The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in Zen Thought

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9780670000432: The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in Zen Thought

As Dr. Benoit says at the beginning of his preface, "This book contains a certain number of basic ideas that seek to improve our understanding of the state of man." His contribution to this ancient pursuit is a presentation of Zen Buddhism in language familiar to the Occidental world. He does not advocate wholesale "conversion" to Eastern religion, but rather that Western psychological thinking and reasoning be enriched and clarified by Oriental wisdom. Zen is not so much a philosophical system as a hygiene of intelligent living, and Dr. Benoit, a practicing psychoanalyst, shows how it can liberate us from some of the sickness and anxiety that plague contemporary civilization. His descriptions of how the will and intelligence can be disciplined and developed into an inner personal harmony will prove unusually clear to the general reader. Since Zen is being discussed so widely (and often so inaccurately) it is salutary and gratifying to have a text so judicious and readable as The Supreme Doctrine.

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Review:

The Supreme Doctrine is a cogent statement of what Zen thought had to offer the practising Western psychiatrist ... this is a book which assuredly still speaks for itself.”  —T. H. Barrett, University of London

“History and anthropology make it abundantly clear that societies composed of individuals who think, feel, believe, and act according to the most preposterous conventions can survive for long periods of time. Statistical normality is perfectly compatible with a high degree of folly and wickedness ... In so far as he is a psychotherapist, the Oriental philosopher tries to help statistically normal individuals to become normal in the other, more fundamental sense of the word ... This process of intellectual and psycho-physical adjustment to the Nature of Things is the ‘supreme doctrine’ of Zen Buddhism, which Dr Benoit discusses in the light of Western psychological theory and Western psychiatric practise ... This is a book that should be read by everyone who aspires to know who he is and what he can do to acquire such self-knowledge.”  —From the Foreword by Aldous Huxley

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Hubert Benoit
Published by The Viking Press (1959)
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