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Buddhist meditation and depth psychology

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by Douglas M. Burns

This essay is concerned with only one aspect of Buddhism, the practice of meditation. The ethical, practical, and logical facets of the Teaching are covered in other publications. If the cause of suffering is primarily psychological, then it must follow that the cure, also, is psychological. Therefore, we find in Buddhism a series of “mental exercises” or meditations designed to uncover and cure our psychic aberrations. Mistakenly, Buddhist meditation is frequently confused with yogic meditation, which often includes physical contortions, autohypnosis, quests for occult powers, and an attempted union with God. None of these are concerns or practices of the Eightfold Path. There are in Buddhism no drugs or stimulants, no secret teachings, and no mystical formulae. Buddhist meditation deals exclusively with the everyday phenomena of human consciousness.

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