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Buddhism and Psychology

Being that both Buddhism and psychology are concerned with mental wellness, healthy relationships, and clear seeing, it should be little surprise that the two disciplines inform and illuminate one another. Here are the finest Shambhala Sun teachings and articles related to Buddhism and psychology, featuring pieces by John Welwood, Jack Kornfield, Barry Boyce, Tara Bennett-Goleman, and more.


Are You Listening?

To really listen to others, say David Rome and Hope Martin, we must first learn to listen to ourselves. They teach us three techniques for tuning in to body, speech, and mind.

The Science of Love

Are there provable methods we can use to become more altruistic and compassionate? Can Buddhist compassion practices be adapted for a secular society? Barry Boyce reports on the growing number of scientists and researchers who are studying how to bring out the best in human nature.

The Secret of Success for MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction)

Barry Boyce talks to the authors of the new, groundbreaking interactive book, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, and reports on his visit to the annual gathering at the Center for Mindfulness.

Toward a Mindful Society

As creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn has brought the benefits of meditation practice to hundreds of thousands of people and inspired a movement that is changing our society in many ways. In this exclusive interview with the Sun’s Barry Boyce, he discusses the philosophy, goals, and promise of the mindfulness movement.

Why Can’t “I” Be Happy?

The four noble truths tell us that to be happy we must first discover the causes of our unhappiness. This is the approach of the renowned French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, who says that genuine happiness is only possible after we understand the fundamental mistake that is the root of our suffering.

Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible

Living with someone we love, with all the joys and challenges, is one of the best ways to grow spiritually. But real awakening only happens, says renowned psychologist John Welwood, in the charnel ground where we acknowledge and work with our wounds, fears, and illusions.

Discovering Our Nobility: Toward a Psychology of Original Goodness

Prominent Buddhist teacher and psychologist Jack Kornfield proposes a new psychology, one based not on a model of sickness but on Buddhism’s belief in the inherent nobility, beauty, and freedom of human nature.

Stumbling on Happiness

Are we just too stupid to be happy? Psychologist Daniel Gilbert reveals some of the common mental mistakes that defeat our search for happiness.

Robert Coles and the Moral Life

When so much talk of morality is marked by aggression and self-righteousness, Robert Coles is a gentler and deeper moral voice. David Swick profiles this child psychiatrist, civil rights activist, and author who has spent his life considering the nature of morality and its central place in our lives.

All Together in the Present

John Baker says that group therapy can offer the insight, immediacy, and self-awareness that is the goal of Buddhist practice.

The Perfect Love We Seek, The Imperfect Love We Live

Love is what we long to receive and to give, yet our intimate relationships are conflicted and often painful. Psychologist John Welwood looks at the difference between absolute and relative love, and the wound within each of us that no other can heal.

The Case for Contemplative Psychology

Han F. de Wit argues that spiritual tradition can be viewed as its own school of psychology. As such, it offers more effective techniques and profound goals than the "ordinary unhappiness" aspired to by conventional psychology.

Emotional Alchemy

Tara Bennett-Goleman describes how the transforming power of mindfulness can be applied to our painful emotional patterns.

The Wisdom in the Dark Emotions

Grief, fear and despair are part of the human condition. Each of these emotions is useful, says psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan, if we know how to listen to them.

Mindfulness of Mind

Dispassionately observing what goes on in our mind is one of Buddhism’s central practices. As Michael Stroud reports, the technique is being used to work with a variety of mental health problems, including depression.

In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times

Edited by the Shambhala Sun's Barry Boyce and being released to coincide with the Urban Retreat, this new book features the greatest contemporary Buddhist teachers and writers—people renowned for addressing precisely the problems we’re facing today—including the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chögyam Trungpa, Sylvia Boorstein, Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, and many others.

Click to order In the Face of Fear

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