Positive psychology and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:14 am

Greetings,

I just wanted to start up a very open ended discussion on "positive psychology" and to get your thoughts on any overlap between it and Buddhism, and what the two disciplines might be able to offer one another...

Positive psychology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology

Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families, and communities." Positive psychologists seek "to find and nurture genius and talent", and "to make normal life more fulfilling", rather than merely treating mental illness.

The branch intends to complement and focus, not to replace or ignore the rest of psychology. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather to emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to determine how things go right. This field brings attention to the possibility that focusing only on the disorder itself would result in only a partial understanding of a patient's condition.

Researchers in the field analyze things like states of pleasure or flow, values, strengths, virtues, talents, as well as the ways that they can be promoted by social systems and institutions. Positive psychologists are concerned with four topics: (1) positive experiences, (2) enduring psychological traits, (3) positive relationships and (4) positive institutions

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby dhammapal » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:20 am

Hi Retro,

See: The Karma of Happiness: A Buddhist Monk Looks at Positive Psychology by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:51 am

Thanks Dhammapal.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:56 am

I don't know anything about "positive psychology" but the little excerpt above makes it sound as if all psychology was about treating disorders. This is certainly not the case. As early as Carl Jung, they focused at attaining a more balanced fulfilling way of life (see Jung's concept of individuation for example). And then later people like Abraham Maslow did a lot of research into what makes flexible, creative and well-adjusted individuals and looked at "self-actualisation".
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Re: Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby Alobha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:53 am

Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


I read a paper on task enjoyment that was refering to both of them just yesterday, what a coincidence!
Yeah, there seems to be quite some good input from positive psychologists. The paper I read yesterday was about how task enjoyment enhances task performance when people receive feedback. Making work enjoyable for employees sure is good for a company, too!
Of course, the findings are rather mundane compared to BuddhaDhamma, but well, it's still something :smile:
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Re: Positive psychology and Buddhism

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:03 pm

Martin Seligman is excellent. I remember reading one of his books about ten years ago on the power of optimism. I've seen him interviewed on the subject of his positive psychology program in the US Military. I think modern positive psychology and the Buddha Dhamma complement each other and there are echoes of each in the other.
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