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He is known as the founder of the Madhyamaka school and considered the personification of Buddhist critical thought. The status of Buddhism is as problematic as that of Nagarjuna.Nagarjuna's poems are buried beneath an overlay of systematic polemic. The word "Buddhism" has no exact equivalent in the Asian societies where the Buddha's teachings flourished.While the interface between Buddhism and these fields is a fruitful area of contemporary intercultural dialogue, it is as problematic to equate Buddhism with psychology or psychotherapy as it is with philosophy or religion.
Blocked by confusion I survive by forging a destiny Through impulsive acts.
Self-consciously I enter situations Where personality unfolds And world impacts On my sensitive soul.
In response to this interest, Asian Buddhist teachers offer courses on Buddhist psychology.
A similar process must have happened when Buddhism found its way into other non-Indian cultures (such as China, Japan and Tibet) in the past.
Such identification makes it easier to grasp what otherwise appears amorphous, ambiguous and confusing.
The Authority Of Experience Essays On Buddhism And Psychology
It is not that Buddhism has nothing of interest to say to psychologists, theologians or philosophers.I find it useful to think of "Buddhism" as a As a culture of awakening, the term "Buddhism" denotes an internally-coherent set of values and goals ( "awakening," "intelligence," "compassion," "non-violence," etc.) to be realized through a range of philosophical, psychological, ethical, social, contemplative and artistic practices.To reduce it to any one of these values or practices would undermine its integrity as a culture.And given the way that certain schools of Buddhism have evolved, we do find doctrines and practices that confer to "mind" () exactly the sort of primacy we might expect.We are pleasantly surprised to find how psychologically astute this ancient tradition turns out to be. Ever since Westerners have been interested in Buddhism, they have read their own preocuppations and desires into its texts.From a wide range of available canonical materials we tend to choose only those texts that confirm what we are already predisposed to find there.Given the prevailing interest in psychology, translators translate, writers write and publishers publish texts that affirm the pre-eminence of psychological insight in Buddhism.Clinging is to insist On being someone; Not to cling Is to be free to be no one. Fools are impulsive But the wise see things as they are. It would undermine the power of Nagarjuna's poem to dissect it for general psychological truths.To be someone is to be Self-conscious, impulsive, Thinking, feeling body, Which is born, ages, dies, Suffers torment, grief, pain, Depression, anxiety. When confusion stops Through practising insight Impulsive acts will cease. When a poem speaks to us, it doesn't impart information, which we can retain and analyse, but responds to the questions life poses. Yet both Buddhist tradition and Western scholars insist on regarding Nagarjuna as a philosopher rather than a poet.So in a secular and psychologically literate culture, it is hardly surprising that Buddhism is presented as secular and psychologically literate so that answers can be found for our secular and psychological problems.Collapse into a solipsistic tailspin is avoided, however, by an equal pull in the opposite direction.