Buddhist Psycho Meeting
Saturday 17th January
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Psychologists, Buddhists and meditators (and anyone else interested) are invited to join ‘Superstitious Minds’ discussion Saturday 17th January from 1-3 pm
‘Buddhist Psychos’ was started by the late Dr Holly Dugan, a clinical psychologist. This is a totally informal group, and we do not profess to be experts!
- Event is free of charge and there is no need to book.
- Hosted at the ‘APARTMENTS’ Meditation Studio near Ekkamai BTS (directions below)
If you have been in Thailand for any length of time you know there are a lot of superstitions! In fact all cultures have superstitions. From belief in ghosts and spirits, to lay lines, sacred shrines, and ways to attract good luck. Together with these are ways to ward off bad luck or appease the spooks.
We’re going to be talking about superstition in general. And if it has a place in Buddhism.
There is some required reading. Or at least a good scan through to see some of the ideas we will be mentioning – specifically the ideas on how superstitions arise. Included is the idea of God – is this just a grand superstition too? You may love the ideas, you may hate them. It’s all good – join the discussion!
Please try to read this paper – its only around 10 pages and it will give a good idea of modern research in this topic. The first 5 pages are the most relevant.
We will have joining us Marisa – who is one of only two westerners qualified in the field of Thai Spirit Houses. She knows more about Thai beliefs and practices, including spirit houses and shaman rites than any of us. She has a sympathetic understanding of Thai custom arisen from direct participation, and many many years in Thailand. Her family has a Thai silk business, so she has been coming to Thailand for many years. She speaks quite fluent Thai too.
Some of the main points in the required reading:
- ideas of God change to reflect the society it is found in
- can religious ethics explain the vast degree of cooperation among people
- Research shows people turn to more desperate ‘preternational causes’ when times are uncertain
- evolution taught us to attribute ‘agents’ to things we experience (i.e. rustling of leaves)
- beings who follow received wisdom of the society are more likely to survive
- seeing someone perform long, difficult or costly acts persuades us of their sincerity
“larger and more complex societies were much more likely to subscribe to potent deities directly concerned with morality and willing to punish norm violators”
“evolutionary processes … gradually assemble packages of supernatural beliefs, devotions and rituals that were increasingly efficient at instilling deep commitment … sustaining larger-scale cooperation”