emotions and mental states

In both Western psychology and Buddhist contemplative tradition, emotions and mental constructs are seen as strong influences in how people think and behave. Several schools of Buddhism teach that some qualities of mind are more helpful than others for creating long lasting happiness and transformation (Goleman, 2003). Craving, hatred, holding onto a sense of “I,” “me,” or “mine” are seen as harmful states of mind, whereas expending effort on strengthening and developing attention, concentration, and mindfulness lead to equanimity and wisdom based on an understanding of conditions leading to happiness and unhappiness (Ekman, Davidson, Ricard, & Wallace, 2005). When the Dalai Lama was asked what might contribute to healthy states of mind, he responded, “cultivating positive mental states like kindness and compassion definitely leads to better psychological health and
happiness.” (Dalai Lama & Cutler, 1998).

Training Professionals in Mindfulness: The Heart of Teaching
Susan Lesley Woods


Goleman, D. (2003). Destructive emotions. New York: Bantam

Ekman, P., Davidson, R. J., Ricard, M., & Wallace, B. A. (2005). Buddhist and psychological perspectives on emotions and well-being. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(2), 59–63.

Dalai Lama & Cutler, H. C. (1998). The art of happiness. New York: Riverhead Books, 41.

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