Know Your Own Mind: The Best of Buddhism & Psychotherapy

with Mark Epstein, M.D. and Robert Thurman

August 16 - 18, 2024

The interplay of Buddhism and Western psychology goes back at least a hundred years. The most spiritual of the world’s psychologies and the most psychological of the world’s religions, Buddhism teaches that the cultivation of self-awareness dispels ignorance about the nature of the self. By Freud’s time, much of the intelligentsia was at least marginally familiar with the outlines of Buddhist thought. A religion without a God, where Mind was considered the beginning, middle and end, was naturally of interest to those also drawn to psychoanalysis. In recent times, with mindfulness entering the therapeutic domain, the interplay between the two traditions has grown much more sophisticated. But the underlying psychology of Buddhist thought is still relatively obscure to those drawn to the meditative perspective.

This weekend’s workshop is designed to make Buddhist psychology more accessible. Over the past several decades, Bob Thurman and Mark Epstein have worked together to explain how the two traditions can complement and enhance each other. Topics to be discussed include (but are not limited to) the Buddhist psychology of Abhidharma (the chemistry of the mind), the path of insight, the central concept of emptiness (shunyata) and emptiness as the womb of compassion, the trauma of being alive, and meditation and re-parenting. Meditation instruction will be included.

This page is for registration for virtual online attendance of this retreat. If you would prefer to attend in person at Menla instead, please use this link.

Mark Epstein, M.D.

Mark Epstein, M.D. is a psychiatrist in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism & psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a ThinkerGoing to Pieces without Falling ApartGoing on Being, Open to DesirePsychotherapy without the Self, The Trauma of Everyday Life & Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and is currently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University. For more information about the work and writings of Dr. Mark Epstein, M.D. please visit his website:  

Robert Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as Co-Founder and President of Tibet House US/Menla in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is a leading world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, passionate activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, skilled translator of Buddhist texts, and inspiring writer of popular Buddhist books. His most recent book is the 300 page graphic novel, Man of Peace: the Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

In partnership with Nena Thurman and dedicated contributors, he now focuses on making Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa a global center for the promotion, study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist healing arts and sciences of body, mind, and spirit, dedicated as a complement to the vast life work of its patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Course Curriculum

  Friday, August 16
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  Saturday, August 17
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  Sunday, August 18
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