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Carl Jung on “Buddha” – Anthology

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Christ overcame the world by burdening himself with its suffering but Buddha overcame both the pleasure and suffering of the world by disposing of both. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 367.

Passion, whose conquest still requires so much effort in the case of Christ and does so incessantly and in ever greater measure, has left Buddha and surrounds him as a blazing fire. He is both unaffected and untouchable. ~Carl Jung, Footnote 276, Liber Novus, Page 367.

Am I a combination of the lives of these ancestors and do I embody these lives again? Have I lived before in the past as a specific personality, and did I progress so far in that life that I am now able to seek a solution? I do not know. Buddha left the question open, and I like to assume that he himself did not know with certainty. In the meantime it is important to ensure that I do not stand at the end with empty hands. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections; Pages 317-318.

The symbol becomes my lord and unfailing commander. It will fortify its reign and change itself into a starry and riddling image, whose meaning turns completely inward, and whose pleasure radiates outward like blazing fire, a Buddha in the flames. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 249.

All your rebirths could ultimately make you sick. The Buddha therefore finally gave up on rebirth, for he had had enough of crawling through all human and animal forms. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 277.

The Buddha did not need quite so long to see that even rebirths are vain. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 298, Footnote 94.

I see in splendor the mother of God with the child. Peter stands in front of her in admiration-then Peter alone with the key-the Pope with a triple crown-a Buddha sitting rigidly in a circle of fire-a many-armed bloody Goddess-it is Salome desperately wringing her hands-it takes hold of me, she is my own soul, and now I see Elijah in the image of the stone. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 248.

To Western man, the meaninglessness of a merely static universe is unbearable. He must assume that it has meaning. The Oriental does not need to make this assumption; rather, he himself embodies it. Whereas the Occidental feels the need to complete the meaning of the world, the Oriental strives for the fulfilment of the meaning in man, stripping the world and existence from himself (Buddha). I would say that both are right. Western man seems predominantly extraverted, Eastern man predominantly introverted. The former projects the meaning and considers that it exists in objects; the latter feels the meaning in himself. But the meaning is both within and without. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections; Page 317.

If left to himself, [man] can naturally bring about his own salvation. Who has produced Christ? Who has produced Buddha? ~Carl Jung; “C. G.Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff: A Collection of Remembrances” edited by Ferne Jensen.

Jesus-Mani-Buddha-Lao-tse are for me the four pillars of the temple of the spirit. ~Carl Jung, Letters, Volume 1, Page 65.

In the West the archetype is filled out with the dogmatic figure of Christ; in the East, with Purusha, the Atman, Hiranyagarbha, the Buddha, and so on. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Page 17.

Buddha would settle our account too early, and then it would go with us as it did when we European barbarians had that sudden arid shattering collision with the ripest fruit of antiquity-Christianity-not to the advantage of our inner development. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 538.

Yet it is unquestionably true that not only Buddha and Mohammed, Confucius and Zarathustra, represent religious phenomena, but also Mithras, Attis, Cybele, Mani, Hermes, and the deities of many other exotic cults. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 9.

The psyche is therefore all-important; it is the all-pervading Breath, the Buddha-essence; it is the Buddha-Mind, the One, the Dharrjiakdya. All existence emanates from it, and all separate forms dissolve back into it. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 482.

I refrain from describing what would happen to Eastern man should he forget his ideal of Buddhahood, for I do not want to give such an unfair advantage to my Western prejudices. But I cannot help raising the question of whether it is possible, or indeed advisable, for either to imitate the other’s standpoint. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 483.

You cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself, nor can you be a Buddha and worship God. It is much better to accept the conflict, for it admits only of an irrational solution, if any. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 483.

In the centre there is a lotus with the Buddha sitting in it, and the decisive experience is the final knowledge that the meditator himself is the Buddha, whereby the fateful knots woven in the opening story are apparently resolved. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 572.

These various formulations indicate the same being that we find in the Gnosis as the ethereal man, light and diaphanous, identical with gold, diamond, carbuncle, the Grail, and, in Indian philosophy, with the Purusha or personified as Christ or Buddha. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Page 118.

The East regards the psychic as half physical, it is not immaterial for them as it is for us, it is definite, it has a given concreteness; so that you can actually create a Buddha through imagination. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 2Dec1938, Page 37.

The light of the mandala, and therefore the mandala itself, is already the Buddha, although he himself is not yet visible. The mandala is not just the seat of the Buddha, it is identical with him. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 2Dec1938, Page 39.

We find the same idea in the Indian Atman, a word which is related to the German Atem (breath]; it is the breath of life, which goes through everything, corresponding to the Buddha essence. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 9Dec38, Page 41.

The text tells us that the body of the sleeper is imagined to be the body of the Buddha, we should understand that as the diamond body. So it is the transformation of the ordinary body into the eternally durable body that is meant. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 9Dec38, Page 43.

The Yogin tries to establish a fourfold consciousness and the fifth in the centre, uniting all, is Buddha consciousness. The quaternity is dissolved in the essence of the Yogin, and the fourfold image of consciousness disappears. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 16Dec1938, Page 51.

Kant himself emphasises that God, the Highest Being, is in no way affected by what we know about him. So the Yogin analyses what he knows about Buddha and takes the last word in the Mantra: “Aham” for this purpose. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 13Jan1939, Page 55.

Very highly developed people can remember their former lives, even back into animal lives. Buddha remembered innumerable lives and spoke freely of them. There are curious cases of this kind to be found even now. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 13Jan1939, Page 56.

There must be a long preparation to be Buddha, if we do not realise this we are taking part in a holy ceremony with dirty hands. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 13Jan1939, Page 56.

All this means that in time and space I am only here in my body, I cannot be identical with Buddha, but if I can rid myself of all my personal contents, if I can distribute them as Devatas all over the universe, I can sit in the heaven of the gods and reach eternal peace. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 20Jan1939, Page 62.

The Yogin’s Buddha is a subjective and objective image. It lies in the Yogin’s power to create him or to leave him uncreated and yet the Buddha has an objective existence. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 65.

In India it has given way to Hinduism, in which Buddha is merely the ninth, that is the last, incarnation or avatar of Vishnu. The Hindus believe that the time of Buddha has passed and that a tenth avatar of Vishnu in the form of a white horse will soon appear. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 68.

As Buddha and his teaching are still recognized within the frame of the Hindu religion, you find traces of him everywhere; but his achievement, amazing consciousness and highest integrity are no longer to be found in India today, though Rishis and Yogins still make private efforts to reach its illumination. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 68.

I do not know why India was not able to keep Buddhism, but I think probably its present polytheistic religion is a better expression of the Indian soul today than the one perfect Buddha. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 69.

While we are in avidya, we act like automatons, we have no idea what we are doing. Buddha regarded this as absolutely unethical. Avidya acts in the sense of the concupiscentia and involves us in suffering, illness and death. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 74.

Here is a piece of the superior wisdom of the East. The Yogin realizes that all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Devatas with which he has filled the heavens are Maya illusion just as the world itself is Maya. All this plurality is illusion. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 74.

Christ is spoken of as being born or hidden in a rose, or as a sea bird resting in a flower of the sea. This is a direct analogy to Buddha appearing in the Lotus in the Amitabha Land with geese and swans about him. Pages 100-101.

There are cases like that, they understand the world in too deep a sense. Buddha was such a case. He was a prince with everything that he wanted in the world, but he knew nothing of the truth of life. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XII, 1Feb1935, Pages 181.

I am trying to get nearer to the remarkable psychology of the Buddha himself, or at least of that which his contemporaries assumed him to be. It is chiefly the question of karma and rebirth which has renewed my interest in Buddha. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 548.

Nobody knows whether there is reincarnation, and equally one does not know that there is none. Buddha himself was convinced of reincarnation, but he himself on being asked twice by his disciples about it, left it quite open whether there is a continuity of your personality or not. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 103-104.

The spiritual (as contrasted with the worldly) Messiah, Christ, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysos, Buddha are all visualizations or personifications of the irrepresentable archetype which, borrowing from Ezekiel and Daniel, I call the Anthropos. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 304-306.

Buddha’s insight and the Incarnation in Christ break the chain through the intervention of the enlightened human consciousness, which thereby acquires a metaphysical and cosmic significance. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 310-311.

We still consider his [Socrates] daimonion as an individual peculiarity if not worse. Such people, says Buddha, “after their death reach the wrong way, the bad track, down to the depth, into an infernal world.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 531-533

It is a figure comparable to Hiranyagarbha, Purusha, Atman, and the mystic Buddha. For this reason I have elected to call it the “self,” by which I understand a psychic totality and at the same time a centre, neither of which coincides with the ego but includes it, just as a larger circle encloses a smaller one. ~Carl Jung, CW 9I, 247.

And that was the case in Buddha’s own existence; he was a prince, a man of the world, and he had a wife, he had concubines, he had a child —then he went over to the saintly life. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 797.

There is no reason whatsoever why you should or should not call the beyond-self Christ or Buddha or Purusha or Tao or Khidr or Tifereth. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1672

You notice that the meditation is not on the spirit of the Buddha, but on the Body of the Buddha; the highest truth grows
from the deepest roots of the body and not from the spirit. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Page 28

We also find four colours in the Bardo Thodol as the lights of the four wisdoms, they form four “light-paths” to
Buddhahood or redemption. These are clearly the four functions expressed as four paths of orientation. ~Carl
Jung, ETH Lecture 10th Feb 1939