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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Application of a grief model and Buddhist psychology in dealing with grieving, loss, and suffering
by Louie, Benedict L., Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2013, 422; 3557739
Abstract (Summary)

This study researches the journey of transformative learning experiences of adult men and women who have adopted a positive attitude in dealing with challenging and life-threatening issues. By applying a Western grief model and the principles of “living the present moment” and “letting go” derived from Buddhist psychology, this study aims to identify ways to transform mental suffering and grieving into positive energy that may help to provide comfort to individuals in despair.

The research paradigm is transpersonal and the method of this study is narrative analysis. A combination of face-to-face and telephone interviews as well as email exchanges with eight individuals who shared their personal experiences in adopting a positive attitude in overcoming difficult situations were employed. These participants have battled and conquered their unique life-challenging situations.

The stories of these individuals document their challenges with grief and include insights learned from these experiences and the ways in which they transformed these experiences into catalysts for positive energy. Seven themes became evident and significant in their journey in coping with suffering, and paved the way for their transformational learning experiences. They are: a) Reaching acceptance, b) the importance of a support network, c) making meanings of suffering, d) impermanence, e) letting go of the past, f) living in the present moment, and g) spirituality. It is hoped that this transformational learning experience will enable other people from diverse demographic, professional, and cultural backgrounds to embrace a Western grief model in combination with Buddhist psychology to better cope with their loss or grieving, and help them to understand the opportunity for growth these life challenges can present.

Everyone experiences loss and difficult challenges in the course of a lifetime. How we view and react to them determines the effect they have on the rest of our lives. This study will contribute to the need for more research in this area by asking the following question: “How do actions derived from Buddhist principles help to alleviate suffering among people facing challenges of change?”

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clark, Carey
Commitee: Pelicci, Gabrielle, Smith-Stoner, Marilyn
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Epistemology, Psychology, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Buddhist psychology, Grief model, Mindfulness, Spirituality, Suffering of change, Transformative learning
Publication Number: 3557739
ISBN: 978-1-303-01459-8
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