This book investigates what psychoanalysis and Buddhism can learn from each other, and offers chapters by a Buddhist scholar, a psychiatrist-author, and a number of leading psychoanalysts. It begins with a discussion of the basic understanding of both psychoanalysis and Buddhism, viewed not as a religion but as a psychology and a philosophy with ethical principles. The focus of the book rests on the commonality between the psychoanalyst's neutrality as he listens to his freely associating patient, and the Buddhist monk's non-judgmental attention to his mind. The psychoanalytic concepts of free association, the unconscious, transference and countertransference are compared to the implications of the Buddhist principles of impermanence, non-clinging (non-attachment), the hard-to-grasp concept of the "not-self", and the practice of meditation. The differences between the role of the analyst and that of the Buddhist teacher of meditation are explored, and the important difference between the analyst's emphasis on insight and thinking is compared to the Buddhist attention to awareness and experience.

Foreword , Introduction , Preamble , The origins and fundamentals of psychoanalysis , It’s not just about the mindfulness: foundations of Buddhist thought and why it matters for psychoanalysis , Crosscurrents , The practice of psychoanalysis and Buddhism , Buddhist psychology: a work in process , On the seashore of endless worlds: Buddha and Winnicott , Faust, Mephistopheles and attachment: discussion of Mark Epstein’s chapter—“On the seashore of endless worlds: Buddha and Winnicott” , A clinical encounter: mind without walls , My lives in psychoanalysis and Buddhism , Concluding Reflections , Controversies and the potential for mutual enrichment