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4.0 out of 5 stars Jungian Tantra?, 1 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Alchemical Buddha: Introducing the Psychology of Buddhist Tantra (Paperback)
This book has also been published under the title Psychology of Buddhist Tantra. There is also a great book by the same author on Ngondro Preparing for Tantra: Creating the Psychological Ground for Practice (preliminary practices undertaken by aspiring Tibetan Buddhists). I got that book first but this was more appropriate for me at the moment and a useful primer for the second. In both books Rob draws on his experiences as a Tibetan Buddhist and as a Jungian Analyst, as well as a Thangka (Tibetan stylised paintings of deities and Buddhas) artist.

Rob is concerned to show how the need for psychological health pervades and under-girds the practices of Tibetan Buddhism. The book continually points out the similarities between Jung's exploration of the the human 'psyche' and the stages of human psychological development - stages based on Medieval Alchemy - and the stages of progression through Tibetan Tantra. It is a fascinating read (although I read it as someone interested in Tibetan Buddhism and a Jungian Analysand). I have reservations about how good a fit he makes between the two systems given Jung's emphasis on individuation! Without having a much deeper knowledge of both than I have it's hard to tell whether he's fitted Buddhism into a Jungian mould .

However of all the explanations I've read about Tibetan Buddhism this is one of the most appealing and to my personality clearest. Rob deals with common problems Western students have psychologically when confronted with Tibetan rites. I think it's very reassuring in that regard. Some Tibetan Buddhist teachers have scant regard for psychoanalysis believing it to focus too much on this life and it's difficulties. Rob's book suggests their complementarity and how one can enhance the appreciation of the other.
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