Buddhist Psychology - Module One Overview

Module One
Unit One: Beginnings

  • Section One: Getting into Learning. Broad introduction to the material of the course and a review of theories as well as styles of learning
  • Section Two: A Brief History of Buddhist Psychology. A history providing the context for Buddhist teachings as a psychology including the development of Buddhism as it moved from its cultural roots in India to other cultures in the Far East
  • Section Three: Buddhism as Psychology. An introduction to the idea of Buddhism as a therapy including the place of Zen in the development of Zen Therapy and an east-west approach to psychotherapy

Unit Two: What is Buddhist Therapy

  • Section One: Styles of Dharma Based Psychotherapy. Five therapists present their different dharma based approaches to psychotherapy as a means to consider further the use of Buddhist teachings to the field.
  • Section Two: What is Zen Therapy? A more detailed look at the principles of Zen and how these apply to what we could call a non-ego centred or other-centred style of therapy
  • Section Three: The Basic Principles of Conditioning. A core premise of Buddhism is that the mind is conditioned by it object of attention. In this section there is an examination of the place of conditioning in shaping personality and in particular in relation to Buddhism and Buddhist psychology.

Unit Three: Sacred Space & the Human Condition

  • Section One: Sacred Space. This section looks at the conditions for personal transformation through examination of the relationship between sacred and therapeutic space
  • Section Two: Root Relations. This section looks at the theory of Root Relations as presented in David Braziers book Zen Therapy. The theory of root relations states that all dukkha (mental suffering) can be traced back to three bitter roots of greed, hate and delusion, and that all wholesome states can be traced back to three sweet roots which are the opposites of the bitter ones.
  • Section Three: Introduction to dukkha. This section give a brief introduction to David Brazier’s interpretation of the First Noble Truth (in the context of the Four Noble Truths) and the place of dukkha in the Buddhist understanding of the human condition 

Unit Four: Facing a Bittersweet Life

  • Section One: Affliction as an Ennobling Truth. Taking the notion of Dukkha as the starting point, this section explores some of the ideas which David puts forward in The Feeling Buddha (Brazier 1997) and looks at their implications for Buddhist psychotherapy.
  • Section Two: A Bitter-sweet Life: Irony and Yugen. This section explores the bitter-sweet nature of dukkha, the irony of life, and the possibilities for therapeutic change which arise with experiences of loss
  • Section Three: Faith. This section reflects on the role of faith, trust or confidence. It includes a passage on the role of purposefulness in developing faith and a an exploration of three “ideal types” from different Buddhist traditions.