Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 351–357 | Cite as

Buddhist and Western perspectives on suffering, stress, and coping

  • Paul D Tyson
  • Rana Pongruengphant
Original Paper


The distinct definition of stress postulated by Buddhist and Western cultures is the foundation for their different coping styles, traditions, and practices. Dukkha, derived from Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, appears on the surface similar to psychological stress. Further examination of the Eastern cosmology yields a fundamental disagreement between Western psychological theory and Buddhists’ conception of suffering and stress related to incorporating reality into the formulation. Cross-cultural research on traditional approaches to coping with occupational stress found that problem solving was the most effective strategy, however in Thailand meditation helped nurses cope with a variety of stressors such as dealing with death and dying.


Stress Coping strategy Meditation Suffering 



The authors appreciate the detailed commentary on this paper and insights provided by Mark Webber teacher of Buddhist Dharma who studied with Namgyal Rinpoche.


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Copyright information

© Blanton-Peale Institute 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of NursingBurapha UniversityBangsaen, ChonburiThailand

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