By On December 9th, 2013

Dr. R.M. Jayatunge – The DSM and Buddhist Jathaka Stories

Stones in Water

What came first the “ego” or “egolessness”? In his latest contribution to the Brookhaven blog community, Dr. Ruwan M. Jayatunge, steps back from sharing his combat trauma experiences with Sri Lankan army war veterans. His latest gift is titled, “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the Buddhist Jathaka Stories”. In this article, Dr. Jayatunge explains his position on how many of the 550 Jathaka (aka Jataka) stories, all written before 430 AD, were actually precursor explanations of many of the diagnoses found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) resulting out of Western psychology. From psychoanalysis, to hysteria and sexuality, and personality disorders, Dr. Jayatunge brings to light how Buddhism was over 1500 years ahead of Freud, Jung and many of the modern day concepts and diagnoses utilized by Western Psychology.

There are some very interesting nuances that come to mind that make Dr. Jaytunge’s writing very intriguing.  One is that the Jathaka stories are founded in Buddhism, a religion.  For thousands of years this Eastern philosophy has existed on the precept that “the self/(ego)” does not exist. Modern psychology is based on the “medical model” or scientific approach. The principles of Western psychology embrace the concept that the absence of a strong “self/(ego)” is a contributor to mental and behavioral deficits. Yet, in spite of these fundamental differences and beliefs, both are recognized for their abilities to alleviate mental anguish. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), was introduced and proven as an effective approach by Dr. Marsha M. Linehan to modern psychology in the late 1980’s.  Based on the Eastern practice of Mindfulness, the benefits of this Buddhist practice are being utilized by many mental health practitioners and crossing over as effective therapy for brain injury survivors as well.  What else can we learn from healthy reviews of differences in philosophies and beliefs?

Click here to read Dr. Jayatunge’s article.


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