Psychotherapy By Karma Transformation: Relational Buddhism and Rational Practice
by G.T. Maurits Kwee
This cutting-edge monograph is for everyone who is interested in psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective and inner transformation from a relational stance. A detailed procedure is presented on the “what and how” to do in psychotherapy when transforming intentional action (i.e. Karma) in a combined process of Buddhist and Western collaborative practice with clients who wonder about themselves. After contextualizing Buddhist psychology, the focus is on conversation, the vehicle of Psychotherapy by Karma Transformation which targets communicative change in clients’ patterns of speech and self-speech. Operating within the meta-framework of Relational Buddhism, the author submits that Buddhism and psychotherapy are no longer strange bed-fellows.
Relational Buddhism is a confluence of social constructionism and pan-Buddhism (acknowledged by all denominations). Both view the mind as primarily located in-between people and see reality as an outcome of social construction (impossible to map accurately/objectively through words). Meant to alleviate intense emotional suffering, the working space of psychotherapy is karmic change in the realm of the “provisional self”. Such delimited aim differs from the Buddhist grand goal: attaining Buddhahood in the realm of the “ultimate non-self”. This end could be pursued in a post-therapy phase and lies outside the scope of this book. As the purpose of the present Buddhist psychotherapy is not meant to realize Buddhas, it is apt for all readers alike irrespective of religion or persuasion. Karma transformation places intentional action through cognitive-behavioral restructuring in the centre of its practice.
In order to execute a treatment plan, the client is facilitated to equilibrate emotional imbalances by compassion and self-compassion. Transforming comprises an ongoing multimodal assessment of feeling, thought and action, and a methodic approach of detoxifying the Buddha’s three poisons. Rooted in disturbing emotions, these comprise: greed (fear to lose and grief of the lost), hatred (self-hate/depression and anger/aggression) and ignorance on how the mind creates agony. According to Buddhism the quintessence is in the paraphrases: “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”, “my censure is first moulded in my own nature” and “do not do to others what I would not like to be done to me”.
An essential chapter proposes that insight in the mind’s working is engendered by understanding “pristine mindfulness” which, in contrast to “Buddhist-lite mindfulness” of nonjudgmental attention, follows an eight-step roadmap. This is an in-depth training in “heartfulness meditation” with the scope of discerning wholesome and unwholesome Karma. The eight states involved in Karma transformation include cultivating attention-awareness toward calm-tranquil serenity (Samatha), concentrative absorption (Samadhi), insight (Vipassana), emptiness (Sunyata), non-duality (Yogacara), “Buddha-kill” (Chan/Zen) to arrive at multiplying the “relational sublimes” (Brahmaviharas) and lastly at experiencing “empty dharmas” (as social constructions).
This groundbreaking opus magnum of the author covers a unique 300-item Karmic Life History Questionnaire, an instrument designed on the basis of his clinical experience and life-long Buddhist practice. The tool provides guidelines for clients and innovative psychotherapists to carry out a macroscopic intake procedure encompassing “narrative rebiographing”, a healing reconstruction of broken life-stories. Psychotherapy by Karma Transformation is lead by a designed personalized compass, called topographical/skandha and functional/patthana analysis, which is continuously updated going forward and which consequent use will finally bring along new existential/relational meaning.
ISBN: 978‐1‐938552‐05‐2 (e-book only)