Han de Wit



Han F. de Wit remembers clearly his return flight to Amsterdam in 1977, following a year of residence at Karme Choling. As he struggled to navigate airport Customs with seven zafus and zabutons piled on his shoulders, the raw materials for what became the first Shambhala Center in Europe, he asked himself "How did I get into this situation?"

In 1974, Han was a promising research psychologist at the University of Amsterdam. His interest in human experience and mind arose from personal questions that he had been pondering for years: "Why is it that people experience similar situations in such different ways? What does that tell us about the nature of mind?" For Dr. de Wit, academic psychology did not answer these questions adequately. He started to look in other directions, visiting bookstores of 'questionable' academic reputation. After reading Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Han says, "that was it." In 1975, he was on his way to meet its author, his teacher, the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Since that time, Han has continued to travel to and from North America, practicing and studying intensively. He also continued to think about how to broaden and mold western psychological language in such a way that it can contain the Buddhist view of mind and convey the value of meditation practice. This has resulted in the development of a new branch of psychology that brings together in a systematic way the psychological knowledge and methods that we find in the great contemplative traditions themselves. Han has written several widely-read books on this psychology which he had coined in a seminal paper in 1986 "contemplative psychology" (see also below).

With his wife Ineke, Han has worked to develop the European sangha. Through the years, this has meant serving in all kinds of capacities: from giving individual meditation instruction and training new instructors, to giving public talks for large audiences; from introducing Kasung practices and teaching Shambhala Training, to introducing Ngedon School. Now that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has put his trust in him as an acharya, Han says: "On the one hand this feels pretty natural, but on the other hand, I experience it as an tremendously inspiring burden. May I be helpful in alleviating people's fear of suffering and rousing their joy of life."  

You can find a few interviews with Han de Wit at http://www.polilogues.com/categories/han_de_wit.html.

For a recent interview (in Dutch) with Han de Wit on national television see: http://player.omroep.nl/?aflID=9617158  

A well known paper about the realtionship between psychotherapy and Buddhism and that has been translated in many western languages is Working with Existential and Neurotic Suffering.


Teaching Schedule


2014
Feb 7 - 8 Cologne European Acharya Meeting
Feb 9 Leusden ISVW: book presentation
Feb 12 Utrecht Talk Zen & Mangement
Feb 14 - 16 Amsterdam SSA1 beoefeningsweekend
Feb 20 Amsterdam EST Exploration
Mar 30 - Apr 6 Boulder (USA) Acharya Retreat
Apr 14 Amsterdam Rode Hoed: Tibetaans boeddhisme
Apr 18 - 20 Amsterdam Bodhisattva gelofte weekend & bodhisattva Vow
May 10 - 11 Rotterdam Shambhala Center: Titel programma volgt
May 20 Haarlem Meditatie avond met inleiding over Karma
Jun 15 TBA Celebration: Symposium with dharma teachers
Jun 27 Amsterdam

VU: Symposiium with Joan Halifax

Jul 19 - Aug 13 Augustus: China Xining, Chendu Donda
Aug 23 - Sep 3 DCL Scorpion Seal Assembly 6
Oct 14 - 16 Paris Practice & Study Weekend
Nov 22 - 25 San Diego (USA) American Academy of Religion

 

 

Past topics
Shambhala Training Levels
Workshop Het Open Veld van de Ervaring
Mahayana weekend
Teacher Academy
Ngondro Intensive
Meditation and Nonviolent Communication
Vajra Assembly: The protector principle
Werma practice and study weekend
Refuge & Bodhisattva Vows

 


Books

In German:

1. Buddhistischer und westlicher Geist: Buddhismus im Gespraech mit der westlichen Kultur. Peterberg: Verlag Via Nova, 2001
2. Die Verborgene Bluete: Ueber die psychologischen Hintergruende der Spiritualitaet. Petersberg: Verlag Via Nova, 1998

In Dutch:

1. Het Open Veld van de Ervaring. De Boeddha Over inzicht, compassie en levensgeluk, Kampen: Ten Have, 2008
2. De Drie Juwelen: hoe het pad van de boeddha op te gaan. Kampen: Ten Have, 2005
3. De Verborgen Bloei: Over de psychologische achtergronden van spiritualiteit. Kampen: Kok Agora, 2001
4. Contemplatieve Psychologie. Kampen: Agora, 2000
5. De Lotus en de Roos: Boeddhisme in dialoog met psychologie, godsdienst en ethiek. Kampen: Kok Agora & Kapellen: Pelckmans, 1998
6. Wijsheid in Emotie. Over de mandala van de vijf boeddha's, Ten Have, 2013

In English

1. The spiritual path: An introduction to the psychology of the spiritual traditions. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1999.
2. Contemplative Psychology. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1991

In French:

1. Le Lotus et la Rose. Le bouddhisme dialogue avec l' Occident. Kunchab (Belgium, ISBN 90 74815 64 2, avril, 2002)