Buddhist psychology for difficult times

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Louise Hay
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Buddhist psychology for difficult times

Last update: January 27, 2018

Emotionally difficult and painful situations are part of the cycle of life. These situations are often beyond our control or are the direct result of our decisions or actions. So we tend to close in on ourselves not knowing what to do or how to react. This is one of the cases in which Buddhist psychology can help us.

In dealing with any unpleasant situation, it is often the support of the people around us that keeps us afloat or helps us move forward. And when we don't want or have no friends or family around us? It is time to learn more about the benefits Buddhist psychology can offer us.



Buddhist psychology: born to put an end to human suffering

Buddhism is regarded as one of the major religions of the Eastern world. 2.500 years ago this current it was born as a philosophical and psychological system, without any kind of religious claim. According to the ascetic Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, Buddhism was the science of the mind.

Buddha founded this school in order to provide a method to eradicate suffering, ours. To this end, he started from a set of principles and a structure of thought that was very useful for understanding and accepting our feelings.

4 Noble Truths of Buddhist Psychology

Buddhist psychology starts from an idea that, although it may seem pessimistic, is confident: the nature of human life is suffering. Starting from this assumption, four noble truths are proposed that contain most of the teachings of Buddhist psychology and are the basis on which this form of meditation rests:


  • Suffering exists.
  • Suffering has a cause.
  • Suffering can run out, extinguishing its cause.
  • To extinguish the cause of suffering, we must follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

Eradicate our suffering or "dukkha"

To face difficult situations and eradicate pain, Buddha suggests knowing its origin. And only when we have identified this cause can we get rid of our suffering. Only then will we be able to see the futility of our worries and discouragement.


"10% of our life is linked to what happens to us, the remaining 90% with our way of reacting."

-Stephen R. Covey-

According to Buddhist psychology, people maintain many habits that have led them to be ignorant of life. We know what the processes and stages of life are and this is what makes us suffer.

“Dukkha comes from desire, attachment and ignorance. But it can be defeated. "

-Buddha-

The practical postulates

The last of the four truths speaks of the Noble Eightfold Path. A path or path consisting of 8 branches or practical postulates that allow you to achieve harmony, balance and the development of full awareness. It is usually represented by the wheel of dharma, in which each of the spokes symbolizes an element of the path. These branches can be grouped, in turn, into three broad categories:

  • Wisdom: understanding and correct thinking
  • Ethical Conduct: Right Speech, Action, and Occupation
  • Mind training: commitment, awareness and concentration, meditation or correct absorption.

These eight principles are not to be interpreted as linear passages. Rather, they must be developed at the same time based on personal abilities.


Happiness misunderstood

We all want to be happy, but no one agrees on how to define happiness. Each person has a different idea about it: a promotion to work, material abundance, having children ... Buddhist psychology ensures that one does not feel complete even when one reaches the set goals.

When one of our desires is fulfilled, we move on to another and then another. And so, little by little, we end up entering a vicious circle that does not seem to have an end. All with the false hope of being happy one day.


We need to free ourselves from attachment

Buddhist psychology believes that the desires established in our mind lead us to psychological drift and lead to addiction (from people, from material goods, from beliefs…). This is precisely one of the main causes of suffering, because by attaching ourselves we identify with objects or people and we lose our identity. We forget about ourselves and the real human needs.

Buddhism offers us tools to work on attachment and achieve knowledge. Only starting from it can we understand what we need (personal development, harmonious emotional life ...) and move into the school of life with greater awareness.


How to stop suffering?

Through meditation. As we have seen, Buddhist reflection practices are aimed at increasing understanding and wisdom and eradicating suffering. Although the techniques vary according to each school and tradition, they all have the common goal of achieving a state of maximum attention and tranquility.

These are the main currents of Buddhism that can help us stop suffering in particularly difficult times:

  • Theravada: is defined as an analyst. This is why he longs to describe different psychological or meditative states to systematize the meditative experience.
  • Zen: focuses on spontaneity and the intuition of wisdom. The practice of him seeks a natural harmony in the individual and avoids dualism in the understanding of reality.
  • Tibetan: seeks to increase understanding of reality at deep levels, therefore focuses on the symbolic and unconscious mechanisms of the mind. It is the most symbolic and magical of all Buddhist traditions.
  • Of The Pure Land: highlights devotion, humility and gratitude as direct ways to spiritual realization. It is a devotional meditation in which mantras are the protagonists.

In short, Buddhism is about a direct relationship with one's emotions. Make them conscious, define them and accept them. They are part of our existence, but like everything else they are changeable, so there is no need to control them.


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