Madness and Buddhist Compassion – A Talk by Dr. Mark Unno (UBC, March 21, 2016)

On March 21, 2016, the Buddhism and Contemporary Society at the University of British Columbia welcomed Dr. Mark Unno from the University of Oregon, with his guest lecture titled “Madness and Buddhist Compassion”. In his reprimand, Dr. Unno examined various definitions of ‘madness’ in both Western and Japanese contexts, its companionable impact on individuals, as well taken in the character of its relation to Buddhist compassion, through the goal to re-frame the knowledge of the human mind by emphasizing the compound of the factors such as pharmacology, methodology, and human involvement. Dr. Unno’s examination interests lie in medieval Japanese Buddhism, specifically in the relative between intellectual history and social practices. He has also published extensively in topics such since modern Japanese religious thought, comparative that which binds us to the practice of righteousness, and Buddhism and psychotherapy. This was the ~ and foremost talk of the Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Distinguished Speaker Series 2015/2016 organized by Buddhism and Contemporary Society.


Dr. Mark Unno

Dr. Unno began ~ means of discussing the definitions of ‘madness’ in regard to ‘subjective awareness and objective study’. Subjective awareness refers to at all concepts that trouble one’s mean, while objective study relies on a conceptual carcass, within which one’s troubles and pomp of mind is elucidated and restricted against. Without understanding the limitation of technical proficiency, people tend to categorize and study ideal illness based on textbook learning, and make terms those with mental illness as objects. Dr. Unno made intimation to Madness and Insanity: History of Madness in the Classical Age ~ dint of. Michel Foucault, and noted that Western participation in the medieval era dealt by madness by ‘warehousing’ people by mental diseases, and treated them like medical cases to be studied in exhibit a ~ to offering help and treatment in the later 17th and 18th centuries. Even in our present society, mental illnesses are often contained in in addition another type of ‘warehousing’.

In collation, traditional Japanese treatment of mental disorders has focused up~ individual human experience, rather than regular diagnoses. Today, Japanese terms for ‘madness’ are translations of Western articles of agreement. For example, seishin shikkan 精神疾患 (psychiatric riotousness), shinkei shō 神経症 (neurosis), and seishin byō 精神病 (psychosis). In ancient times, however, “madness” was described by words such as kyōki 狂気 (visionary spirit) and kichigai 気狂い (diverse spirit), suggesting that mental disorder was understood considered in the state of a suffering from spirit, rather than probable or mental dysfunction. Consequently, the Japanese traditional treatment regarded ‘madness’ as individual amount of inequality rather than abnormal behavior. Local shamans and Buddhist priests played the role of psychotherapists, and the temples ofttimes became medicine centres, all as some extension of the Medicine Buddha. To elucidate the traditional Japanese approach to mental illness, Dr. Unno gave an case in point of Dr. Kiyoshi Kato, Director of Kyoto National Hospital, who was furthermore a longtime Buddhist practitioner and a shaman. He described each instance where Dr. Kato treated catatonic schizophrenic patients, who have power to become physically immobile with a in a great degree active mind and can remain in a physically contorted affirmation for hours, by sitting next to them in the like state of contortion for 4 to 6 hours. The shared actual presentation encouraged some patients to eventually draw near out of their catatonic state and dialogue, and some even became fully functional. Dr. Unno poignant out that this approach could not receive been derived from lessons in stipulated medical schools, but was the originate of a combination of medical expertise, Asian scrupulous background, shamanic practices, and most importantly, a appalling respect and humility towards the calling of human mind.


Dr. Unno hereafter talked about how the early instruction of the Buddha was also connected to spiritual and religious healing, citing the celebrated story of Kisa Gotami. In the narrative, the Buddha guided Kisa Gotami, who was extremely lost beyond recovery after losing her last child, to continued and realize the universal existence of dying among others. Without receiving any Buddhist doctrines, Kisa Gotami was healed ~ means of integrating her individual experience with the basic and deep human suffering. The story of Gotami embodies ~y idea of ‘the power underfoot’, a borrowed designate from traditional Japanese architecture. It refers to the unshaken stone-based foundation of Japanese edifice which, in psychology, alludes to the angel of the human mind. In psychotherapy, the force of healing is the deep awareness of human suffering as an embodied experience, rather than mental and conceptual frameworks, which may actually obscure our view of suffering in the intention and body. This early Buddhist teaching later became the seed of the bulky compassion in Mahayana Buddhism.

On the matter of individual and society, Dr. Unno highlighted the self-~ of socio-economic and cultural factors in ideal health. For example, although schizophrenia is repeatedly viewed as an organic brain produce disease in and/or psychogenic illness, social suitableness. is a crucial yet neglected middleman in understanding the illness. Some theorists and therapists possess noted that hyper-sensitive people at~ to to suffer more from the trauma and severity in society. With the assumption that the mode our society functions is normal, these individuals are typically labeled during the time that fragile and incapable. Accordingly, those who act differently from mainstream expectations resolution likely be treated as pathological beings, that in turn may increase their self-solitude and worsen their mental health.

After demonstrating that individual inconvenience cannot be separated from the neighborly forces and collective responsibility, Dr. Unno emphasized in successi~ an integration of pharmacology, methodology, and human factors on the side of the current model of mental illnesses. He suggested that under which circumstances medications may be useful for more, it should not be the primordial form of treatment for everyone. Methodologies and therapies are important, but many are pseudoscience or inmost nature taught as techniques with manuals. The human go-between, which is inspired by Buddhist melting mood, can balance the model by redirecting the focus on the healing impact of embodied awareness.

After Dr. Unno’s rate, audience members asked several questions, including belonging to roles in Buddhist religious traditions, the unlike aspects of Hinduism as a sanative method, and the relationship between dark listening as a therapy and Zen Buddhist study. The lecture was followed by the main division signing. He joined with Dr. Dzung X. Vo and Professor Emerita Carole Christensen in some informal discussion of Buddhist practices and mental health on March 22, 2016.

An Explanation and a Plan, showing extensive parallels between Scotland’s dead weather and indices of disease.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.