Carl Jung on Zen Buddhism: Don’t Underestimate Its Spiritual Depth

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As many of you know, Carl Jung is one of the greatest western psychologists to have ever existed. Through unlocking the mysteries of our unconscious, he helped people discover their true selves.
He spoke about the beauty of becoming “spiritually whole” and the value in asking ourselves the hard questions. Here is an example from one his quotes:
“I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.”
So when such a revolutionary western thinker talks about becoming our true selves, it’s fascinating to see what he thinks of Zen philosophy. As we all know, Zen philosophy is mainly focused on reducing suffering through achieving “enlightenment”.
Below we have a forward given by Carl Jung for a book titled “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” by D.T Suzuki:
“I should like to warn the attentive and sympathetic reader, however, not to underestimate the spiritual depth of the East, or to assume that there is anything cheap and facile about Zen.
The assiduously cultivated credulity of the West in regard to Eastern thought is in this case a lesser danger, as in Zen there are fortunately none of those marvellously incomprehensible words that we find in Indian cults.
Neither does Zen play about with complicated hatha-yoga techniques, which delude the physiologically minded European into the false hope that the spirit can be obtained by just sitting and breathing.
On the contrary, Zen demands intelligence and will power, as do all greater things that want to become realities.” – Carl Jung
Below I’ve collected 15 quotes that will help you understand yourself and humanity:



“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”


“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”

“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

“As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.”

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ”

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. ”

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”

“Every human life contains a potential, if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted…”

“It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”

source and courtesy: thepowerofideas

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