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Silencing and Oblivion of Psychological Trauma, Its Unconscious Aspects, and Their Impact on the Inflation of Vajrayāna. An Analysis of Cross-Group Dynamics and Recent Developments in Buddhist Groups Based on Qualitative Data

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80939 Munich, Germany
Religions 2019, 10(11), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110622
Received: 8 October 2019 / Revised: 23 October 2019 / Accepted: 6 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in Modernity: Thriving or Threatened?)
The commercialization of Buddhist philosophy has led to decontextualization and indoctrinating issues across groups, as well as abuse and trauma in that context. Methodologically, from an interdisciplinary approach, based on the current situation in international Buddhist groups and citations of victims from the ongoing research, the psychological mechanisms of rationalizing and silencing trauma were analyzed. The results show how supposedly Buddhist terminology and concepts are used to rationalize and justify economic, psychological and physical abuse. This is discussed against the background of psychological mechanisms of silencing trauma and the impact of ignoring the unconscious in that particular context. Inadequate consideration regarding the teacher–student relationship, combined with an unreflective use of Tibetan honorary titles and distorted conceptualizations of methods, such as the constant merging prescribed in so-called 'guru yoga', resulted in giving up self-responsibility and enhanced dependency. These new concepts, commercialized as 'karma purification' and 'pure view', have served to rationalize and conceal abuse, as well as to isolate the victims. Therefore, we are facing societal challenges, in terms of providing health and economic care to the victims and implementing preventive measures. This use of language also impacts on scientific discourse and Vajrayāna itself, and will affect many future generations. View Full-Text
Keywords: indoctrination and abuse in Buddhist groups; Vajrayāna; decontextualization of concepts; silencing of trauma; guru yoga; pure view; karma purification; crazy wisdom; mindfulness; trauma indoctrination and abuse in Buddhist groups; Vajrayāna; decontextualization of concepts; silencing of trauma; guru yoga; pure view; karma purification; crazy wisdom; mindfulness; trauma
MDPI and ACS Style

Anders, A.I.M. Silencing and Oblivion of Psychological Trauma, Its Unconscious Aspects, and Their Impact on the Inflation of Vajrayāna. An Analysis of Cross-Group Dynamics and Recent Developments in Buddhist Groups Based on Qualitative Data. Religions 2019, 10, 622.

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