The institute is pleased to present the following ten-week online course offering:
The Sacred Image: Jungian Depth Psychology, Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, and the Healing and Transformative Power of Archetypal Imagery
The course will take place on a weekly basis starting on Saturday, October 28th and will conclude on Saturday, December 30th.
This cross-cultural and interdisciplinary study provides an introduction to the origins, cosmological precepts, creative and meditative practices, and various forms of artistic expression found in Jungian psychology and Tibetan Buddhism, with particular emphasis on the manner in which mythic imagery and sacred symbols are employed in both disciplines as dynamic agents of healing and spiritual transformation. Pictorial depictions of Jungian archetypes garnered from numerous cultural and religious traditions, combined with the rich and colorful tradition of Tibetan art and architectural forms, will complement the lectures and readings by providing a visual means through which the above aspects can be further examined and elucidated (see also the extensive collection of photos from both traditions at the bottom of this page). Following an introduction to the far-reaching impact of Tibetan Buddhism on Jung's theories and in the world at large, an overview of each discipline is presented in three consecutive chapters that delineate their respective foundational histories, primary tenets, creative techniques, and transformative methodologies. These chapters are further accentuated by a detailed comparative analysis of their contrasting precepts and underlying theories as well as their sometimes striking similarities. The course also includes a chapter devoted specifically to the mandala (as found in traditional Tibetan art and in Jung’s The Red Book and other works), which denotes the most essential connecting link between these two esoteric systems. As a culmination to the course theme and content, participants will participate in and provide reflections on their own creative visualization practice (in correlation with the coursework and guidance of the instructor) in order to further illuminate this fundamental aspect and bring an in-depth experiential component to the class.
All reading materials, session videos, and visual representations are included in the course fee of $249. To register for the course and/or to submit inquiries, please go to "The Sacred Image" section in the Contact page of this website. The lectures last between an hour and 90 minutes, and live sessions take place at the beginning and end of the course (October 28 and December 30) and begin at 10:00 in the morning Pacific Time (USA) and at 7 pm (19:00) Central European Time. The other lectures (sessions 2 - 9) are prerecorded and sent out on Saturday of each week, so participants can freely access them at any time in line with the course schedule. Participants may also contact the instructor via email during and after the course to receive guidance and exchange ideas. An outline of the course and its primary themes can be found below, and a detailed syllabus and access to the study materials will be provided at the time of registration.
Overall Learning Outcomes for the Course:
1) Participants will deepen their understanding of the significance of Tibetan Buddhism in contemporary thought and culture, including its seminal influence on the theories and therapeutic practices found in Jungian depth psychology.
2) Participants will acquire a solid overview of the Indian origins and guiding principles of tantric practice, as well as the historical circumstances, competing influences, fundamental precepts, and spiritual cosmology relating to Buddhist Tantra in Tibet.
3) Participants will gain an in-depth understanding the role of sacred art and mythic representations (both in personified form, as with deity worship, and in abstract form, as with mandalas), and how these various figures and images are employed in creative visualization and meditative practices to elicit healing and spiritual transformation.
4) Participants will receive a broad overview of the early life and predominate formative influences that shaped the thinking of C. G. Jung, which include an array of highly symbolic dreams and other fascinating psychic phenomena.
5) Participants will examine the trajectory and evolution of Jung's psychological theories and practices, which include an intimate exposure to ancient Eastern religious traditions (especially Tibetan Buddhist Tantra) and his in-depth and deeply meaningful explorations of medieval European alchemy.
6) Participants will enhance their knowledge of the influence of Jungian depth psychology in the contemporary world, which includes its contributions to mainstream psychology, its emergence and ever-growing recognition as a form spiritual practice and deeply transformative psychotherapy, and its far-reaching effects on various aspects of modern culture, including film, art, and literature.
7) Participants will engage in a comparative examination of Jungian psychology and Tibetan Tantra, and will be able to clearly distinguish the differences in
their central tenets and cosmologies as well as their overlapping and deeply compelling correlations.
8) Participants will learn and apply the practice of creative visualization on an experiential basis, and will be provided with the practical means of translating their respective experiences within the framework of the course content.
LECTURE TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS:
Week One: THE WESTERN EMBRACE OF THE TIBETAN DIASPORA
The first lecture explores the initial contact, dissemination, and ongoing embrace of Tibetan Buddhist by the West, and provides an overview of the prominent influence of this tradition in various fields, including Jungian depth psychology.
Objectives for Week One:
1) To gain familiarity with the early European explorers who had direct contact with Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the various forms of its subsequent dispersal
in the West.
2) To understand the influence of Tibetan Buddhist Tantra on contemporary Western thought, especially as it relates to the depth psychology of Carl Jung.
3) To receive a general introduction to the course content and the main topics presented in each lecture.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week one.
Week Two: INDIAN ORIGINS & THE COMING OF THE DHARMA TO TIBET Week two explores tantra’s Indian origins, and outlines the initial arrival of Buddhism in Tibet and its contact with the indigenous Bon tradition, the competing social and historical forces that shaped the inherited tradition, the second diffusion of the dharma, and the four primary sects and their lineages.
Objectives for Week Two:
1) To acquire an understanding of the origins of tantric precepts and practices
in the Indian subcontinent.
2) To understand the varying social and historical forces that shaped Buddhism's orientation in Tibet.
3) To comprehend the basic differences and similarities between the four competing sects of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, with their shared emphasis
on the non-dual union of emptiness and bliss in the clear light of Dharmakaya.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week two.
Week Three: THE DIAMOND VEHICLE OF VAJRAYANA
The third lecture provides a more detailed description of the tradition’s fundamental practices and precepts (e.g., its principle deities, symbols, and sacred rituals), and includes commentaries on the Tibetan Buddhist notion of experiential domains, the dying process, post-mortem existence in the bardo, reincarnation, and the distinction between relative and ultimate truth.
Objectives for Week Three:
1) To acquire a basic overview of the tradition's cosmology, including the cosmic entities of the Tibetan pantheon and the ontological realms in which they dwell.
2) To gain an understanding of Tibetan Buddhism's view of earthly existence,
the dying process, post-mortem phenomena, and the transmigration of the disembodied entity.
3) To ascertain a clearer sense of the rich symbolism and mythic forms found in the tradition's art, architecture, and ceremonial monuments and rituals.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week three.
Week Four: SACRED ART AND CREATIVE MEDITATION Week four provides an exposure to Tibetan Buddhism's most prominent forms of artistic practice and creative visualization, including the contemplative focus on deities and mythic symbols as well as engagement in sacred rituals.
Objectives for Week Four:
1) To acquire an understanding of the various forms of meditation and creative visualization, especially as they relate to deity worship, spiritual transformation, and the foundational principles of the related techniques and methodologies.
2) To gain an exposure to the chakra system and its relationship to the body,
its attendant levels and heightened states of consciousness, and the ultimate
nature of being as represented by the non-dual state of diamond luminosity.
3) To ascertain the meaning and purpose of such ritualistic activities as mantra recitation, the creation of sand mandalas, and masked dances.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week four.
Week Five: THE LIFE AND WORK OF C. G. JUNG Week five examines Jung’s early life and his subsequent involvement in the field of psychology, including his contact with Sigmund Freud. Emphasis is given to the most prominent formative influences in his upbringing and early career as well as the powerful dreams and numinous phenomena that shaped his thinking. Objectives for Week Five:
1) To acquire an overview of Jung’s early development and his most consequential experiences and familial circumstances.
2) To understand the relationship between Jung’s most significant dreams and mystical occurrences and their subsequent impact upon his seminal theories and postulations.
3) To comprehend the evolution of his thought and the predominant influences (e.g., Kant, Schopenhauer, Freud, Eastern religious traditions, and medieval alchemy) he encountered and that would be variously applied to his doctrine over the course of his long and productive career.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week five.
Week Six: THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF JUNG’S PSYCHOLOGY The sixth lecture examines the principle characteristics of Jungian depth psychology, with emphasis on its foundational theories and psychotherapeutic applications as well as its influence on contemporary culture.
Objectives for Week Six:
1) To understand the meaning and significance of such primary concepts as
unus mundus (translated as "one unitary world"), the personal and collective unconscious, the ego-Self dyad, individuation, archetypal forms and themes,
numinous experience, and dream phenomena.
2) To comprehend the application and influence of Jung's theories and thera-peutic practices in both mainstream and depth psychotherapy.
3) To examine the impact of Jung’s work on various fields in the modern world, including psychology, philosophy, religious and mythological studies, and creative expression, most notably in art, literature, and film.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week six.
Week Seven: INDIVIDUATION THROUGH ART AND ARCHETYPAL THERAPY Week seven explores the various creative techniques and methodologies employed in Jungian psychotherapy and their attendant theoretical foundations.
Objectives for Week Seven:
1) To acquire a solid comprehension of the various methods and techniques employed in dream analysis, amplification, active imagination, and art therapy, especially in relation to painting and sand tray.
2) To ascertain the underlying theoretical foundations that exist as the basis of the above practices, especially as they relate to Jung’s doctrine of individuation and its archetypal and developmental processes.
3) To gain direct exposure to case studies that provide an experiential foundation for these related theories and therapeutic techniques.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week seven.
Week Eight: JUNGIAN DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY & TIBETAN BUDDHIST TANTRA: A COMPARATIVE VIEW
Week eight provides a brief review of the essential precepts and practices of
both traditions, and presents a comparative analysis of both their divergent characteristics and their attendant similarities, with particular emphasis on the manner in which both systems employ mythic images and creative visualization as powerful agents of psycho-spiritual transformation.
Objectives for Week Eight:
1) To clearly distinguish the most notable differences and similarities in the doctrines of these two disciplines, as well as Jung’s deep appreciation for certain Tibetan Buddhist principles.
2) To review and compare the primary theoretical tenets and creative practices of both traditions, including the manner in which archetypal figures and forms are implemented into their respective transformative methodologies.
3) To gain a more in-depth exposure to the phenomena of reincarnation and post-mortem existence as found in Tibetan Buddhism and Jung’s late work.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week eight.
Week Nine: THE MANDALA: ULTIMATE SYMBOL OF PSYCHIC WHOLENESS
The ninth lecture explores the origins, symbolic meaning, structural make-up, and creative and meditative applications of traditional Tibetan mandalas, and concurrently provides examples of the contemporary mandalas found in Jung’s The Red Book, along with perspectives from both disciplines on their meaning
and significance in psycho-spiritual development.
Objectives for Week Nine:
1) To understand the historical origins and religious framework of the mandala
as it was absorbed and/or created by the Tibetan tradition and later embraced
in Jung's experience.
2) To acquire a deepened comprehension of the cosmological, structural, and symbolic make-up of Tibetan mandalas within the context of their various multifaceted manifestations.
3) To comprehend the significance of mandalas in creative visualization, artistic expression, and dreams in Tibetan tantric practices and Jungian psychotherapy.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week nine.
Week Ten: ENGAGING THE SACRED IMAGE
In this final lecture participants will carefully review the use of archetypal and artistic forms in the creative visualization practices of both traditions, and will
be asked to choose an image (e.g., sacred deity, mythic symbol, or dream figure) to apply within one of the experiential practices presented in the course.
Objectives for Week Ten:
1) To be able to describe the specific goals and guiding principles of creative visualization as they relate to both Tibetan Tantra and Jungian psychology.
2) To deepen one's understanding of how these symbolic forms and motifs apply to one's own unique existence and spiritual development, coupled with the selection of a specific deity or mythic image in preparation for the practice of creative visualization.
3) To perform an experiential exercise in one of the forms of creative or contem-plative visualization presented in the course (to be chosen by each participant
in correlation with a figure or image that deeply resonates on a personal level), and to subsequently translate this experience as outlined in the Final Project below in relation to the resulting inner states of consciousness, bodily sensations, and the spontaneous arising of various psychic phenomena, both on a uniquely individual basis and within the broader context of the course content.
Assigned Reading: Check the course syllabus for week ten.
FINAL PROJECT (optional): Select a Tibetan or Western mandala, or an arche-typal image from the course material or one's own experience (e.g., a potent dream figure), and engage this primary image in the practice of creative visualization, active imagination, or art therapy. Then, in a brief essay of three
to four paragraphs, describe its essential features and how the particular mythic form(s) resonated within the context of both the psychic and somatic sensations that were experienced. In addition, include a brief overview of the related Tibetan and/or Jungian practices and precepts covered in the course material that pertain to one's experience in this process.
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