Seeing Without Looking: a Psychoanalytic View of Great Perfection Contemplation in Tibet

Detail from the Lukhang Temple Murals, Lhasa, Tibet, early 18th century

Join us at 6:00 PM Wednesday, March 20, as Jacob Dalton, Khyentse Chair of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley, explores connections between psychoanalytic theory and Tibetan Buddhist meditation.

Many agree that the Great Perfection (Dzogchen) tradition marks apogee of Tibetan Buddhist Contemplative theory and practice. With roots in the late eighth century and still popular today, its most creative teachings emerged in the eleventh to fourteenth centuries, inspiring the Tibetan Book of the Dead and countless other writings. Through extended periods of gazing at the sky or being immersed in darkness, its practitioners open their vision to “the marginal” and develop new ways of relating to their experiences. In this talk, Dalton draws on psychoanalytic writings, from Winnicott to Bion, André Green to Bollas, to try to understand how these remarkable contemplations might work to transform their practitioners.

This event is free and open to the public.

Programming for The Second Buddha was coordinated by Associate Professor of Asian Studies Benjamin Bogin through the Skidmore Faculty Scholar Residency, which is co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning and the Office of the Dean of Special Programs; and the Tang Teaching Museum.

About Jacob Dalton

Jacob Dalton, the Khyentse Foundation Distinguished University Professor in Tibetan Buddhism at University of California, Berkeley, holds a joint appointment in South and Southeast Asian Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures. He teaches Tibetan Buddhism. After working for three years (2002-2005) as a researcher with the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, he taught at Yale University (2005-2008) before moving to Berkeley. He works on tantric ritual, Nyingma religious history, paleography, and the Dunhuang manuscripts. He is the author of The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism (Yale University Press, 2011), The Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra (Columbia University Press, 2016), and co-author of Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library (Brill, 2006). He is currently working on a study of tantric ritual in the Dunhuang manuscripts.

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