Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Postby dsaly1969 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:39 pm

I'm going to share an idea/practice that I learned while studying with a Japanese Mahayana Buddhist group but fits in well with a Theravada Buddhist practice. It is something that we all probably do at some level informally but makes more of a formalized process of it and makes it workable within a dharma group. This is an idea that should be "exported".

This practice is called hoza. Hoza is to me a very practical and pragmatic "real-world" idea for group practice that was developed by a Japanese Mahayana Buddhist organization called Rissho Kosei-kai. However, it would be a good idea within ANY Buddhist setting. Hoza is a unique dhamma practice which is a type of facilitated discussion where people analyze their life situations using the core teachings of Buddhism (4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, etc.).

Hoza is ideally practiced in a group with an experienced dhamma teacher trained as a hoza facilitator. The purpose of hoza is to examine life issues using the lens of these basic Buddhist teachings to practically apply Buddhadhamma to everyday issues. However, I also apply hoza individually and within a therapeutic context.

I'm a social worker so I tend to find Hoza useful not only for myself, but also with my clients. I don't identify it as "Hoza" and avoid Buddhist-specific terms but it does help clients to step back from the emotional impact of a situation and critically analyze cause and effect especially using the framework of the Four Noble Truths. I walk my clients through this process. This makes Buddhadhamma very concrete and practical, and less "mystical".
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Re: Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:11 am

Hmmm...
A couple of points/questions:

How is Hoza any different from psychotherapy/CBT? I ask because for all intents and purposes - there seems to be very little difference.
Secondly, if Buddhadhamma is 'mystical' then it indicates that perhaps one is divorced from actual practice.
kind regards,

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Postby dsaly1969 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:51 am

Excellent questions Ben!

To got to your second question first - I absolutely agree with you! However, most of the American general public (at least) seem to have this overall impression of Buddhism based upon a lack of exposure as well as cultural bias/stereotype. And obviously they would not know about Buddhist practice.

As for your first question -they are similar (the development of Hoza in Japan actually predates CBT and Buddhist psychotherapy so it could be seen as a precursor). Overall though the essential difference is that Hoza is very much a simplified form of facilitated support group discussion which can be readily applied by a nonprofessional or paraprofessional lay practitioner without requiring the formal training as a psychotherapist.
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Re: Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:11 pm

I have heard in the UK that Mindfulness Based Cognitive therapy which includes meditation and group discussions is helpful. It was originally developed by John Kabat Zinn in the USA .

I think the group sessions are with trained group leaders who are not themselves psychotherapists.

http://mbct.co.uk/about-mbct/

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Re: Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

Postby dsaly1969 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:10 pm

Mindfulness has been found to be a powerful tool in the treatment of particular mental health concerns (as well as coping with other health issues). The scientific research out there in this area is very encouraging.
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