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ZEN and the Psychology of Transformation: The Supreme Doctrine Paperback – 1 Jun 1990
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"Should be read by everyone who aspires to know who he is and what he can do to acquire self-knowledge."--Aldous Huxley
Argues that Western psychology focuses on our problems rather than our possibilities, while Zen seeks to activate the potential of the individual and transform lives.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The French translation in the early editions, of certain key words is sometimes misleading in my opinion. For instance the word "moral" I believe stands for the words "Emotional/Mental"; the word "Formal" stands for the world of "Form" i.e. "the ten thousand things"; while the term "Informal" stands for what lies behind the world of form. Finally, the term "valorization," has nothing to do with valour. I believe it stands for the phrase, "assign value to."
Once these difficulties are seen,then one can read this amazing work slowly and with care, to unravel a wonderous exercise for the serious seeker; a work that I have found combines well with Alan Watts' also more than excellent book, "The Way of Zen," also available through Amazon. Benoit's book is for the very serious student of Satori/Awakening; a tremendous study addition concerning those forces that keep the third eye closed. I have never read anything this detailed anywhere,and I have found it to be a must for unravelling these mysteries.
Another comment I would like to make is that the early chapter on good and evil, I believe should be read only after the rest of the book is finished. I found it to be very misleading and Benoit himself says that the chapters can be read in any order. In the end I believe that what he says here in this chapter, applies to the mind itself, and not to Universal processes. Universal processes do not need integration. They just are. If I want to read on my death bed, this is the only book I would care to have.
In this extremely complicated but foundational book concerning the highest levels of human development, I believe that Benoit is making the following arguments.
From the moment consciousness is born, the struggle in the mind is to avoid death ("nullity"). We do this by accumulating the most basic currency of all, "power". We move toward Power in all its symbolic forms, such as, being smart/knowing things/accumulating things/becoming warriors/ always seeking ascendancy in every single thought and deed at all times. There is no avoiding this most central of all directives. It is the genetically engineered survival mechanism on the plain of mental function. It is the beat of life within us just like the beating of our hearts.
The essence of all this is the control that the mind exerts over itself, and trys to exert over all other things. This is completely pervasive and he lists all the ways it works. If you examine every thought, every behaviour, every feeling you will always, always see this principle of moving away from death or nullity, toward trying to "be", working under everything else we do, including primal.
Trying to get away from the struggle to be, is like trying to hold a cork under water with one finger. The upward genetically engineered push away from the (fear of) dying is always there. It is this unavoidable push inside that keeps the third eye closed i.e. does not allow final illumination because our vision and actions instantly bend and rework us away from death. Sudden illumination does not deny death. It accepts everything. He calls these inner invariable manoeuvres, "compensations."
Even the act of "letting go" is just that; an active push to "obtain" something, in this case the "letting go itself," and thus we can not simply "let go" into Satori. The motion toward awakening is so subtle and the goal is so unobtainable because of the control which underlies all our endeavours. I discusss this issue more deeply in my free on line book, "The Psychotherapy of The Deepest Self," on my website in Chapter Twenty Three, "The Attitude Which Shapes the Therapy Key." and also in my video on You Tube where I explore personality structure itself.
For these reasons, we can prepare for Awakening, but in the end it comes as a gift to us. We can not directly make it happen.
He sees the preparation for Sudden Illumination coming in two basic ways:
The first is to understand the problem we face by using our pure intellect, which he feels is the least contaminated of our functions and thus we move through the world within and without at least knowing what the problem is and keeping it active in our minds.
The second preparation is to allow everything to enter us as completely as possible. So it is here at this point we converge on the issues of Feeling Oriented Therapy/Primal Therapy, which by our staying in a feeling, until it thoroughly integrates within us, we have minimised our fleeing from death or nullity. Thus we are letting go more and more and more deeply although as he says, this is only a preparation to allow the gift of Sudden Illumination to come into us.
Sudden Metaphysical Awakening is not seen as the usual end point of feeling therapy unless we understand the issue. In fact the building of theories about Feeling Therapy/Primal Work and what we should do with it is precisely the kind of controlled self delusion that keeps us from Awakening. These theories we make up, are just another compensation to keep us from our fears of death and nothingness, which as I said, Benoit calls avoidance of Nullity.
Interestingly Benoit was writing in the 1950's before Feeling Therapy/Primal Therapy contributions had entered our world. He presages these therapies in his book when he talks about letting go into feeling everything.
The reason that Benoit's Book, "The Supreme Doctrine," is so very difficult is because he outlines in detail all the subtle ways we delude ourselves with our "compensations". The mind's avoidance of Awakening is both invisible (as most defences are), and extremely complex and so therefore is the book.
Paul Vereshack, B.A., M.D., D.Psych
As one whom these studies have helped me see the errors over a 50 year lifetime, the best of many, many books is the one below. Hee,hee and the cheapest.
Be mindful of one thing, please - It was 3 tries before I could really follow the depth of this book. I needed to read a few before I could follow the depth of the "best book on the subject of what is closer than my nose"
Books yes, but one needs to realize all we look to be we already are or have. So, there is no path, we are already here, just asleep to who we are and how we fit into " all that is". Does the cat try to be something it is not? No, it is just cat or has cat-ness, just as this being has Rob-ness.
Zen and the Psychology of Transformation: The Supreme Doctrine Hubert Benoit
This book is deep.
Recommend to serious exploreres of the inner realm
The language is difficult unless one has prior experience with disciplines like the Fourth Way