11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Caroline Brazier, (wife of author David Brazier) psychotherapist experienced in Pure Land, Theravada, & Zen provides basic Buddhist psychology in great detail with many charts/models of various processes, p. ix: "Presenting the teachings as a psychology creates the possibility that the understanding Buddhism offers can be extended to those who might not otherwise engage with the religious aspects of the faith." She rightly points out that p. xiv: "Many of the misconceptions that have arisen in Western Buddhism have come out of poor translations of terms. Even when a word is accurately translated, it is easy to forget that nuances of the original may be lost, or new meanings may be construed that are not faithful to the original term. The use of Sanskrit is a reminder to be cautious in these matters. With the key terms we are using, it is important to find the right meanings." However, she uses a great many Sanskrit words that don't appear to be ambiguous. She says, p. 9: "Translating these words makes for easier reading but ultimately creates confusion since equivalent Western terminology never fully covers the meaning of the original & often carries its own set of associations, which may be wholly inappropriate to the real meaning of the term," but over usage creates confusion too, even having a Glossary. Overall, she states that p. 35: "Buddhist psychology is a psychology of addiction; it is also a psychology of encounter." I see parallels between psychodrama & role playing (in her fine chapter 12, "Experiment and Encounter") on one hand & Eric Berne's "The Games People Play" & Alice Miller's "Drama of the Gifted Child" on the other. Chapter 13, "Working with Other" uses family stories (p. 16: "Stories are often more a product of the times in which they are told than of the original incident that gave rise to them") & Morita Therapy. She gives an interesting analysis of dependent origination vs. interdependent co-arising or Interbeing, reminiscent of Jung's synchronicity.
She notes p. 151: "The world you see is substantially a function of your mentality. Our viewing is selective & colored. Some things you distort by misinterpretation, some by imagination, & some by selectivity of view;" which she might apply herself. Per the story of Naropa at the gate of Nalanda University, there's a great difference between understanding words & understanding meaning. Despite his education & erudition, Naropa left the university undergoing extreme hardship to learn meaning from Tilopa. For example, Brazier's description of self is too elementary; per Chögyam Trungpa's "The Sanity We Are Born With-a Buddhist Approach to Psychology," "The only material we have is ego. There is no other way to spirituality." This book is overly wordy, structured, & IMHO expressionistic. The author appears to project a lot-reading too much into things. Her approach could be more scientific, balanced, empirical, & realistic, except for chapters 12 & 13 which describe her therapeutic processes (which seem Western not Buddhist to me). The book could use some practical aspects of actual life in Buddhist countries, a more balanced/less extreme perspective, & more consistency so as not to detract from confidence in her (unsupported) statements (e.g. about dependent arising). While I personally approve, for example, of "engaged Buddhism" per se (see Karma Lekshe Tsomo's anthologies), if you criticize something as not coming directly from the Buddha, you lay yourself open to the same criticism.
17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
This book explores not only a very deep (linguistic and interpolation) meaning behind Four Noble Truth, The Six Senses, Five Skandhas, etc, other than the usual (common) explanation/translation but also provides different insights that helps building systematic understanding of the mind as described in Buddhist teachings.
By reading this, i have better intellectual understanding and can use some mental model to contemplate during meditation. It really helps to be really mindful, although i fail all the times to be mindful always, but the mental model helps tremendously!
At this point of view, i have not finished the book, but i read slowly and bring it to meditation, and i have no rush to complete it, just letting it grows on me at its own pace.(...)
Upon further reading and utilizing the mind models into daily practice, it is tremendously helpful to find tips on how to change the habitual pattern built since birth till the present. To recognize how a self conscious delusion arises, thus it is much easier to check and catch.
A highly recommended book for you if you really want to train your mind but you find traditional method of mind training too difficult and too abstract to apply, because it explains in very clear way what is the purpose of certain training (i.e. the bodhisattva vow).
on March 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is by far the only book you need to understand Buddhist Psychology. The explanation used Buddhist examples and language with a brilliant and easy to follow explanation of meanings. This was written as a true representation of Buddhist Psychology rather than a pop psychology presentation that is so prevalent these days. It is for the academic reader and the reader who just has a general interest. It was really refreshing to read a book that actually presents a structured presentation of Buddhist psychology including a structure of personality. This kind of book is not available elsewhere, it is the only book I recommend for the serious student of Buddhist psychology. Other books just seem a bit off subject compared to this. It actually uses real Buddhist text as a guide and also real Psychology examples by making reference to other academics from humanistic, behaviourist, psychodynamic and cognitive academics. There is a great index to find specific things for study. Other books dance around Buddhist knowledge, this is the only book I have encountered that actually presents an accurate presentation of what Buddhist psychology actually is. This book is for the serious student who wants to learn something, Inspiration is also found within these pages which I found in the why the subject was presented. The first time I was able to close a book on Buddhist psychology and relax satisfied that I'd been taught by someone who really wants the reader to understand the subject before they find inspiration. Perfect.