Buddhist Psychology - Module Two Overview

Module Two
Unit Five: Craving and Escape

  • Section One: Craving. In this section we look at our response to dukkha and how trishna characterizes our attempts to escape the existential realities of life
  • Section Two: Anger. Anger is one of the most immediate and powerful ways in which we experience arising passion or samudaya. In this section we will look at different Buddhist approaches to Anger, surveying a number of different schools and their methods.
  • Section Three: Having explored the different theoretical positions that Buddhist groups offer on anger, this section identifies therapeutic strategies that arise from them. The latter part of the section looks at the role of contrition both in Buddhist practice and in therapy.

 Unit Six: Ordinary Nature & the Skandhas

  • Section One: Bombu Nature. This section considers the position of the person as a passionate and deluded being. It looks at the way that harnessing the passions is a theme that runs through many Buddhist schools and at implications for therapeutic work that arise from this understanding. In particular it looks at the model of therapy offered by Gisho Saiko
  • Section Two: The Teaching of the Skandha’s. The idea of the skandhas  is fundamental to the Buddhist analysis of mental process. The interpretation commonly taken on this course differs somewhat from the traditional understanding of this teaching. This section concentrates on increasing knowledge of other common interpretations to provide a context for the process model used in the Zen Therapy presentation of the skandha’s.
  • Section Three: The Skandhas as a Model for the Flow of Consciousness. This section first offers a simplified version of the cycle described by the teaching of the five skandhas. It then elaborates this, exploring the meanings of the terms used for each of the skandhas and the implications of these terms for understanding the process of conditioning

 Unit Seven: Mind Models, Applications and Theory

  • Section One: Therapeutic Implications of the Skandha Model. The skandhas theory provides a model for understanding the process of conditioning. In particular it explains how the illusion of a self is created and maintained through the elaboration of things done in a state of unawareness. In this section we consider some of the implications for therapy which arise from this model
  • Section Two: The Omni-Present Factors. This section introduces the teaching of the omni-present mental factors. The list is compared with other lists in Buddhist teachings, notably the skandhas and the elements in the chain of dependent origination. The omni-present factors may be taken as another process model for that elaborates some aspects of the skandha cycle teaching.
  • Section Three: The Early Buddhist Model of the Mind This section introduces the six vijñana model of the mind. This model of the mind is implicit in writings from the Buddha’s time. This way of seeing things regarded experience as something which came to a person, rather than as something which happened within their minds. It was a model that did not regard the person as having mental “contents”. Because this way of seeing things is quite different from our modern view, it can be difficult to grasp the perspective, yet doing so can give us a refreshing new perspective that takes us out of our common place thinking.

Unit Eight: Expanding the Models of Mind

  • Section One: Integration of the Skandha cycle with the Six Vijñana Model of the mind. In this section the six vijñana model is considered in relation to the process interpretation of the skandha cycle
  • Section Two: The Eight Vijñana Buddhist Model of the Mind. This section introduces the eight vijñana model of the mind. This later Buddhist mind model provides a way of understanding conditioning and continuity within the flow of consciousness.
  • Section Three: Review of the Models of the Mind: Circle and Point. In this final section of the module the six and eight vijñana mind models are reviewed to provide the basis for a fuller understanding of how they might be integrated and applied in the context of therapy.