Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Unconscious in Buddhism and Jung

For the past four weeks, I've been immersed in a Shedra course at the Abbey on Yogacara ("Mind-Only") philosophy. In the 5th Century CE, Yogacara Buddhist philosophers asserted the existence of an unconscious dimension of mind called the "alaya-vij├▒āna," or the "storehouse" consciousness. This famous "eighth consciousness" has many features in common with the modern, Western psychological view of the unconscious as first developed by Sigmund Freud and clarified by Carl Jung.

My final presentation for the class looks at the similarities and differences between these two systems (ancient and modern) and their respective views of the unconscious mind -- particularly where Jung's psychology overlaps with the 1,500-year-old schematics of the Yogacara philosophers. For source material and analysis, I'm deeply indebted to William Waldron's scholarly paper on this topic.

Those Buddhist geeks who are interested in viewing a PDF of the presentation can download it here. Enjoy!

1 comment:

kaney said...

The subconscious mind is very powerful. However, it is underrated. We do not realize its full potential. It is the summation of all the experiences and so it can guide you the best. It has massive potential and can be used to achieve success.

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