Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
An old Zen story tells of a pilgrim who traveled a great distance, crossing formidable mountains and treacherous rivers to seek out the famous master Dogan in order to achieve enlightenment. After months of searching, he finally located the venerable teacher and asked him, "Master, tell me how I may become enlightened." "Have you finished your dinner?" asked the master. "Yes," replied the pilgrim. "Then go and wash your bowl," said Dogen. In so saying he captured the beauty and essence of the Buddhist view that in the simple moment--of writing a letter, washing dishes, riding a bus--lies all the mystery and meaning of life.
Like this legendary seeker, many Americans are seeking enlightenment in the form of Eastern practices such as Yoga, Transcendental Meditation (T.M.), and Buddhist meditation. They seam to be seeking what the sorcerer Don Juan of the Carlos Castaneda books (1971, 1973) calls "a way with heart." This reflects their growing disillusionment with Western psychology for failing to meet their needs. Western psychology has been pessimistic and morbid. It has bean preoccupied with the abnormal, a fact bemoaned by, among others, Maslow (1971). Nowhere does it offer a transcendental vision of what human beings could be.