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There are a number of features in Eastern religious thought, and in the dharmic religions in particular that are of interest to psychologists. This is not to comment on the value of the religious aspects of these beliefs, but rather to comment on psychological aspects of their theory and practice.
Firstly there is a great deal of emphasis on the manipulation of psychological states in order to generate experiences that are given a religious meaning. Notions of nirvana etc are validated in part through the experience of the participants.
Second an array of practices and routines are recommended within these religious systems (eg yoga) that are said to improve mental and physical health.
References & BibliographyEdit
Capriles, E. (2007). Beyond Mind, Beyond Being, Beyond History: A Dzogchen-Founded Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology. 3 vol.: Volumen I: Beyond Being: A Metaphenomenological Elucidation of the Phenomenon of Being, The Being of the Subject and the Being of Objects. Volumen II: Beyond Mind: A Metaphenomenological, Metaexistential Philosophy, and a Metatranspersonal Metapsychology. Volumen III: Beyond History: A Degenerative Philosophy of History Leading to a Genuine Postmodernity. Internet: http://webdelprofesor.ula.ve/humanidades/elicap/en/Main/Bb-bm-bh: Mérida, Venezuela.
Correia De Sousa, Clovis Filho (1982). Introducao à psicologia tibetana. Petropolis, Brazil: Editora Vozes Ltda.
Denis-Toendroup, Lama, Ed. (1983). Bouddhisme et Psychologie Moderne. Arvillard, Savoie, France: Édition Prajña.
Fromm, Erich; Suzuki, D. T. & De Martino, Richard (1960). Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers.
Tarthang Tulku, Ed. (1975). Reflections of Mind: Western Psychology Meets Tibetan Buddhism. Emmeryville, CA: Dharma Publishing.
Watts, Alan W. (1975a). Psychotherapy East and West. New York, NY: Vintage Books.