Jungian Analytical Psychology and Chinese Traditional Culture


Maha Acarya Yang Foxing

(A speech delivered on April 23, 1999 in Beijing University, on April 28, 2000 in Hangzhou Teachers’ College, in Nov. 2000 in Beijing International Studies University, and on Oct.10, 2001 in Shenyang Aviation Institute.)


Chinese traditional culture, under the deep influence of Buddhism, shows special characteristics in tapping one’s mind and applying it, thus surpassing Western psychology. However, some people still hold doubts about Buddhism. As a matter of fact, many Marxist authorities and world celebrities spoke highly of Buddhism. Some of their speeches are quoted hereafter.


Karl Marx said, “Dialectics has reached a relatively high level in Buddhism.”


Chen Duxiu said, “Comprehensive, subtle and profound is Buddhism, a belief I have always clung to without the least doubt.”


Mao Zedong said, “Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, preached that all sentient beings were equal. He was, actually, speaking on behalf of the oppressed people in India at that time. To put an end to the sufferings of all beings, he renounced his throne, left home life and established Buddhism. Therefore, Buddhists cooperate with us Communists for the same goal, which is to eliminate oppression and sufferings of sentient beings. In the ancient time, the Buddha spread the extensive and profound doctrines, bringing peace to the whole world. Master Hui Neng, who advocated that Buddha nature was innate in everyone, established the teaching of “sudden enlightenment to reach Buddhahood”, a doctrine which made the profound Buddhism accessible on the one hand, and on the other hand, endowed Buddhism which was introduced from India with Chinese characteristics.”


Sun Yat-sen said, “Buddhism is the remedy of the world and the mother of philosophy. Studying Buddhism can help rectify the partiality of science.”


Yang Zhenning said, “Buddhism, one of the greatest religions of the world, has exerted far-reaching influence on Chinese culture since it was introduced to China more than two thousand years ago.”


Albert Einstein said, “If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism. Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind. Space, time and form are misperception of mankind. The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal god and avoid dogmas and theology covering both the natural and spiritual; it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description."  


These celebrities’ outlook on life and on the world may differ, however, as all sentient beings possess Buddha nature, and they adopted a matter-of-fact attitude, they all made right commentaries on the extensive and profound Buddhism.


Buddhism has been spreading in China for centuries, the essence of which has been absorbed by the Chinese people and has even been endowed with Chinese characteristics; therefore, it has become a big part of Chinese traditional culture.


Western psychology, whose doctrines are not thorough enough and whose applications are not extensive, will gain new ideas if it can absorb the essence of Chinese traditional culture, thus starting to reform, innovate, and develop.


Part I     Treating Eastern and Western Cultures Wisely

      as They Need to Complement Each Other


The First Psychology Festival of Universities in Beijing introduced psychology as a young science. As a subject to study in universities in China, it may be described as a young science. However, long time ago, the Chinese people started to study, analyze and make use of the mind, and they have reached the peak of research, analysis and application.


In December 1998, I attended the First International Conference on Jungian Psychology and Chinese Culture. In the reports and papers, all the foreign experts mentioned Chinese traditional culture, and they showed special interest in Taoism, I Ching (Yi Jing, or the Book of Change) and Ch’an. Their reports show that they have done a thorough research into Chinese traditional culture.


Eastern and Western cultures differ in connotations and methods, but they are complementary to each other, and neither should be over-emphasized at the expense of the other. Western culture fumbled twice in the course of its development. The first blunder was the absolute worship of God, regarded as the omnipotent and the center of everything. The second was the worship of science and material things, considered to be the almighty. Chinese culture, with the advantage of overcoming these two kinds of worship, exerted great influence over the two great changes that took place in the West.


Since the beginning of the 20th century, the worship of science and material things has brought about many social problems and campus problems. Thus, New Humanism started; and to a large extent, it made use of Eastern thoughts. With the advancement of scientific research, Westerners are now trying to use Eastern theories to illustrate many phenomena, which cannot be explained by present Western perceptions. As the Westerners already began to attach great importance to the Chinese culture, we Chinese people should make more efforts in tapping the essence of our culture. In my opinion, Chinese culture will have positive influence over the development of China and the world, now and in the future. Historical facts are worthy of our attention. China in the T’ang Dynasty was then the most powerful country in the world, and Chinese culture was spread to all over the world. Even now, China Towns can still be found in many cities in the world. When overseas Chinese return to China, they still say, “Go back to the T’ang country.” This fact clearly shows the great influence of Chinese culture. Therefore, the young generation in China should treat the heritage of the motherland with the right attitude, study it with modesty, tap its essence, and spread it widely.


Part II     The Important Meaning of Mind and the Methods

Leading to Sudden Enlightenment


Wherever there are people, there are psychological problems. As peace, disorder, happiness or sadness is caused by the human mind; analytical psychology has extensive applications, from important issues like politics, economy, military affairs and culture, to small matters like getting along with people in our daily life. Everything is closely related to the human mind. Therefore, it is very important to understand, gather, stimulate and transform the mind.


No other thing in the world is larger than the human mind. In my childhood, whenever I quarrelled with other people, my mother would teach me, saying, “Good and evil will have their reward. I would rather be betrayed than betray others. We cannot expect anything good in this life, but we hope our next life will be better.” During the Cultural Revolution, General Chen Yi also spoke the following words indignantly, “There is justice in this world.” This conventional moral concept has long taken roots in people’s hearts, restraining people’s behaviors, and playing a great role in safeguarding the peace and unity of the country. Unfortunately, such good moral concepts were criticized and destroyed by the Gang of Four. As a result, many modern people think that everything will end when they die. 


Some extremists hold such terrible idea, “Now that everything ends when one dies, why don’t I seek pleasures when I am still alive? Why don’t I use the money as there is no point in saving it?” As a result, they are indulged in obscene acts, gambling and taking drugs. When they have no money, if they have the opportunity to embezzle or take bribes, they will do it without hesitation; if they have no such chances, they would risk their lives, stealing, robbing, holding people hostage, killing, raping, selling sex, and taking drugs. If they are not arrested, they will indulge in sensual pleasures to their heart’s content. Even if they are under arrest, they think that all will die, and dying in this way is better than dying of starvation or in poverty. Not long ago, it was reported in the newspaper Southern Capital that, when Chen Shuiping, a criminal who was sentenced to death, was taken to the execution ground, he couldn’t help guffawing. Such mentality is indeed frightening.


On the other hand, terrorists hold another psychological heretical idea. They think that, if they fight the holy war, upon their death, they will meet Allah in the heaven, where everything is in abundance and they can enjoy everything happily, so they needn’t be so attached to the worldly life. As a result, with explosives tied to their bodies, they killed innocent people and themselves.


Both of the two kinds of people mentioned above ignore a law, described by Albert Einstein as “The strict law of cause and effect existing in the universe”. Where there is the acting force, there is bound to be the counter acting force. All the evil actions one has done will be answered for. Even if he dies, what he has done does not come to an end. Terrorists, who committed the most heinous crimes of indiscriminately killing the innocent people, even dreamed of going to heaven. What wishful thinking! Instead of ascending to heaven, they are destined to undergo endless sufferings in the hell.


In order to solve the psychological problems well, we need to, besides grasping professional skills, study the human mind itself, which is more important.


The great psychologist Jung, while still a freshman in the university, said, “Science has opened the door to knowledge, however, methods leading to sudden enlightenment are scarce.” Through reading philosophical books, he understood the importance of the human mind. He said that, there would not have been knowledge without the human mind; or more exactly, without the human mind, people cannot apply scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. However, it is difficult indeed to find what Jung described as “methods leading to sudden enlightenment” in the West. If we bare no prejudice, and do not isolate ourselves, we can find that Ch’an meditation, a heritage of the Chinese culture, answers Jung’s description. In the early 1980s, Qian Xuesen, a famous scientist in China, published an article in the newspaper Human Science. He wrote, “Can Ch’an meditation actually enhance one’s intelligence? Foreigners, especially scientists, now pay great attention to it, and are seriously practicing it. It is said that the result of practicing Ch’an meditation is marvelous. Ch’an is originally our cultural heritage, however, unlike foreign people; we Chinese people don’t attach importance to it now.”


Later, more and more people started to practice Ch’an in China, and in 1991, the Ch’an Society of Beijing University was established. In recent years, I have been invited four times by the society to give talks on Ch’an, and they aroused echoes in the hearts of the teachers and students who poured in to attend the lectures.


Ch’an is the abbreviation of Ch’anna, which in turn is the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word Dhyana, meaning collectedness of mind or meditative absorption. It refers to the process of calming the distracted mind in which all dualistic distinctions are eliminated. Facts show that, if one attends a lecture or reviews the lessons with a concentrated mind, the effect will be good; and if his mind is distracted, the effect will be undesirable.


The effect of Ch’an meditation is inconceivable!


After Ch’an Master Yi Xing, a famous ancient scientist whose lay name was Zhang Sui, reached sudden enlightenment through practicing Ch’an meditation, he became intelligent, quick in thinking, and had wide learning and a powerful memory. He had many great inventions, and attained glorious achievements in the fields of astrology and mathematics. Da Yan Calendar, which was invented by him, could accurately record the speed of the earth rotating around the sun, and it also gave the methods to divide the 24 solar terms. Another invention, the armillary sphere powered by water, not only could show the law of movement of the sun and the earth, but also could record the time automatically, thus becoming the first mechanical clock in the world. The ecliptic armillary sphere, invented in 725, could measure the positions of the sun, the earth and five planets in their respective orbits, proving that the positions of fixed stars were not actually fixed, a discovery made more than 1,000 years earlier than European astrologists. In 724, he conducted the measurement of astrology and geography on a large scale, and precisely measured the length of the meridian line, the first job ever done in the world history of science. More than one thousand years ago, when scientific equipment was so backward, Master Yi Xing of the Tang Dynasty could make such great achievements. How rare and commendable!


Ancient people had such wonderful result after practicing Ch’an meditation. What about modern people who practice Ch’an then?


One of my students, Dr.Xu, started to practice meditation with me in March 1996. The effect of his practice began to show, and he became more and more intelligent. Though he is 36 years old this year, he has published more than 60 papers of high quality in the key magazines in China and abroad. Besides, he was rewarded by the Ministry of Education of China and the Committee of Education of Guangdong Province for some of the scientific researches he has done. This year, he got the highest reward in the field of physics in Guangdong Province, so he was allocated with 800,000 yuan as scientific funds.


Another student of mine, Dr. Jiao, started to practice meditation with me in March 1996. After only 15 days, she changed into a completely different person, becoming healthy, strong-willed, amiable and more intelligent. She made great efforts in practicing meditation and spent a lot of time on it; however, her studies were not affected, and, on the contrary, were improved greatly. The Chinese saying “A workman must sharpen his tool if he is to do his work well” shows her way was right, as she became more intelligent through practicing meditation, she could make progress in her studies. Her studies and meditation practice enhanced each other, and she is accomplished in both aspects. For example, she needed to pass CET Band Six while she was studying for Master’s Degree. One afternoon, after practicing meditation, she learned 600 new English words by heart; thus, she passed the test without any difficulty. She was supposed to study Master’s Program for three years, but, as she did outstanding job with her studies, her tutor recommended her to sit for the Entrance Exams to Doctor’s Program. She came out first in the tests. It is difficult for a Ph.D candidate to be given scientific funds. Dr. Xu once told me, “Many of my colleagues, who got their Ph.D degree in foreign countries, cannot get the scientific funds, and they feel very depressed.” But this proved no difficult job for her, for the first time she applied for a fund, she was granted with 20,000 yuan. The result of her research was also satisfactory. Her thesis for Ph.D degree was given the highest mark in her department, and her oral presentation of the thesis was regarded the best. In the first term of 1999, she went to another university to do post-doctoral research on Photonic and Chinese Traditional Medical Science with an Academician from the Academy of Science of China. Within only one year, she was promoted to be a Physician-in-Charge, and a laser medical apparatus invented by her was patented. This term, she won another bid, and was allocated with 180,000 yuan as scientific fund. As the term Photonic and Traditional Chinese Medical Science was initiated by her tutor and her, she was invited to deliver a speech on this new branch of science, in the People’s Hall in Beijing in November this year. After she practiced meditation, everything goes smoothly, and she has a bright future.


In order to be admitted to university to study Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degrees, ordinary students must make strenuous efforts. However, an undergraduate in Tsinghua University, who practiced meditation with me, seemed to be an exception. The effect of his practice was obvious; his merits accrued and intelligence was enhanced. He is only 19 years old studying in Grade Four for Bachelor’s degree, but, because of his outstanding academic performance, he was chosen by a tutor to enter Doctor’s Program without taking any written tests. After the interview, he was admitted to be a Ph.D candidate. I also published one article entitled “Questions and Answers”, which cited real examples of students who practiced meditation with me. The website is http://www.tangmi.com.


The above-mentioned facts show that, Ch’an meditation can really improve one’s quality, enhance his intelligence and power of memory; however, practitioners should receive instructions from an authentic master to achieve quick progress. Otherwise, if he practices with a heretic teacher, he can hardly have any effect, or he may even go crazy.


Language is the tool for people to communicate their thoughts and feelings. It is important for one to be intelligent and have a strong power of memory to learn it well. A strong memory can help one grasp a foreign language well. If he is intelligent, he can quickly respond to people’s speeches and understand their meanings.


Besides, one has to break off the Obstruction Caused by Previous Knowledge or Experience when learning a foreign language. Learning a foreign language in the way of speaking Chinese – the native language will become Obstruction Caused by Previous Knowledge or Experience.


Part III     The Importance of Knowing Oneself

            and Knowing Others Well


A Chinese proverb goes, “One must know himself and the others well enough, and judge another person’s feelings by his own.” A psychological analyst should have such ability. If he knows himself well enough, he can exploit his advantage to the full, rectify his mistakes, purify his inner world, enhance his intelligence, so as to explore and tap the potentials of his mind. If he knows other people well, he can keep himself away from evil-minded people, so as not to be defiled by them, and get instructions from kind teachers and good friends. With help from other people, he can accomplish his goal easily, and benefit the country and people when conditions arise. Besides, when he knows other people well, he can act according to circumstances, and properly deal with human relationship. A psychologist must think deeply about the above-mentioned two points, and apply them into actual practice.

To be an outstanding psychologist, one has to break off Obstruction of Vexations and Obstruction Caused by Previous Knowledge or Experience so as not to hinder the development of his way of thinking and that of his mind. It is not good to adhere stubbornly to one’s own idea; and echoing what others say is also a coward’s act. For a seeker of the truth, he has to eradicate mundane passions. He should refute myths which are not true, but should hold no doubt about true miracles. He must, therefore, respect facts.

There are, in this world, people with supernatural powers, who can read and change people’s minds, and such people are super psychologists.

Burf Messing (Sound translation from the Chinese), a Jew born into a poor family in Poland, led a life of wandering even in his childhood. One time, because of starvation, he was fatally ill, unconscious, and on the verge of death. However, after he was saved by a doctor, he attained a supernatural power, the ability to read and change people’s minds. Since then, he began to make a living by giving people performances. The first time when he showed this power, he walked to a place crowded with people, and said to an old lady, “Madam, you have your own bakery. Is that right? This morning, you had a quarrel with your husband regarding the price of the cakes. Is it true?” The woman answered, “Yes, but how do you know it?” Then, he went to an old man, and started, “Sir, your son was recruited in the army. Is it true? He hasn’t written a letter to you for a long time, and you miss him very much.” The old man replied, “Yes, indeed. I am longing to hear from him every day. I am so worried that he may be killed. I am so upset.” Messing was flexible, giving performance according to the situations. Even though he was only 15 years old in 1914, he was a well-known celebrity.

In 1915, two famous scientists, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, were in Vienna. They had discussed about the ways to test Messing in advance, and then, Einstein invited Messing to his apartment for dinner. After drinks were served, Freud gave the order in his heart. At once, Messing left his seat, walked into Einstein’s room, took a tweezers from a drawer, and pulled two white beards from Einstein’s face. Convinced of this man’s supernatural power, these two giants broke into a loud laugh. Freud, admiring Messing from the bottom of his heart, said, “If I can be reborn as a man, I will bow to you as my master, and no longer do psychological analysis which you regard as slow and complicated.”

When Messing was interviewed by journalists in the capital of Poland, he made the following comment, “If Hitler attacks Poland, he will cause self-destruction.” How could Hitler listen to his warning! In 1939, the German army invaded Poland, so Messing was arrested and put to prison. However, he behaved as if nothing had happened, but in his heart, he gave two orders. The first was to make the janitor unlock his room, and the second was to make all the guards go to the meeting room. Confused and dizzy, all the guards followed the orders, and he took the opportunity to flee.

Later, after Messing escaped to USSR, he still earned his living by giving people performances. Stalin, after knowing it, flew into a towering rage, as he would not allow Messing to give such superstitious performance. But Messing was an international celebrity, Stalin had to find an excuse to catch him, so he asked a guard to send for Messing and spoke to him, “I only want to test your performance. I have no other intentions. Can you draw 100,000 roubles from the Soviet National Bank with a piece of blank paper?” Messing knew the reason why Stalin made such unreasonable demand, so he answered, “No problem.”, and with a bag in his hand, he set out to the bank at once. Stalin sent a man to watch him. Messing walked to a counter of the bank, and showed him the piece of paper. After reading the paper, the cashier went to the storeroom to get 100,000 roubles for him. Even though this test was successful, Stalin did not drop the idea of arresting him, so he said to Messing, “Go back to the bank to return the money. Come to meet me in my office this afternoon.” Reading Stalin’s mind, Messing said, “I will be there on time.” It was obvious that asking Messing to go to the Kremlin equalled asking him to die, as the Kremlin was heavily guarded by sentries, and Messing had no document of pass. When Messing returned the money to the bank, the cashier took out what he thought was a cheque. Seeing that it turned out to be a piece of blank paper, he fainted and fell to the ground at once. When it was the appointed time for Stalin to meet Messing, Stalin was reading documents in his office. Raising his head suddenly, he saw in front of him standing Messing. Startled, he asked, “How did you manage to enter?” Messing replied, “A piece of cake. When I passed the sentries, in my heart I was thinking I was Beria, so they saluted to me and I passed.” Stalin thought to himself, “It’s difficult to deal with such a man. I’d better treat him politely, and give him freedom so as not to cause any trouble.”

Part IV     The Broad Sense of the Human Mind

The science of education and psychology are the two basic disciplines to tap the potentials and creative power of human beings. The greatest potentials of a man lie in his own mind, and as psychology and Buddhism both tap the faculty of mind, it is important to make clear the broad sense of the human mind.

Buddhism holds that, mind is the thinking faculty of sentient beings, and it can be divided into three levels. The low level is mainly affected by consciousness, the middle level by Alaya Vijnana while the high level by Dharmadhatu Nature (Buddha Nature). The first two levels are defiled and the last is pure. The more defiled one’s mind is, the more vexations he has, and the more dizzy his mind is. Such state causes one to be bound by the cycle of life and death. On the contrary, the pure heart is bright and at ease, full of potentials; it is in the state of no birth and no death. It can have miraculous functions according to different situations and will never be deluded. All sentient beings possess the three kinds of minds as mentioned above, but ordinary people merely know consciousness, and only wise people know Alaya Vijnana and Dharmadhatu. The goal of Ch’an meditation is to purify the defiled mind and transform it into pure mind.


Although all beings have the three kinds of minds, as the degree of defilements vary, they are different, some being very smart and some stupid. Some people with good roots (higher spiritual capacity), though they have not studied or practiced Buddhism yet, could also speak principles similar to Buddhist doctrines. For example, Carl Jung’s descriptions of consciousness, the unconscious, and the collective unconscious, to some extent, parallel to some Buddhist theories.

A.   Consciousness and the Unconscious.

Jung said, “Consciousness and unconsciousness are both important in that consciousness derives from the unconscious, and it is manifested in the unconscious.” He continued to say, “Unconscious is, everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything that will sometime come to consciousness”(“On the Nature of the Psyche”, CW 8, par. 382.)

Buddhism holds that, the seeds of one’s experience and thought are all stored in his Alaya Vijnana, and they are called Seed Dependence. In psychology, they are called the unconscious or subconscious. Such seeds will re-appear in one’s thinking when conditions are ripe.

Everyone has dreams, and they are also psychological phenomena; therefore, analysis of dreams is an important part of Jungian psychology. However, western people’s analysis of dreams cannot match that of the eastern people. Analysis of dreams, carried out by using Buddhist doctrines, is even more scientific and convincing.

According to Buddhism, consciousness (brain) is divided into Five Complete Consciousnesses and Single Consciousness. Five Complete Consciousnesses mean, when the five kinds of senses, namely, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body function, consciousness must interact with them so as to understand and differentiate the objects being perceived. Single Consciousness means that, the five senses of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body don’t function, but consciousness functions on its own. For example, before a person starts writing an article, the thinking process is the functioning of the Single Consciousness. When he is writing it, the Five Complete Consciousnesses work at the same time. The above-mentioned two categories of consciousness can realize the following three kinds of states

1.     The State of Reality. It is the reality discovered by the functioning of the Five Complete Consciousnesses, or through the functioning of Single Consciousness by a practitioner in Samadhi, or the reality a practitioner experiences in his dream. Sometimes, when emergency occurs, some people have telepathy. The person involved has strong mental power, which will affect the relatives, so that in dreams they can know the reality through the functioning of Single Consciousness.

During the anti-Japanese war, as Huiyang Area in Guangdong Province was occupied by Japanese soldiers, a businessman called Zhihong fled to Hong Kong, leaving his son attending the middle school to stay with a relative in a town called Liangjing. One night, he had a dream in which his son was thrown dead. After waking up, he was obsessed with the terrible scene. At that time, Japanese soldiers were everywhere along the route from Hong Kong to Liangjing, and all communication was cut off. Loving his son so much, Zhihong took the risk of walking through a roundabout way, with the intention of finding out what had actually happened to his son. To his deep grief, after reaching home, he found his son indeed dead, so he cried out mournfully. Surprisingly, just at that moment, blood flew from the nose and mouth of the son, who died several days ago. Can people believe such telepathy? This example shows that, reality, discovered through the functioning of consciousness, is called the State of Reality.

2. The State Mingled with Reality. When one’s Single Consciousness functions in dreams, the state he experiences is the reality, but as it is mingled with association, it changes, and is therefore called the State Mingled with Reality.

The wife of Han Shizhong, a famous general in the Song Dynasty, used to be a beautiful prostitute. One day, she made an appointment with someone, to go to wait on an important official in his residence at midnight. Before going out, she had a dream in which she saw a tiger crouching on the ground in front of the official’s house. After waking up, she did not dare go, so she watched from a distance. There was no tiger there, but a soldier was lying on a stone. The woman thought this soldier would become famous and prosperous in the future, so she told him that she would like to marry him in the future. As expected, the soldier later became a very famous general. In the dream, the woman saw this powerful-looking soldier, so she thought that he would become a mighty tiger-like general, thus the soldier was transformed into a tiger in her dream.

3. Single Image State (Illusionary State)

In dreams, because of deep-rooted habits, the Single Consciousness makes blind and disorderly conjectures. As a result, dreams are nothing but illusions, not the reality. The saying “One dreams of what he thinks in the day time” is an example of such state.

Buddhism divides dreams into the following categories.

1.    Dream of Previous Experience


Once, when Carl Jung was treating a young Austrian, he asked the patient whether he had any dreams recently. The man said, “Yes. I dreamed of a picture of the Eight Diagrams.” He then drew the picture for the therapist. As there were no such Taoist symbols or images known to people in that country at that time, Jung felt greatly puzzled.

According to Buddhism, one can never think of what he has never experienced, therefore, in his previous incarnations, the young man must have experienced something relevant to the Eight Diagrams, and the Seed Dependence, called as subconscious in psychology, had been stored in his Alaya Vijnana. Before he was treated by Jung, the conditions were ripe for the seed to appear, so it manifested itself in his dream. This treating experience thus became a bridge for Jung to study the Taoist book I Ching (the Book of Change).

2.    Telepathic dreams.

Nagabodhi Bodhisattva, the Fourth Patriarch of the T’ang Dynasty Esoteric School, knew that his disciple Subhakarasimha had strong affinity with China, so he asked the disciple to spread the esoteric teachings to this country. Half way on the journey, Subhakarasimha thought to himself, “I must subdue the emperor’s heart first. Only then can I spread Buddhism without any obstructions.” The same night, the emperor dreamed of a majestic-looking and dignified monk. Knowing that the monk was eminent, he drew a picture of the monk on the wall. Later, when Subhakarasimha paid a visit to the emperor, the emperor recognized him because he was identical to the man the emperor once dreamed of. Therefore, the emperor showed him the greatest respect, and took him as the National Master. Subhakarasimha, one of the Three Mahasattvas of the Kai Yuan Period, came to China first.

Huang Tingjian, whose style name was Shangu, was a smart and talented person even when he was little. He was a literary giant as famous as Su Dongpo, so people called them “Su Huang”. When he was in the twenties, Huang held a very important government position equaling Magistrate of an area. One night, he had a strange dream: an old lady asked him to take porridge cooked with celery, and he enjoyed it to his heart’s content. After waking up, he could still taste the celery in his mouth. Besides, the old lady was visible before his eyes. He felt so puzzled, and had the impulse of visiting her. However, knowing it was only a dream, he dismissed the idea. The second night, he had the same dream again! He then resolved to check and find out. Walking along the street, he could still recall the way to the house in the dream. When he reached the door, he recognized it, for it looked exactly the same as the one in his dream. He then knocked at the door, and an old lady came out. She was no other person than the old woman in his dream, so he asked, “Madam, did you ask anyone to eat celery porridge these two days?” The woman replied, “Yes. It was the memorial day for my daughter’s death yesterday, and as she loved celery porridge in her life, I cooked it, put it on the altar, and asked her to eat it.” Huang asked again, “What was your daughter keen on doing?” The woman answered, “She loved literature, poems, calligraphies, singing and dancing, but she wouldn’t want to get married.” Then, the old lady pointed at a wardrobe, saying, “All her things were put there. As I can’t find where the key is, I have never opened it.” Suddenly, Huang recalled the place where the key was put, so he suggested, “Go to get it in a certain place in her room.” Sure enough, she found the key exactly in the position Huang described. After Huang opened the wardrobe, he found the calligraphies, paintings and poems to his taste, as if he had done them by himself. Therefore, he asked, “When did your daughter die?” The woman said, “27 years ago.” Huang was then 26 years old, so he understood everything completely, and in an affectionate and sincere manner, he spoke to her, “Madam, you are old and weak, without anybody taking care of you. I think you are such an amiable woman, and want to take you as another mother of mine. Please live with me, and let me support and take care of you. Is that all right?” Naturally, the old lady happily accepted the offer. Huang Tingjian’s dream is a combination of Dream of Previous Experience and Telepathic Dream. After having this experience, Huang wrote a poem “Looking like a monk, but I grow hair; Resembling a worldly person, but I transcend the mundane. I am now living in a dream of dream, but I realize another body outside this body.”

3.    Prophetic Dreams

Dr. Rodgers (Sound translation from the Chinese) wrote an article recording the dream in which he dreamed President Kennedy was assassinated. His article quotes, “On June 2, 19 and the Sixth Avenue of New York city. Then I saw a lot of people, which was a Sunday, I slept from half past two to half past five in the afternoon. I dreamed that I was standing by the window, facing No.13 Boulevard moved in a funeral procession. They were holding a banner, and the last few words were ‘President Kennedy was assassinated’. Even after waking up, I could still remember the words on the banner clearly, so at 9pm, I phoned Dr. Betrand Schultz, and related my dream to him. I also said that I had the feeling that Bob Kennedy would be assassinated on June 6 on the Sixth Avenue.


At 5:50 in the morning of June 6, 1968, Dr. Schultz called me, and he said, “Your dream was true.” My wife and I turned on the radio at once, and we heard reports on the assassination of Bob Kennedy.”

4.    Confused Dreams

As a person has consciousness, definitely he has thoughts, and therefore, such dreams are caused by the functioning of consciousness in his dreams. As the word dream means thinking in sleep, what is dreamed of is not true. He dreams of what he thinks of in the daytime. As mundane people’s dreams are caused by thinking faculty, they are confused, and belong to the Single Image State (Illusionary State).

B.   Collective Unconscious

Jung said, “There exists a spiritual system concerning the collective, general and personal. It is the same collective unconscious in all individuals.” In my opinion, Jung’s comment, to certain extent, parallel to the Buddhist doctrine that all sentient beings possess Buddha nature.

Jung also said, “Nothingness is the same as fullness. In infinity full, is no better than empty. Nothingness is both empty and full. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities.” The meaning of this remark parallels to the esoteric meaning of Akasagarbha of the T’ang Dynasty Esoteric School, and to the sentence from the Heart Sutra “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.”

Part V     Realization and Application of Psychology


When Carl Jung was studying in the middle school, he was not good at writing. Once, with all his heart, he wrote a very good article, but his teacher suspected that he copied it. Feeling unjustly treated, Jung simmered with anger, and wanted to argue with the teacher. Later, he asked himself, “How can I prove this article is not plagiarized?” He thought about it with all his heart, like a Ch’an practitioner with all his mind on Huatou (a Ch’an meditation practice during which the meditator focuses his attention on a penetrative question like “Who is it that recites the Buddha’s name”), and finally he obtained the awakening of the “Number Two Personality”. The awakening and functioning of the Number Two Personality is crucially important to Jung, and Jung’s achievements came from the strength of his Number Two Personality.

Jung said, “We don’ think that psychology is academically meaningful or merely seeks irrelevant explanations to one’s thinking and life. What we need is a psychology that can produce perfect result.” When asked how to find such psychology, Jung answered, “You needn’t seek it from external things, as the truth is hidden in you. The so-called inner being is the Number Two Personality.” He added, “External things cannot replace one’s internal experiences at all. We must use inner experiences to prove the theories.”

In my opinion, the Number Two Personality as used by Jung, to some extent, parallels to the Buddhist concept Bodhi. The Sixth Patriarch of the Ch’an School said, “Bodhi is sought from within. What is the use of seeking it from outside?” This sentence is similar to Jung’s claim that “you needn’t seek from external things, as the truth is hidden in you.” It is not known whether Jung studied the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra. The Sixth Patriarch was a great master with exceptionally good roots, and ordinary people were not his match. When the Fifth Patriarch blessed and spoke the Diamond Sutra to him, he was enlightened upon hearing the sentence “One should bring forth such a mind that does not abide in anywhere”, and then he said the five “who would have thought”. Despite his illiteracy, the Sixth Patriarch could expound Buddhist sutras. He gave Dharmas talks according to the situations. His responses to people’ questions were quick and appropriate. The fact that he could expound Buddhist sutras despite his illiteracy well proves the wonderful function of his remarks “The profundity of various Buddhas has nothing to do with the written language. With the realization of self-nature, one penetrates his true heart.

When the Sixth Patriarch attained the Samadhi of Oneness and Samadhi of One Form, he handled things flexibly. Examples from the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra are quoted hereafter.

Example 1. Fa Da’s paying obeisance to the Sixth Patriarch

Example 2. Shi Tou Xi Qian’s seeking instruction from the Sixth Patriarch

Example 3. The Sixth Patriarch could not be killed by a murderer

Example 4. Story of a person trying to steal the head of the Sixth Patriarch from the grave.

The above-mentioned facts meet Jung’s requirements of a psychology that can produce perfect results.

The patient’s dream of the picture of the Eight Diagrams triggered Jung’s study of the Taoist theories and I Ching. Little is known about his achievements in these two fields, but his attention to Taoism and I Ching caused his students to attach great importance to Chinese culture.

In the history of China, there have been some famous politicians and strategists, who were extremely good at analyzing people’s psychology, like Jiang Gong of the Zhou Dynasty, Zhang Liang of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bowen of the Ming Dynasty, and Zhuge Liang of the Period of the Three Kingdoms. They have one characteristic in common, which can be summed up by a poem, “Free of desire, one on his ideal sheds light/far from tumult, one can attain to a great height/Contemplating indoors, conquering outside/is the one with deep insight.”


The first two lines show their method of practicing the mind, while the last two display the application of the mind. To illustrate the method of practice, take Zhang Liang for example.


Zhang Liang, a man with great wisdom and bravery, helped establish the Han Dynasty; however, as he knew the mentality of the people in the court, he resigned from his post later. Before becoming a government officer, he took Huang Shi as his teacher. Huang taught him, “The greatest thing is to cultivate virtues, and the most auspicious thing is to be contented. You must be modest and observant, getting rid of the shortcomings and bringing your good points into full play. Respect yourself, and practice hard. Restrain action with motionlessness; overcome strength with softness; control flightiness with steadiness. Gather all the energies within. Make a correct assessment of the situation, and don’t take action without sound judgment. When you take action, you must have the clear aim, right attitude, concentration, strong will, perseverance, and the spirit of making further progress.” Zhang Liang bore all the words in his heart, and made unremitting efforts to improve himself. When conditions were opportune, he took action and was successful.


Among the four people mentioned above, Liu Bowen is the one with a great mind.


After Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the previous regime and established the Ming Dynasty, he made a plot so as to safeguard his power. He had a building erected, where he would reward the generals who helped him establish the country. Before the letters of invitation were delivered, Liu Bowen was in the court, helping the emperor’s son with his lessons. Upon leaving, Liu received a gift wrapped in paper from the emperor’s wife. After getting back home, he tore open the paper and found several dates (in Chinese Zao Zi, sounding the same with the word early) and sweet peaches (Mi Tao, sounding the same with the words secretly flee). Just as he was puzzling the meaning of the fruits, the General commanding the three armies paid him a visit, and asked him whether he had received the invitation from the emperor and how to deal with it. At once, Liu Bowen knew the emperor’s intention, so he said, “Following the emperor closely to guard the country and home.” After the general left, Liu received the invitation from the emperor. The emperor, a clever man who knew Liu Bowen’s talents, was afraid that Liu would let out the secret, so he had the invitation to Liu sent the last. From the gift, Liu got the message from the emperor’s wife “Take early chance to flee in secret.” Therefore, he wrote a letter to the emperor, left it at his home, and escaped in secret.


When the party of celebration was held, Zhu Yuanzhang couldn’t find Liu Bowen anywhere, so he got very nervous. After making a speech, he found an excuse, and left the building. The general, seeing the emperor leaving in such a hurry, suddenly understood Liu Bowen’s advice to him, so he followed the emperor and left the building. When he caught up with Zhu, Zhu flew into a rage and asked him, “The party is not over yet. Why do you leave the building?” The general replied, “It is midnight already. I’ve followed to protect your Highness.” Before he finished the words, fire blazed through the building, and flames illuminated the sky. All the people who helped Zhu fight for his regime were killed in the fire. The emperor, concealing his crime, blamed the Overman Li for not protecting the building well and had him killed.


To eradicate hidden trouble, Zhu Yuanzhang sent some people to search for Liu Bowen in his home. They found a letter addressed to the emperor. In the letter, Liu wrote, as he was fatally ill, he was taken back by his family to his hometown, so that his old bones would be buried there. The emperor then dispatched people to Liu Bowen’s hometown to find out the situation. The pursuers saw that the family members were in mourning clothes, and they were crying and bowing sorrowfully in the mourning hall, so they returned to the capital and reported what they saw to the emperor. However, the emperor wouldn’t dismiss the idea of finding Liu Bowen; therefore, he went to Liu’s hometown by himself. In the small temple where Liu Bowen was once a monk, he saw a poem written by Liu on the wall


“The world is tumultuous and boundless.

 Why store everything in your own house?

 The law of cause and effect forever works.

 A just cause enjoys prosperity while an unjust one dies.”


Having read this poem, Zhu Yuanzhang felt lost and dispirited, and soon after he returned to the palace, he died of depression.


This example shows that, Liu Bowen had a clever mind, which not only protected himself but also caused the tyrant to die. It is indeed a wonderful mind.