Ethical Implications of Upāya-Kauśalya:
Helping Without Imposing
Temple University Upāya-kauśalya
has been examined as a hermeneutical device, a Mahāyānic innovation, and a
philosophy of practice. Although the paternalism of upāya-kauśalya
employed in the Lotus
Sūtra has been analyzed, there is little attention paid to
bringing these ethical implications into a practical context. There is a
tension between the motivation, even obligation, to help, and the potential
dangers of projecting or imposing one’s conception of what is best for
others or how best to help. I examine this issue through various parables.
I argue that ordinary people can use upāya-kauśalya
and that the ethical implications of upāya-kauśalya
involve closing two different gaps in knowledge. This has potential
applications not just for individuals, but also for organizations like NPOs
or NGOs that try to assist large communities.
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Park Geun-hye demanded on Monday that North Korea apologise over recent landmine blasts, even as the bitter rivals held marathon talks to defuse tensions that have brought the peninsula back to the brink of armed conflict.
Park said anti-North propaganda broadcasts would continue unless Pyongyang took responsibility for landmine explosions early this month that wounded two South Korean soldiers in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.
North Korea denies it laid the mines. Seoul and Pyongyang have remained technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty.
The landmine blasts escalated into a crisis that saw both sides exchange artillery fire on Thursday and ramp up their military readiness. The United Nations, the United States and the North's lone major ally, China, have all called for calm.
While North Korea often makes threats, prompting tough talk from the South, the two sides have always stopped short of a return to war, although dozens of soldiers have been killed over the years. Analysts expect current tensions eventually to ease.
Reporters prepare for a report at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge which leads to the tr …
"We need a clear apology and measures to prevent a recurrence of these provocations and tense situations," Park told a meeting with her top aides, according to a statement released by her office. "Otherwise, this government will take appropriate steps and continue loudspeaker broadcasts."
Seoul and Washington were reviewing the possibility of bringing in "strategic" U.S. military assets, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said, without elaborating.
Two years ago, North Korea threatened military action in response to annual exercises by U.S. and South Korean forces, leading to a standoff during which U.S. stealth bombers flew over South Korea and an aircraft carrier was sent to the area.
"Our position at this point is to deter the North's provocation," Kim told a news briefing. "But if they wage provocation, our response will be merciless and they will truly feel sorry."
Reclusive North Korea had deployed twice the usual artillery strength at the border and had around 50 submarines away from base, the South's defence ministry said.
A South Korean soldier carries a barricade at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge which lea …
North Korea's state media has also kept up its anti-South rhetoric as the inter-Korean talks continued at the Panmunjom truce village inside the DMZ. Its KCNA news agency said 1 million young people had volunteered to join or rejoin the army, an assertion impossible to verify due to the North's isolation.
Park cited a story on Monday that two South Korean soldiers had delayed their discharges and South Korea's army said about 50 soldiers had taken the same step. Park's approval rating rose to 41 percent in a Realmeter poll conducted last week.
"I think that kind of patriotism can protect our country, setting an example for young people," she said.
Despite the tensions, daily life proceeded largely as normal on Monday in South Korea.
However, at the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Complex just north of the border that is the last meaningful vestige of the two Koreas' first summit meeting 15 years ago, South Korean officials have limited entry only to those directly involved in factory operations in recent days.
A tourist hangs a ribbon bearing messages wishing the unification of the two Koreas on a barbed-wire …
The negotiations began on Saturday evening, shortly after North Korea's deadline passed for Seoul to halt the anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts or face military action. They broke up before dawn on Sunday and restarted that afternoon.
Chung Young-chul, a North Korea expert at Sogang University's Graduate School of Public Policy in Seoul, said Park's strong words may indicate a lack of progress, although other observers said the unusual length of the talks bodes well.
"I am not really optimistic about the talks because they both have heavy demands that can't be dropped," Chung said.
"It seems difficult to get any agreement and I think they are locking horns and tension will persist for a while."
Park's national security adviser, Kim Kwan-jin, and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo are representing the South in the talks. Hwang Pyong So, the top military aide to the North's leader, Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yang Gon, a veteran North Korean official in inter-Korean affairs, are representing Pyongyang.
Ties have been virtually frozen since the 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship, which Seoul has blamed on a North Korean submarine. Pyongyang denies responsibility.
Days after the landmine incident, Seoul began its propaganda broadcasts in random three-hour bursts from 11 banks of loudspeakers, including news reports and K-pop music from the South, resuming a tactic both sides halted in 2004.
The crisis escalated on Thursday when the North fired four shells into the South, according to Seoul, which responded with a barrage of 29 artillery rounds. North Korea declared a "quasi-state of war" in front-line areas and set an ultimatum for Seoul to halt its broadcasts.
That deadline passed on Saturday without incident.
The United States, which has 28,500 soldiers based in South Korea, is conducting annual military exercises with the South. Pyongyang condemns the manoeuvres as preparation for war.
(Additional reporting by James Pearson; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Dean Yates and Paul Tait)d Ju-min ParkAugust 24, 2015 5:31 AM
North Korea negotiator says more dialogue needed for improved relations
An analyst said it’s likely Pyongyang would begin seeking the removal of the May 24 economic sanctions that restrict South Korean investment.
By Elizabeth Shim | Aug. 27, 2015 at 9:54 AM
Kim Yang Gon, director of the United Front Department of the Korean Workers' Party, said on North Korean state media Thursday that he would do his utmost to improve North-South relations. File Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, Aug. 27 (UPI) --North Korea's top negotiator at the recent North-South talks said the deal reached Tuesday between Seoul and Pyongyang should be a "stepping stone" to more dialogue – otherwise recent events would have "no major meaning."
Kim Yang Gon, the director of the United Front Department of the Korean Workers' Party, said on North Korean state media Thursday that recent talks established a "spirit of cooperation as a foundation" and that he would do his utmost to improve North-South relations, South Korean outlet Newsis reported.
"The recent talks resolved the danger of throwing the Korean peninsula and the entire region of Northeast Asia into chaos. It is very fortunate that we were able to able to find a stepping stone toward peace and security, reconciliation and cooperation," the North Korean negotiator said.
Kim said the recent talks "must be seen as more than putting out an urgent fire, otherwise they would have no major meaning."
"We must boldly step into improving relations, and resolving mistrust and confrontation," he said.
The North Korean negotiator said exchange and cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang must grow, and that provocations that led to the escalation of tensions must not happen again. His statement did not name Seoul as the agent most responsible for the recent rise in conflict.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at South Korea's University of North Korean Studies, said Kim's statement showed a strong will to improve relations with the South, and that the negotiator was signaling that he would be the top official leading the initiative.
Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korean studies professor at Dongguk University in Seoul, said the speech from the Pyongyang official was checking the sincerity of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's suggestion of a "peace offensive," and once dialogues resume between the two sides it's likely Pyongyang would begin seeking the removal of the May 24 economic sanctions that restrict South Korean investment, and request moves toward the resumption of tourism in Mount Kumgang.
The tours of the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region stopped when a South Korean tourist was fatally shot in July 2008.
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Incoming Asia Society Museum Director Tan Boon Hui,
who’s worked with theater, film, and visual arts from Asia, says the
boundaries that separate these different forms of cultural expression are
“often porous and need to be transcended in our current age of ambiguity
and uncertainty.” In an interview with Asia
Blog, Hui, who will also serve as vice president for Global
Arts and Cultural Programs, discusses changes in the museum world related
to Asia over the past two decades, and expresses eagerness to work under
the same roof as colleagues in policy, business, and education fields. “I
believe there is value in exchange across all these fields of human
endeavor,” Hui said. Read
Sesión académica a cargo de la Profesora Bobby Luthra Sinha,
organizada por el Comité de Asuntos Asiáticos
Bobby Luthra Sinha Licenciada en Ciencias Políticas, Universidad de Nueva Delhi
(1991). Magister en Ciencias Políticas con especialización en el Estado en
el Sur de Asia, Políticas Públicas, Naciones Unidas y Relaciones
Internacionales, por la Universidad de Nueva Delhi. Magister en Filosofía
Política con especialización en Políticas Comparativas, Políticas de Países
en Vías de Desarrollo y Derechos Humanos de Pueblos Originarios de Asia y
América Latina. Está finalizando su Doctorado sobre movimientos sociales en
India y Sudáfrica en la Universidad de Basilea, Suiza. Profesora
experimentada, editora académica, traductora y profesora de idiomas, con
especialización en Ciencia Política y Antropología Social. Se interesa en
metodologías de investigación comparativa y multidisciplinaria en estudios
sobre movimientos sociales y sobre la diáspora india en América Latina
(México y Argentina) y en África (Sudáfrica y Uganda)
Christopher Harding, Iwata Fumiaki, Yoshinaga Shin'ichi, eds.Religion and Psychotherapy in Modern Japan. Routledge Contemporary
Japan Series. New York: Routledge, 2014. xviii + 300 pp. $155.00 (cloth), ISBN
978-1-138-77516-9. Reviewed by Adam Valerio (Temple University) Published on H-Buddhism (August, 2015) Commissioned by Erez Joskovich
Valerio on Religion and
Psychotherapy in Modern Japan
Carolyn A. F. Rhys Davids’s Buddhist Psychology: An Inquiry into
the Analysis and Theory of Mind in Pali Literature was published in 1914,
with her suggestion of a connection between Buddhism and psychology dating back
to at least 1900. Hara Tanzan, a Japanese Sōtō Zen monk and the first
lecturer on Buddhism at the University of Tokyo, began publishing his
psycho-physiological interpretations of Japanese Buddhism as early as 1860 with
Shinshiki-ron (On Mind-Consciousness). While the first extant
Japanese term for psychotherapy (seishin ryōhō)—today referring
specifically to institutionalized psychotherapy—would not become common
currency among therapists until the early twentieth century, the Japanese
dialogue on the relationship between religion and psychology, especially in
reference to Buddhism, had long been underway. Conversely, Rhys Davids’s
conversation partners would unfortunately arrive after her time. Nevertheless,
the past several decades have produced a litany of English-language works
exploring the relationship between Buddhism and the psy disciplines,
concernedly tending to center the conversation in modern Euro-American rather
than Asian contexts. Exceptions to this propensity are largely constrained to
portions of edited volumes, such as Mark Unno’s Buddhism and Psychotherapy
Across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices (2006), Polly
Young-Eisendrath and Muramoto Shoji’s Awakening and Insight: Zen
Buddhism and Psychotherapy (2002), and Wen-Shing Tseng, Suk Choo Chang,
and Nishizono Masahisa’s Asian Culture and Psychotherapy: Implications for
East and West (2005). Japanese scholars have made original contributions
to the relatively small body of Asia-centric English-language literature on
Buddhism and psychology, usually as articles or book chapters rather than full
manuscripts, with Chikako Ozawa-de Silva’s Psychotherapy and Religion in
Japan: The Japanese Introspection Practice of Naikan (2006) prominently
resisting that mold. Most works not fitting the typologies above are
textual-philosophical in nature and appear generally uninterested in modern
Asia-specific inquiries. This category seems to more commonly apply to works by
scholars of Buddhism than historians and anthropologists of Japan more broadly.
There is room, of course, for all of these approaches, and Buddhism specialists
are currently underrepresented in the Buddhism-psychology literature, which for
some time has been dominated by psy discipline specialists both in Japan and
In Religion and Psychotherapy in Modern Japan, Christopher Harding,
Iwata Fumiaki, and Yoshinaga Shin’ichi present a welcome addition to this
unfolding discourse. The fifty-fourth volume in the Routledge Contemporary
Japan series, seemingly the first in the series to take religion as its focus,
is overwhelmingly constituted of Japanese scholarship, with the exception of
the introduction, conclusion, and first chapter, all authored by Harding,
its lead editor. Six chapters previously published in Japanese as well as
several original contributions are complemented by illuminating new chapters by
both Yoshinaga and Iwata, making for an edited volume that adds much to the
relative dearth of Japanese voices in English-language literature on Buddhism
Taking a historical approach as its emphasis, Harding maintains in the
introduction that “we need to highlight the historical contingency of the
religion-psy dialogue to avoid totalizing claims” (p. 3). This focus on
situating the religion-psychology dialogue within historical contexts—Japan from
the late nineteenth century to the present—allows for many of the chapters to
engage with broader discussions within Japanese history and anthropology. As
Harding notes, Japanese modernization was commonly associated with a threat to
essential Japanese qualities, thus producing increased inner turmoil and
deviant behaviors. Such a phenomenon not only ties the development of the
Japanese psy disciplines to the nihonjinron—“theories about the
Japanese people”—enterprise, but also demonstrates how political, legal, and
commercial changes influence how we interpret our personal and collective
well-being. This counter to universalizing tendencies is undervalued in the
broader Buddhism-psychology dialogue, and certainly in what we might regard as
“pop literature” on the subject.
The emphasis of this volume diverges from the two most prominent
English-language approaches to dialogue between Buddhism and the psy
disciplines: 1) identifying and critiquing parallels between Buddhist and psy
thought (sometimes explicitly addressing questions of compatibility) and 2)
exploring ways in which Buddhist thought and/or practices can aid the psy
disciplines. While several exceptions to this trend exist, such as Chikako
Ozawa-de Silva’s fieldwork-centered illumination of Naikan therapy and Michael
Radich’s textual-historical How Ajātaśatru was Reformed: The Domestication
of “Ajase” and Stories in Buddhist History (2011), this volume by Harding,
Iwata, and Yoshinaga is significant in the alternative emphasis which it
provides, the many key areas it excavates, and the quality with which it
executes these features. Its chronological presentation is intended to portray
Japanese psychotherapeutic and psycho-religious developments as innovations
rooted in Japanese traditions and changing sociohistorical circumstance, rather
than as “cultural variants” derived from Western advancements, a productive
goal which they largely achieve.
In chapter 1, Harding provides us with his four-phase view of the general
historical trends in the religion-psychology dialogue in Japan, all of which he
sees as having contributed to Japanese views and approaches to mental health
today. The period 1868-1912 is, not surprisingly, characterized by
modernization, state-building, and new institutional and intellectual activity,
but also cultural concerns over interpersonal dynamics and religious attention
to physical and spiritual healing. Shortly after the end of this period, a
shift occurred regarding legal responsibility for the mentally ill, moving from
the family to medical institutions. Yet, from 1910 to 1945, mental therapies
inspired by new scientific ideas strategically presented themselves in language
rooted in traditional Japanese religious and cultural forms. This included the
popular psycho-religious composite method, Morita therapy. In the context of
rising issues concerning qualifications, legitimacy, and efficacy, Harding
asserts that religion and psychotherapy were bonded together through the
importance of practitioner personality, practitioner-client relationships, and
a shared culture. After the war and through the 1960s, the relationship between
religion and psychotherapy in Japan came to be distinguished by the rejection
of much of what was associated with its prewar past, coupled with a renewed impact
of the West. This included a strong influence of American developmental
psychology, a view of complementarity between Asian religion and Western
psychotherapy among both Japanese and Americans (e.g., Karen Horney, Alan
Watts), increased translation of works between Japanese, English, and other
European languages, an interest in cultural psychology that coincided with a
new willingness to think in terms of universals (e.g., Kawai Hayao, Doi Takeo),
and a strong push to keep religion out of public life (leading to a highly
medicalized psy community). Not surprisingly, then, despite significant Pure
Land Buddhist influence, the first Naikan center presented itself as secular
when it opened in 1953. Harding, drawing considerably from Ozawa-de Silva’s
work on Naikan, situates the period from the early 1970s to the present as
centered around (often this-worldly) healing (iyashi). Looking forward
from rationalist and materialist pressures of past modernization, and drawing
from the rise of Jungianism and community psychiatry, the Spiritual World (seishin
sekai) movement was born. As others have noted, this was boosted in 1995
by an increased aversion to organized religions associated with the Aum
Shinrikyō gassing and Kobe earthquake response. This four-phase view, intended
to provide useful background information and a framework for the rest of the
volume, is a substantial contribution in its own right, especially considering
the shortage of “big-picture” resources on the topic.
Chapter 2 revisits Harding’s first period, with Hashimoto Akira examining
temple and shrine care for the mentally ill. With the influx of Western medical
and psychological ideas, religious institutions looked to the successes of
Japanese psychiatric researchers. Interestingly, so too did the new psy
disciplines look to traditional Japanese therapies, not only due to widespread
cultural suspicion toward Western-inspired institutions and ideas, but also
because some believed that elements of European therapies already existed in
the practical wisdom of Japanese tradition.
Chapter 3 addresses the emergence of an explicit religion-psychology
dialogue through Yoshinaga Shin’ichi’s exploration of the new “mind cure”
methods in the Meiji era. In particular, Yoshinaga connects the formulation of
the first extant Japanese term for psychotherapy (seishin ryōhō) to
the history of Japanese importation and integration of hypnotism, especially in
the writings of hypnotist Kuwabara Toshiro, and the influence of the Zen
practices of Hara Tanzan and his most famous student, Inoue Enryō. In the
controversial but popular writings of Kuwabara, who combined Shin Buddhism with
Christianity, Yoshinaga sees an influential voice that helped to “re-create
‘religion’ using psychological terms” (p. 93). This chapter clearly illustrates
how perceptions of religion and the psy disciplines grew and transformed
together in Japan. Of particular interest to some will be Yoshinaga’s
discussion of philosophical differences between several Japanese terms for
“mind” (seishin, shinri, kokoro) in the context of a
“Buddhist materialist dilemma.”
Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the role of personal life stories in the success of
Morita therapy and Kosawa Heisaku’s psychoanalysis. Morita therapy
practitioners Kondo Kyoichi and Kitanishi Kenji argue that it was in Morita
Shoma’s (a.k.a. Morita Masatake’s) personal struggles and the solutions he
found in Buddhist religiosity that his psycho-religious composite method took
form. Similarly, Iwata understands Kosawa’s psychoanalysis as strongly influenced
by how the voices and life histories of both Sigmund Freud and Shinran
resounded with his own. Kosawa, seeing Shin Buddhism and Freudian
psychoanalysis as two articulations of the same worldview—an observation also
put forth in Harding’s “Japanese Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: The Making of a
Relationship” (2014)—nevertheless Japanized psychoanalysis, rarely mentioning
religion explicitly in his writings (although it was there, nonetheless) while
discussing it freely with his trainees and informally with clients. Okonogi
Keigo, a disciple of Kosawa’s, furthered his work, countering Buddhicized
elements—such as one’s mother becoming one with the idealized mother figure
through other-power (tariki) salvation—more than Japanized ones. Iwata
appears to agree with the disciple, Okonogi, that Kosawa’s approach was a
reflection of Japanese societal anxieties surrounding the encounter of Japanese
and Western worldviews, nevertheless pointing out that Okonogi incorrectly
situates Kosawa’s construction of the Ajase complex wholly within his Japanese
mentality rather than his Buddhist worldview. Although Iwata demonstrates
enough familiarity with the Ajase narrative within traditional and modern
Buddhist contexts to highlight Okonogi’s error in assessing Kosawa’s formulation,
further engagement with Radich’s work on the subject could have intensified
this critical point.
Departing from the desire of earlier therapists to protect Japanese culture
and religion from Western psychology, the heavily criticized but greatly
influential Doi Takeo showed at least equal concern for protecting
psychoanalysis from Japanization. While interested in Japanese correlates to
Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Doi’s Amae theory, argues Ando
Yasunori in chapter 6, was as much a product of his desire to ensure
theoretical coherence with his Catholic identity as his Japanese identity.
Doi’s secular presentation of his psychoanalytic theories, however, stand in
stark contrast to the explicitly Catholic version of Naikan therapy created by
the Catholic priest Fujiwara Naosato, as discussed by Terao Kazuyoshi in
chapter 8. Fujiwara’s “re-religionized” Naikan variant—a potentially misleading
term used by Terao, as this review will discuss—appears to me as different from
most contemporary Naikan in two ways: 1) it embraces the “religious” label
(while clients and practitioners associated with other Naikan centers often
identify this therapy as “spiritual,” medical,” or “educational,” but generally
not “religious”) and 2) it is substantially different from early Naikan, not
just in branding, but in substance. Although Yoshimoto Ishin quickly
presented his Shin Buddhism-inspired therapy as secular, his decision later in
life to become a monastic and offer Naikan out of his house-turned-temple demonstrates
that, despite labels, a movement from traditional to modern, religious to
secular, and other-worldly salvation to this-worldly healing was neither
seamless nor wholly linear. This more refined narrative is offered explicitly
in chapter 7 by Shimazono Susumu, whom Harding refers to as “perhaps the single
most influential contributor to the study of the religion-psy dialogue in the
Japanese context” (p. 16). Shimazono’s tracing of an ostensible movement from
religion to psychotherapy and the many elements associated with such a
shift—especially his concept of the “psycho-religious composite
movement”—offers several fruitful directions for future research in regards to
healing, spirituality, and the relationship between science and religion.
Chapter 9 centers around the significance of transnationalism—in this case,
the presence and desired reconciliation between one’s Western and Japanese
selves—in the groundbreaking analytic psychologist Kawai Hayao’s relationship
with Jungian thought. As this review will discuss, chapter author Tarutani
Shigehiro, like several others in this volume, draws our attention to theories
that may provide a valuable lens for exploring such topics as Buddhism and
globalization, Buddhism and colonialism, and Buddhist typologization.
Chapters 10-12 depart from the dominant approach of the volume. Horie
Norichika’s chapter discusses insights from his Web-based research of past-life
therapy clients in Japan. Uncovering shifts in popular Japanese understandings
of reincarnation, responsibility, interpersonal relationships, and
self-development, this research has the potential to enhance future
investigations of the spirituality and New Age movements as well as to be put
into dialogue with the past-life research coming out of the University of
Virginia School of Medicine’s Division of Perceptual Studies. Shiotsuki Ryoko’s
chapter provides further problematizing of a simple transition from traditional
to modern and religious to secular, utilizing her case study of contemporary
Okinawan shamanism (yuta) as an illustration of how the psy
disciplines are not an inherently secularizing force. While healing has largely
become the new context of Okinawan shamanism, the emergence of positive views
toward spirit possession in some areas of contemporary Japanese psychiatry
(i.e., a depathologization), coupled with the unique legal and political
history of the region within broader postwar Japan, has helped maintain and
even reinvigorate Okinawan religiosity. In contrast, Taniyama Yōzō’s chapter on
the impact of the March 2011 Triple Disaster on the religion-psychology
dialogue is somewhat prescriptive. A Buddhist monk, professor, and disaster
chaplain, Taniyama explores differences between spiritual and religious
disaster care, urging a more reflective support and relief system that bucks
the pre-3/11 trend toward secularizing relief care. His Tohoku University-based
training program for “interfaith chaplains” aims to account for religious and
regional diversity while allowing space for self-aware, non-proselytizing
Concluding the volume, Harding asserts three tensions as central to the
religion-psychology encounter in Japan. Firstly, pioneering Japanese
psychotherapists often developed their theories and practices within the
context of their own personal and interpersonal experiences, viewing both
religious and psychotherapeutic theories as works in progress that ought to be
shaped by the experiential. Affinities with figures such as Shinran, Myoē,
Freud, and Carl Jung were often based more on shared personal experience than
being of the same mind. Yet, these innovators were also in some ways “conduits
for the ills of their ages” (p. 272). Figures such as Kosawa and Doi were
reflective regarding this tension, with which Harding draws parallels to that
of the Kyoto School thinkers Miki Kiyoshi and Tanabe Hajime. A second tension,
says Harding, lies in the question of whether Japanese psychotherapists
discovered or created Japanese psychological typologies. This tension is tied
up in that of humanism versus Japanese particularism/essentialism. Both
Tarutani’s discussion of Kawai’s identity struggles and the periodic engagement
throughout the volume with nihonjinron discourse illustrate this
tension. Lastly, Harding sees a tension between instrumentalism and
engrossment—that is, “in how people interact with the world and conceptual
representations of it” (p. 283). This tension can manifest in conflicting
priorities regarding addressing present-life problems (often brought on by
confrontations with modernity) versus understanding reality as it is. Within
an instrumentalist focus on purposefulness, the shift from salvation to healing
becoming prominent, as does the mapping of competing epistemologies and
worldviews onto each other. A process of engrossment has often been at play,
too, with the promotion of extralinguistic self-cultivation, a nonrational
rewiring resulting in embodied knowledge, standing as one example. According to
Harding, the religion-psychology dialogue has been shaped chiefly through
attempts to manage and capitalize on these tensions in response to the
challenges of modernity.Given this picture, Harding calls attention to a path
for religious organizations’ continued engagement with the psy disciplines and
Japanese civil society more broadly: care and peace. Building on Taniyama’s
advocacy for interfaith disaster care, Harding sees a possible “supra-modern”
relationship between religion and Japanese modernity, incorporating rationality
and secular and professional values “into a broad, transhistorical and
trans-sectarian vision of the human person” (p. 270). As the 3/11 Triple
Disaster may not have yet released its full impact on Japanese cultural views
toward religion, spirituality, and mental health, he asserts that it is too
early to know the likelihood of this vision coming to fruition.
This volume by Harding, Iwata, and Yoshinaga is an indispensable addition
for those interested in English-language literature on the relationship between
religion and psychology in modern Japan, offering translations of several
papers previously published in Japanese, voices from an assortment of scholarly
backgrounds, exposure to a range of sources perhaps not in the purview of
scholars based outside of Japan, and an abundance of fine historical analysis
hitherto lacking from the discourse. Of course, coherence can be an issue in
any edited volume, particularly when joining voices across cultures.
Young-Eisendrath and Muramoto acknowledge this difficulty in their own volume, which
emerged in part from the experimental nature of the conference out of which
their volume emerged. Unno’s volume abates this issue through appropriate
sectioning of material. In the case of Religion and Psychotherapy in Modern
Japan, Harding, Iwata, and Yoshinaga have created a high-coherence volume
by way of effective structuring, contributor choice, methodological emphasis,
and thematic focus.
Of the many areas of the religion-psychology dialogue in Japan, a promising
area of further research that I see opened up through this volume concerns
conflicting identities and the challenge in finding appropriate labels for
their manifestations in the world. While Kondo and Kitanishi’s
chapter on Morita therapy at times bears similarity to the overgeneralizing
tendency of Tseng, Chang, and Nishizono’s volume, particularly in their
discussion of Asian conceptions of self (which echoes Morita’s own belief that
healing necessarily emerges from a self that exists in sociocultural harmony),
many of the other chapters present more nuanced discussions of Asian
identities. We see this in Kawai’s transnationalism, Doi and Fujiwara’s
Catholic Japaneseness, Kosawa and Morita’s secular-labeled but
Buddhist-inspired therapies, and of course, the inner and outer tensions that
pervade the volume: modern versus traditional, therapist versus struggling
human being. Moreover, what does it mean when we label a phenomenon
“religionized,” “re-religionized,” “psychologized,” “Japanized,” or
“Buddhicized?” What are the sufficient and necessary conditions for such a
label? It is not inaccurate for Terao to refer to Fujiwara’s Catholic Naikan as
“re-religionized,” since Yoshimoto’s original Naikan was based on the Shin
Buddhist practice of mishirabe, explicitly marketed by him as secular,
and repackaged in the 1990s by Fujiwara as a Catholic meditation. However,
Yoshimoto firmly eschewed the label of “religious.” From his perspective, then,
Fujiwara “religionized” rather than “re-religionized” Naikan. How about
“psychologized Buddhism” and “Buddhicized psychology?” Several of the
pioneering figures explored in this volume saw no distinction between specific
religions and psychologies, a far stronger claim than that of compatibility or
complementarity. Who determines the labeling of these phenomena? Should the
academic study of Buddhism and science, in discussing appropriation, utilize
discourses surrounding the insider-outsider problem, emic versus etic?
Questions along these lines appear relevant to the lavish attention awarded to
mindfulness in recent years, and may also intersect with current
Buddhism-related conversations regarding globalization, colonialism, and
typologization. Jørn Borup’s “Easternization of the East? Zen and
Spirituality as Distinct Cultural Narratives in Japan” (2015) and Wakoh Shannon
Hickey’s “Two Buddhisms, Three Buddhisms, and Racism” (2010) both come to mind.
An academically rigorous address of these questions goes beyond the scope of
this volume, but answers enacted by several instrumental figures are there for
Any assessment of a work’s value to an individual should occur within the
context of that individual’s goals. Methodologically, Religion and
Psychotherapy in Modern Japan has its limitations. Differing from many
historical approaches to other topics, the editors acknowledge that their
volume heavily prioritizes pioneering individuals, institutions, and ideas over
everyday people—clients, religious practitioners, and those otherwise
contributing to the dialogue in perhaps less perceptible ways. Challenges exist
in accessing and divulging client information, especially in the case of
university and hospital records (karute). Yet, Horie Norichika’s
chapter on past-life therapy case studies, much like Ozawa-de Silva’s work
elsewhere, demonstrates that avenues of research along these lines are
possible, a point acknowledged and encouraged by the editors. Data
accessibility aside, the editors present a volume partial toward historical
methods. Harding maintains that interviews and self-ascriptions are “likely to
be compromised by various forms of self-editing in which we all habitually
engage—people in this case perhaps talking about shūkan (custom or
habit) rather than shūkyō when explaining their behaviour out of a
desire not to be thought superstitious or otherwise socially/psychologically
suspect, especially after the Aum Affair” (p. 10). His point is well taken,
particularly in the context of Japan, though I suspect that the value of such
fieldwork would nonetheless go far in doing the boundary work that he admits is
necessary. Still, neither historical nor anthropological methods may do much
for those primarily interested in textual and philosophical explorations of the
relationship between Buddhism and psychology. These orientations, infrequently
engaged with in this volume (though Yoshinaga and Harding are among the most
willing), can be underdeveloped and are not uncommonly relegated to footnotes.
Even so, while a single volume cannot cover everything, this one supplies a
lot. Those working on Yogācāra and/or Buddhist philosophy of mind may find this
work of less use than those interested in other areas (e.g., Buddhist
modernisms, lived manifestations of Shin and Zen, popular Japanese perspectives
on religion, spirituality, and healing), but the already weighty tilt of the
literature toward textual-philosophical orientations can profit from the
contextualization and new voices provided by this excellent volume.
. Teresina Rowell Havens, “Mrs. Rhys Davids’ Dialogue with Psychology
(1893-1924),” Philosophy East and West 14 (1964): 51-58.
. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, Psychotherapy and Religion in Japan: The
Japanese Introspection Practice of Naikan (London: Routledge, 2006). Printable Version: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=43963 Citation: Adam Valerio. Review of Harding, Christopher;
Iwata Fumiaki; Shin'ichi, Yoshinaga, eds., Religion and Psychotherapy in
Modern Japan. H-Buddhism, H-Net Reviews. August, 2015. URL:http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=43963 This work is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License