Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I think there is some truth to this. Part of the reason I got back into Dharma after years of a far less committal approach was to truly try to handle my neuroses better. It's somewhat telling that Buddhist meditation is becoming such a popular treatment modality in western psychotherapy..and in addition there are many forms of treatment that essentially are meditation, whether they get categorized that way or not.
The question of whether or not a given person needs psychotherapy rather than meditation is a separate one of course, hard one to answer because first and foremost there are many people who would be fine with something labelled "mindfulness therapy", but not with meditation. So there too, I guess it is a question of someone's individual Karma.
I'd assume the karmic answer for something like schizophrenia vs. depression is that schizophrenia seems to be a much deeper imprint, and clearly is much more difficult to control within an observable single lifetime?
However for depression, it is more controllable, and it's interesting to note that someone who is in treatment for depression (minus the meds) is typical doing something that is not far removed from Dharma practice, sifting through thoughts and motivations, looking at own actions and beliefs, and possibly some modality of therapy that is similar to meditation. Alot of cognitive behavior modification stuff for example, is not so different from practices found for one's daily life in Vajrayana, though of course they take a secular, highly simplified form.
This right here; I couldn't have put it better.
Mental illnesses are not all the same. There are differences in severity, as well as differences in scope, i.e., how they affect the mind. Depression is far less severe than schizophrenia. So a person can, with proper guidance, use the Dharma to overcome their depression. I think a person with schizophrenia can, as well, but Dharma practice should be done alongside therapy and medication. In time, the person suffering can learn, at least, to control it, if not overcome it outright. And, like Johnny said, schizophrenia probably has deeper karmic roots than depression.
Think about it like this: consider the causes of depression. Depression is generally caused by a negative life experience, or many of them. Let's say you lose your job, or have a death of a close loved one. Generally, a person will feel depressed at such a loss. But isn't this the gist of the First Noble Truth? Therefore, a mind set on dharma can overcome such depression.
Buddhist meditation techniques are now starting to be employed by psychologists for this very reason: they work under these circumstances.