Buddha philosophy and western psychology

Kumar Aich, Tapas
January 2013
Indian Journal of Psychiatry;Jan-Mar2013 Supplement, pS165
Academic Journal
Four noble truths as preached by Buddha are that the life is full of suffering (Duhkha), that there is a cause of this suffering (Duhkha-samudaya), it is possible to stop suffering (Duhkha-nirodha), and there is a way to extinguish suffering (Duhkha-nirodha-marga). Eight fold Path (astangika-marga) as advocated by Buddha as a way to extinguish the sufferings are right views, right resolve/aspiration, right speech, right action/conduct, right livelihood, right effort right mindfulness and right concentration. Mid-twentieth century saw the collaborations between many psychoanalysts and Buddhist scholars as a meeting between "two of the most powerful forces" operating in the Western mind. Buddhism and Western Psychology overlap in theory and in practice. Over the last century, experts have written on many commonalities between Buddhism and various branches of modern western psychology like phenomenological psychology, psychoanalytical psychotherapy, humanistic psychology, cognitive psychology and existential psychology. Orientalist Alan Watts wrote 'if we look deeply into such ways of life as Buddhism, we do not find either philosophy or religion as these are understood in the West. We find something more nearly resembling psychotherapy'. Buddha was a unique psychotherapist. His therapeutic methods helped millions of people throughout the centuries. This essay is just an expression of what little the current author has understood on Buddha philosophy and an opportunity to offer his deep tribute to one of the greatest psychotherapists the world has ever produced!


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