Psychology in other Cultures

7 important questions on Psychology in other Cultures

How have other cultures addressed psychological issues?

Psychology addresses the basic human questions about life. Throughout history and across cultures, people have grappled with these questions and come up with their own answers.

How is Shamanism relevant to Psychology?

While shamanism practices will vary across cultures, in all shamanistic societies, it is presumed that the world is peopled by spirits and that proper ceremonial communion with these spirits will heal mental and physical illness, bring favorable weather conditions, regulate social harmony etc.

There is an emphasis on the ecstatic trance state as a condition of personal transformation. Moreover, an individual's internal mental states are seen te be caused or subject to outside forces, such as the spirits of ancestors, animals, or aspects of nature.

What is a Shaman?

Shamans are individuals from traditional, premodern societies who mediate between their community and the world of the spirits. In order to travel to the domain of the spirits they enter a trance-like state, often by dancing, music or a psycho-active plant.

What psychological concepts do Eastern religions have?

There are a number of religious traditions in Asia, many going back thousands of years. Buddhism and Hinduism are the largest and best known of the Eastern religions.

What tenets of Buddhism are relevant to psychology?

One of the primary tenets in Buddhism is that suffering comes from the illusion that our selves are separate, individual, and complete.

People who are emotionally attached to what Westerners might call the ego, or the idea of the self as a self-contained, isolated entity, are bound to suffer. Happiness or bliss can only be found by relinquishing attachment to the limited and mortal self in favor of the infinite reality of which we are all a part.

Meditation and other comtemplative practices are the best ways to access the spiritual knowledge that lies within all of us.

What aspects of Hinduism are relevant to Psychology?

Hinduism is an ancient religion whose beginnings date back 6.000 years. There is an emphasis on an all-encompassing, multi-dimensional spiritual unity to which we all belong. The many deities in Hinduism are simply manifestations of this cosmic divinity.

Suffering comes from ignorance and enlightment comes from knowledge of the oneness of all reality and of the illusory nature of separateness and individuality.

Contemplative practices are also important in the Hindu religion.

How do the tenets of Eastern religions relate to modern Western psychology?

Eastern ideas about the self and self- transcendence have been embraced by many Western Psychologists.

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