The Original Buddhist Psychology

What the Abhidharma Tells Us about How We Think, Feel, and Experience Life

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Beth Jacobs
  • Berkeley, CA: 
    North Atlantic Books
    , June
     208 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Richard K. Payne forthcoming.


The Abhidharma, one of the three major texts of the original Buddhist canon, frames the psychological system of Buddhism, explaining the workings of reality and the nature of the human mind. It is composed of detailed matrixes and lists that outline the interaction of consciousness and reality, the essence of perception and experience, and the reasons and methods behind mindfulness and meditation. Because of its complexity, the Abhidharma has traditionally been reserved only for academic or monastic study; now, for the first time, clinical psychologist Beth Jacobs brings this intricate body of work to general readers, using practical explanation, personal stories, and vivid examples to gently untangle the technical aspects of the Abhidharma. Drawing on decades of experience as both a therapist and a Buddhist, Jacobs both deepens our understanding of mind and meditation and highlights its psychological relevance.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Beth Jacobs is a clinical psychologist in private practice and a former faculty member of the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. A lay teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, Jacobs incorporates Buddhist studies and meditation into her work as both a psychologist and a writer. She is the author of Writing for Emotional Balance (2005) as well as an award-winning
column for the National Association for Poetry Therapy.

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