Fialkovskaya, A: Archetypes, unconscious and individuation: basic concepts of Jungian psychology from the Buddhist perspective


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The interpretation of Jungian archetypes through the prism of the Buddhist tradition is a part of the broader topic of the relationship of Jung with the East. If we seek to understand why Chinese scholars are interested in studying Jung in the first place, then we should find out what catches their attention and why.

The primary objective of this paper is to investigate how Chinese scholars interpret the connection between the basic concepts of Jungian psychology and the Buddhist teaching. Are the concepts of Jungian archetypes and Buddhist seeds (種子zhongzi) similar? What is the connection between Jung’s idea of unconscious and Buddhist idea of Ālaya-vijñāna 阿賴耶識? Does the Jungian notion of “Self” have a prototype in Buddhism? These questions are in the focus of the present paper.

The study is based on the meticulous work with the Chinese sources. The main arguments in articles and monographs are outlined and then analyzed so that we can see if the connections between Jungian and Buddhist concepts can actually be established. As a result, three possible outcomes of such comparisons have been discovered: 1) comparisons contribute to understanding of both Buddhist and Jungian terminology; 2) such comparisons are far-fetched or have no real solid argumentation basis beneath them.

This paper contributes to the literature by showing that modern Chinese scholars have a profound interest in establishing links between Jungian psychology and traditional Chinese culture, Buddhism being one of its integral parts. Although there are not many studies in this field yet, this is one of the topics that sparks genuine interest in the Chinese academic circles.

Presenter Bio:

Alexandra Fialkovskaya, Ph.D. Candidate, International Consortium for Research in the Humanities, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, alexandra.fialkovskaya@fau.de

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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