Psychonauts Improve on Psychoanalysis

Every once in a while I get some flak for dedicating this page to the Medicine Buddha because Rife engineers think it is a “new age” religion, even though Buddhism predates both Christianity and Mohammed. The Medicine Buddha is alledgedly the diety who trained the Buddha himself in how to treat people with medical problems, thus preceeding even the Buddha. A number of physicians I have met use the Medicine Buddha as a model for their practice and Tibetan Buddhism is making significant contributions to scientific research. In fact, scientists at Harvard and elsewhere have wired up monks and demonstrated that their individualized training on the internal workings of their mind generate documented physiological and emotional effects that are unheard of in “normal” Americans. I can personally testify that it is better to be an “abnormal” American, not obese, not neurotic, not sick, not on any medications, and free of any chronic disease condition like most Tibetan monks.

Tibetan Buddhism and research psychology: a match made in Nirvana?

Collaborations between monks and psychologists yield new directions in psychological research.

Monitor on Psychology, Volume 34, No. 11 December 2003

Sadie F. Dingfelder

With an eye toward understanding the inner workings of the mind and using that knowledge to reduce human suffering, psychologists and Buddhist monks may have more in common than they realize, and possibly even compatible methodology. These commonalities are driving collaborations between some psychologists and Buddhist monks.

Richard Davidson, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for one, believes that the shared goals and empiricism of these two traditions could lead to useful advances for each. Tibetan Buddhism, says Davidson, is not a dogmatic religion; knowledge in the tradition is gained by examining one’s own experience. Monks train for years to become expert observers of the inner workings of their own minds, he says. Research psychology, on the other hand, attempts to understand mental processes by focusing on third-person observation and de-emphasizing subjective observations of mental phenomena, he explains.

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