Ancient cases of Buddhist Psychotherapy
In the Jataka stories of ancient cases of Buddhist psychotherapy there are numerous characters who have displayed hysteria type of reactions. Pathological jealousy had been described in the Jataka stories. Jealousy is a universal feeling. The feeling is normal until it is acted upon and the behavior or actions become irrational. Jealousy does not have boundaries. It penetrates all social positions, intellectual levels, ages, races and economic strata. Chulla Darmapala Jataka reveals the sexual jealousy. In this story King Pathapa became extreme angry when his queen cuddled the infant son without taking any notice of him. The angry King Pathapa orders to kill the infant.
Hence, jealousy is a complex human emotion that is provoked by a perceived threat to an exclusive dyadic relationship. Although the emotional experience of jealousy may involve varying degrees of sadness, anger, and anxiety, many psychologists have defined it globally as the sense of “distress” or “discomfort” experienced over a partner’s real or imagined involvement with another. Jealousy can occur in any type of relationship, but it is most commonly associated with romantic relationships. Here the King Pathapa’s emotion was anger and as a result of rage he killed his own son.
Similarly in the Jataka stories the dark side of the human mind is revealed. In Suthasoma Jataka Porisada, the cannibal shows series of antisocial personality traits. Antisocial personality disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by chronic behaviour that manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal. In this story Porisada was reformed by Bodhisatta.
Assaka Jataka describes about a king who suffered from pathological grief after his queen’s death. Pathological grief is an abnormal response to loss events. Many varieties of pathological grief have been noted in Jataka stories. Persons with a pre-loss combination of both contradictions in relational schemas about the deceased and tendencies toward excessive control to stifle unwanted affect will tend to have unsuccessful processes of mourning.
Moreover, the other forms of “pathological grief” occur when the original grief is not felt; when it is suppressed or delayed. In this story the King’s emotions associated with the loss find expression through inappropriate channels and it has been vividly described the Jataka. Death is a universal phenomenon. Sujata Jataka discusses the meaning of death in existential view. Death is the irredeemable loss of consciousness. The existential level is organized around life on earth itself and social and spiritual ramifications of it, that is, the “human condition”.
People’s existential issues are related to their mortality and impermanence, their experience of freedom of choice their sense of worthiness, and their sense of separation or connection with others. Work at this level is to loosen the rigidity of the self image, to expand the relationship to the sacred, and to integrate one’s relationship with death.
Dadara Jataka reveals a monk with an intermittent explosive disorder. Intermittent explosive disorder falls in the category of impulse-control disorders. The condition is characterized by failure to resist aggressive impulses, resulting in serious assaults or property destruction. In Dadara Jataka this monk is easily motivated and goes into violent impulsive tantrums. Later this monk was healed by the Bodhisatta. Thus the Jataka stories discuss the wide range of human psychological problems. Also it gives profound ancient cases of Buddhist psychotherapy which is everlasting.