1st Edition

Zen Insight, Psychoanalytic Action Two Arrows Meeting

By Seiso Paul Cooper Copyright 2019
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    Drawing from original source material, contemporary scholarship, and Wilfred Bion’s psychoanalytic writings, Zen Insight, Psychoanalytic Action: Two Arrows Meeting introduces the Zen notion of "gūjin," or total exertion, and elaborates a realizational perspective that integrates Zen Buddhism and psychoanalysis.

    Developed by the thirteenth century Zen teacher and founder of the Japanese Soto Zen school, Eihei Dogen, gūjin finds expression and is referenced in various contemporary scholarly and religious commentaries. This book explains this pivotal Zen concept and addresses themes by drawing from translated source material, academic scholarship, traditional Zen kōans and teaching stories, extensive commentarial literature, interpretive writings by contemporary Soto Zen teachers, psychoanalytic theory, clinical material, and poetry, as well as the author’s thirty years of personal experience as a psychoanalyst, supervisor, psychoanalytic educator, ordained Soto Zen priest, and transmitted Soto Zen teacher.

    From a realizational perspective that integrates Zen and psychoanalytic concepts, the book addresses anxiety-driven interferences to deepened Zen practice, extends the scope and increases the effectiveness of clinical work for the psychotherapist, and facilitates deepened experiences for both the Buddhist and the secular meditation practitioner. Two Arrows Meeting will be of great interest to researchers in the fields of Zen Buddhism and psychoanalysis. It will also appeal to meditation practitioners and psychoanalysts in practice and training.



    About the Author


    1. Total exertion: definition and use

    2. Simply sitting: origins

    3. Dogen Zen: radical reformulation

    4. Total exertion as intuition

    5. Realization and delusion

    6. Thinking, not thinking, beyond thought

    7. Zen musings on Bion’s "O" and "K"

    8. Two arrows meeting: zen insight, psychoanalytic action

    9. Taste the strawberries

    10. The abyss becoming well




    Seiso Paul Cooper is an ordained Soto Zen Buddhist priest and transmitted teacher and Director of the Two Rivers Zen Community in Narrowsburg, NY, and the Realizational Practice Studies Group in New York City, which serves as a unique venue for psychotherapists to engage in Zen practice and to study psychotherapy from a Zen perspective. Cooper continues to be an innovative contributor to the integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. He is Former Dean of Training at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP), New York, and maintains a private practice in Manhattan and Narrowsburg, NY, USA.

    "Paul Cooper's work brings together East and West in co-nourishing ways. Instead of opposition and antagonism, Cooper emphasizes interweaving. His particular focus is Zen Buddhism and psychoanalysis, how they add to and support each other, a profound journey of appreciation, deepening, opening. We are in a time of cross-fertilization and this work takes up the challenge in stimulating, growth producing ways. You will experience yourself anew you as feel the living waters this work points to." --Michael Eigen, Ph.D., author, Faith, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, and Image, Sense, Infinities, and Everyday Life.

    "If Zen is an arrow pointing straight at your life, then Paul Cooper’s two arrows are aimed at the epicenter of your own life and relationships because they reveal the directions of both Zen and psychoanalysis in helping us see ourselves. Here, you will find important new insights and ideas about your intentions and actions. If you are a practicing Buddhist or a practicing therapist, you will also find new ways of using your skills and knowledge. Paul Cooper is a guiding light on the path of differentiating and synthesizing these two practices." --Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., author, Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path

    "As its title suggests, Two Arrows Meeting, almost miraculously brings together two seemingly divergent fields. By being deeply connected to both practices, Paul Cooper, makes sense of the rich and complex relationship between the spiritually based and meditative practice of Zen and the intricate healing art of psychoanalysis. Through his own intimate experience and study of Zen practice, and using his own well-articulated grasp of theory and practice of psychoanalysis, Paul Cooper guides us to a deeper appreciation of the profound potential of both endeavors." --Roshi Grace Schireson, Ph.D., author, Zen Women, co-editor, Zen Bridge

    "Paul Cooper’s Two Arrows boldly stands out amidst the present-day proliferation of books on the interface of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Cooper eloquently captures the essence of numerous similarities shared amongst the Zen impulse: intuition, total exertion, radical non-duality, psychoanalytic reverie, and Wilfred Bion’s "O." In writing that is masterfully clear, exceedingly concise, and inordinately cogent, Cooper clarifies many of the extant misconceptions about the intersection of these two disciplines explicating how being fully in the present moment are realized in both Zen and psychoanalysis. As an aid to the reader’s comprehension of some highly technical and illusive concepts, Cooper incorporates timely clinical vignettes for illustrative purposes while offering his own Zen-informed poetry." --Melvin E. Miller, Ph.D., co-editor, Self and No-self: Continuing the dialogue between Buddhism and psychotherapy, psychoanalyst in private practice, Montpelier, Vermont, USA

    "Cooper’s narrative provides a mirror on both Zen and psychoanalysis as archetypes – replete with, as is the way with archetypes, both useful and obstructive information – and takes the reader through an accompanied process of gently breaking down shared assumptions toward allowing the reader more direct access to the life-giving elements behind these structures from which can be built a more compassionate understanding of ourselves, and each other, as questing – human – beings. This important offering will be of benefit to professionals, Buddhist practitioners, students of religion and the general public." --Jeffrey D. Cole, PhD, ABMP