Zen and Psychology

"Zen and Psychology" number 60 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Aitken Roshi says that thinking that Zen is a kind of psychology is "a little like thinking that persimmons are a kind of banana".

My teacher, who is a psychologist by trade, thankfully keeps modern Western psycho-lingo out of his Zen interactions with me. Seems that the first wave of Zen in the West attracted many people who were already interested in the psychotherapeutic aspects of life. At first these seemed to go together. In order for Zen to really establish itself in the West, more and more teachers will have to come from more and more varieties of professional backgrounds. We are beginning to see this.

Friends, Bob Thurman has a great audio podcast that I just stumbled on. He is a long time practitioner, a personal friend of the Dalai Lama's and is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in
the Department of Religion at Columbia University, and co-founder and
President of Tibet House US. Big time credentials. He is also a fast and funny speaker. He carries his audience along without dumbing down the subject matter. Some speakers simplify and try to make their ideas understandable to the lowest common denominator. Some are eloquent, confident and speak in a way that challenges us to up our game and meet their sphere. Sometimes this is hard work but worth it.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance. Any merit
generated by this activity is solely the result of Aitken Roshi's clear
teaching and is dedicated to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout
space and time.