Buddhism’s Theravāda: Meditation

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This book explores the convergence of psychoanalysis and Asian thought. It explores key theoretical issues. What role does paradox play in psychological transformations? How can the oriental emphasis on attaining "no-self" be reconciled with the western emphasis on achieving an integrated self? The book also inquires into pragmatic questions concerning the nature of psychological change and the practice of psychotherapy. The Taoist I Ching is explored as a framework for understanding the therapeutic process. Principles from martial arts philosophy and strategy are applied to clinical work. Combining theoretical analyses, case studies, empirical data, literary references, and anecdotes, this book is intended for researchers as well as clinicians, and beginning students as well as scholars.
Asma, a professor of Buddhism at Columbia College in Chicago and the author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads (2001), recounts his intense and revelatory Cambodian adventures while teaching at Phnom Penh's Buddhist Institute. In an electrifying and frank mix of hair-raising anecdotes and expert analysis, he explicates the vast difference between text-based Buddhist teachings and daily life in a poor and politically volatile Buddhist society. Amid tales of massage parlors, marijuana-spiced pizza, and bloodshed, he cogently explains how Theravada Buddhism, the form practiced throughout Southeast Asia, differs from the Buddhism Westerners are familiar with, and how entwined it is with animistic beliefs. This fusion of Buddhist rationalism with superstition is but one of many juxtapositions Asma relishes as he assesses the terrible scars left by the Khmer Rouge and the profound self-possession of the people he meets. His striking insights into Cambodian reality lead to a bracing critique of American pop culture and the manipulative tactics of Cambodia-based fundamentalist Protestant missionaries--and an incisive argument for learning about and respecting religions other than one's own. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
In this highly original study of sexuality, desire, the body, and women, Liz Wilson investigates first-millennium Buddhist notions of spirituality. She argues that despite the marginal role women played in monastic life, they occupied a very conspicuous place in Buddhist hagiographic literature. In narratives used for the edification of Buddhist monks, women's bodies in decay (diseased, dying, and after death) served as a central object for meditation, inspiring spiritual growth through sexual abstention and repulsion in the immediate world. Taking up a set of universal concerns connected with the representation of women, Wilson displays the pervasiveness of androcentrism in Buddhist literature and practice. She also makes persuasive use of recent historical work on the religious lives of women in medieval Christianity, finding common ground in the role of miraculous afflictions. This lively and readable study brings provocative new tools and insights to the study of women in religious life.
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