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New Directions in Buddhist Psychology

Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 9:00 am

“We are not alone.” These four words greeted the more than seventy attendees to the First International Conference of Other-Centered Approaches. This historic gathering marked the initiation of a movement that has the potential to illuminate the human condition with the light of Buddhist psychology.

This conference was like a nursery for a sapling that had endured a long sea voyage and was being prepared to be planted into new soil. The presentations by five keynote speakers provided various perspectives of the other-centered approach. An other-centered approach is a shift from a focus on self-esteem enhancement, to an understanding of the self as defined by our relationship to others.

The opening remarks by Caroline Brazier presented evidence that our present western society embraces the focus on self-centeredness. According to the Buddha, this illusion of a substantial, independent self is the cause of much of our suffering. The other-centered approach is not so much a negation of the self but instead offers a more realistic image of a connected, interdependent person: i.e., I am not defined by my inner thoughts of myself, but instead, I exist as an integral part of everyone and everything. Naikan theory, ecology, and love were some topics which demonstrated that this experience of interdependence can result in a grounded, healthy and happy individual.

The 2,600 year history of Buddhist psychology validates the effectiveness of this perspective. Much of the language, customs, and culture of the East have been heavily influenced by Buddhist principles that remind us of our relationship to and gratitude for all those around us.

David and Caroline Brazier of England, Gregg Krech of Vermont, Daijaku Kinst of the Bay Area, and Clark Strand of New York are all outstanding authorities in their respected fields. Their geographical and professional diversity speaks to the universality of this new perspective. Each had been guided to this fundamental Buddhist principle by their unique personal and professional histories. The conference format provided opportunities for other presenters and participants to share their experiences with the Buddhist approach regarding how the self relates to others. For Shin Buddhists, this other-centered focus allowed for an expanded understanding of Amida Buddha, or “Other Power.”

The truth that “We are not alone” was experienced by the selfless support of about twenty volunteers who provided meals and other necessities for the conference. The success of this conference could be measured by the gratitude participants felt for their connectedness with others.

Shinran’s words of Amida’s spiritual presence represent an insightful perspective of the nature of the self. Inspired by Shin principles, an other-centered approach can provide us with a true assessment of an interdependent self in a supportive universe. We can express this awareness with the words Namo Amida Butsu.

International Conference on Other-Centered Approaches

February 18, 2011toFebruary 20, 2011

First International Conference on Other-Centered Approaches: New Directions in Buddhist Psychology

at the Jodo Shinshu Center
Berkeley, California

February 18 – 20, 2011

Please click here for complete details on this conference.

other center buddhist psychology conference flyer

Download this PDF flyer or click here for more information.

The Red Book Dialogues

Monday, December 20, 2010, 8:30 am

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, in collaboration with the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, initiated a series of dialogues regarding the recently published Red Book by C.G. Jung. The first dialogue was held on Friday, October 22, 2010 before an audience that filled the Jodo Shinshu Center’s lecture hall to capacity. Some 130 people were in attendance.

The program began with an opening address by Dr. Richard Payne, Dean of IBS, and Ms. Ellen Becker, MFT, C.G. Jung Institute, who coordinated the event.

Rev. Zoketsu Norman Fischer, formerly of the San Francisco Zen Center, and Dr. Richard Stein, analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco discussed the personal, religious significance of Jung’s visionary experience as recorded in the Red Book.

Particularly important was the way in which these meanings were placed in the social and historical context. Rev. Fischer, who taught at the IBS in the 1990s, highlighted a difference in attitude toward states of consciousness as held between Buddhist thought and mainstream Western cultures. Where traditional Buddhism, as exemplified in the visionary dreams of figures such as Shinran, founder of Shin Buddhism, and Myoe, a Shingon proponent of the Mantra of Light, viewed consciousness as forming a continuum between the waking state and dreamless sleep, Western societies generally treat these as dualistic and opposed to one another.

The second event in the series was held Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. Following greetings by Ms. Ellen Becker and Dr. Richard Payne, the speakers were introduced: Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Dyane Sherwood, analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

Sharing their reflections on the significance of confronting one’s own personal fears, represented by a variety of illustrations from the Red Book, both speakers developed themes at the interface of Buddhism and Jungian thought. One such theme was the way in which manifesting in art one’s own imagery can help to transform one’s experience of the external reality. Another was the importance of meditation, contemplation or self-reflection in gaining access to one’s own inner resources. Such resources are themselves often manifest in imagery, whether in dreams or active imagination.

Buddhism provides a rich resource of such practices, and can be matched with contemporary psychological practices to develop individual growth along the spiritual path. In contrast, Jung developed his own techniques, drawing on his understanding of the importance of imagery in dreams and in religious visions.

Video and audio from both dialogues is now available on our podcast here.

Red Book Dialogues

Thursday, October 28, 2010, 1:25 pm

Red Book Dialogue I

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, in collaboration with the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, initiated a series of dialogues regarding the recently published “Red Book” by Jung, on Friday, October 22, before an audience that filled the Jodo Shinshu Center’s lecture hall to capacity. Some 130 people were in attendance.

The program began with an opening address by Dr. Richard Payne, Dean of IBS, and Ms. Ellen Becker, MFT, C.G. Jung Institute, who coordinated the event.

Rev. Zoketsu Norman Fischer, formerly of the San Francisco Zen Center, and Dr. Richard Stein, analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco discussed the personal, religious significance of Jung’s visionary experience as recorded in the “Red Book.”

Particularly important was the way in which these meanings were placed in the social and historical context. Rev. Fischer, who taught at the IBS in the 1990s, highlighted a difference in attitude toward states of consciousness as held between Buddhist thought and mainstream Western cultures. Where traditional Buddhism, as exemplified in the visionary dreams of figures such as Shinran, founder of Shin Buddhism, and Myoe, a Shingon proponent of the Mantra of Light, viewed consciousness as forming a continuum between the waking state and dreamless sleep, Western societies generally treat these as dualistic and opposed to one another.

This was the first of two dialogues between Buddhist teachers and Jungian analysts on the “Red Book.” The second will be held on Friday, November 12 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. Click here for more information, or purchase tickets here.

Other-centered Buddhist Psychology with Caroline Brazier

November 12, 2010
1:00 pmto5:00 pm

Psychotherapist, teacher, author, and co-coordinator of the Amida Psychotherapy Training Programme in Britain, Caroline will speak about her work developing, practicing and teaching a method of counseling and psychotherapy based in Buddhist Psychology.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Center for Buddhist Education. Please contact the CBE for more information about this event.

Partners in Integration

September 11, 2010
10:00 amto1:00 pm

Partners in Integration: workshop and book signing

with author Dr. Joseph Bobrow, Roshi

Workshop Description

In this workshop we will focus on the practice and principles of Zen and psychotherapy. We will explore how Buddhist principles and practices, in concert with recent findings from human development, brain research and psychotherapy, offer an integrated view of liberation in which spiritual development on the one hand and emotional growth and personal work on the other “interare.” Such an integrative perspective may help us realize, enjoy and embody the Buddhist principles that motivate and inspire us.

Finally, Dr. Bobrow will also speak on the role of community in transforming human suffering including his work with veterans and families impacted by war-related trauma as founder of the Coming Home Project for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
 
Includes meditation practice, experiential exercises and discussion.

The event, free and open to the public, will be held at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, Ca.

An option to donate to Deep Streams Zen Institute will be accepted at the door.

Joseph Bobrow

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Bobrow is a Zen master in the Diamond Sangha lineage and founder of Deep Streams Zen Institute in San Francisco. Deep Streams offers Zen practice; provides continuing education for the enrichment and well-being of mental health practitioners; and serves the community through the Coming Home Project for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and their families and service providers. Joseph is also a psychologist-psychoanalyst and author whose new book, Zen and Psychotherapy: Partners in Liberation, explores the interplay of Buddhism and psychotherapy in relieving suffering and helping us realize and embody our true nature. He teaches throughout the United States.

Upcoming events

Saturday, July 24, 2010, 10:47 am

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is hosting some exciting events in the field of Buddhism and psychology.

Red Book Dialogues

In the fall of 2010, along with the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, we will be co-sponsoring two dialogues between Buddhism and The Red Book by C.G. Jung. These conversations, held in October and November will feature conversations with Zoketsu Norman Fischer of the San Francisco Zen Center and Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Click here for more information on these events.

International Conference on Other-Centered Approaches

In February 2011, along with the Center for Buddhist Education and the Amida Trust, we will be co-hosting a conference on other-centered approaches to Western psychology and Buddhism.

Click here for more information on this events.

Both of these events are open to the public. More details are forthcoming, so please mark your calendars and check back here for more information on registration and schedules.

Red Book Dialogues I

October 22, 2010
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

Join us this fall for a pair of conversation between C.G. Jung’s The Red Book and Buddhist psychology.

Jung Red Book

Zoketsu Norman Fischer, San Francisco Zen Center

In dialogue with Richard Stein, Jungian analyst
7:30 pm., Friday, 22 October at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and are fundraisers for the C.G. Jung Insitute of San Francisco.
A $25 donation ($10/students) is requested.

For registration and information, please visit this event’s information page here.

Red Book Dialogues II

November 12, 2010
7:30 pmto9:30 pm

Join us this fall for a pair of conversation between C.G. Jung’s The Red Book and Buddhist psychology.

Jung Red Book

Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Meditation Center

In dialogue with Dyane Sherwood, Jungian analyst
7:30 pm., Friday, 12 November at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and are fundraisers for the C.G. Jung Insitute of San Francisco.
A $25 donation ($10/students) is requested.

For registration and information, please visit this event’s information page here.

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