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Part 2 - Buddhist Methodologies for Training the Mind

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

This series of blogs is from an article I wrote in 2023, "Contemplative Creative Therapy (CCT):

A Novel Approach to Train the Embodied Mind"- Not published yet. I didn't know it would be so complex to publish as an independent scholar... I published the full article on Academia for anyone interested in researching and learning more about CCT and contemplative sciences, and psychotherapy.

If you want to read the full article,

When delving into Buddhism, it becomes crucial to differentiate between its philosophical and psychological aspects and how it evolved into a religion encompassing diverse lineages and sects throughout Asia. Ancient texts depict the Buddha as a sage wanderer who engaged in debates about life, death, suffering, and our perception of reality alongside his peers. Drawing a parallel in the Western world, we find a resemblance in the gatherings held at the Agora, where eminent Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle deliberated upon similar topics during a comparable period.

The fundamental Dharma teachings of Buddhism highlight that all human experiences are marked by three characteristics, known as the “three marks of existence,” namely, impermanence (anitya), dissatisfaction/suffering (dukkha), and the absence of eternal essence (anātman). According to the Buddha, understanding and embracing these marks are vital for achieving liberation from attachment and suffering. Moreover, the path to awakening involves cultivating certain factors and qualities through mental training. Dharma teachings outline various contemplative practices in lists or discourses, guiding principles to training the embodied mind.

The Four Noble Truths, the Five Skandhas, and the Noble Eightfold Path form the foundation of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. These teachings provide frameworks and methodologies to investigate the nature of the mind and reality across all Buddhist traditions. In his teachings, the Buddha endorsed the Four Noble Truths and presented the Noble Eightfold Path as a practical guide for training the embodied mind, cultivating insight, and overcoming suffering and its causes. According to Siderits (2019), the Buddha taught a path (marga) of training to undo the samyojana (mental fetter and conditioning), kleshas (mental afflictions and confusion) and āsavas (mental defilements) and attain vimutti (liberation). The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path offer valuable guidance on overcoming psychological and physical suffering.

The Buddha founded and greatly furthered the tradition of Inner or Mind Science, known as “adhyatmavidya.” This discipline is called “science” because it is an organized pursuit of knowledge about the mind. Its purpose is to free individuals from the negative aspects of the mind and help them realize its positive potential (Thurman, 1994, p.17). The root teachings discussed in this section have been applied to Buddhist psychology, psychotherapy, and contemplative psychotherapy as we understand them in the Western context. In recent times, the subjective empiricism of earlier Buddhism has started to merge with the Western scientific tradition, presenting the prospect of a simplified, secular and scientifically grounded Buddhist psychology. The emergence of these Buddhist-based approaches and interventions in psychological therapy highlights how Buddhist psychology has gained relevance among clinical professions and mental health in recent years (Kelly, 2008).

Keywords: Contemplative Creative Therapy, Contemplative Creative Science, Contemplative Science, Contemplative Psychotherapy, Buddhist Psychology, Embodied Mind, Embodied Creativity, Psychotherapy, Meditations

To be continued...

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