The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in Zen Thought [Hubert Benoit] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Supreme Doctrine has 25 ratings and 3 reviews. Dr. Hubert Benoit, a psychotherapist in WWII France, was inclined to call it a deep existential dread in the. 1 quote from The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in Zen Thought: ‘My organism is a link in the immense chain of cosmic cause and effect, and I ca.

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Benoit refers to this process as the pattern of our natural development, which leaves us with a great sense of metaphysical distress. The central experience of our existence, beneath the surface waves of happiness and sadness, is a feeling of being continually overstrained.

When we look inside ourselves, we see an ongoing conflict that creates this distress. Benoit describes how this distress comes about and how the mind attempts to handle it, always unsuccessfully. The only real solution, he says, is the interior realization of our true state of being, which he identifies with the radical transformation of satori. Following is a list of key terms used by Benoit and a description of how he presents them.

If they stir your interest to the point of reading the book, be forewarned that you may not find it easy reading. But if your experience is like mine, you’ll find the effort truly rewarding. Benoit says that interior change requires two distinct components: When I first read The Supreme Doctrine nearly twenty years ago, I knew it was an important book for me, but I couldn’t have said why.

Then a few years ago I was inspired to blow the dust off and reread it. I read the first several chapters a little bit at a time over a month or so and then took the book with me on a personal retreat, where his definitions of acceptance and humility proved to be a catalyst for an experience in which I felt as if I encompassed a sphere of knowing too large for my mind to comprehend, where from “up there” everything “down here” was is perfect just as it is, including all the humiliations that life had brought me and all the characteristics that I didn’t like about myself.

The experience lifted a great weight from my shoulders. Rose described the conciliation of opposites, or triangulation in his terms, as the process by which every seeker goes within, climbing Jacob’s Ladder as he retraverses his ray of life back to its Source. Our inner conflict arises around age two, at which time our psychosomatic organism matures to the point where the concept forms that we are a distinct being separated from the outside world.

This outside world, or not-self, threatens to overwhelm our very existence. The instinctive or animal self knows that to survive it has to have the love, or at least the approval of, the “big people. This perspective was captured eloquently by W. When I awoke into my life, a sobbing dwarf whom giants served only as they pleased, I was not what I seemed. Our inner conflict really heats up around puberty, when our psychosomatic organism, or body-mind, forms an intellectual ability to see things from someone else’s point of view.

We begin to realize, at least at odd moments, that we’re not the prime mover and beneficiary of the universe. This abstract self has an intuition of being divine, or having a divine essence, but the constant evidence assailing us contradicts this intuitive feeling.

We see that we’re not omniscient, not unchanging, etc. The abstract self alias The Saint, and the instinctive self see above alias The Sinner, with their incompatible world views, come into immediate and ongoing conflict in their struggle for who’s going to get the upper hand.


Supreme Doctrine: a recap of Hubert Benoit’s main ideas

Imbalances between these two sides of us result in the creation of materialists and idealists see below. When our abstract self is weak and the animal self strong, we become convinced that the threatening not-self can be neutralized over time, by accumulating doctrinne wealth and thus building a moat of security.

The abstract self’s existential doubts are suppressed, and the materialist lives a relatively smooth life. When the abstract self rides high and the animal self low, the idealist comes into being.

Hubert Benoit – The Supreme Doctrine – Zen and the Psychology of Transformation

He has to squelch the animal side of himself, because admitting its existence implies the existence of the not-self, and the abstract self knows that a confrontation with the not-self cannot be won.

Therefore he lives with his head in the clouds. The very nature of our inner, personal world is a system of images from our memory arranged according to our individual psychosomatic structures into compensations.

These compensations keep us from feeling that we’re not the center of the universe, by structuring a universe in our mind that is centered on us. What do these compensations compensate for? Our illusory belief that we’re separated from Reality.

I was an earthworm yesterday And all my life I lived supteme clay And did aspire the light To understand our compensations, all we need to do is to look at our values. Here’s a list of twelve common ones.

Select the ones that are particularly real or important to you, that give meaning to your life, that you would be lost without:.

Honesty, moral integrity 9. Respect, status, stature Benoit describes six compensation categories and how they are related to our individual values. This is how we keep ourselves at the center of our imaginary universe:. Compensations often occur in combination with each other.

A common combination, for example, is that of loving and being loved, which is the ego both nourishing and being nourished by the outside world. This compensation maintains the two necessary, and conflicting, pretenses see below: But what happens when the compensatory images don’t cooperate, as in a rebuff by a loved one? This may lead thee either full inversion or partial inversion. In the case of full inversion, the compensation of loving flips over to one of hating. In this case, we want to be loved but are unable to accept any particular opportunity that comes along, because we both love and hate the same object.

The partial inversion represents a compensation that is no longer working to handle ddoctrine. Benoit defines this situation as neurosis.

The key to change is either through shock, as in the case of the rebuff above, or from an extended period of ordinary living, since compensatory images eventually lose their effectiveness.

This occurs through two channels, both of which have to be activated. The first is the channel of intellect, in our abstract side, where we comprehend that any compensation only works temporarily and can’t relieve our distress permanently.

There is never enough money, love, etc. The other channel is that of concrete suffering. Our animal or emotional self has to learn the same lesson in its own way. Zen, or any system of facing ourselves rather than running away from ourselves, accelerates the process.

Hubert Benoit (psychotherapist) – Wikipedia

One compensatory image loses its effectiveness and is replaced by another, more subtle one. Thus change occurs on a horizontal surface, approaching the vertical wall or abyss of satori.


Pretenses The cause of our distress is never in the outside world, according to Benoit. As our projections, or pretenses, are dashed against the wall of reality, we experience humiliation.

This comes in the form of loss of pride, dignity or self-respect. How can this occur?

Supreme Doctrine: A recap of Benoit’s main ideas

Only because our self-image is faulty. The pretense hubrt The Saint the abstract self goes something like this: This projected Angel pretends ignorance of its animal self and escapes into dreams. Unfortunately the projected image often doesn’t go along with this pretense, and rejection occurs. Benoit offers the hope that when we no longer pretend, nothing will ever injure us again.

Opposing tendencies Our central feeling of distress comes from an ongoing inner argument trying to resolve opposing tendencies.

Fritz Perls in his pop-Gestalt psychology referred to this as a conflict between Top Dog and Underdog. Do I watch TV or do something I’ve been putting off? Do I exercise or get out the ice cream? The general argument often takes the form of indulgence versus restraint. We make a value judgment of the conflicting voices, assigning positive and negative, good and bad, etc. When the preferred tendency wins, we attribute it to will power. When the disavowed side wins, we say we lack will.

There’s a Zen saying that as soon as you have good and evil, confusion results and the mind is lost. Our value judgments elevate one aspect of reality at the expense of a truer composite picture.

Humility and acceptance Benoit distinguishes between acceptance and resignation. Unlike resignation, acceptance follows from considering something with our whole being and arriving at the view that we wouldn’t change it even if we had the power to do so.

Acceptance in the form of the conciliation of opposites see below may appeal to us as the way out of our existential distress, but how do we actually go about it? Benoit tells us that humiliation is the way, but it is not a way. It is not a discipline to be practiced, since trying to be humble is really a form of pride. In our desire to escape from distress, we search for doctrines of salvation and personal gurus.

But the true teacher is our daily life. Instead of trying to modify our pretenses so that we become more adept at avoiding reality, this approach involves using the evidence that comes to us to understand reality and be transformed by it. Satori is released at the instant when the absurdity of all our pretentious efforts produces true humility. Remaining motionless in the recognition of humiliation allows the intervention of the Conciliatory Principle. Calm and relaxation occur. The “old” person dies.

Conciliation of opposites What do we generally do about our inner conflict or distress? We either try to change the outside world or the inside world. By doing the opposite of doctrije negating whatever we think is causing the problem.

For doctirne, if our compensation is one of being loved, rejected affection often turns to anger, and frustrated desire turns to fear of being hurt. On an inner level, we doctrinr self-mastery. Disappointment may lead to a plan to have “no expectations. If desire is the perceived problem, we may decide to become detached. Does our ploy work?