In this seminar we will investigate Buddhist ethics (sila in Pali) within the context of modern Western psychotherapy. Buddhist ethics are not simply a list of “do’s and don’t’s” typical of the prescriptive ethics of our various professional organizations. They are treated as a process and a practice. In fact, the cultivation of our own ethical compass is especially important in the arc of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) where the cultivation of mindfulness is simultaneously the development of skillful means or ethical postures to our life situation.
Can close examination of our behavior and behavioral impulses, thoughts, and affects as they arise in and outside of the therapy hour reveal patterns whereby we might be at risk of engaging in behavior unhelpful to the therapeutic process? Can such “experience near” personal explorations increase the likelihood of engaging in an ethically wholesome manner with our patients? We will examine these questions through lectures, case material and discussion to establish a relationship of this approach to our work in the consulting room. This seminar extends into an optional weekend-long program focused on the cultivation (bhavana) of an ethical framework for mindfulness approaches.