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The Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery: Impressions and Speculations on Alternative Models of Masculinity as they Relate to Resilience to Trauma

The Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery: Impressions and Speculations on Alternative Models of... ABSTRACT As a practitioner of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I volunteered with the Tibetan Government in Exile in the field of mental health. In late 2006, the Tibetan Government in Exile approached me to evaluate and counsel monks who had left Tibet to get a monastic education at the Drepung Gomang Monastery in Mungod, Karnataka. I was struck by the resilience of these young men, despite the horrors they had survived in the process of trying to get this education in their own country, which is under occupation by the Chinese, and fleeing Tibet alone, during adolescence or as very young children. I want to offer some speculative impressions about my experiences and observations of the masculinity of these monks, which felt quite different from my experience with other men. This article attempts to make sense of my experience of their masculinity, and to account for the differences I observed, but could not fully understand. I offer some speculations about the relationship of their experience of masculinity, as an additional factor in their resilience to trauma. Although the therapeutic encounter with them was the occasion to bring these differences to my attention they do not form the basis for my speculations. These are based on my understanding of masculinity as theorized by psychoanalysis, and what I have learned about the history, functioning and ideals, which inform Tibetan culture and the monastic order. I highlight two aspects of the masculinity of Buddhist monks from this tradition: one which comes from the Bodhisattva tradition and incorporates nurturing “feminine” qualities, and the second which involves sublimating and neutralizing “dangerous” “female” qualities into their attainment of higher spiritual ends. I speculate in the end on the ways in which an alternative experience of gender may be a contributing protective factor in the survival of violence and exile. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies Wiley

The Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery: Impressions and Speculations on Alternative Models of Masculinity as they Relate to Resilience to Trauma

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN
1742-3341
eISSN
1556-9187
DOI
10.1002/aps.1311
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT As a practitioner of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I volunteered with the Tibetan Government in Exile in the field of mental health. In late 2006, the Tibetan Government in Exile approached me to evaluate and counsel monks who had left Tibet to get a monastic education at the Drepung Gomang Monastery in Mungod, Karnataka. I was struck by the resilience of these young men, despite the horrors they had survived in the process of trying to get this education in their own country, which is under occupation by the Chinese, and fleeing Tibet alone, during adolescence or as very young children. I want to offer some speculative impressions about my experiences and observations of the masculinity of these monks, which felt quite different from my experience with other men. This article attempts to make sense of my experience of their masculinity, and to account for the differences I observed, but could not fully understand. I offer some speculations about the relationship of their experience of masculinity, as an additional factor in their resilience to trauma. Although the therapeutic encounter with them was the occasion to bring these differences to my attention they do not form the basis for my speculations. These are based on my understanding of masculinity as theorized by psychoanalysis, and what I have learned about the history, functioning and ideals, which inform Tibetan culture and the monastic order. I highlight two aspects of the masculinity of Buddhist monks from this tradition: one which comes from the Bodhisattva tradition and incorporates nurturing “feminine” qualities, and the second which involves sublimating and neutralizing “dangerous” “female” qualities into their attainment of higher spiritual ends. I speculate in the end on the ways in which an alternative experience of gender may be a contributing protective factor in the survival of violence and exile. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal

International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic StudiesWiley

Published: Jun 1, 2012

References