REALIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: BION’S PSYCHOANALYSIS AND DOGEN’S ZEN

Abstract

The author discusses similarities, differences and identities between the later work of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion and the Soto Zen Buddhist teacher Eihei Dogen. The discussion elaborates points that help to explain the interest in Bion by psychoanalysts who work to integrate Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Four major points of convergence structure this discussion. They include: a radical openness to unknowing; a shared orientation to the relation between intuition and cognition; a shift from attention to static mind states to an emphasis on fluid functions and actional relationships; and a radically experiential orientation rooted in the present moment.

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Correspondence to Seiso Paul Cooper.

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Seiso Paul Cooper is a Transmitted and Ordained Soto Zen Buddhist priest & teacher, Psychoanalyst; Director and Head Priest: Two Rivers Zen Community in Narrowsburg, N.Y., and Realizational Studies Center in N.Y.C. Former Dean of Training: National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP); Faculty, training analyst, supervisor: NPAP, IEA, MITPP.

Address correspondence to Seiso Paul Cooper, P.O. Box 405, Narrowsburg, NY 12764, USA.

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Cooper, S.P. REALIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: BION’S PSYCHOANALYSIS AND DOGEN’S ZEN. Am J Psychoanal 80, 37–52 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-020-09232-4

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Keywords

  • Bion
  • Dogen
  • Horney
  • Zen
  • Buddhism
  • meditation
  • psychoanalysis