Dr Chönyi Taylor – Western and Buddhist Psychology

Buddhism and Western psychology meet in terms of these behavioral patterns, which we want to change, and both of them have
methods for dealing with this. Western and Buddhist Psychology But Buddhism goes one step ahead,
where Western psychology doesn’t follow. Buddhism says it’s not only possible to
change these patterns, but it is possible to get rid of them
absolutely and entirely. You may still experience some pain
if you break your leg, but you’re not going to experience the other results of it. So if you break your leg, that’s painful. But you’re not going to get angry at the reason why you broke your leg, or upset, or things like that. So the mind states that go with pain become
eliminated entirely. And because those mind states are eliminated, we can develop more and more positive qualities. And, according to the teachings, we can go all the way, and make the mind absolutely clear
from any negative qualities. At that point we become a Buddha,
which is rather nice to imagine! So there’s a continuum, which is all spelt out in the texts, but which is a bit boring to study if you’re not actually interested in the ways of getting to those higher stages. But if you stop and look at some of these lamas, and particularly His Holiness the Dalai Lama , and say, “How did he come to be the person that he is?” He’s written books, and there are books about his life. He gets up and he meditates. He watches his mind. His whole training as a child has been about compassion, as well as wisdom, how to develop compassion and use compassion. You see this in his eyes
and you hear this in his teachings. If you ever have the opportunity to meet His Holiness, which I have had, it’s been great. He treats you as a very close, personal friend, and if we could do this with everybody,
of course it would make a huge difference, but in the West, compassion is not regarded
so much as being of benefit. When we first talked about animals,
and Darwin talked about animals, it was all savage, and about these animals
eating up other animals, and this is how they survive: the survival of the fittest. But what was left out when Darwin wrote this was the kindness of animals. We didn’t hear about the mother animal
who feeds her babies. We didn’t have the internet, where we see these amazing pictures of animals from different species looking after each other. So I have a slide which I use, one half of the slide there is a monkey
who is rescuing a dog, and the dog is being held by the monkey,
who’s running away from some sort of danger. And on the other side,
there is a dog who is rescuing a monkey, the dog is holding monkey in its jaws,
and taking it away. Different animals, they’re not related photos, but it just illustrates that
compassion is part of the natural order, just as much as aggression is. This is only starting to become recognized in Western psychology as well, the need for compassion. And particularly when it comes to addiction, there’s more and more emphasis
on the fact that people with addictions have often been in a state where they have never, ever experienced compassion of any sort. They want to be reunited with people,
they want to rejoin the human race, and the only way they can find to do this is through drugs. It either gives them some way of partying on, or just blots out the pain of not being connected.

Jerry Heath

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