Open to Desire: The Truth about What the Buddha Taught

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Penguin, 2006 - Religion - 227 pages
2 Reviews
“A masterpiece. . . . It teaches us how not to fear and repress, but to rechannel and harness the most powerful energies of life toward freedom and bliss.” —ROBERT THURMAN

It is common in both Buddhism and Freudian psychoanalysis to treat desire as if it is the root of all suffering and problems, but psychiatrist Mark Epstein believes this to be a grave misunderstanding. In his controversial defense of desire, he makes clear that it is the key to deepening intimacy with ourselves, each other, and our world.

Proposing that spiritual attainment does not have to be detached from intimacy or eroticism, Open to Desire begins with an exploration of the state of dissatisfaction that causes us to cling to irrational habits. Dr. Epstein helps readers overcome their own fears of desire so that they can more readily bridge the gap between self and other, cope with feelings of incompletion, and get past the perception of others as objects. Freed from clinging and shame, desire's spiritual potential can then be opened up.

 

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Review: Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life - Insights from Buddhism and Psychotherapy

User Review  - Janet - Goodreads

Loved some of his other books on the parallels between psychology and Buddhism, and thought I would this one too, but that was not the case. Perhaps the timing was merely off and I'll find my way to it another time. Read full review

Contents

Ramayana
21
The LeftHanded Path
35
Discontent
61
The Flavor of Separation
81
The Backward Glance
95
Renunciation
109
From Object to Subject
131
A Facilitating Environment
143
The Fruit
161
Advice
181
Jumping In
199
ENDNOTES
205
REFERENCES
213
INDEX
219
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Page 11 - All neurotics, and many others besides, take exception to the fact that 'inter urinas et faeces nascimur [we are born between urine and faeces]'. The genitals, too, give rise to strong sensations of smell which many people cannot tolerate and which spoil sexual intercourse for them.

About the author (2006)

Mark Epstein, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City who lectures frequently about the value of Buddhist meditation for psychotherapy. His previous books include Thoughts Without a Thinker, Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, and Going on Being. He is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and has written many articles for Yoga Journal and O: The Oprah Magazine.

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