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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

                                           Reviews for The Sacred Image course  

   "A wonderful East-West synthesis of these two traditions, which includes a compelling      analysis of their respective practices and precepts. Both unique distinctions and                universal characteristics are revealed in this comparative study that brings together

    ancient and modern methodologies of spiritual transformation. I was fascinated and

    truly inspired by the subject matter." - Michael K., New York, USA


   "Very interesting course, and one that made me more fully appreciate the immense            potential that lies within each of us. The use of archetypal imagery in each discipline        to foster expanded states of awareness, and an exposure to the common principles

    that the two systems share, are among the many gifts this course articulates with              passion, clarity, captivating images, and superb scholarship." - Kate W., London, UK

   "The content is comprehensive and very well presented, and my knowledge of the

    two traditions has been greatly increased. I also feel that I've been provided with

    essential tools to further my own spiritual development and that of my clients.   

    Thank you for the many vital perspectives presented." - Angela H., Vienna, Austria 


   "This is much more than just a course, it's a journey into the very heart of human              spirituality. I am very grateful for the insights it revealed." - Maria K., Koln, Germany


   "As a psychologist and Buddhist practitioner, I found the material to be very useful

    in further enhancing my understanding of experiential and psychic processes.

    The lectures, which are beautifully complemented by extensive visuals, are both a 

    joy to absorb and an adventure in human consciousness." - John T., Perth, Australia


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The ten-week online course will take place on a once-per-week basis starting on Saturday, June 1st and will conclude on Saturday, August 3rd. 

     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 archetypal imagery and sacred symbols are employed in each discipline as dynamic agents of healing and trans-formation. Below you'll find the course outline, learning objectives, bibliography, and an extensive collection of visuals from each tradition. After reviewing this material, if you decide that you'd like to engage in this adventure of spiritual exploration and self-discovery, please go to the Contact page of this website and scroll down to "The Sacred Image" section to complete the registration process and/or to make related inquiries. The complete course syllabus will be sent out immediately following your registration, and all reading materials and session videos are included in the course fee of $249. The lectures typically last about 90 minutes, and live sessions take place at the start and end of the course (June 1st and August 3rd) 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 are sent out on Saturday of each week, so in a relaxed and flexible manner participants can view the presentations at any time after receiving them. 

                                               A COMPARATIVE OVERVIEW

     Jungian psychology and Tibetan Tantra emphasize a number of practices and principles that have as their primary focus the treatment of human suffering and the elicitation of spiritual awakening. These two distinct and unique disciplines—one revealing the wisdom of an ancient Eastern spiritual tradition and the other the insights of a contemporary Western psychological framework—are linked most readily through their shared emphasis on the creative use of archetypal imagery (including the mandala and other sacred symbols, such as personified deities) as a means of fostering healing and spiritual development. Both systems also stress that the mind, or psyche, exists as the very foundation of existence

and the primary framework through which liberation (in the tantric tradition)

and psychic wholeness (in Jungian psychology) are pursued. Each emphasizes

the realm of dreams (e.g., dream analysis in depth psychology and dream yoga

in Tibetan Tantra), meditative visualizations (such as the focus on wisdom figures in both disciplines), and an assortment of other precepts and methodologies that,

at their very essence, are designed to facilitate a reconciliation of opposites and the attendant merging of masculine and feminine principles. In addition, each discipline emphasizes a radical shift away from the ego as the center of one's identity toward the realization of an inseparable union with an all-encompassing and boundless psychic matrix.

     It should be noted that both of these disciplines represent complex psycho- logical systems that possess their own distinctive characteristics and include sometimes widely varying notions of a higher spiritual order or ultimate reality (the apparent incongruity between the Jungian Self and the Buddhist “no-Self” being a primary example), but despite such differences both traditions employ 

the creative and contemplative use of sacred archetypal figures and symbols,

or God-images, to induce transpersonal experience and dramatically transform human consciousness. And within this context, it can be said that both systems

are committed to the treating and healing of human suffering as well as the inducement of spiritual awakening through transformative methodologies that share a number of intriguing characteristics.

     Following an introduction to the far-reaching influence of Tibetan Buddhism on Jung's theories and in the world at large, the primary aspects of each discipline are presented in three consecutive lectures that outline their unique formative 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. 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 more fully appreciated (some of the many examples from each tradition are provided at the bottom of this page). 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 represents an essential connecting link between these two esoteric systems. As a culmination to the course theme and content, participants have the option to engage in and provide reflections on their own creative visualization practice (in correlation with the coursework) in order to further illuminate this fundamental aspect and bring an in-depth experiential component to the class. 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 notable 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 Buddhist Tantra, and will be able to clearly distinguish the differences in their central tenets, cosmologies, and practices as well as their sometimes striking similarities.


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


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.



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.          


                                                         Selected Bibliography

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Campbell, J. (2003). Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal. Novato, CA: 

       New World Library.

Campbell, J. (1974). The Mythic Image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Clarke, J. J. (1994). Jung and Eastern Thought: A Dialogue with the Orient. New

       York: Routledge.

Conze, E. (1959). Buddhism: Its Essence and Development. New York: Harper &

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Coward, H, (1992). Jung’s Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In D.               J. Meckel & R. L. Moore (Eds.), Self and Liberation: The Jung/Buddhism                     Dialogue (pp. 261-274). Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

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The World of Tibetan Buddhism
Depth Psychology and its European Heritage
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