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Self Power and Other Power in Buddhism and Psychotherapy

Residential Program
Dates: Jun 14, 2023 - Jun 17, 2023
Days: Wednesday - Saturday
Number of Nights: 3 nights

Instructor(s): Mark Unno, Polly Young-Eisendrath

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Course Description:

In Buddhism in the West, there is often a great emphasis on intentional practice or what some might call "self power." In Asia, especially in Mahayana Buddhism, devotion to and practices invoking cosmic deities, what might be termed "other power," is widespread. We find these practices in various Pure Land, Zen, and Vajrayana traditions; for many centuries they were also part of what scholars call “esoteric Theravada.” Often, these practices involve Amitabha Buddha, Maha Vairocana Buddha, and such bodhisattvas as Avalokitesvara/Guanyin/Kannon as well as other deities including Tara. What is the relationship between self power and other power, between conscious intention and receptivity to the unfolding of the depths of reality beyond dualistic mind? As psychology and psychotherapy are increasingly integrated with, or compared to, Buddhist practice, these questions loom even larger: What is the relationship between ego consciousness – or our sense of control – and what arises spontaneously from the depths of our being? What do we mean by “the unconscious,” the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious? Is this relevant to self power and other power? Engaging both Buddhist and psychotherapeutic traditions, in this program, we will explore these questions through embodied practice as well as theoretical and case study examination along with small group workshops.

Watch an invitation from Mark on YouTube.

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed following each evening session through breakfast the following morning. Additional silent practice periods will be scheduled throughout the program.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.

Continuing Education:

Applications for 8 continuing education units for psychologists and social workers have been submitted and approved for this program. Accrediting agencies are the National Association for Social Workers (NASW) and the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (IMP). You can find more information about social work licensure board endorsements here. Please confirm with your licensing board whether the CEUs offered are applicable for your licensure before registration. For more information about CEUs through BCBS, please click here.

Cancellation Policy:
If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible. If you cancel two or more weeks before a program begins, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs longer than two nights and $25 for weekend programs. If you cancel less than two weeks before your program begins, your full deposit is forfeited. If you received financial assistance, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs longer than two nights and $25 for weekend programs.

Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
Please review our Covid-19 Safety Protocols here: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/covid-19/.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Mark Unno, PhD, is Professor of Buddhism and Dept Head of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. The recipient of the Thomas F. Herman Distinguished Teaching Award, he is the author of Shingon Refractions (2004) as well as many articles on Shin and Zen Buddhism and comparative religion. He is also an ordained Shin Buddhist priest. Please visit Mark's website here.

  • Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst, psychologist, and psychotherapist in private practice. She is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and the founder and director of the Institute for Dialogue Therapy. She is past president of the Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies and a founding member of the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies. Polly is also the chairperson of Enlightening Conversations, a series of conversational conferences which bring together participants from the front lines of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. You can visit Polly's website here.