Buddhism and positive psychology
Buddhism is increasingly shown to have positive effects for health and well-being. Robust research supports the claim that by practicing Buddhism one feels better. But just how does Buddhist practice work, and why? To begin to answer these questions this chapter reports recent findings in the fields of neurobiology, clinical psychology, and anthropology, and points to three especially promising domains of psychological processes: attention to the present (what is often called "mindfulness"), decreased attachments to the self (or changes in self-construal), and the cultivation of calm emotion. After summarizing research from neurobiology and clinical psychology in each domain the chapter turns to an ethnographic case study of Buddhism in a small community in Thailand in order to show how these domains are connected to a range of other ideas in practice. In doing so the chapter shows how Buddhism and its positive effects may best be understood within, rather than extracted from, its historical and cultural context.
Cassaniti, J. L. (2014)., Buddhism and positive psychology, in C. Kim-Prieto (ed.), Religion and spirituality across cultures, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 101-124.
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