Buddhist psychology encourages liberation from distressing thoughts, emotions, and behaviours by way of understanding and practice.
Understanding our thoughts and behaviours provides some insight into the unique set of "obstacles" we carry with us, and how these patterns are impacting our life.
As this awareness grows, so too does our freedom to make positive change. Buddhist counsellors use the practices of meditation, mindful-
ness and contemplation to encourage insight and support the arising of love, trust, and clarity.
Buddhist psychology is a vast field of study, 2,500 years old, originating in the Abhidharma. This ancient text is an exploration of the intricacies of human nature and behaviour.
Today, contemporary psychological theory and practice are being informed by traditional Buddhist wisdom, and the interplay between western and eastern thought continues to evolve.
Buddhism is a path of liberation for the world. In the Buddhist analysis, peace in the world and peace in the hearts of people are simply different aspects of the same thing.
Whether we intervene at the social level or in individual lives, the goal is the same: we seek to cultivate a more compassionately engaged way of life that is both happier and more constructive.
Buddhist psychology is not, therefore, based on the idea of advantage to an individual being in conflict with advantage to the community. It is precisely the same kinds of delusions that create neurosis as create an oppressive world, and neurosis and oppression can be seen as closely-related phenomena.
If we would make a better world, we must also work on ourselves. If we would work on ourselves, we must find some concern for our world.
Buddhism is a liberation psychology. It does not lead us to enhance our sense of entitlement to an unhealthy level of selfishness. It rather shows us how to once again engage with the real world in a way that is respectful and kind, realistic and satisfying.
This more objective - less subjective - approach to psychology is in accord with a social perspective that sees us as having important work to do to spread a more compassionate spirit on this planet.
The purpose of psychotherapy is not to teach us how to accumulate pleasant feelings - it is to help us to learn how to live more creative and wholesome lives.
Institute for Zen Therapy
The Institute for Zen Therapy (IZT) Founded by Dharmavidya David Brazier and associated with the Amida Trust, the IZT is the part of Amida Trust concerned with Buddhist psychology, counselling, psychotherapy practice, and training, with the goal of applying the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to modern situations.
IZT work is grounded in Buddhist thought and principles and, within this paradigm, uses a wide range of therapeutic methods, both eastern and western. In fact, it is the deep grounding in the Buddhist theory of the mind that makes this course special. However, neither psychotherapy students nor those seeking counselling are required to be Buddhist practitioners in order to benefit from the programmes.
The Institute maintains a collaborative approach and is affiliated with ITZI - Instituto Terapia Zen Internacional, an organization, registered in Spain, providing a platform for Buddhist education programmes in mainland Europe and around the world, including Canada and Korea.
The website itself offers much information, including a wealth of web links to other Amida websites. In addition, the IZT Library is an informative collection of papers written by Amida Trust members and associates on topics related to psychotherapy, psychology and spirituality.