Frequently Asked Questions
The welcome page offers a broad statement about the type of organization that ITZI is. We are interested in promoting the principles of Buddhist psychology, Zen Therapy and Amida-shu (sangha members of the Amida Order), particularly following the ideas and writings of David Brazier. ITZI is a network of spiritual organisations, each with its own individual approach. There are members in ten countries so far with a variety of orientations (Pureland, Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, Mindfulness, Generic Spiritual).
In addition to offering a wide variety of one-off courses and seminars, we are developing an international training programme in Zen Therapy, Counselling Psychotherapy. This programme is continuous with the Amida programme in the UK which has been continuously developing since 1981. Now the international range of the programme is being extended through an on-line facility to be called the Amida Academy, a department of ITZI.
Types of membership:
There are five main levels of membership of ITZI:
- Board Members – those people who work directly for ITZI
- ITZI key members: Affiliated teachers – people from a variety of organisations and backgrounds teaching on ITZI programmes or offering courses that are consistent with our broad aims
- Hosts – organisations that are able to host Zen Therapy courses, courses run by key members, talks and events
- Students – people following Amida Academy hosted online courses or ITZI attendance programmes
- Supporters – people interested in the work of ITZI but not looking to be active in the organisation
Dharmavidya David Brazier (President) - France & Spain
Katrien Secru - Belgium
Angel Jose Del Pino Ibañez - Spain
Oscar Martinez - Spain
Kuvalaya Rachel Abel (Treasurer) - UK
Jnanamati Simon Williams - The Netherlands
Rob McCarthy - Australia
Amida Academy is the host site or online university for courses provided by ITZI members and affiliated organisations. Launched in January 2012 it was originally the new platform for the Buddhist Psychology Distance Learning programme (BPDL). The site now hosts an additional three programmes with others in development and soon to be added. These are the Spanish language BPDL course, Vow 22 – a Pureland Buddhist ministry programme moderated by Amida Trust – and an introductory course in Pureland Buddhism.
David Brazier is an international authority on Buddhist psychology, an author, psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher. He lectures regularly in a dozen countries, is President of Instituto Terapia Zen Internacional (ITZI), head of the Amida Order, and patron of a philanthropic association in India. David’s doctoral thesis was on Buddhist psychology and he has had extensive exposure to Western methods of psychotherapy, especially humanistic, existential and psychodynamic.
David’s books include: (on psychology) "Love and Its Disappointment: The meaning of life, therapy and art", "Beyond Carl Rogers: Toward a psychotherapy for the 21st century" and "A Guide to Psychodrama". (on Buddhism) "Zen Therapy", "The Feeling Buddha", "Who loves Dies Well" and "The New Buddhism".
David has also had published many articles, chapters and monographs on psychology, spirituality and culture. His books have been translated into a number of different languages.
David has been amongst many other things a psychotherapist, social worker, community worker, senior social service manager, founder of aid and education projects in UK and overseas. He trained in psychodrama and developed a method called pandramatics; knew Dr. Carl Rogers and was a member of the Enabling Committee for the development of PCA internationally.
How has your thinking changed about therapy since writing Zen therapy?
The Zen Therapy book was written while I was still considerably under the influence of Thich Nhat Hanh. Most of the theory in the book I will still stand by. There are, however, some specific areas where my interpretation has changed. First there is the reinterpretation of the Four Noble Truths as set out in The Feeling Buddha. Second there is a different take on dependent arising as set out in The New Buddhism. I do not think that it is useful to think in terms of "everything being part of everything else" or "everything depending on everything else" any more because I realised that if you follow such ideas through consistently they undermine ethics. Ethics has to involve choices in which we accept relations with some things and reject others. Also many actual relationships are one way. I need the sun but the sun does not need me. I have come to think, therefore, that while interdependence sounds good, the real challenge is to accept our dependency. This also chimes with a growing appreciation of the Pureland perspective on human nature as vulnerable and fallible. So I would only use concepts like Buddha nature now in a very restricted manner as they too easily play into a human weakness for grandiosity.
What are the therapeutic techniques and procedures used in Zen therapy?
Zen therapy is an approach not a technique. It can make use of almost any therapeutic method - conversation, psychodrama, art therapy, outdoor pursuits, dance therapy, whatever. However whatever method it uses it will tailor to the principles of Buddhist psychology.
What is the Zen Therapy view of Human Nature?
The core of human nature is love. Our love is never totally unconditional, but we can intuit unconditional love and strive toward it. Actual love in a conditioned world inevitably involves choices, conflicts, frustrations and disappointments as well as joys, satisfactions, creativity and growth. How we cope with and respond to these various challenges and graces makes us the characters that we are. The elements in this mix that we have difficulty resolving crystalize as our personal koan which is our individual manifestation of the universal existential questions about mortality, life, existence and meaning.