Buddhism And Understanding Of Personality
The roots of Morita therapy
Morita therapy has its conceptual roots in Zen
Buddhism is far from being a unified reality: there are many forms
of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism itself comes in many varieties. In general,
Zen does not uses many images, never speaks about God (hence
it is more psychological perhaps
than religious), emphasizes meditation and mindfulness. It
is a rather sparse form of Buddhism.
Dr Masatake (Shoma)
Morita (1874-1938), who developed this method in the 1920's was
the chairman of the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo.
Morita was aware of western psychology and blended some of
their techniques into his own Zen-influenced psychology. The
Morita method does not require allegeance to any particular
Here are some of the points Morita therapy has in common with
- emphasis on living in the here and now
- letting feelings be, accepting them, not resisting them, observing
them--also not identifying with them and letting them rule behavior
- clear distinction between feelings and behavior
- learning to observe one's feelings
- learning to be fully present in what one does
- learning to live in reality, and not in the stories, rationales,
excuses one creates
The roots of Naikan therapy
The founder of Naikan was not a psychiatrist, but a Japanese
Jodo Shinshu Buddhist
by the name of Ishin
Yoshimoto, who, having benefitted from a rather
rigorous form of meditation, adapted the core of that
a practice more accessible to ordinary people.
He called this method Naikan. Naikan, developed around 1938, became
popular in Japan in the 1950's.
Naikan retreats in Japan are sometimes still given within a temple
Read this interesting account of Naikan
retreat by an American young man who is also a Zen practitioner.
He does touch upon the "place" of Naikan in relation
to Buddhism and to psychology.
Also, connecting Naikan to its roots and current practice is
of Gregg Krech, of the ToDo Institute.
Buddhism and one's sense of self
both in the Morita and the Naikan methods, the "self" and its characteristics,
defense mechanisms and strategies are not a concern. The goal
of both therapies is for the student to open outwards, to live
in reality, to care for others, to see the many ways in which
life is a gift.
Buddhist psychology sees the self in a very different way than
There is a good introductory site on Buddhism put out by the
Buddhist periodical Tricycle. It deals mostly with the sort of
things we would be interested
in from a psychological perspective, and is written for people
like us (Western and non-Buddhist). The articles are written by
various people who identify with different traditions within Buddhism,
and are well done, readable, and not too long. Go to the Dharma
101 site, and read the articles. What do you think of the "Who
are you?" article? And the following article