Dreams of Power: Tibetan Buddhism and the Western Imagination

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1993 - Religion - 162 pages
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"This study is an account of the impact of Tibetan Buddhism upon the Western imagination that deploys a wide range of sources and draws together diverse strands in surveying the extensive literature of travel and exploration, Jungian interpretations of Tibetan themes, and the self-projection of Tibetan Buddhism within contemporary Western culture. This scholarly work in cultural psychology places the East-West exchange of spiritual ideas within social and psychological contexts." "Dreams of Power is the result of Peter Bishop's more than fifteen years of involvement with Tibetan Buddhism as a student, as an instructor, as an organizer, and also in a more detached, sociological or psychoanalytic role as a participant-observer. The author believes this book reflects this insider/outsider position as well as his involvement with archetypal psychology spanning the same period of time." "During his involvement in the late 1970s, Bishop felt the disquiet about the way Tibetan Buddhism had become established in the West, which has since been confirmed by numerous other researchers. This disquiet was evident not only in the new communities with the problematic relationship between Gurus and students, but also in the basic daily engagement between individuals and teachings. There seemed to be a complete lack of critical reflection on the immensely complex cross-cultural problems associated with the transfer of a system of wisdom/knowledge from one culture to another. At one extreme this resulted in an unquestioning and naive adulation, while at the other extreme there was an arrogant picking and choosing of the bits of information that could prove useful. Both attitudes, the author contends, sprang from the same source - a kind of cultural imperialism, with all its associations of power and guilt." "An understanding of these imaginal interfaces between diverse cultural traditions is vital in the closing years of the twentieth century as increasing volumes of wisdom/knowledge/power - religious, environmental, medical, dietary, scientific, political - are transferred from one culture to another. This study, therefore, sets out to explore a way of engagement that could turn out to be indispensable for scholars and practitioners alike, both of Buddhism and depth psychology, and it could also provide a valuable approach for anthropologists and sociologists."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Page 14 - In other respects Breton's book illustrates well a number of the basic characteristics of this "profane illumination." He calls Nadja "a book with a banging door." (In Moscow I lived in a hotel in which almost all the rooms were occupied by Tibetan lamas who had come to Moscow for a congress of Buddhist churches. I was struck by the number of doors in the corridors that were always left ajar. What had at first seemed accidental began to be disturbing. I found out that in these rooms lived members...

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