An outline of psycho-analysis. The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. This is why mindfulness of thoughts is so important, and why the “right effort” aspect of the Eightfold Path deals with cutting off negative or destructive thoughts as soon as they appear, while nurturing positive ones. Western psychotherapy, in its efforts to heal the neurotic individual, attempts to strengthen the ego, or to foster the development of a stronger “self,” and yet it is this very notion of self which Buddhist psychology sees as the root cause of human suffering. Start studying LESSON 5: THE SELF IN WESTERN AND EASTERN THOUGHT. In terms of cross- cultural studies, cultures had been separated into the western and oriental/eastern spheres; the western generally refers to the European and American countries while the Orient refers to the South-East countries in the globe, including Asia and China. There is experience, but there is no subject (no atman) having the experience. What is needed is appropriate action in the relative world, while maintaining awareness of the big picture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. The person becomes transformed from an isolated and powerless individual struggling against the rest of the world, into an interconnected integral part of the universe. Successively taking away the windshield, a door, a piston, a bolt, the radiator cap, and continuing until the last piece of metal, plastic, glass, or rubber has been removed, one would never find the part which, if removed, transforms what remains into a non-car. Eastern psychotherapy attempts to dissolve the experience of the self-as-separate entity and replace it with a feeling of interconnectedness, the non-self or selfless Self implied in the Buddhist concept of anatta. Horney, K. (1950). THE SELF IN WESTERN. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. It could be argued that the self needs to be strengthened before it can be abandoned. To hurt another becomes to hurt oneself; to help another is to help oneself. While the unconscious and non-rational id stood for the biological component of the personality, and the superego, another non-rational agency, for the internalized social dimensions of the individual, it was particularly the rational ego, who functioned as the homuncular executor of the personality. When we carry a burden, it is heavy; when there is no one to carry it, there is not a problem in the world! The gestalt, the “whole,” cannot exist by itself; it does not have a separate self or “soul.”. Does it have any real existence apart from its parts? What the Buddha taught. The psychotherapeutic applications of Eastern and Western psychology have been examined by a number of authors (e.g., Watts, 1961; Goleman, 1981; Loy, 1992). What would remain of it if you removed form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness? The illumination is one ongoing phenomenon, integrating the contributions of the individual bulbs. Buddhist and Western psychology: Some commonalities and differences. This is the realization known as enlightenment, the emergence of the big self, the Self with capital S, which is boundless. Richard C. Page. It was precisely this inner self that was rejected by B. F. Skinner (1971) and the radical behaviorists as “explanatory fiction.”. Feelings are feelings about something, about one’s body, one’s perceptions, one’s impulses, one’s state of consciousness. Wisdom and compassion: What the Buddha taught. London: Hogarth Press. The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. While understanding universal interconnectedness and absolute reality, the emptiness or nothingness of Buddhism, the person needs at the same time to experience reality in the relative sense, where individual identities exist. The gestalt, the “whole,” cannot exist by itself; it does not have a separate self or “soul.” Rogers, C. (1951). What this means is that they cannot have any existence except in terms of the interconnected net of causal conditions that made their existence possible. Implications for psychotherapy and everyday life are discussed. When we carry a burden, it is heavy; when there is no one to carry it, there is not a problem in the world! How to Eradicate all Sufferings immediately? (Kornfield & Breiter, 1985, p. 174). The fuzzier Rogerian self does offer some points of commonality with the Eastern conception of the non-self, as will be clear from the discussion that follows. WESTERN CONCEPT OF THE SELF Ancient Grecian philosophers => humans => bearers of irreplaceable values In medieval times, Thomas Aquinas believed => body constitutes individuality. Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. Such part, if found, would have represented the essence or the “soul” of the car, and yet it was nowhere to be found. Consider, for example, an automobile. Essentially the soul, mind, or self was viewed as an inner substance or entity, different from the body, in charge of volitional processes, essentially a “little man inside of the head,” a homunculus within the individual, ultimately responsible for the person’s thoughts and actions. The Buddhist notion of self circumvents reification, being an impermanent, The origins of the notion of an inner self in Western psychology and philosophy are found in the idea of the soul in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which notion was actually derived in part from the writings of Philo, a Jewish theologian, and Plotinus, a pagan neo-Platonic philosopher. At the end of this lesson, you should be able to: 1. One of the most important ones was Vasubandhu, an oustanding Buddhist scholar living in the 4th century. One of the most important ones was Vasubandhu, an oustanding Buddhist scholar living in the 4th century. Now all we have is a pile of parts—where is the car? The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. A fist. Everything in the universe is connected to this piece of paper through a web of causal conditions. Sigmund Freud (1940) offered a complex model of this inner self in his tripartite analysis of the human personality into id, ego, and superego, which became a distinguishing feature of his psychoanalytic theory. As long as the wave was unaware of the nature of the ocean, believing itself to be separate and independent of it, it might develop attachments and aversions, fears, jealousies, and worries about its size, its purpose, its importance, its possessions, or its destination. To some extent Western formulations of the self evidence a homunculus-like quality lacking in some Eastern conceptions, especially those derived from the Vijnanavada and Zen Buddhist traditions. Abstract. In B. Engler, Personality theories: An introduction (5th ed., pp. It certainly seems to be. In B. Engler, Personality theories: An introduction (5th ed., pp. New York: Pantheon. With Jung the self, transcending the ego, became ultimately identical with the whole psyche. The person’s boundaries dissolve, and the person becomes the universe. The western view of the ‘enduring self’ refers to the notion that … The psychological commentaries of the Buddha, collected in the Abhidharma Pitaka, were further elaborated in India by Vasubandhu nine centuries later, providing the basis for the Yogacara or Vijnanavada conceptions of consciousness and the self. Or is it? A comparison of culture and philosophy between Eastern and Western societies. Both philosophies center on virtues. Since upon realizing the universal oneness of all, the “selfless Self,” everyone and everything is oneself, this transcendent wisdom generates universal compassion and caring of everyone as oneself. These differences can be noted mainly in people’s behavior and attitudes. These potentials exist in the form of “seeds” (bija) (Hanh, 1974, Epstein, 1995). Perhaps it was Carl Gustav Jung (Jacobi, 1942) who provided the most significant expansion of the homuncular thesis in psychology. For exaxmple i have learnt that Similarities and differences in society. But for the logger to be, his parents had to be, and the food they consumed, and all the conditions that made their lives possible, and those lives upon which theirs in turn depended, and on, and on. In short, to this false view can be traced all the evil in the world.”. In its simplest expression, dependent origination is a law of causality that says “this is, because that is; this is not, because that is not; when this arises, that arises; when this ceases, that ceases.” Despite the apparent simplicity of this formulation, it is a farreaching principle, that leaves nothing untouched, and, in fact, causally connects everything in the universe, for it implies that all phenomena, whether they be external objective events or internal subjective experiences, come into existence depending on causes and conditions without which they could not be. Recent attempts to incorporate Western philosophy into Eastern thought include the Kyoto School of philosophers, who combined the phenomenology of Husserl with the insights of Zen Buddhism. Implications for psychotherapy and everyday life are discussed. ), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. Soeng Mu, S. (1991). Language automatically fosters further reifications, in a vicious cycle which prevents the individual from effectively communicating in a non-reifying, nondualistic manner. Thoughts without a thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective. Hahn, N. (1974). Associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services. Alfred Adler (1927) proposed the notion of a “creative self” which interpreted both the innate abilities and the experiential components of the individual, developing a style of life to compensate for perceived inferiorities and achieve a degree of personal competence and superiority under the influence of an innate “social interest” or Gemeinschaftsgefuehl. It seems so real, and yet, if we look deeply, we can see that there is no thing called “wave” there at all; all there is, is the movement of the water. If we reflect carefully we are left with the realization that there never was a car there—all that was there was a conglomerate of parts temporarily connected in a certain way, so as to result in a particular mode of functioning, and “car” was just a convenient label to designate this working arrangement. On Anatta (No-Self), Emptiness, Maha and Ordinarin... Conceptions of the Self in Western and Eastern Psy... Genjo Koan: Actualizing the Fundamental Point. The wave has no separate “self,” no reality apart from the water. However, Western psychotherapy is designed to effect such change in persons experiencing psychological or behavioral disorders, while Eastern disciplines affect primarily the practical everyday life of normal or healthy individuals. Close your hand into a fist and look at it. Pattern and growth in personality. Form is empty of reality when separated from perceptions, feelings, impulses, and consciousness. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yozan Dirk Mosig, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska 68849. On the contrary, it empowers the individual by erasing the boundaries of separateness that limit the personal ego or self. The practice and theory of individual psychology. But caution please, folks. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Each skandha is in turn a transient pattern formed by the interaction of the other four. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24, 151-180. Vasubandhu understood that every single object differentiated by the mind out of its global and holistic experience is created by this process, including the concept of the individual self, the “I” or “me.” Reifications are little more than delusions, and refer to momentary states remembered from the past experience of the person (whose concept of himself or herself as a separate individual is itself a reification). At which point did the car disappear? The ego in turn served as the model for the self in a number of theories developed by those who wrote in the wake of Freud. Each of these jewels reflects the whole net, so that the entire universe is contained in each part of it (Loy, 1993). Jacobi, J. Avoiding the void: The lack of self in psychotherapy and Buddhism. The Buddhist notion of self circumvents reification, being an impermanent gestalt formed by the interaction of five skandhas or aggregates (form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness). What one person does or experiences … According to Buddhist psychology, what we call a “person” is the composite of five groups of elements or, The teaching of “dependent origination” is at the core of the Buddha’s teaching or, The interconnectedness, or “interbeing,” of everything in the universe, implied in the principle of dependent origination, finds an elegant expression in the metaphor of the jewel net of Indra, in the Buddha’s “Flower Ornament” sermon (Avatamsaka Sutra). In reality, it has no boundaries, the wave and the ocean are one, the wave is the ocean, and the ocean is the wave—the separation was just an illusion created by our perceptions and by the words we use to describe them. The concept of self has gone through significant changes over the last 100 years. Differentiate the concept of self according to Western thought against Eastern/Oriental perspectives; 2. Concepts of the Self: Western and Eastern Perspectives. Removing one of the tires of the car, one could ask oneself, is this the car? It is also true of cognitive or mental states, because for every emotion, for every perception, for every thought, there are necessary causal conditions without which they would not have come into being. On the contrary, it empowers the individual by erasing the boundaries of separateness that limit the personal ego or self. I Am as described here is equivalent to kensho. Loy, D. (1992). All things (including human beings) are composites, in other words, they are composed of parts, and have no real existence other than as temporary (impermanent) collections of parts. It makes me wonder if there is not a Divine reason for all the misery, hate and fear in life that I have yet to discover. This means that nothing is ever truly independent or separate from everything else. But the concept of anatta does not negate the person, nor does it diminish it. The interconnectedness, or “interbeing,” of everything in the universe, implied in the principle of dependent origination, finds an elegant expression in the metaphor of the jewel net of Indra, in the Buddha’s “Flower Ornament” sermon (Avatamsaka Sutra). Finally comes the vast unconscious alayavijnana, or “storehouse consciousness,” which is the passive or potential ground out of which emerge the other seven consciousnesses. Cumberland, RI: Primary Point. Start studying LESSON 5: THE SELF IN WESTERN AND EASTERN THOUGHT. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Ancient Eastern Philosophy On the Ancient Wisdom of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism & Confucianism. New York: Harper & Row. Pattern and growth in personality. Not only does the evidence not support a dual, separate self that exists in isolation from other selves, materialist science has never been able to pin down a self.     Abstract Skinner, B.F. (1971). Zen Buddhism. The first five correspond to the five basic sense fields, and share the same level of depth. This same piece of paper, is also because there was rain and sunshine, for without them the tree could not have grown. The psychological insights of the Buddha were explicated by a number of commentators after him. What would remain of it if you removed form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness? No owner, no one to be old, to be young, to be good or bad, weak or strong. Angelo Gerangelo Hi Nick. cultures and people is the Eastern-vs- Western dichotomy wherein Eastern represents Asia and Western represents Europe and Northern America. The exhilarating and liberating effect of dissolving the illusion of the “I,” “me,” or “self” is reflected in these words by Achaan Chah: Hey, listen! It is to “thing” an event or a phenomenon, to transform an ongoing, fluid process, into a frozen and static spatial or temporal cross-section of the same, endowing such construction with the qualities of reality and separateness. The … Think of a room illuminated by seven lightbulbs. Richard C. Page. The psychotherapeutic applications of Eastern and Western psychology have been examined by a number of authors (e.g., Watts, 1961; Goleman, 1981; Loy, 1992). In this sutra, the universe is likened to an infinite net, stretching out in all directions, in which at every intersection of two strands is found a precious jewel. What is needed is appropriate action in the relative world, while maintaining awareness of the big picture. A fist. Abstract. It is essentially a perceptual and cognitive processing center. There are eight consciousnesses, and yet these are ultimately one (Epstein, 1995). They are the consciousnesses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. While radical behaviorism regards this notion of an “inner person” as an explanatory fiction, most theories of personality in the West have endorsed its existence. (1961). Mosig, Y. Philosophy East and West, 43, 481-510. But what about a person? Allowing oneself to indulge in anger or hatred waters the corresponding seeds, so that it becomes easier to grow angry and to experience hate. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24, 151-180. This radical change is seen as the key to liberation from dukkha, the dissatisfaction and suffering of human existence. Western psychotherapy, in its efforts to heal the neurotic individual, attempts to strengthen the ego, or to foster the development of a stronger “self,” and yet it is this very notion of self which Buddhist psychology sees as the root cause of human suffering. 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