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Lacan and Chan Buddhist Thought: Reflections on Buddhism in Lacan's Seminar X and Beyond
Raul Moncayo, Yang Yu and Sara Y Han
Routledge / Softcover / Dec 2022
9781032056975 (ISBN-10: 1032056975)
price: $56.50 (may be subject to change)
168 pages
Out of stock - more on the way...

Lacan and Chan Buddhist Thought provides a close reading of how Lacan mobilizes concepts from Chan Buddhist philosophy, culture, and practice in his later teachings.

The book emerged from the three co-authors’ engagement with Lacan’s 1962-63 Seminar on Anxiety, and the significance of Lacan’s original interpretation of the Buddhist principle that desire is the cause of suffering. The book reads key Lacanian concepts – such as, the objet a, jouissance, the real, nirvana, and the mirror – through ancient Buddhist teachings and koans. With this focused exploration of psychoanalysis and Chan Buddhism, the authors offer a philosophically grounded cross-cultural approach to the theory and practice of psychoanalysis in Asian countries.

Lacan and Chan Buddhist Thought will be a rich resource for psychoanalysts, academics and students interested in Lacan and religion, the intellectual and cultural relationship between Asian and Western thought, and Mahayana Buddhism more generally.


"This book is one of the clearest and most interesting introductions to Lacan. Since Chinese people are familiar with Buddhist thought, interpreting Lacan from this perspective makes the reader feel especially at home and helps to understand some of Lacan's extremely difficult concepts. This book is very suitable for Chinese readers to study Lacan and the writers present Lacan with such depth and lightness that the reader will find it a pleasure to read. The interpretation of the name Lackhan is very helpful in understanding the two otherness inside and outside the subject, as well the explication of the concepts of jouissance, pleasure, and the Real are very illuminative and greatly clarify their complexities. In the works published in China on Lacan, there are only a few references to the relationship between Lacan's thought and Buddhism which are not so systematic. Therefore, this book, and eventually a Chinese translation, will have a great academic impact that will not only help to popularize Lacanian theory in China, but also orients a new trend in studying Lacan." - Xiaoyi Zhou, Peking university. Dr. Zhou earned his doctorate at Lancaster University in 1993, and has published widely on comparative literature and literary theory.

"What a treat to read this profound, careful, and creative exploration of Lacan and Chan Buddhism. East-West illuminate and add to each other, amplifying Lacan's vocabulary and concepts and Chan's existential evocations. It was not a surprise to see YHVH in the glossary touching a dimension beyond name and thought in the usual sense. And although Bion was not part of this work, his emphasis on the creative unknown vibrates with it. Unconscious to unconscious, psyche to psyche, mind to mind—so much permeates and enriches. This book opens many doors and passageways and gives us much to think about, experience and digest." - Michael Eigen, PhD., National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis and New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents:


Lacan and Vasubhandu
The Second Turning of the Dharma Wheel: Nagarjuna’s teachings on Nirvana
Rereading Freud’s Nirvana
The Pleasure, Constancy, and Nirvana Principles
Wu and Mu in the Cáodòng zong and Línjì Schools
‘No Buddha-Nature’ and Buddha’s Desire
The Vacuum in Western Science
Lacan and Wu
The Paradoxical Chan Koans, Self-reference, and Letter Jouissance
The True Body of Bodhi and Buddh(a)
The Mirror in Lacan, Chan, and Dogen’s Zen
The One, the Many, and Kuan-yin
Clinical Dream Example

Glossary of Terms
Appendix: The Practice of Thinking non-thinking or Thinking/Meditating with the Body of (the Third) Jouissance.

About the Authors:

Raul Moncayo, Ph.D. is a supervising analyst and past founding member and former president of the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis, USA. Author of seven books on Lacanian psychoanalysis. Together with Yang Yu and Hong Zhou, he founded the Beijing Center for Freudian and Lacanian Analysis and Research to transmit a Lacanian psychoanalysis with an ongoing, active engagement with Chinese culture. In 2019, he founded the Blue Mountain Zen Center of El Cerrito, California.

Yang Yu is Associate Professor of English Literature and Psychoanalysis at Beijing Normal University, candidate analyst of SF Bay Area Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis and founding member of the Beijing Center for Freudian and Lacanian Analysis and Research. She has published several journal papers on Lacan and English literature.

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