Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Buddhism and Positive Psychology

  • Zack WalshEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9378
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Although positive psychology was not officially recognized as a discipline until 1997 (Seligman 2011), its chief concerns have always been the subject of great interest to modern Buddhists. Traditionally, Buddhism focused on eliminating the causes of suffering as pathways to human flourishing, but more recently, Buddhism has more directly emphasized the pursuit of happiness embodied by positive psychology. As David McMahon (2006) notes, this new emphasis is related to the modern spread of secularism, humanism, and materialism, which privileges immanent human concerns and raises people’s expectations and hopes for happiness in this life. Modern ethics scholars have likewise viewed happiness and well-being as the central goal of Buddhist conduct by interpreting Buddhist ethics through Western ethical frameworks, such as utilitarianism (De Silva 1991), consequentialism (Goodman 2009), and virtue ethics (Keown 2001).

In addition, modern Buddhist teachers expound the benefits of Buddhist...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Claremont School of TheologyClaremontUSA