Thursday, June 6, 2013

Buddhist & Western Psychology - Opening Minds

     "In the early years of the twentieth century, Anagarika Dharmapala – a Sinhalese Buddhist monk, on a tour of the United States – is said to have attended a lecture by William James at Harvard University. During the lecture, James apparently became aware of the monk, dressed in a distinctive yellow toga, sitting in the audience. 'Take my chair,' James said, 'and I shall sit with my students. You are better equipped to lecture on psychology than I am.' Dharmapala obliged and gave a short account of Buddhist teachings, after which James turned to his students and remarked, 'This is the psychology everybody will be studying twenty-five years from now' (adapted from Sangharakshita, 1952, p. 78). One hundred years on, it appears James’ prediction never came true. It has taken much longer for academics in the mainstream of Western Psychology to begin to share James’ open-mindedness towards Buddhist ideas, let alone to treat them as a valid ‘Psychology’."
       Stanley S. Intimate distances: William James' introspection, Buddhist mindfulness, and experiential inquiry. New Ideas in Psychology 2012; 30(2): 201-211.
     "William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) American philosopher and psychologist who had trained as a physician. He was the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. ... He challenged his professional colleagues not to let a narrow mindset prevent an honest appraisal of those beliefs."

Johnny Rockets restaurant, Seattle WA - May 2013

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