Sommersemester 2012


Lecture by Luis O. Gómez

Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 6:15 pm
Venue: room 221 ESA 1 East

Prof. Dr. Luis O. Gómez (El Colegio de México, México, DF)

Meditation and psychotherapy: Convergence and divergence 


On YouTube (1-5)

Abstract of the talk:

For some time, confusion about the nature of Buddhist thought and practice, to say nothing of its multifaceted religious life, has led to various characterizations of some aspects of Buddhist traditions as "a psychology," or even as "a psychotherapy." At the same time, secular psychotherapeutic strategies developed in the last two decades seem to approach closely meditation techniques apparently belonging to the family of Buddhist "mindfulness" practices. Controversies have begun to rage over the use of the words "meditation" and "mindfulness" to describe empirically-based psychotherapeutic practices and over the possibility of "mindfulness" practice independent of its putative Buddhist roots. This lecture outlines some of the preconditions that need to be met if the controversy is to be productive and not a conversation with participants speaking at cross-purposes. The many assumptions of the psychotherapeutic profession and the equally variegated presuppositions of the Buddhist meditation traditions will be examined with the intent of outlining what both sides still need to do if they want to either come closer to each other or draw lines of difference that can lead to constructive de-identification.


is A. F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Asian Languages and Cultures, Religious Studies and Psychology, University of Michigan; at present he is Research Professor at El Colegio de México, México, DF. He received a BA with a major in Philosophy from the University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras Campus) in 1963, a Ph.D. in East and South Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University in 1967, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1991, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the same institution in 1998. 
Gómez has taught at the universities of Puerto Rico, Washington (Seattle), Michigan (Ann Arbor), Stanford, Ōtani (Kyoto), and at El Colegio de México.  From 2002 to 2004, he served as clinical supervisor for doctoral and postdoctoral students at the Psychological Clinic of the University of Michigan. He practiced meditation under Zen Masters Morinaga Soko (Rinzai) and Maezumi Taizan (Sōtō, in the Harada-Yasutani line), and considers both his primary meditation teachers. At present he is teacher in residence at Casa Tíbet México, where he teaches both Buddhist texts and Buddhist meditation.
His research work focuses on canonical Buddhist texts, especially Mahāyāna Sūtras, on the philosophy of the so called medieval period of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, as well as the origins of Zen (Chan) Buddhism in China and Tibet. He is also interested in traditional “Maps of the Path” and meditation theory, in issues of Buddhist exegesis and hermeneutics, and in contemporary Western theories of translation as they may be applied to the translation and interpretation of Asian Buddhist texts.


Lecture by Brian Victoria

Montag, 14. Mai 2012, 18:00 Uhr, Rm. 221 ESA 1 Ost

Prof. Dr. Brian Daizen Victoria (Antioch University, USA): "D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Nazis"  

Abstract of the talk:

In recent years the role of Japan's leading Zen masters as supporters of Japanese militarism during WWII has been established beyond a doubt. However, D.T. Suzuki's wartime role remains a subject of great, and sometimes heated, controversy. This is true despite the fact that one of Suzuki's wartime editors, Handa Shin, wrote in 1941: “Dr Suzuki's writings are said to have strongly influenced the military spirit of Nazi Germany.” But is this true?

This lecture seeks to answer this question beginning with the first American to make direct contact with D.T. Suzuki in postwar, occupied Japan, i.e., Albert Stunkard. Stunkard mentioned briefly, that Suzuki stood in close contact with a German named Graf Dürckheim, who had been imprisoned as a suspected war criminal. I wondered why a suspected German war criminal had been studying with D.T. Suzuki during WW II? The purpose of this lecture is therefore to share the “discoveries” made in the process of researching this question and the larger question of Nazi interest in Zen and Buddhism.

About Professor Brian Victoria:

Brian Daizen Victoria is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University. In addition to a 2nd, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Brian's major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill, 1972). Brian is professor of Japanese Studies and director of the Antioch Education Abroad Japan and Its Buddhist Traditions Program at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA.

Download materials:

Powerpoint Presentation

On D.T. Suzuki's early view of the Nazis in Germany