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Magid, B. (2020). Prologue: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: A Confusion of Tongues. Psychoanal. Inq., 40(5):285-287.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(5):285-287

Prologue: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: A Confusion of Tongues

Barry Magid, M.D.

Nearly twenty years ago, in his groundbreaking anthology, Jeremy Safran (2003) described Psychoanalysis and Buddhism as engaging in an “emerging dialogue.” At a panel I chaired at The American Psychological Association, Division 39 in his memory in 2019, the participants spoke of a “continuing dialogue.” But now, as I look back on the decades in which this dialogue has unfolded, and all the ways that the two disciplines have talked past each other and have ignored crucial signals that something was amiss, the contradictions and conflicts increasingly press their way into the foreground, displacing the excited optimism that first greeted the encounter.

The articles collected in this issue are not intended to add up to a coherent whole. Indeed, their inability to do so, I think is the hallmark of the current state of the relationship between psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Let me try to outline some of the strands represented, and say something about how this issue was put together. An issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry devoted to Psychoanalysis and Buddhism was originally envisioned by Raanan Kulka, who began inviting contributions in 2014. By 2019, because of ill health, Kulka had succeeded in putting together only slightly more than half the proposed issue, and unable to complete the task of bringing it to press, asked me, as one of his original contributors, to take over the editorship of the issue. (Sadly, in this interim, one of the original contributors, Neville Taylor, passed away.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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