REL 407/507 Final Paper Topics

Final Paper, due in class, Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

* Double-spaced, 8-10 pages (12-14 for REL507). You may do one of the suggested topics or formulate one of your own. If you wish to do your own topic, then you must submit a one paragraph description by email at least one week prior to the due date. The instructor will review your topic for approval. You may proceed once you have received feedback.
* You are not required to do any outside research for the final paper. However, if you would like to use additional sources, you may do so. I would be happy to recommend some sources if you wish.
* I encourage you to discuss these topics with one another.
* Write your name, the name of the class, and the number and title of your topic ("1. Deep Listening, Deep Hearing," "2. Analytical Psychological and Individuation," etc.) at the top of the page. Be sure include direct quotations and/or page references from the readings relevant to your chosen topic in the body of your paper.
* Please read the essays on my Writing web pages, especially "Four Keys to Writing in the Humanities," "Paper Writing Guidelines," "Checklist for Papers," and "Writing: The Bridge between Consciousness and Unconsciousness."


1. Deep Listening, Deep Hearing
In "The Borderline between Buddhism and Psychotherapy," Mark Unno describes the role of deep listening and deep hearing in the simultaneous realization of human limitation (blind passions) and oneness beyond limitations (boundless compassion) as expressed in Shin Buddhism (pp. 146-148). He follows this with two cases that are very similar in structure (homologous) (pp. 148-152). From the other literature we have read for the class, identify two or three others cases (at lease one each from a Buddhist and psychotherapeutic context) to which this conceptual framework of deep listening/deep hearing, human limitation (blind passion), and oneness beyond limitation (boundless compassion) might be applied. Show how this framework might be applied, and how this leads to a deeper insight about the cases you have selected to examine. For example, what factors not easily accessible to consciousness (subconscious, unconscious) come into play? Or, what factors of cultural diversity, or cross-cultural interaction might be in play? (Note: Although an overview of Shin Buddhism is provided on pp. 146-148, for those wishing a fuller summary, I will be happy to provide a slightly longer version).

2. Analytical Psychology and Individuation
Apply Jung's concept of Individuation (see the readings by Moacanin and/or Ulanov) to two stories we read in the course. In doing so, discuss how the relationship between ego-consciousness, personal unconscious including shadow, and the collective unconscious develop as these stories unfold. You can discuss the collective unconscious in terms of specific, limited archetypes or the all-encompassing archetype of the Self. (Note: Remember, the collective unconscious in Analytical Psychology refers to an unconscious that is ultimately all-encompassing, the "inner" cosmos, as it were.).
Here are the story choices:
Option A: Anne Spencer work with Paige in "The Flowers Scatter" (CR), and Julie Hanada-Lee's own training in Clinical Pastoral Counseling as described in "Shan-dao's Verses on Guiding Others and Healing the Heart," B and P Across Cultures (RT) 
Option B: The cases of Naomi (Chapter 1) and Seth (Chapter 3) in Robert Akeret's Tales from a Travelling Couch (RT).

3. Embodied Practice in Buddhism and Psychotherapy
Discuss the role of embodied practice as an effective vehicle for the realization of Buddhist emptiness/oneness as well as therapeutic process in two to three episodes/case studies taken from Unno, Miyuki, Sugao, Nabeshima and/or Akeret. Discuss how body practices and attention to embodiment is a significant part of these episodes/case studies. Discuss at least one Buddhist story and one case of psychotherapy.

4. Cultural Difference and the Diversity of Human Experience
Discuss two or three cases from the literature that we have read for this course that involve factors of cultural difference, such as gender, hearing able/disabled, and the cross-cultural interaction/appropriation between Buddhism and Psychotherapy. In what ways do these factors become problems in the cases you discuss. Do these problems persist throughout, or are they resolved? Does the presence of cultural difference only inhibit development, or, in skillful hands, can it become helpful in further development psychotherapeutically or deepening realization in Buddhist practice?

5. Application of Diverse Practices
Select one case each of Buddhist practice (such as from Miyuki, Unno, or Nabeshima) and one case from the psychotherapeutic work from Robert Akeret (Tales from a Travelling Couch) and discuss these two cases from the perspective of two authors we read for this course, other than the authors of these cases. We have read multiple authors that give both Buddhist and psychotherapeutic perspectives, so at least some of your analysis should incorporate elements from both. What new insights are gained from applying these perspectives that do not come from the original authors?

6. Select your own topic
Identify one passage from among the readings from Weeks 7 and 8 that relate to a topic concerning Buddhism and psychotherapy that you would like to develop further. Formulate a one paragraph description of the topic that you would like to pursue, in terms of a) a psychological problem that you would like to examine, in a clinical sense; b) a philosophical problem of the similarities and differences between a particular Western psychological view of mind and a Buddhist one; c) a comparison and contrast between Buddhist views of practice and psychotherapeutic views of therapy. Discuss how the passage you have selected helps to address the topic or question that you have selected to work on. If there is another topic you would like to do on your own, then please see me.