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Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong. - Dhamma Wheel

Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Jhana4
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Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:25 pm



I recently discovered the paper above. My print preview tells me it is 13 pages long, but it is FAST read. I think any westerner interested in Buddhist meditation will find the paper absorbing.

Basically, Patrick Kearney, a meditation teacher examines what he thinks are flaws in the interpretations of Buddhism by western psychotherapists. A large and fascinating portion of the paper takes a look at Jack Kornfield's views as well as his book "A Path With A Heart". I found that to be most interesting as a chunk of my earlier exposure to Buddhism was through the popular books published by the IMS crowd.

Kearney interprets Kornfield as claiming that the westerner of average mental health is likely to be to be unfit for advanced vipassana bhavanna ( insight meditation ). This is the result of childhoods that were less than ideal due to emotional abandonment and neglect issues resulting from divorce as well as dysfunctional families. Westerners can only expect so much benefit from vipassana bhavanna unless psychotherapy is also used as an aide. I can't do justice to Kearny's reply to this claim. Kearney states less than ideal childhoods are not a new form of suffering unique to westerners, but have also existed in Asia back before the Buddha's time, yet many Asians over 2600 years found Buddhist meditation and teachings combined together, sans psychotherapy to be profoundly liberating ( from dukha ).

Kearney goes on to analyze more of "A Path With A Heart" as well as prominent writings of other psychotherapists who are interested in Buddhism. Kearney makes arguments that their interpretations of Buddhism are so flawed that these authors are not adapting Buddhism to the west, but creating something new and different under the old name
of "Buddhism".

My opinion from reading this paper is that a lot of it is simple quoting out of context.

Aside from what I already wrote I found this paper interesting as I have been in the process of resolving the popular western conception of Buddhism I got from the IMS crowd and academics, with what I am actually finding by reading the suttas.

I think anyone here would find this paper clarifying and useful as well as an absorbing read.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

PeterB
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:51 pm

I think Kearney is largely right.
There are therapeutic interventions that are compatible with Theravada Buddhism. Most notably CBT.
But most forms of old style psychotherapy including Freudian and Jungian are not.
They seldom work either...but thats a different topic.



NB Psychology and psychotherapy are different disciplines.
Psychology is to psychotherapy as anatomy is to biology.

Jhana4
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:15 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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mikenz66
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:31 pm


PeterB
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:34 pm

They misunderstand Buddhism because old style psychotherapists have a conceptual framework which differs from any model of psychological reality. This framework also means that their techniques depart radically from a view of human functioning as found in Buddhism.
Kearney's study has been around for quite some time and predates therapuetic interventions which are entirely compatible with Buddhism.

Jhana4
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:36 pm

Mike;

I didn't read it as a criticism of psychotherapy. I read it as a criticism of the writings about Buddhism, made by some particular authors who happen to be psychotherapists. I didn't see Kearney stating that he thought that psychotherapy didn't work well, only that some authors misrepresented Buddhism and were possibly mistaken about their veiw that psychotherapy is a necessary adjunct for practicing advanced ( as in a 3 month retreat ) vipassana bhavanna for western Buddhists.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:38 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

PeterB
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:40 pm

Last edited by PeterB on Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterB
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:42 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:51 pm


Jhana4
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:10 pm

I've read some of Kornfield's books ( albeit a very long time ago ) and some books from other people in the IMS crowd. I wouldn't view those writings as a dumbing down of Buddhism just describing something that isn't Buddhism ( though it may still be a good thing ) as Buddhism
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

PeterB
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:14 pm

It simply isnt possible to approach the Dhamma or indeed another human being, and peer through a lens of Oedipus complexes and unworkable theories of psychological functioning like the id or the superego, if you are Freudian, or like the archetypes and Collective Unconscious, if you are Jungian and understand the Dhamma or a human being as seen through Dhammic eyes. They amount to a mountain of discursive thinking. And bear no relationship to anything found in nature.

It is often a cause of huge surprise for people to learn that Jung and Freud are no longer taught in psychology or psychiatry, except as historical pioneers whose idea are entirely discredited.

I once said something similar on E sangha and a young woman who was about to start a psychology degree simply refused to believe it. She later said that she had checked and the only modules on Freud and Jung now being taught in American and European university courses were in......the arts and literary departments...

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:18 pm

Last edited by Jhana4 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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daverupa
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:21 pm

As an aside, along with CBT there is a modality called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, which is in great accord with lay Dhamma practice.

I suppose "BBT" would be Buddhist Behavior Therapy, and that this was being critiqued in the paper.

PeterB
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Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:36 pm


AnonOfIbid

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby AnonOfIbid » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:55 am


Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:05 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

AnonOfIbid

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby AnonOfIbid » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:08 am


Jhana4
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:55 pm

Yes, but the theory of operant conditioning depends on a subject experiencing a reward or a punishment with a particular stimulus. I wouldn't use the word with in regards to experiencing a kammic result 20 years after an act.

Kamma is dependent on intention. Classic behaviorism does not have intention in its model.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

AnonOfIbid

Re: Kearney: Psychologists into Buddhism have gotten it wrong.

Postby AnonOfIbid » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:49 am



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