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Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university - Dhamma Wheel

Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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gavesako
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby gavesako » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:50 am

An interesting article from "Oxford Today" magazine about a progressive Tibetan teacher who is teaching nuns and who presents mindfulness meditation as a science, not a religion which believes in God. Discussion with the leader of Oxford Mindfulness Centre about the practice of mindfulness which helps with depression and other problems of the modern life.

http://issuu.com/oxfordalumni/docs/oxfo ... _tt2012/30
Volume 24 No 3 of the Oxford University alumni magazine with articles on meditation

:reading:

And here is a thoughtful response from some Oxford readers:

http://issuu.com/oxfordalumni/docs/ot-mt-2012/12
Volume 25 No 1 of the Oxford University alumni magazine with articles on Aung San Suu Kyi, Leonardo da Vinci

"Atheism creates a very impersonal cosmos. We humans yearn for a personal relationship, a direction. Yet secularism is collapsing into neo-paganism, largely because of the person-unfriendliness of secularism's machine-like world. But suppose the world were inherently personal, with persons as the primary ontological realities, not atoms, quarks, strings, etc."

:hug: :group:


See also
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... piness.pdf
Thanissaro Bhikkhu: The Karma of Happiness
A Buddhist monk looks at Positive Psychology
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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gavesako
Posts: 1720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby gavesako » Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:20 pm

POPPING PILLS FOR DEPRESSION:
A BUDDHIST VIEW

By B. Alan Wallace
The whole of the Buddha’s teachings stems from compassion, the wish that all beings may be free from suffering and its causes. In today’s world, one of the most oppressive and debilitating kinds of suffering is depression. Far more than fleeting experiences of sadness, the clinically diagnosed mental disorder known as major depression is disabling in that it interferes with our ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. The World Health Organization notes that mental ill health is increasing, and predicts that one in four persons will develop one or more mental disorders during their lives. By the year 2020, depression is expected to be the highest-ranking cause of disease in the developed world.
In order to treat depression effectively, we must identify the specific causes and circumstances that contribute to individual cases. Otherwise, there is the danger that we may blindly treat its symptoms without addressing its underlying causes. According to recent studies, it seems highly unlikely that depression arises purely from chemical imbalances, except in rare cases of vitamin deficiencies, stroke and so on. Further, a synthesis of hundreds of studies indicates that antidepressants are no more effective in treating depression arising from these types of causes than in treating depression arising from stress-related causes. This implies that depression is best understood as a mental, not a neurological, disorder.
I find it helpful to draw a distinction between these two kinds of disorders. Neurological disorders, such as autism, stem primarily from objective, biological factors, which in turn affect subjective experience. Mental disorders stem primarily from subjective mental processes, which in turn affect the brain. My underlying hypothesis here is that the mind and brain are causally interrelated but are not identical. Evidence suggests that depression is best understood as a mental disorder, so effective cures will be found by examining its principal psychological causes. This way of distinguishing between mental and neurological disorders helps to explain why our rapidly growing knowledge of the brain has not resulted in a corresponding degree of progress in developing drugs to treat mental diseases.
According to Buddhist psychology, major depression is itself not regarded as a “mental affliction” (kilesa) per se but is rather a symptom of the underlying afflictions of craving, hostility and delusion. All mental afflictions are characterized by their quality of disrupting the balance of the mind, resulting in unwholesome behavior, which in turn gives rise to suffering for ourselves and others. Buddhist practice—comprised of the cultivation of ethics, samadhi and wisdom—is intended to remedy these true causes of human misery.
If we look for the afflictive psychological processes within the Buddhist context that may result in depression, we may find that the so-called Five Hindrances, or “obscurations,” play a crucial role. These include (1) craving and attachment to hedonic pleasures, including those related to wealth, power and fame (resulting in chronic frustration and anxiety); (2) malevolence and resentment; (3) attention deficit and dullness; (4) attention hyperactivity and guilt; and (5) debilitating uncertainty. The Buddha declared that, “So long as these five obscurations are not abandoned, one considers himself as indebted, sick, in bonds, enslaved and lost in a desert track” (Sāmaññaphala Sutta). This is clearly a description of mental ill health, and it implies a fundamental, distinctive characteristic of the Buddhist worldview, namely that the mind of a person that is prone to all the above obscurations may be normal but it is not healthy.
....
:reading:
http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/PoppingPills.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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tiltbillings
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Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:43 pm


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Ben
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:11 am

Yes, I have to agree with you, Tilt.
When I first read the article I was really quite shocked. I think its irresponsible for anyone to be offering advice with regards to mental illness unless they are a qualified medical scientist or practitioner and if its in relation to one's person's condition - if its a medical practitioner who knows the patient well.
Perhaps he hasn't had up-close-and-personal experience as someone who has suffered from mental illness or close friends or family who have been debilitated by major depression, or seen the profound impact medical treatment often (but not always) brings to people's lives. Certainly, there is a role for Buddhist practice, particularly satipatthana, in being part of a raft of treatment. But advocating that drug-treatment is not efficacious or required is dangerous.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..


User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:02 pm

Hi Robert,

Perhaps Wallace is repeating what some researchers are saying. I would hesitate to say that it is many. That is my reading - but I could be wrong.
I wouldn't advocate a blanket approach of medical professionals proscribing medication for everyone with depression.
What I do advocate is assessment and treatment tailored to the needs of the individual patient by a professional who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby Sylvester » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:45 am

Sigh, perhaps it's time for Wallace to review the literature on psychoneuroimmunology.

I suppose Wallace's strict dichotomy stems in part from the concern that the traditional distinction between "bodily" feelings versus "mental" feelings would be dissolved if the brain were allowed a role (no matter how minor) in the engendering of "mental" feelings. Underlying this concern might of course be the old kamma-rebirth bugbear - how is kamma from physical processes carried over in the mental process of rebecoming?

I don't think the early suttas show any interest in this question...

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23012
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Power of Mind - Buddhism and Mindfulness - Oxford university

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:13 am



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