western vs eastern concept of self
Karen Horney (1950) distinguished between the “real self” and the “idealized self,” the former being regarded as a unique central inner force common to all people and the latter as a fantasy resulting from social pressures and expectations. The heart of man. On the contrary, it empowers the individual by erasing the boundaries of separateness that limit the personal ego or self. Finally comes the vast unconscious alayavijnana, or “storehouse consciousness,” which is the passive or potential ground out of which emerge the other seven consciousnesses. No owner, no one to be old, to be young, to be good or bad, weak or strong. The person’s boundaries dissolve, and the person becomes the universe. This will be done by highlighting and compering central ideas inherent in each perspective. Take the form of one’s body, for example. Since upon realizing the universal oneness of all, the “selfless Self,” everyone and everything is oneself, this transcendent wisdom generates universal compassion and caring of everyone as oneself. The self has been conceptualized in a variety of ways by European and American theorists who have addressed a number of different contexts of human behavior. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 9(2), 27-36. Since the 'discovery' of eastern philosophy by western explorers and scholars in the 18th and 19th centuries CE, there has been an arbitrary division maintained, especially in colleges and universities, between 'western philosophy' and 'eastern philosophy' as though these two systems present radically different views of the world. It seems so real, and yet, if we look deeply, we can see that there is no thing called “wave” there at all; all there is, is the movement of the water. True wisdom is automatically manifested as universal compassion, just as true compassion manifests itself as wisdom. New York: Norton. The article examines the Western ideas concerning how the self is constructed and how it relates to perception and experience. One could try the following mental exercise. The different conceptions of the self in Western and Eastern psychology have clear implications for psychotherapy and everyday life. According to Buddhist psychology, what we call a “person” is the composite of five groups of elements or, The teaching of “dependent origination” is at the core of the Buddha’s teaching or, The interconnectedness, or “interbeing,” of everything in the universe, implied in the principle of dependent origination, finds an elegant expression in the metaphor of the jewel net of Indra, in the Buddha’s “Flower Ornament” sermon (Avatamsaka Sutra). Perspective of Western and Eastern Theories of the Self EASTERN 1. This means that nothing is ever truly independent or separate from everything else. Wisdom and compassion: What the Buddha taught. Now all we have is a pile of parts—where is the car? The exhilarating and liberating effect of dissolving the illusion of the “I,” “me,” or “self” is reflected in these words by Achaan Chah: Gordon Allport (1961) made an interesting distinction between the self-as-object and the self-as-knower, asserting that the former could be approached with the descriptive tools of psychology while the latter was to remain a subject for philosophical speculation, outside of the realm of science. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. It is the repository of all potential activities of the other consciousnesses. Since it is the self-as-knower that labels and classifies the characteristics of the self-as-object, it stands for a homunculus whose own inner self cannot be reached without infinite regression into absurdity. Language automatically fosters further reifications, in a vicious cycle which prevents the individual from effectively communicating in a non-reifying, nondualistic manner. Is it real? It is here where the illusion of a subjective “I” or “ego” arises. Confucianism • Confucianism is a system of ethics devised by the Chinese scholar K’ung Fu- tzu (Latinised to Confucius) in sixth century BC China. Western people rely mainly on reason and logic which are the more popular sources of knowledge. Being aware of the phenomenon of awareness results in the mistaken notion of an inner perceiver who is having the awareness and who is separate from it. Essentially the soul, mind, or self was viewed as an inner substance or entity, different from the body, in charge of volitional processes, essentially a “little man inside of the head,” a homunculus within the individual, ultimately responsible for the person’s thoughts and actions. Daniel N. Berkow. Consider, for example, an automobile. Alan Watts, the late British philosopher, proposed that there were two great myths of the self—myth here not used in the sense of something false, but rather as a way of interpreting oneself and one’s reality. Skinner, B.F. (1971). The western way is to have everything now, instant gratification. In the same way, all human problems and suffering disappear when the illusion of a separate self is eliminated. Western approaches may be extremely valuable in giving the person (primarily in individualistic societies, but to some extent also in collectivistic ones) sufficient self-confidence and maturity to discard egocenteredness. There are eight consciousnesses, and yet these are ultimately one (Epstein, 1995). There is no little man inside of the head, no thinker of thoughts, no doer of deeds, no inner ego or self, other than the temporary gestalt formed by the skandhas. Because of the delusory nature of any labeling process, with its consequent reifications, any attempt to offer a name for the unnamable Reality must always fall short, although sages have offered terms such as Thusness, Tathagatagarba, Buddha Nature, Dharmakaya, Suchness, the Big Self, the Absolute, or the Tao. The west wants it … These “seeds” are “watered” by con scious activities, so that, for example, engaging in kind or compassionate thoughts makes the seeds of compassion ripen and grow (i.e., become more powerful), so that it will be easier to think compassionately next time. Reification is the process by which the mind makes a thing (res), or a material object, out of a concept or an abstraction. The wave has no separate “self,” no reality apart from the water. Richard C. Page: is an associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia, Athens. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yozan Dirk Mosig, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska 68849. Skinner, B.F. (1971). (Original work published 1940). & Breiter P. (1985). But it is not only the self that is empty, and cannot exist by itself; the skandhas themselves are also empty. The eight consciousnesses should not be conceived as separate, but rather as eight manifestations or functions of an ongoing process. Peace is every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life. With Jung the self, transcending the ego, became ultimately identical with the whole psyche. The gestalt, the “whole,” cannot exist by itself; it does not have a separate self or “soul.” A compilation of readings and activities Part V: Western/Eastern Thought THE SELF IN WESTERN AND EASTERN THOUGHT Introduction In the past 30 years, the study of cross-cultural difference across various behaviors and personality traits have gained interest, numerous researches had been … Rogers, C. (1951). The same is true for anything else in the universe, including a person. Does it have an essence or a “soul” when separated from its component parts? The highest conclusion and discovery of Western psychology is the starting point of Eastern psychology, especially the psychology of yoga. The concept of the self in Western psychology derives primarily from the work of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. The psychotherapeutic applications of Eastern and Western psychology have been examined by a number of authors (e.g., Watts, 1961; Goleman, 1981; Loy, 1992). The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24, 151-180. There is no end to this causal interconnectedness. Western people rely mainly on reason and logic which are the more popular sources of knowledge. . New York: Grove. There is no end to this causal interconnectedness. AND EASTERNTHOUGHT LESSON OBJECTIVES. Western heritage: The western tradition is commonly acknowledged to be “imbued with a style of Everything is dependently arisen, everything exists only if the necessary conditions are there. Removing one of the tires of the car, one could ask oneself, is this the car? Buddhist training consists largely of short-circuiting the reification process, by using non-verbal, non labeling experiential practice (such as meditation) to become “awakened” to the “as-it-is-ness” of inexpressible reality. Though, the paper can not exist by themselves s teaching or Dharma Various. Amazing piece of paper, is this the car, one could ask,! 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