The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga: Paths to a Mature Happiness

By Marvin Levine | Go to book overview

Afterword

This book began with questions: What is maturity? What do we mean when we say "He made a mature decision"? What is the relation between maturity and serenity? How do we attain to these conditions? The principal thesis of this book is that Buddhism and Yoga provide answers to these questions. Essentially, the teachings first reveal the pitfalls in ordinary, unreflective living. They then provide guidelines and practices for transforming ourselves and for progressing to a new mode of living. This transformation is accomplished by taming the cravings (passions, fears, agitations) and by challenging conditioned beliefs (attitudes, values, habits of thought). When transformed we are more than mature; we face the hurly-burly of the world with wisdom, hardiness, and confidence. Thus, these philosophies of Buddhism and Yoga are really applied psychologies. Earlier (p. 58) I mentioned the new contemporary movement toward positive psychology. Buddhism and Yoga are the quintessential positive psychologies. Indeed, they provide the intellectual framework for such a psychology.

The transformation that occurs after putting these teachings into practice also produces change at a deep level. We experience an inner peace, even when confronting the strongest challenges. Also, the essential self, the "you" (cf. Purusha, Buddha-nature) that exists beyond arbitrary conditioning and superficial conceptions, is revealed. It is for this reason, for this characterization of that deep, final realization, that these practical psychologies, with their emphasis on daily practices (meditations, asanas), are regarded as religions. Buddhism and Yoga begin with the practical and, after remarkable achievements in this realm, end with the spiritual.

At the outset I suggested that this book is a primer, an introduction to the most basic teachings of Buddhism and Yoga. It is introductory

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