Japanese psychoanalysis and Buddhism: The making of a relationship

Christopher Harding*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article explores the making of a relationship between Japanese psychoanalysis and Buddhism, in the life and work of Kosawa Heisaku. Kosawa did not work out the compatibility of psychoanalysis with Buddhism in abstract, theoretical terms; rather, he understood them as two different articulations of the same practical approach to living well. He saw this approach in action in the lives of Freud and Shinran, the latter a thirteenth-century Japanese Buddhist reformer. For Kosawa, both individuals exemplified the true religious state of mind', at the achievement of which Kosawa understood psychoanalytic psychotherapy as ideally aiming. This article uses newly available documentary and interview material to examine the historical dynamics both of Kosawa's work in this area and of the broader religion-psy dialogue' of which it is an early example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-170
Number of pages17
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Ajase Complex
  • Buddhism
  • Japan
  • Kosawa Heisaku
  • psy disciplines
  • psychiatry
  • psychoanalysis
  • religion-psy dialogue
  • Shinran
  • Sigmund Freud


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