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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Healing through Compassionate Awareness: A Comparison of American Vipassanā Practice and Existential-Humanistic Psychology
by Morey, Matthew Wynne, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2013, 394; 3560925
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation compares the integrated vipassanā movement of North America and the existential-humanistic school of psychology. The comparison examines both healing practices and ontological paradigms. The integrated vipassanā movement in the United States is defined by that element of vipassanā teachings that blends Theravāda Buddhist practices with American cultural mores as promoted and disseminated by Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Existential-humanistic psychology is here represented by the teachings of Rollo May, James Bugental, and Irvin Yalom. This inquiry seeks to apprehend the nature and efficacy of compassionate and caring present-moment attention in the context of two distinct ontological orientations. The analysis begins with each tradition's description of humanity's most fundamental flaw: dukkha and angst. The examination of these maladies of life is followed by a comparison of these traditions' respective portrayals of health and harmony: Buddhist liberation as compared with existential freedom. This study then examines and compares the way in which these traditions employ the blended healing practices of compassion and present-moment awareness. The findings include the observation that the Theravāda concept of no-self and the existential notion of the groundlessness of being provide for two distinct kinds of healing: one promotes a grace born of skillfully encouraging a depth of surrender of self, and the other speaks to creating an authentic world for oneself. This dissertation finds that the two traditions offer practices and orientations that may be used complementarily.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Phelps, Janis
Commitee: Kornfield, Jack, Young, David
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: East-West Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Existential, Existential-humanistic, Mindfulness, Spirit rock, Theravada, Vipassana
Publication Number: 3560925
ISBN: 978-1-303-07692-3
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