Enlightenment: Idealized or Real?

Psychoanalysts and Buddhist Teachers Talking About Idealization and Awakening

WHEN Nov 13-14, 2015
WHERE Cambridge, MA Harvard Divinity School

Enlightening Conversations Presents:

Enlightenment: Idealized or Real?

The Second Program in a Series in Which Psychoanalysts and Buddhist Teachers Speak Openly and Honestly About the Nitty-Gritty of Human Liberation. Through panels and small group conversations, these conferences engage all participants -- speakers and audience -- in reflective conversations about our discoveries from deep investigations of the mind. Idealization, with its tendencies to split our experiences into expansive and contractive or pure and impure, is required to enter into psychoanalytic and Buddhist practices. When idealization is not humanized, however, it leads to destructive projections, self-attacks, lying and ethical violations. This conference will focus precisely on what it means to be enlightened and how it is a human activity with human failures.

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"I have a good deal of experience of listening to talks on the Buddhism-psychology interface—mostly in academic settings—in which the talk focuses pretty much on theory. That the conversations at the last conference so clearly arose out of practice gave them a compelling energy. I was also impressed by the depth of practice exhibited by so many of the participants. That can’t be faked."

- David O’Neal, Senior Editor, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA

Meet our 2015 Co-Sponsors



Tamara Bisbee

Deborah Boyar

Grace Schireson

Zach Schlosser

Won San Sunim

Polly Young-Eisendrath

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It struck me…how many ruptures in Zen communities might have been more skillfully repaired with a little more of an ‘analytic’ approach to the dynamics arising!

-Pat Enkyo O’Hara Roshi, Ph.D., Zen Teacher, Village Zendo, NYC

Take a Peek at This Year's Conference

Enlightening Conversations 2015: Harvard Divinity School

Fascinating, potentially life-changing exchanges… no one ever accused a Buddhist of not enjoying cerebral discourse. And no one ever accused an analyst of not wanting self-realization, whether or not it involved the Dharma. “Enlightening Conversations” was just that.

-Mark Matousek, Writer, author, spiritual teacher , NYC

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