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Chinese Ch’an Buddhism and mental culture : implications of the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra on counseling and psychotherapy

Item

Author

Lee, Ming

Date

2005

Volume

6

Pages

219-228

ISSN

1530-4108

Abstract

Chinese Ch’an Buddhism has penetrated into Chinese culture for centuries and cast a multifaceted influence on Chinese intellectual development, lifestyle, literature and arts. During the T’ang and Sung dynasties, Ch’an Buddhism surpassed the other Buddhist schools and became the dominant Buddhist order. All Buddhist monastics were called Ch’an monastics, and Buddhist temples were recognized as Ch’an temples. This influence has extended until modern, post-imperial times. The teachings of this influential Buddhist school also have profound implications on psychological well-being and psychotherapeutic techniques.

Since the 1930s, Zen, a Japanese adaptation of Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, has been introduced to the Western world. Many Western psychologists have been attracted to the study of Zen Buddhism and have compared Zen with various psychological theories and practices. The wisdom of Chinese Ch’an Buddhism and its potential applications to counseling and psychotherapy, however, has not been widely investigated. This paper will explore possibilities of applying Ch’an Buddhist teachings to counseling and psychotherapeutic practices. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch will be used as the base for this exploratory study.


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