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Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures

Essays on Theories and Practices

As both Buddhism and psychotherapy have grown and diversified in Asia, as well as in the West, so too has the literature dealing with their interaction. Today, Japan and the United States are the two largest psychotherapeutic cultures in the world, and this volume brings together seminal contemporary thinkers in both disciplines on both sides of the Pacific. Both Buddhism and psychotherapy are cultural institutions that evolved over time as their native cultures evolved, as the configurations of the self evolved, and as new cultures assimilated them. And both have transformed the cultures in which they have evolved. Cross-cultural interaction occurs not only between the two disciplines of Buddhist and psychotherapeutic practice (involving various schools and approaches within each) but also across geographical and ethnic boundaries, within the practitioner him- or herself.

Contributors explore the creative possibilities emerging from the synergy of Buddhism and psychotherapy. Many conference participants came from a Pure Land Buddhist background (the largest stream of Buddhism in East Asia), specifically that of Jodo-shin (commonly known as Shin Buddhism), although Buddhist teachers and scholars of the Zen, Tibetan, and Vipassana traditions were also well represented. This volume in particular brings together world-class specialists from the United States and Japan, including Jack Engler, Anne Klein, Jeremy Safran, Naoki Nabeshima, Yasunobu Okada, Taitetsu Unno. They are versed in various forms of psychotherapy and counseling including clinical practice, therapist training, the care of the terminally ill, and in the practice of Tibetan, Zen, Vipassana and Pure Land Buddhism. This ground-breaking volume offers rich reflections at many levels.

Mark Unno teaches East Asian religions at the University of Oregon. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Religious Ethics and the advisory board of Buddhist-Christian Studies. He has been the featured speaker at numerous conferences and academic venues on Asian Buddhism, Comparative Religion, Buddhism and Psychotherapy, and Buddhism in America. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.

"The essays in this collection offer rich insights on an exciting dialogue."

– Ruben L.F. Habito, Roshi, author of Healing Breath and Living Zen, Loving God

"Points toward a real integration of Buddhist thought into our culture, our lives, and our worlds."

– Mark Epstein, author of Thoughts Without a Thinker, in Buddhadharma

"Despite my first intention to skim through this book for the chapters that appealed to me, I found that each chapter grabbed my attention. The essays take the Buddhist-Psychotherapy dialogue to new depths and subtleties. It was a pleasure to delve into it all."

– Karen Kissel Wegela, Ph.D., Professor in Contemplative Psychotherapy, Naropa University, author of How to Be a Help Instead of a Nuisance

"A welcome addition edited by a superb scholar in the field."

– David H. Rosen, McMillan Professor of Analytical Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Texas A&M University, and author of The Tao of Jung

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