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buddhist psychology

Buddhist Psychology

Buddhism and it’s teachings encompasses human psychology, emotion, cognition, behaviour and motivation. There are two main goals –

• to have a happy and virtuous life of a householder

• to reach the ultimate goal of enlightenment

To achieve these, Buddhism provides therapeutic practices that are embedded within the ethical and psychological teachings.

buddhist psychology

Psychology literally means a study of the mind.

“Buddhist doctrine is not an historical fabrication derived through imagination and mental speculation, but an accurate psychological explanation of the actual nature of mind.” Lama Yeshe

buddhist psychology


Conductive to happiness Buddhism includes virtues like harmlessness, generosity, moral restraint, and the development of good will as well as mindfulness, concentration and discernment.

We may often seek to change negative, unwanted thoughts and behaviours such as anger, with an antidote like patience. This process is similar to the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) model where we challenge and change ‘cognitive distortions’ (such as thoughts, beliefs and attitudes) and their associated behaviours to improve emotional regulation and develop personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.

More on CBT

buddhist psychology

buddhist psychology

Virtuous Action

In Buddhism we also consider the effect of our actions on others – the morality of our action. By adjusting our action of body, speech and mind we help protect the mind not just in the present moment, but also in the future. By encouraging ethical choices, our mind can grow into a higher compassionate state.

On the other hand, if we don’t consider the result of our actions, we will harm the mind in the long-term as a result of perpetuating negative habits.

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buddhist psychology