The Signifier Pointing at the Moon: Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Signifier Pointing at the Moon

Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism, 1st Edition

By Raul Moncayo


272 pages

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Within the context of a careful review of the psychology of religion and prior non-Lacanian literature on the subject, Raul Moncayo builds a bridge between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism that steers clear of reducing one to the other or creating a simplistic synthesis between the two. Instead, by making a purposeful "One-mistake" of "unknown knowing", this book remains consistent with the analytic unconscious and continues in the splendid tradition of Bodhidharma who did not know "Who" he was and told Emperor Wu that there was no merit in building temples for Buddhism. Both traditions converge on the teaching that "true subject is no ego", or on the realisation that a new subject requires the symbolic death or deconstruction of imaginary ego-identifications. Although Lacanian psychoanalysis is known for its focus on language and Zen is considered a form of transmission outside the scriptures, Zen is not without words while Lacanian psychoanalysis stresses the senseless letter of the Real or of a jouissance written on and with the body.

Table of Contents

Introduction -- The cultural context: contemporary psychoanalysis and postmodern spirituality -- Psychoanalysis as a secular and non-theistic study of the mind -- Meditation as thinking and non-thinking in Lacan and Zen -- True subject is no-ego -- Turning words and images of the unseen: symbolic uses of the Imaginary and the Real in Lacan, Zen, and Jewish Kabbalah -- The Tetragramaton, the Borromean knot, the four worlds, and the Tetralemma -- Mindfulness of breathing and psychoanalysis -- Consciousness, awareness, the unconscious, and the three dimensions of experience -- Zen practice and the practice of Lacanian psychoanalysis

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health