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Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Mark Epstein , Inc. Brilliance Audio
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 7 2012
Upon its first publication, this pathbreaking book launched an explosion of interest in how Eastern spirituality can enhance Western psychology. Since then, the worlds of Buddhism and psychotherapy have been forged into a revolutionary new understanding of what constitutes a healthy emotional life. In his insightful introduction, Mark Epstein reflects on this revolution and considers how it is likely to evolve in the future. “Mark Epstein’s book is inspired in its lucidity . . . After Thoughts Without a Thinker, psychotherapy without a Buddhist perspective looks like a diminished thing.” — Adam Phillips, author of On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored “A groundbreaking work…The book will take its place among the classics of the literature of meditation.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are “A marvelous book that is at once scholarly and fresh, informative and personal.” — Stephen A. Mitchell, author of Freud and Beyond “A most lucid and expert account of the wedding of psychotherapy and meditation. And Eastern-Western psychology that truly speaks from the inside of both worlds.” — Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart “I loved thoughts Without a Thinker. Mark Epstein has given us a brilliant account of how an ancient science of mind, based on a rich meditative tradition, can complement therapy and lead to new dimensions of wisdom and wholeness.” — Joan Borysenko, author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind “Instructive and impressive.” — Robert Coles, author of The Mind’s Fate

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From Amazon

Drawing upon his own experience as therapist, meditator and patient, Mark Epstein, a New York-based psychiatrist trained in classical Freudian methods, attempts to integrate Western psychotherapy and the teachings of Buddhism. Repressed memories, painful emotions, narcissism and destructive energies can all be uprooted through Buddha's teaching on suffering, delusion, wisdom and non-attachment. Epstein argues that in recognizing his or her self-created mental suffering, a patient can overcome neurotic behaviors and even overcome a deeply ingrained negative sense of self. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Epstein, a New York City psychiatrist trained in classical Freudian methods, has studied Buddhist meditation in India and Southeast Asia. In a highly personal, thoughtful, illuminating synthesis, he draws on his own experience as therapist, meditator and patient in an unusual attempt to integrate Western psychotherapy and Buddha's teachings on suffering, delusion, wisdom and nonattachment. According to Epstein, Buddhist meditative practices can help people release repressed memories, work through painful emotions, uproot narcissism and redirect destructive energies. By recognizing his or her self-created mental suffering, the patient is able to overcome neurotic behavior patterns and may ultimately shed a deeply ingrained negative sense of self. Patients, psychologists and meditators willing to explore the arduous path outlined here will find much spiritual nourishment.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Oct. 19 2001
Format:Audio Cassette
I think this book is an absolutely wonderful introduction to a particular subset of Buddhist philosophy, and done so in such a way that it may benefit our own lives as well as the academic and practices of psychology today.
Specifically, the examination of the Buddhist Realms of existence (of which there are 6 I believe) and its relation to our states of mind. In doing so, we are treated to stories of the personal struggles of his patients as well as their parallels to Buddhist concepts (most notably the 6 realms).
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good INTRODUCTION (as the depth could be expanded further of course)to Buddhist philosophy within our current scientific concepts, as well as psychologists looking to expand their world view and see ancient Buddhists as their predecessors. A well written and caring book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a book that keeps on giving Aug. 4 2002
Format:Paperback
I picked this book off the shelf in 1995, when it was published, and have read it about five times since. Although I have an advanced degree and am used to difficult books, I found it very challenging, though readable and interesting. I don't think I developed a coherent sense of the profound and helpful ideas in "Thoughts Without a Thinker" until my third or fourth read.
I'd like to thank Mark Epstein for the 20 years of experience, study, practice, thought, and compassion he put into this book. In our anti-intellectual culture it's a pleasure to read a consummately intellectual book that is packed with feeling, humanity, and a dynamic sense of purpose and discovery.
It's reductive to say what I got out of this book, and, in a way, against the spirit of the book. But what I derived from my readings is a profound argument (that has stayed with me, really helped me) for not taking myself, my "tragedies," or, even, anyone else's, too much to heart. To understand that I and my culture burden me with a sense of identity and history that are simply irrationally heavy; to understand that many of my "burdens" can be eased by blending analysis and understanding with a less rational "bare attention" and letting go.
Are you berating yourself for anything? Epstein's marvelous quotes from Buddhist texts speak eloquently for him: "Things are not what they seem. Nor are they otherwise. Deeds exist, but no doer can be found."
It's amazing how much the reviewers of this book agree with one another. I think this speaks to the tremendous integrity of Mark Epstein's effort in this book. Among other things, "Thoughts Without a Thinker" inspires me to try (as non-neurotically as possible) to create something as excellent in my life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag Aug. 4 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Epstein's book is certainly a solid treatment of Buddhist thinking and psychology. He does an excellent job in connecting many of the bohemian-seeming Eastern concepts into a Western framework. However, one must always be careful when procuring information on "psychology" from a psychiatrist. Epstein's bent is consistently psychoanalytic. Had he gone so far as to mention that this perspective is only one of many (and notably, one held by a rapidly shrinking minority of psychotherapists), this book would have been an entertaining read on the combination of psychoanalysis and Zen.
This oversight is particularly noteworthy as many behavioral psychologists (now comprising the bulk of evidenced-based psychotherapy practitioners) have been incorporating Eastern philosophy into their practice for at least the last 20 years. Notable among them are Marsha Linehan, Steve Hayes, and (more closely tied to Zen) Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Overall, this is a well-written book. Readers will enjoy it if taken with a grain of salt and the understanding that Epstein's view represents a minority. If you are looking for an even-handed treatment of the incorporation of Eastern and Western psychology, I strongly recommend reading works by a psychologist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Still trying to figure it all out? This book does a wonderful job of synthesizing modern psychotherapy with buddhism and buddhist psychology. Its very personal and yet provides a map of sorts of how to heal and blossom emotionally, mentally as well as spiritually using the buddhist tradition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Still trying to figure it all out? This book does a wonderful job of synthesizing modern psychotherapy with buddhism and buddhist psychology. Its very personal and yet provides a map of sorts of how to heal and blossom emotionally, mentally as well as spiritually using the buddhist tradition.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Still trying to figure it all out? This book does a wonderful job of synthesizing modern psychotherapy with buddhism and buddhist psychology. Its very personal and yet provides a map of sorts of how to heal and blossom emotionally, mentally as well as spiritually using the buddhist tradition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable information, genuine inspiration. June 22 2002
Format:Paperback
Here is a book, scholarly but not intimidating, to educate and inspire psychotherapy clients and psychotherapists alike. Mark Epstein presents extremely comprehensible introductions to traditional modern psychotherapy and Buddhism, and then weaves the two together with --- among other things --- the words of Sigmund Freud and the Buddha.
As a psychotherapist and author (Embracing Fear, HarperSanFrancisco) who believes that trying to keep spirituality out of psychotherapy is like trying to keep hot dogs out of the ball park, Thoughts Without A Thinker will become a reference point for my work helping clients and readers to identify, walk toward, and ultimately through, their greatest fears.
It is rare for an author to be able to balance so much valuable information with an inspirational message, but Mark Epstein has done it. Read this book and you feel better and be smarter.
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