideen.
      > >
      > > One of the things I was wondering about was the apparently very large gulf
      > between giving something "bare attention" and really living/working through
      > it (perhaps for purposes 'abreaction' or 'sublimation'). I mean, is there a
      > Buddhist notion of catharsis?
      > >
      > > W
      > >
      > > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com> , "Aideen Mckenna"
      > <aideenmck@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > The way I understand Buddhism, there is never repression. The Buddha
      > > > understood how the human mind worked. Driving an unwelcome emotion
      > deeper
      > > > into the unconscious only results in giving the troublesome thing more
      > > > strength. When practicing Vipassana (insight meditation), one observes
      > the
      > > > thought, giving it "bare attention"(i.e. touching the mind as lightly as
      > a
      > > > bubble on the observed thought), then moving on. There's never any
      > pushing
      > > > away - that only empowers the thought. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's
      > classic
      > > > Mindfulness in Plain English is helpful here.
      > > >
      > > > As for the concept of dependent origination - can one agree with it
      > without
      > > > accepting all of the Eightfold Path? I don't think so - at least not
      > from
      > > > the point of view of Theravada Buddhism. If I were asking that question,
      > > > I'd go to the excellent Barbara O'Brien - she can be contacted here:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > http://buddhism.about.com/bio/Barbara-O-Brien-38125.htm
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > With metta,
      > > >
      > > > Aideen
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > [mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of walto
      > > > Sent: February-23-12 7:17 AM
      > > > To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > Subject: [Meditation Society of America] Question about the Eightfold
      > Path
      > > > and "catharsis"
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Hi, folks.
      > > >
      > > > I was wondering if any of the mavens here would be willing to provide
      > their
      > > > thoughts on whether they think there's any conflict between the "Right
      > > > Thinking/Right Action/Right Speech" portions of the Eightfold Path and
      > > > conventional views according to which it is healthy for unconscious
      > thoughts
      > > > (even angry or mean ones) to be brought to consciousness and perhaps
      > even
      > > > expressed. If some anger is being repressed, can it be conducive to
      > > > well-being to "keep it bottled up"? (I take it a Primal Scream isn't
      > Right
      > > > Speech.)
      > > >
      > > > Also, is this an empirical question, do you think, so that the best way
      > of
      > > > answering it is to see what works (or what has been shown to work in
      > > > properly designed studies), or do you take it rather to be something
      > that is
      > > > deducible from one's view of the mind? For example, do you think that
      > the
      > > > benefits of following the Eightfold Path are simply deducible from the
      > > > concept of dependent origination? That is, can one agree with the latter
      > > > without accepting all of the former?
      > > >
      > > > Any thoughts on these matters are welcome. Thanks!
      > > >
      > > > Best,
      > > >
      > > > W
      > > >
      > >
      >

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