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An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Tibetan Buddhist Psychology

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Item Summary

Title: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Tibetan Buddhist Psychology
Authors: Rosenthal, Joseph Mark
Advisor: Shapiro, S.I.
Keywords: Buddhism--China--Tibet Autonomous Region
Buddhism--Psychology
Issue Date: 1981
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Selected aspects of Tibetan Buddhist theory and practice were introduced and compared with Western formulations from such systems as Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, and contemporary physics. Generally, the Tibetan Buddhist approach asserts that all forms of diminished functioning (samsara) result from the ego principle's interruption of innate, primordial awareness (rig-pa), which is the experiential pole of Sunyata, unconditioned reality. The ego principle has been defined as a cybernetic system which creates samsara through its struggle to sustain the reification of the selfother context in the face of the truth of impermanence and the ego's actual nonsubstantiality.
The Four Veils and the Eight Consciousnesses are models which elucidate the mechanisms of the ego principle. The Four Veils are: ma-rig-pa (the basic ground of ego); the actual ego-other dichotomy; the klesa (egocentric emotionality); and karma (egocentric behavior). The Eight Consciousnesses are: the five senses; a sixth "sense" (yid) which functions to synthesize and organize experience coherently; the seventh consciousness (nyBn-yid) which provides the cognitive framework and emotional energy for dichotomizing experience into self and other; and the eighth consciousness (alaya-vijnana), the ultimate phenomenal ground.
Tibetan Buddhism provides a soteriological methodology for transcending the ego principle which centers around meditation. The two main types of meditation are concentration (zhi-gnas) which trains focal attention and insight (lhag-mthong) which trains diffuse attention. Besides preparing the practitioner for lhag-mthong, zhi-gnas has three main functions: (a) to provide an initial recognition of the complexity of samsaric processes; (b) to develop the skill of renunciation --the ability to process information with detachment; and (c) to develop the skill of samadhi--an extraordinary mastery over attentional functions. When integrated with the skills developed in zhi-gnas practice, lhag-mthong meditation becomes mahavipasyana, which leads to the transcendence of egocentric levels of consciousness and the establishment of the condition of enlightenment--a preeminently blissful condition in which all experiences of the phenomenal world are realized to be inherently meaningful and fulfilling.
A comparison of Tibetan Buddhism with Western psychotherapy indicated that several important theoretical and methodological distinctions can be made between the two approaches. Several important ·parallels also appear to exist.
Description: viii, 206 leaves, bound : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1981.
Bibliography: leaves [192]-206.
Pages/Duration: 216 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/37356
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Philosophy



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