Psychology a Buddhist Perspective

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    An EAn E--ConsciousnessConsciousness

    based perspective ofbased perspective of

    Mental HealthMental Health

    Prof. Lakshman MadurasingheProf. Lakshman Madurasinghe

    Consultant Psychologist, AttorneyConsultant Psychologist, Attorney

    Pioneer of EPioneer of E--Consciousness modelConsciousness model

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    Human NatureHuman Nature

    ! Essentially sinful, neurotic, and selfish?

    !

    Essentially good, sane, and caring?

    ! Genetically programmed bio-robot?

    ! Spiritual being with ethical responsibility?

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    EudaimoniaEudaimonia

    Aristotle:

    Eudaimonia is equivalent to the

    human good, and it comes to bedisclosed as a being-at-work of thesoul in accordance with virtue, and if

    the virtues are more than one, inaccordance with the best and mostcomplete virtue.

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    Hedonic & EudaimonicHedonic & Eudaimonic

    WellWell--beingbeing

    ! The hedonic approach: the pursuit ofmental and physical pleasure and theavoidance of pain

    ! The eudaimonic approach: the

    integrated pursuit of happiness, truth,and virtue

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    The Meaning of LifeThe Meaning of Life

    H. H. Dalai Lama:

    I believe that the very purpose of our life is

    to seek happiness. Whether one believes inreligion or not, whether one believes inthis religion or that religion, we all are

    seeking something better in life. So, Ithink, the very motion of our life istowards happiness.

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    The Framework of Buddhist PracticeThe Framework of Buddhist Practice

    ! Ethics ~ social flourishing

    ! Mental Balance ~psychological flourishing

    ! Contemplative Insight ~ spiritualflourishing

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    Central Elements of Mental HealthCentral Elements of Mental Health

    !Conative balance

    !Attentional balance

    !Cognitive balance

    !

    Affective balance

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    Conative ImbalancesConative Imbalances

    !

    Conative deficit: apathetic loss of desirefor happiness and its causes, e.g. acedia

    ! Conative hyperactivity: obsessive desirethat obscures the reality of the present

    ! Conative dysfunction: desire for things notconducive to ones own or others well-being, e.g., addiction

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    Cultivation of Conative BalanceCultivation of Conative Balance

    ! Remedy apathy with recognition of thepossibility of genuine happiness

    ! Remedy obsessive desire with the cultivationof contentment

    ! Remedy mistaken desires with recognition ofthe true causes of genuine happiness and ofvulnerability to suffering

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    Attentional ImbalancesAttentional Imbalances

    ! Laxity (deficit): loss of clarity and vividnessof attention

    ! Excitation (hyperactivity): involuntaryagitation and distraction driven by compulsivedesires

    ! Attentional dysfunction: attending in afflictiveways

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    Two Faculties to Balance AttentionTwo Faculties to Balance Attention

    ! Mindfulness: the ability to sustainvoluntary attention continuously upon afamiliar object, without forgetfulness or

    distraction

    ! Introspection: the ability to monitor mental

    processes, such as the quality of theattention, swiftly recognizing whether ithas succumbed to either excitation orlaxity

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    Cognitive ImbalancesCognitive Imbalances

    ! Cognitive deficit: failure to perceive what ispresent in the six fields of experience

    ! Cognitive hyperactivity: conflation ofconceptual projections with perceptualexperience

    ! Cognitive dysfunction: distorted perceptualor conceptual experience of reality

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    Cultivation of Cognitive BalanceCultivation of Cognitive Balance

    Four Applications of Mindfulness to:

    Body and the Physical World

    Feelings

    Mental States & Processes

    Phenomena at large

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    Affective ImbalancesAffective Imbalances

    !

    Affective deficit Affective deadness within Cold indifference to people & events

    !

    Affective hyperactivity Elation and depression

    Hope and fear

    Adulation and contempt Attachment and anger

    ! Affective dysfunction

    Inappropriate responses to situations

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    Cultivating the HeartCultivating the Heart

    !

    Loving-kindness

    ! Compassion

    ! Empathetic joy

    ! Equanimity

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    Remedying Emotional ImbalancesRemedying Emotional Imbalances

    ! Remedy hedonism with loving-kindness

    ! Remedy aloof indifference with compassion

    ! Remedy depression with empathetic joy

    ! Remedy self-centered attachment withequanimity

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    Human Nature, RevisitedHuman Nature, Revisited

    ! The habitual state of an imbalancedmind is one of dissatisfaction and

    unease.

    ! The ground state of awareness is

    innate bliss, luminosity, and serenitya wellspring of wisdom, compassion,and creativity.

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    ConclusionConclusion

    ! A meaningful life consists of the integratedpursuit of genuine happiness, truth, andvirtue.

    ! Genuine happiness is cultivated by way ofethics, mental health, and insight.

    ! Mental health is cultivated by way ofconative, attentional, cognitive, and affectivebalance.