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Schnier, J. (1957). The Tibetan Lamaist Ritual: Chöd. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:402-407.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:402-407

The Tibetan Lamaist Ritual: Chöd

Jacques Schnier

Our ever-growing knowledge of id-processes and ego-psychology discloses that the highest achievements of the human mind result from strivings for mastery of unconscious impulses. Among these achievements, such as art, philosophy and religion, there are to be found the same attempts at a solution of inner conflicts and appeasement of urgent drives as are found in those valueless patterns we refer to as hysterical or obsessional behaviour. Even outwardly, there is a marked resemblance between certain features of these social and non-social patterns. In Obsessive Acts and Religious Practices (1970) Freud examined and elucidated the similarities for at least these two specific patterns of behaviour.

In the obsessional neurosis, the ceremonial of the person concerned is the most tangible aspect upon which psycho-analytic work can be focused. The results of this work provide us with invaluable information regarding the mental process of which the strange and unprofitable behaviour is the outcome. Because ritual is so much like the ceremonial of the obsessional neurosis, Theodor Reik (10) took it as the starting-point for his analysis of religion. By means of this analysis he endeavoured to expose in a detailed manner the motives which led to the origin of a number of ritualistic religious patterns and to disclose the paths and transformations taken in their development. In his investigation he found it profitable to focus attention on the characteristic feature of action in ritual rather than the commands, prohibitions, dogmas, and complicated sentiment which later become religion's chief contents.

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