Hoza - Practical Application of Buddhist Teachings

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

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.
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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.



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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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