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Rosen, S. (1961). Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis. By Erich Fromm, D. T. Suzuki and Richard De Martino. 180 pp. Harper and Brothers, New York. 1960. $4.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(1):98-101.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(1):98-101

Book Reviews

Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis. By Erich Fromm, D. T. Suzuki and Richard De Martino. 180 pp. Harper and Brothers, New York. 1960. $4.

Review by:
Sidney Rosen, M.D.

There is no question about the timeliness of this book. Ever since psychoanalytic writers first began to give serious attention to the philosophy-religion of Zen Buddhism, about twelve years ago, many have felt the need to clarify the similarities and differences between our own techniques and goals and those of Zen. Analysts using the Horney concepts of human nature were among the first to evince an interest in Zen. Some of us have attended Suzuki's lectures at Columbia, and have spent engrossing hours discussing Zen and analysis with him and with De Martino. Last year, when Suzuki addressed one of our scientific meetings, his erudition, humility, and clear thinking impressed us.

As Fromm mentions in this book, Karen Horney was intensely interested in Zen during the last years of her life. (I have heard her quoted as saying of Suzuki that he was the most selfless man she had ever met.) That there is some congeniality between the Zen approach and our own has become apparent to me. Gradually other analysts—and of course thinkers in other related fields—have become interested in Zen, some to scoff at it, others to “analyze” it. Often it has been described as a movement which encouraged regressive infantile oceanic feelings. Those who felt there was wisdom in this ancient religion-with-out-a-God were impressed by its goal of freeing the individual from distortions of reality and from repressions, of helping him to find within himself a more genuine mode of existence, a more direct contact with the “here and now.

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