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Jung and Buddhism : a hermeneutical engagement with the Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions

Yogo, Rinako (2001) Jung and Buddhism : a hermeneutical engagement with the Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86247) (KAR id:86247)


This thesis examines Jung's relation to Buddhism, in particular, the Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions from a hermeneutic perspective. It addresses the way Jung attempted to make a dialogue between Analytical Psychology and Buddhism and the extent to which he was successful. Jung's approach to Buddhism is sometimes affected by Eurocentric prejudices, which led him to misunderstand some of the concepts of Buddhism. Moreover, from the standpoint of a psychologist, Jung had a tendency to reduce Buddhist thought to its psychological aspects, and not to pay sufficient attention to its traditional meanings. Jung was also highly selective in his use of Buddhist texts and focussed on those texts which appeared to confirm, or conform to, his psychological thinking, but dismissed other Buddhist materials which had no common base with his psychology. To contrast his approach, this thesis examines the theory of the phenomenology of religion, which emphasises the recognition of the irreducibility of religious phenomena and claims that we must understand religion within its own cultural context. From the perspective of the phenomenology of religion, Jung's methodology lacks objectivity and fails to exercise epoche, which means a suspension of one's own judgement or the exclusion of every possible presupposition. Rather, Jung seems to over-emphasise eidetic vision, which is a form of subjectivity that implies an intuitive grasp of the essentials of a situation in its wholeness.There are important achievements in Jung's engagement with Buddhism and indeed Jung should be regarded as a pioneer in this field of research. Jung's writings on Buddhism had a major influence on later studies of the various Buddhist traditions and meditation in relation to Western psychology and its therapeutic techniques. From this more positive perspective, this thesis explores in detail the strengths and shortcomings of Jung's engagement with the different Buddhist traditions, in order to assess its potential contribution to the contemporary dialogue between East and West.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86247
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Mahayana
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:37 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 20:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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