using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
36 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2 0 1 2 There are childhood experiences that have never been addressed or fully digested and they keep arising in our lives and playing themselves out. As Buddhists we need to have some real understanding and appreciation of how that works. —John Welwood JOHN WELWOOD: I’m not saying you necessarily have to be in therapy. But psychological work happens best through a dia- logical process. I’d like to see ways of doing this developed that could actually happen in dharma circles. GRACE SCHIRESON: Here’s how we’re working with that in the Zen tradition. Darlene Cohen said there are the 300,000 times. The first 100,000 times is noticing the pattern or the arising of some discomfort: just before I felt angry or fearful, or felt like I needed to shut down, something happened; that takes 100,000 times of observing. The second 100,000 times is observing where this comes from in the body. What is it like when this feeling arises? The third 100,000 times is when one begins to have a choice. We’ve already watched the pattern, we’ve seen the consequences of it, and now we have a choice about whether we continue to repeat it. Having choices rather than being compelled by patterns is a sign of health, whether it’s in therapy or in spiritual practice. Going back to the question you raised earlier, we’re not asking spiritual teachers to be therapists. On the other hand if they aren’t aware of how a repetitive pattern is emerging, a student can be lost for a long time. So it’s something teachers need to be able to see. ANDREW HOLECEK: What this discussion is pointing to is the dif- ference between relative and absolute truth—on one level we do have these absolute level upayas (skillful means), which are really the strength of Buddhism. We can cut through into the absolute, we can cultivate awareness, and that’s great. If there is a fundamental cure to any psychological or spiritual pathol- ogy, it is awareness. But if your awareness isn’t hot enough, then these Western relative means are of extraordinary benefit. In other words, if the fire of awareness isn’t blazing enough to fully experience, incinerate, and therefore self-liberate what- ever arises, we have other methods to turn to. When we talk about patterns, it’s really another way to talk about karma. What these relative upayas allow us to do is create a sense of perspective, a sense of healthy distance. Not dissociation but differentiation. We can step back and look at the patterns, and then we have a choice. We can either allow habitual pattern, the karmic momentum, to suck us back in developing now at the Shogaku Zen Institute, where we train Zen priests and other sangha leaders, is to help people who are not psychologists to first identify these hidden unconscious patterns in themselves. When they’re aware of them in them- selves, they’re more able to see patterns and projections aris- ing in others and they can begin to know when it’s time to refer someone for counseling. BUDDHADHARMA: Are we in some ways, though, asking our teachers to be our therapists? JOHN WELWOOD: No, I don’t think we need to do that. We need to understand that there are different lines of development and we’re not necessarily going to get all the help we need in one place. In the meditative traditions we are usually engaged in what we could call “cutting through”—cutting through these pat- terns to their empty essence—and that’s good for liberation on the spot. We can actually let go of the pattern in the moment. But the roots of that pattern keep arising. That’s where I think we can use some other method to unpack the elements of the pattern—to see what the fears are, what the imaginings are, what the stories are, what the self-images are. I think in the future there will be spiritual teachers who can work both with the cutting through methods of meditation and the unpacking methods of what I call a more horizontal approach—the vertical approach being the cutting through, like the sword of prajna that just cuts through to the essence. Unpacking involves bringing to light unconscious patterns. Unpacking is a gradual, horizontal method that allows some- one to actually digest indigestible experiences from childhood. In childhood, our nervous system is not fully developed for fourteen years. So there are a lot of experiences in those first fourteen years that were very intense or overwhelming or confusing or conflictual, and that have never been addressed or fully digested. So these experiences keep arising in our lives and playing themselves out. I think as Buddhists we need to have some real acknowledgment and understanding and appreciation of how that works. BUDDHADHARMA: When you talk about the horizontal method, are you suggesting that practitioners should be in therapy?