The Buddhist Jataka Stories and the DSM based Mental Disorders
by Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D., LankaWeb, September 28th, 2014
That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.” - Erich Fromm
Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The Jataka stories or Jataka tales are a voluminous body of folklore concerned with previous births of the Buddha which is based as a collection of five hundred and fifty stories. Originally it comprise of 547 poems, arranged roughly by increasing number of verses. According to archaeological and literary evidence, the Jataka stories were compiled in the period, the 3rd Century B.C. to the 5th Century A.D. The Khuddaka Nikaya contains 550 stories the Buddha told of his previous lifetimes as an aspiring Bodhisattva or a person who is compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshipped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism.
According to Professor Rhys Davids Jataka stories are one of the oldest fables. Rev Buddhaghosa who was a 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and a scholar translated most of the Jataka stories into Pali about 430 A.D. Jataka stories can be considered as case studies of the Buddhist philosophy. These case studies converse about the dynamics of the human mind and human behavior in different circumstances. Jataka stories profoundly discuss thoughts and actions of the Akusal (sinful) or pathological mind. Astoundingly most of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) based mental ailments could be identified in the Jataka stories. It discusses deep psychological themes and analyses the human mind. The Consultant Psychiatrist Dr D.V.J Harischandra FRCP (Psych) in his famous book Psychiatric Aspects of Jataka Stories that was published in 1998, points out that the Western Psychologists and Psychiatrists should study the essences of mind analysis in the Jataka Story Book.
Jataka Stories and the Western World
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the APA or the American Psychiatric Association and it provides broad symptomatology and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It has been considered as the Bible of psychiatry. The first version of DSM was published in 1952. The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is known as DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision) and it was published in 2000. DSM-IV-TR recognizes the impact of culture on psychological health within a biopsychosocial framework. The diagnostic criteria now reflect a focus on behavioural symptomatology and suggest the importance of drug-management in therapy over psychotherapy (Shorter, 1997). The fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-5 appeared officially in May 2013 during the development of the 166th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in San Francisco (Márquez , 2014).
It’s important to know that the Buddhist Jataka stories deeply touch the DSM based mental illnesses. The Jataka stories were a form of teaching approach which used the case method. This method consists in presenting the disciples with a case and did descriptive, exploratory analysis of a person, his mental state, actions and consequences. The Buddha knew the power of storytelling. The Buddha used such stories to heal people with emotional and spiritual problems. These stories gave insight and created Aha moments.
According to René Descartes mind and body are really distinct and Descartes believed that the nature of the mind is completely different from that of the body The Buddhism does not divide mind and body. The Jataka stories indicate how mind affects the body reveling numerous case studies.
The Neurologist António Damásio (1994) intensely discussed Descartes’ Error. He assessed the mind/body dualism question. He argues that René Descartes’ “error” was the dualist separation of mind and body, rationality and emotion. In Buddhist Psychotherapy mind and body are no two different entities. There is no sense in Buddhism that the body is a “vessel” that is guided or inhabited by the mind or spirit. Rather, the body and mind combine and interact in a complex way to constitute an individual (Wilson, 2004) The Buddhist Philosophy teaches the mind is supreme and it can have a profound impact on the body. The Jataka stories provide numerous case studies of psychogenic ailments which have somatic impacts.
The Human Mind
The human mind can be viewed as a cluster of functions that are developed and shaped by the ongoing interaction between man and his surroundings (MIELI). The Buddhist theories of mind center on the doctrine of not-self which postulates that human beings are reducible to the physical and psychological constituents and processes which comprise them (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
In general, the mind can be defined as an entity that has the nature of mere experience, that is, “clarity and knowing.” It is the knowing nature, or agency that is called mind and this is non-material. But within the category of mind there are also gross levels, such as our sensory perceptions, which cannot function or even come into being without depending on physical organs like our senses. And within the category of the sixth consciousness, the mental consciousness, there are various divisions, or types of mental consciousness that are heavily dependent upon the physiological basis, our brain, for their arising. These types of mind cannot be understood in isolation from their physiological bases (Dalai Lama).
The Jataka stories help to understand the dynamics of the human mind by giving a variety of stories. These stories highlight how human mind perceives ideas. How mind reacts in extreme situations. The Buddhist doctrine emphasize that all things are preceded by the mind, led by the mind, created by the mind.
Psychoanalysis and Jataka Stories
Psychoanalysis was introduced by Sigmund Freud in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal conflicts. Some experts view that the Freudian Psychoanalysis as a subject which is incomplete. According to Wax (1983) the scientific status of psychoanalysis has been the subject of continual debate. Influential philosophers of science have challenged the form of its theories and the nature of the evidence offered on their behalf. Some have concluded that the theories are beyond testing
The renowned Sri Lankan Literary genius Martin Wicramasinghe D.Lit. argues that the Psychoanalysis was initiated not by Freud but by the Jataka Storyteller. Martin Wicramasinghe gives solid examples to qualify his opinion. Wicramasinghe intensely wrote on Buddhist Jataka stories. In his books The Buddhist Jataka Stories and the Russian Novel (published in 1952) and Jataka Katha Vimasuma (The Literary Aspects of Buddhist Jataka Stories) published in 1968 Martin Wicramasinghe shows the mind analysis that shown in the Jataka stories. The Jataka storyteller revealed and analyzed the noble to ignoble characteristics of the human psyche. The Jataka storyteller knew the complexity of the human mind. He described the human behavior in vivid situations. He knew the internal mental conflicts, repressions and hysteria type of behavior that people exhibited. A vast amount of abnormal behaviors were recorded in form of stories by the Jataka storyteller. The Jataka stories represent a broad structure of mental phenomena.
The Psychoanalysts such as Erich Fromm and Karen Horney studied the Psychoanalytic component in the Buddhist philosophy. According to Erich Fromm psychoanalysis is not a therapy of commitment but rather an approach that liberates people from the type of commitment required by traditional religion and other social institutions. The Buddha helped to liberate people from emotional bondages and oppressed social conditions two millennia ago. Unlike the Freudian psychoanalysis the Buddhist psychoanalysis has a profound spiritual dimension and it extensively focuses on the deeper existential questions. Freud believed that the inner layers of the human personality consist of irrational and savagery wishes. In contrast the Buddha believed in the positive aspects of the human personality and its capabilities. The Buddha preached that the human have the capacity for self growth and achieve higher spiritual level (Jayatunge, 2014).
Hysteria Types of Reactions Described in the Jataka Stories
Hippocrates (5th century BC) is the first to use the term hysteria. Indeed he also believes that the cause of this disease lies in the movement of the uterus (Sigerist, 1951).
The Webster’s dictionary defines Hysteria as a psychiatric condition variously characterized by emotional excitability, excessive anxiety, sensory and motor disturbances, or the unconscious simulation of organic disorders. Jean Martin Charcot, Pierre Janet, Freud, and Joseph Breuer comprehensively wrote on hysteria.
Sigmund Freud provided a contribution that leads to the psychological theory of hysteria and the assertion of a male hysteria (Tasca, 2012). Sigmund Freud saw a traumatic experience in childhood that is uniformly of a sexual nature as general aetiology of hysteria. Freud’s famous case study of Anna O (Bertha Pappenheim ) suffered from a rigid paralysis, accompanied by loss of sensation, of both extremities on the right side of her body over a two years. Anna O was the classic study of Hysteria.
The DSM- IV -TR distinguishes hysteria under Somatoform Disorders and the Dissociative Disorders. Somatoform disorders are psychological ailments that cause bodily symptoms, including pain and numbness. The symptoms can’t be traced back to any physical cause. And they are not the result of substance abuse or another mental illness. Dissociative disorders (DD) are conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity or perception. There are numerous Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders are discussed in the Jataka stories.
The Vibhanga Atuwawa – a Buddhist scripture part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism describes vibrant neurotic features that are perceptible in laymen. The Jataka stories give numerous case examples of neurotic behavior.
The Prince Asanaga – a character that was described in Chula Phalobhana Jataka Story suffers from Gyenachophobia or an abnormal, irrational and persistent fear of women. He fears and avoids women from childhood. From birth to the adulthood, he was in the company of males and never had a chance to associate women. Accidentally he got acquainted with a woman and experiences an erotic relationship with her. His suppressed sexual desires emerge like a volcano and the Prince Asanaga goes in to an acute stress reaction. He becomes violent and attacks the men on the street with his sword. The Jathaka storyteller colourfully describes the inner mental conflict of the Prince Asanaga and his fears, anxiety, sudden desire and the acute emotional reaction.
In addition the Jataka Storyteller narrates numerous stories of psycho- physiological manifestations (psychogenic skin rashes, psychogenic sexual dysfunctions, and psychogenic paralyses) found in men and women. According to these Jataka stories the Akusal or the guilty based mind is responsible for such manifestations. In one of the stories a guilty ridden Count experiences sexual impotence and subsequently a sex change.
The Oedipal Conflict and Jataka Stories
In the Oedipus myth we find a dramatic representation of the child’s passionate ties to its parents (Zachrisson, 2013). In formulating his psychology of the unconscious, Freud makes constant reference to Sophocles’ version of the Oedipus myth (Bollack, 1993).
As Freud described in the Oedipus complex, largely unconscious ideas and feelings, which concentrate, on the desire to possess the parent of the opposite sex and eliminate the parent of the same sex. Freud analyzed the story of Oedipus Rex, and describes the unconscious motives of patricide He postulated that patricide was the great crime at the base of all social evolution.
The universality of the Oedipus complex indicates that the oedipal situation is at the heart of the mental life of man (Lebovici, 1982). The Thayo Darma Jatakaya is a story about the conflict between a father and a son. The father (King of the monkeys) destroys the genitals of male baby monkeys in order to liquidate any impending future threat by a male monkey. One of the male baby monkeys was able to escape physically unharmed and grows up in a hidden area of the jungle. The male baby monkey’s mother secretly feeds him. Hence the male monkey becomes emotionally closed to its mother. Once the monkey becomes a fully grown adult monkey, he comes out and challenges his father. In this conflict, the son kills the father and becomes the new King.
Sexuality Discussed by the Jataka Storyteller
Many centuries before Sigmund Freud, Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, Albert Moll or D.H. Laurence the Tantric Buddhist monks discussed the wider aspects of human sexuality.
Tantric is often viewed as the third major school of Buddhism, Tantric philosophy has a complex, and multifaceted system of Buddhist thought and practice which evolved over several centuries and encompasses much inconsistency and a variety of opinions. (Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004)
Based on the general definition human sexuality is how people experience the erotic and express themselves as sexual beings; the awareness of themselves as males or females; the capacity they have for erotic experiences and responses. Sexuality varies greatly by culture, region, and historical period, but in most societies and individuals has a large influence on human behavior.
The Kachappa Jatakaya (storyline) narrates a homosexual relationship between two ministers of the King Pasenadi Kosol’s Court. However the Buddhist philosophy does not consider gays as sinners. There is no precept or decree in Buddhism that condemn LGBT people and their rights.
Powell and Stein (2014) indicate that the United States has recently made significant and positive civil rights gains for LGB people, including expanded recognition of marriages between people of the same sex. Among the central tropes that have emerged in the struggle for the rights of LGB people are that they are “born that way,” that sexual orientations cannot change, and that one’s sexual orientation is not affected by choice.
Although the attitudes towards homosexuality have become more liberal, particularly in industrialized Western countries, there is still a great deal of variance in terms of the worldwide levels of homonegativity (Jäckle & Wenzelburger , 2014). Disapproval of homosexuality is the cause of tremendous suffering among sexual minorities (Nguyen& Blum, 2014). It’s significant to know that over 2500 years ago the Buddha had a democratic view and profound understanding about the LGBT community.
In the Jataka story book -Nalini Jatakaya describes broad aspects of human sexuality. It is a story of a young hermit who lived in a jungle since his birth and never had seen or heard of women. He had not heard of sexual relationships between men and women and when the young the Princess Nalini comes to his hermitage, he could not recognize her as a member from the opposite sex. With an erroneous assumption he thought that the Princess Nalini was a hermit like him. The princess deceived the hermit and made him to commit a sexual act. So the young hermit eventually experienced a physical relationship with a woman for the first time in his life. In this story the narrator deeply explore the primal sexual reaction of a human male who was deprived of prior sexual education and sex initiation by a female.
The Sexual arousal is stunningly described in the Haritha Jatakaya. By seeing a naked female body the hermit who practiced sexual abstinence for his life time could not resist the sudden erotic feeling and he eventually commits adultery. His suppressed sexual desires come in to action like a serpent coming out of a den. In this story the hermit’s sexual arousal is extensively described.
Sexual arousal, or sexual excitement, is the arousal of sexual desire during or in anticipation of sexual activity. Oh (2012) and colleagues indicate distinct brain activation patterns associated with visual sexual arousal. For the hermit (in Haritha Jatakaya) it was an unexpected visual sexual arousal. Many years he had practiced voluntary celibacy. His erotic desires were suppressed but when he saw the naked woman’s body his sexual response became overpowering.
Jealousy is a universal feeling. The feeling is normal until it is acted upon and the behaviour or actions become irrational. Many psychologists believe that in human males, sexual jealousy is often marked by violence and consistent attempts to restrict the sexual behavior of women.
Staske (1999) views Jealousy as an inherently relational emotion. The common conceptualization of jealousy is viewed as a perceived or actual threat to the exclusive nature of a romantic relationship (White & Mullen, 1989; Bevan & Hale, 2006). Jealousy is an aversive and psychologically stressful condition. Evolutionary psychologists hypothesized that jealousy is an evolved adaptation, activated by threats to a valuable relationship, functioning to protect it from partial or total loss (Buss & Haselton, 2005).
Sexual jealousy functions to defend paternity confidence (Daly et al., 1982). According to Buss (2013) Sexual jealousy is a basic emotion. Jealousy invokes low self-esteem, immaturity or character defects (Bhugra, 1993). Buunk and colleagues (1987) illustrate that sexual jealousy in humans is an emotion of jealousy which may be triggered in a person when a sexual partner displays sexual interest in another person.
The specific innate modular theory of jealousy hypothesizes that natural selection shaped sexual jealousy as a mechanism to prevent cuckoldry, and emotional jealousy as a mechanism to prevent resource loss. Therefore, men should be primarily jealous over a mate’s sexual infidelity and women over a mate’s emotional infidelity (Harris, 2003).
There are several Jatakaya stories exemplify sexual jealousy in males. For instance in Parvakuthha Jathakaya a King becomes extremely jealous when he realized one of his queens committed a sexual infidelity with a minister. The King is experiencing extreme emotional pain, feelings of betrayal, outrage and fear. His violent outbursts and obsessive thoughts are evident. The King believes that his personal, sexual and romantic relationship with the queen is now being threatened and he seeks revenge. Similarly the Memadha Jathakaya too contains a story about Sexual jealousy.
In Chulla Darmapala Jatakaaya the King Prathapa kills his infant son following sexual jealousy. King Prathapa was infuriated when he noticed his beautiful Queen cared for the infant Prince without paying attention to him. The King perceives mother-infant interaction with extreme hostility. Following anger and sexual jealousy he orders to kill the infant Prince.
The Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)
In the last 50 years new research into the sociology, psychology and physiology of sexuality has provided an understanding of decreased libido and inadequate sexual response in the form of hypoactive sexual desire disorder. (Studd, 2007). The Jataka storyteller describes complex behavioural components of a young man named Pinguthara who exhibits firm features of Hypoactive sexual desire disorder. The Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), is considered as a Sexual Dysfunction and is listed under the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders of the DSM-IV DSM-IV. It is characterized as a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity for some period of time. According to the story Pinguthara was a young man (described in the Siri Kalakanni Jatakaya ) who suffered from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. He had no interest in his newly wedded beautiful wife Udumbara Devi. He finds no erotic satisfaction in her and the wife becomes a burden to him. He abandoned her and fled due to lack of interest in women.
Borg and de Jong (2012) view Sex and disgust are basic evolutionary relevant functions that are often construed as paradoxical and in general the stimuli involved in sexual encounters are at least out of context strongly perceived to hold high disgust qualities. The young man -Pngutthara in Ummaga Jatakaya and the hermit in Haritha Jatakaya have two opposite reactions when they encounter females.
Incest and Jataka Stories
Incest refers to any sexual activity between close relatives often within the immediate family irrespective of the ages of the participants and irrespective of their consent that is illegally or socially taboo. Incest is considered as the oldest crime. During the Middle Ages the meaning of incest was paradoxical: when used literally, the word signified the abominable sin of consanguineous sex; when represented allegorically, it signified a mystical union with God (Donavin, 1993).
A significant number of researchers conclude that there is no demographic profile of incestuous fathers. Rather they are a complex, heterogeneous group of individuals who look like everyone else (Groth, 1982; Meiselman, 1978; Smith & Saunders, 1995). Cohen (1983) believes that incestuous fathers may also have acquired the incestuous behaviour through social learning.
Psychoanalysts contend that incest occurs when the daughter suffers from oral deprivation in the pre-oedipal stage. An incestuous relationship with her father is then established as revenge against her mother, who frustrated her oral needs and simultaneously as a way of satisfying her oral needs. The daughter substitutes the father’s penis for the mother’s breast, which had been denied to her (Dixen & Jenkens, 1981).
The Seggu Jatakaya of the Jataka story book reveals the socially forbidden subject of incest. According to this Jataka story a father takes his young daughter to the jungle and tries to molest her in order to verify her purity. He wants to know whether his daughter had a premarital sexual activity with someone. During the attempt the daughter becomes frighten and cries in fear and shame. She persistently tells the father that she is inexperienced in sexual relations. Finally the father realizes that his daughter is a virgin and then tells her about his real intentions.
Although in Seggu Jatakaya the father’s motives were not to molest his own daughter it raises a numerous questions. What would have been the father’s action if he found that the daughter was not a virgin? Then she would have been subjected to real incest or honor based killing.
According to the feminists view incest is a forceful act performed by men who control and subordinate their spouses and their children (Barret, Trepper & Fish, 1990). The feminists argue that father-child incest is a product of a patriarchal family structure (Vander Mey & Neff, 1986).
The Jataka Storyteller was well aware of the social forces existed in his ancient patriarchal society. Nevertheless he did not view women as sexual objects. He shows deep compassion for the woman who is frightened and helpless. On the other hand he intensely describes the complex mental state of the father. The Jataka Storyteller implies that the father had an underlying motive to molest his daughter if she was not a virgin.
Humans show a wide array of sexual preferences and behaviors. Although most humans prefer and have sex with consenting adults of the opposite sex, some individuals have unconventional preferences with regard to the sex or age of sexual partners, or with regard to the nature of sexual activities (Earls & Lalumière , 2002).
A paraphilia is a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behaviour that is atypical and extreme. Stuart (2012) suggests that paraphilia definitions are based on perceived deviations from inappropriate perfectionist ideals of sexual norms. The German Psychiatrist Richard Von Krafft-Ebing identified paraphilias in 1886. His famous book Psychopathia Sexualis (Sexual Psychopathy) describes numerous paraphilias.
Conversely Prior to Richard Von Krafft-Ebing the Jatakaya Storyteller illustrated a number of paraphilias that were found in the ancient Indian society. For instance Baka Jatakaya describes a King who had suggestive features of Salirophilia. The King is attracted to hideous woman called Panchapapa.
Moreover the Jataka stories describe Fetishism in a young man named Kema. Fetishism is a paraphilic sexual disorder characterized by recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (Firoz et al., 2014) Oguz and Uygur (2005) indicate that underlying personality disorders extending through childhood are thought to be the source of the etiology in Fetishism. Kema obtains sexual arousal by stealing sandals that belonged to a young and attractive Princess. Kema is attracted to the Princess. But his fears and inner mental conflicts prevent him meeting the Princess. But he gratifies his erotic desires keeping her pair of sandals.
Sexual addiction is a form of compulsive sexual behavior in which the individual is unable to control their sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts (Coleman, 2003).
In 1987 the APA’s Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-III-R) added for the first time the concept of sexual addiction as a specific descriptor that might be applied under the more general diagnosis of Sexual Disorders NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) (Weiss,2012).
According to Wölfle (2010) the phenomenon of sexual addiction as a clinical syndrome is discussed controversially. The frequency distribution of specific Hypersexual Disorder in females has been inadequately studied (Kafka, 2010).
In the past, medical attitudes to female sexuality were grotesque, reflecting the anxiety and hypocrisy of the times. In the medieval world, the population feared hunger, the devil, and women, being particularly outraged and threatened by normal female sexuality (Studd & Schwenkhagen, 2009). The 19th century medical attitude to normal female sexuality was cruel, with gynecologists and psychiatrists leading the way in designing operations for the cure of the serious contemporary disorders of masturbation and nymphomania (Studd, 2007).
The word ‘nymphomania’, the concept of ‘madness from the womb’ and the belief in the existence of a behaviour consisting in an abnormally high female sexual drive converged during the second half of the seventeenth century to give rise to a new clinical category which, with minor changes, has survived until the present (e.g., in ICD-10). Berrios & Rivière , 2006).
The Jataka stories describe individuals with extreme desire of carnal pleasure. For example Maha Kunala Jatakaya portrays of a Princess named Krishna who had suggestive features of Nymphomania or Sexual addiction. The Vennukuna Jatakaya indicates a princess who had an intense sexual desire for a man with an extreme physical defect. She abandons her husband and lives with a man with hunchback.
Zoophilia is a paraphilia whereby the perpetrator gets sexual pleasure in having sex with animals (Aggrawal , 2011). Zoophilia has lost its character as a severe mental disorder. (Dittert et al., 2005). Earls and Lalumière (2007) describe a case of zoophilia that challenges the widely held assumptions that men who have sex with animals are generally of below average intelligence and come from rural areas. Also they state that zoophilia is not as rare as once thought and shares many features with other atypical sexual interests. Dittert and colleagues (2005) stress that zoophilia shows a variety of manifestations. The subject’s desire to be transformed into the animal he or she has contact with can be understood as a narcissistic compound and is not related to lycanthropia.
The famous Kinsey reports on the sexual behavior of the American male and female also include data on sexual contacts with animals. Kinsey and his colleagues interviewed about 5300 adult, white men and 5800 adult, white women about their sexual experiences. Although the objectivity of the methods employed is sometimes criticized, the studies provide important information. Kinsey and his colleagues found that in rural areas about 40 to 50% of the males had had at least one sexual encounter with an animal, and 17% had even experienced an orgasm as a result of sexual contact with animals during adolescence. Amongst all the American men in the study, however, the prevalence was much lower, about 8% (Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948; Beetz, 2005).
The Jataka Storyteller vividly describes the Zoophilia (Bestiality) tendency of the Queen Mallika who had a sexual encounter with an animal. As the King observes from the upper floor his queen is having a physical relationship with a dog. He becomes puzzled and thinks that it was an optical illusion. Later the Queen Mallika tricks the King and convinces him that it was a misapprehension. However the in her death bed the Queen Mallika recollects this event and her final thoughts become impure.
Personality Disorders Described in the Jataka Stories
Many Personality Disorders are described in the Jataka Stories. Personality disorders involve patterns of behavior, mood, social interaction, and impulsiveness that cause distress to one experiencing them, as well as to other people in their lives. Many of these behaviors may cause severe disturbance in the individual’s personal and work life. In general, individuals with personality disorders have difficulty with close, intimate or attachment relationships. They experience chronic interpersonal problems, have difficulties in establishing a coherent sense of self or identity, and may be seen to be impulsive, irritable, fearful, demanding, hostile, manipulative, and even violent (CAMH).
According to the APA a personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.
For the DSM-5 criteria for a Personality Disorder requires impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment (American Psychiatric Association).
According to Bierer and colleagues (2003) that childhood emotional abuse and neglect are broadly represented among personality disorders, and associated with indices of clinical severity among patients with borderline personality disorder. Childhood sexual and physical abuses are highlighted as predictors of both paranoid and antisocial personality disorders. Several studies have provided strong evidence that personality disorders (PD) represent a significant clinical risk for violence (Esbec, 2010).
The Kshanthivadi Jatakaya depicts a character who bears psychological criteria that is similar to the Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). The APD is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood. Lack of remorse, poor behavior control, Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others, aggressive violent behavior, are more common in Antisocial Personality Disorder.
The Kshanthivadi Jataka story narrates negative characteristics of an aggressive King name Kalabu. The King Kalabu became angry when he saw Kshanthivadi Hermit was giving a sermon to his harem women. Out of anger and sexual jealousy the King Kalabu orders his men to torture the hermit. With the King’s orders, the executioner cuts the hands, and legs of the Hermit. But the Hermit shows no anger. It ignites the King’s anger further he orders to kill the hermit.
The King demonstrates swallowed emotions, a distorted sense of self, manipulation of others without remorse or empathy for the victim, egocentrism, lack of responsibility, extroversion, excessive hedonism, high impulsivity, and the desire to experience sensations of control and power. He truly fits in to APD criteria.
The King Kalabu ’s lack of empathy was much similar to the NAZI s who exterminated millions of men women and children. The Psychologist Gustave Gilbert interviewed a number of NAZI leaders (including Hermann Göring) at the Nuremberg trial after the WW2. According to Gustave Gilbert NAZI s lacked empathy.
The Western Psychology has limited answers to explain the reaction of the Kshanthivadi Hermit. Although he was subjected to unspeakable torture, he generates no anger. The hermit has a loving-kindness feeling towards his tormentors. Until his last breath, the hermit does not hate the King. According to the modern psychology it was an unusual human response.
The modern Western society was influenced by the non-violence movement by led Mahathma Gandhi and the Civil Right movement launched by Martin Luthr King Jr. But the emotional reaction of the Kshanthivadi Hermit remains an extraordinary human reaction. Perhaps such emotional reactions could have explained by Victor Frankl who practically showed that under the extreme physical and psychological pain man can preserve his spiritual freedom of independence of mind.
Furthermore Maha Kapi Jatakaya , Chulla Suthasoma Jatakaya narrate different kinds of Personality Disorders.
Strickland and colleagues (2013) highlight that Despite its importance historically and contemporarily, psychopathy is not recognized in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revised (DSM-IV-TR) and its closest counterpart, antisocial personality disorder, includes strong representation of behavioral deviance symptoms but weak representation of affective-interpersonal features considered central to psychopathy.
By definition, psychopaths are callous, selfish, manipulative, irresponsible, impulsive, sexually promiscuous and generally antisocial (Hart & Hare, 1997). Viding, McCrory and Seara-Cardoso (2014) point out that Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by lack of empathy and guilt, shallow affect, manipulation of other people and severe, premeditated and violent antisocial behavior.
The Jataka Story book widely narrates a number of individuals with Psychopathic Personality. In Chulla Suthasoma Jatakaya the cannibal King shows clear psycho-behavioral traits of a psychopath. Furthermore in the Sachhang Kira Jatakaya the Prince Dushta-Kaumara (Evil Prince) would qualify psychopathic personality traits. These individuals show lack of emotions, callousness, unreliability and superficiality in significant levels.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The term ‘narcissism’ originated from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book III) in the first century story of Narcissus and Echo, and much later evolved into a highly specialized psychoanalytic term (Konrath , ?2007). Narcissism was first introduced into psychological literature in 1898, when Havelock Ellis used the term Narcissuslike to refer to “a tendency for the sexual emotions to be lost and almost entirely absorbed in self admiration” (Ellis, 1898; Raskin & Terry, 1988).
For Freud narcissism was a soothing of the self as a sexual object. According to his essay On Narcissism (1914) Freud wrote that narcissism is a normal maturational phase of healthy development in all children. He further stated that narcissism is complement to the egoism of the instinct for self-preservation. However he assumed that in healthy development an individual move away from primary narcissism and invests his / her libidinal energy into another person rather than themselves.
As Freud believed narcissist is someone who was primarily focused on self-preservation, who was independent, not easily intimidated, aggressive, extraverted, high in activity, and unable to love or commit in relationships. (Konrath , ?2007). According to the Italian Psychoanalyst, Sergio Benvenuto Freud’s first use of the word ‘narcissism ‘in 1910 and Freud wrote: “[Homosexuals] identify themselves with a woman and take themselves as their sexual object …..they proceed from a narcissistic basis and look for a young man who resembles themselves and whom they may love as their mother loved them.
The individual diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder presents with grandiosity, extreme self-involvement, and lack of interest in and empathy for others (McNeal, 2003).
According to the DSM description Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder. An individual with NPD has a grandiose sense of self-importance. He / she is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love and believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people and requires excessive admiration. He / she lacks empathy and interpersonally exploitative.
Russ and colleagues (2008) are of the view that narcissistic personality disorder is one of the least studied personality disorders. In addition Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Also Narcissism is a more complex construct than portrayed by DSM-IV criteria (Russ et al., 2008).
According to Golomb (1992) Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity and NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. Both clinical and social-personality conceptualizations of narcissism include an aspect of self-esteem maintenance or self-enhancement and the effects of narcissism are most substantial in relation to interpersonal functioning (Miller et al., 2010).
The Jataka story book illustrates Narcissistic tendencies of two monks who have grandiose sense of self-importance and require excessive admiration. They also have a very strong sense of entitlement and repeatedly show arrogant and haughty behaviors.
Psychosis is a condition characterized by loss of contact with reality and may involve severe disturbances in perception, cognition, behavior, and feeling. Positive symptoms of psychosis include delusions, hallucinations and/or thought disorder (MHECCU). The term psychotic has historically received a number of different definitions, none of which has achieved universal acceptance.
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic disorder characterized by disturbed behavior, thinking, emotions, and perceptions. To the best of present knowledge schizophrenia is a disorder with variable phenotypic expression and poorly understood, complex etiology, involving a major genetic contribution, as well as environmental factors interacting with the genetic susceptibility (Jablensky, 2010).
The term ‘schizophrenia’ was coined in 1910 by the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler, and is derived from the Greek words ‘schizo’ (split) and ‘phren’ (mind). The disease concept of schizophrenia is of a relatively recent origin, as compared with disorders such as melancholia, mania, or generic insanity,” all known since antiquity (Jablensky, 2010). Schizophrenia is a classic psychiatric diagnosis. The defining features have remained unchanged for more than 100 years (Heckers, 2011).
The Jataka Stores describe several individuals with a variety of psychotic manifestations. The Labha- Garu Jatahakya is one of the examples that describe a person with insane behavior. For insanity the Jathaka storyteller uses the term Umathu” Umathu illustrates abnormal behavior, divergence from reality, erroneous thinking and decision making. The Jataka Stores illustrate confirmatory examples of psychotic behavior.
According to the historical records the King Buddhadasa (398 AD) of ancient Sri Lanka successfully treated an insane man who insulted him publicly. As the ancient texts describe this individual showed grandiose ideas, verbal aggression and socially inappropriate behavior with marked arrogance. This story further elucidate that instead of punishing the individual the King approached him humanly. He used empathy, talk therapy and positive reinforcements to treat this individual.
The “Daha Ata Sanniya” is an ancient healing dance ritual held to exorcise 18 types of diseases from the human body. The Exorcists wear masks depicting the demons thought to be responsible for a person’s ailments (Bailey & de Silva, 2006). There are several dances depicting mental illnesses. For non spirit related insanity such as psychotic conditions the ancient healers used Abutha Sanniya and for spirit related insanity (in Possession states) used Butha Sanniya. In temporary insanity (in Acute Transient Psychotic Disorders) Pissu Sanniya was used. For sleep disorders Naga Sanniya was recommended.
Depression is a mood disorder associated with specific symptoms such as depressed mood, decreased interest or pleasure in most activities, most of each day , significant weight change, change in sleep, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate, or more indecisiveness and thoughts of death or suicide. According to Assaka Jatakaya a King goes in to depression after his Queen’s death. The Jataka Storyteller vividly describes the King’s depressive reaction that is equivalent to the DSM description.
Grief is an intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one (especially by death) something that causes great unhappiness and it has multi-faceted responses. Grief is an overwhelming emotion. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Sometimes grief reactions are prolonged and the affected person is unable to come to terms with the loss. Pathological grief deserves a place in the diagnostic nomenclature (Horowitz 1993).
The Sujatha Jataka story explains a pathological grief reaction experienced by a person following the death of his father. His emotional pain does not heal with time and lasted for a long period. Most of the day his mind was preoccupied with the memories of the lost father and used to cry for him. He was emotionally overwhelmed. The sufferer’s pathological grief reaction was healed by using an existential mode of intervention by his young son. The young son gives his father the insight and hence reducing his prolonged grief reaction.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a new disorder for DSM-5 that is uncommon and frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders (Copeland et al., 2014). DMDD is a newcomer to psychiatric nosology, addresses the need for improved classification and treatment of children exhibiting chronic nonepisodic irritability and severe temper outbursts (Roy, Lopes & Klein, 2014). The children with DMDD show severe recurrent temper outbursts manifested verbally and behaviorally that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation. The temper outbursts are inconsistent with developmental level.
The Virochana Jatakaya of the Jataka storybook gives details of a Prince who had positive features of DMDD. The Prince has aggressive impulsive behavior, temper tantrums, temper outbursts, property destruction, rule violation etc. The King sends the young Prince to a hermit who has knowledge and wisdom. The hermit uses a form of behavior modification therapy to treat the child. The hermit gives an insight to the child by using a Kohomba plant (Azadirachta indica) which bears leaves with a bitter taste. The hermit says that the children with aggressive behavior often harms others are like these leaves and no one likes them. The child gains insight and refrains from aggressive behavior.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
The term intermittent explosive disorder” did not appear in DSM until publication of the third edition in 1980 (Coccaro, 2012). According to McElroy (1999) Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a behavioral disorder characterized by explosive outbursts of anger, often to the point of rage, that are disproportionate to the situation at hand (i.e., impulsive screaming triggered by relatively inconsequential events). Impulsive aggression is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived. Some individuals have reported affective changes prior to an outburst (e.g., tension, mood changes, energy changes, etc.) Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a relatively common disorder of impulsive aggression that typically emerges by adulthood (Fanning et al., 2014).
Recent studies have shown IED to be a common and under-diagnosed disorder existing in over 6% of the population (Coccaro,Posternak, & Zimmerman, 2005; Kessler et al., 2006;McCloskeyet al., 2008 ). IED is associated with a high degree of social impairment (Blankenship, 2008).
Coccaro (2012) indicates that human aggression constitutes a multidetermined act that results in physical or verbal injury to self, others, or objects. It appears in several forms and may be defensive, premeditated (e.g., predatory), or impulsive (nonpremeditated) in nature.
The Chethiya Daddara Jatakaya 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 Jatakaya this monk is easily provoked and goes into violent impulsive tantrums. Later this monk was healed by the Bodhisatta.
The developmental disorders are a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. The Ummaga Jatakaya narrates of a Count named Gorimannda who suffers from a Developmental Disorder. According to the description the Count Gorimannda has mental retardation, lack of social or emotional reciprocity, poor motor coordination, Sialorrhea (drooling or excessive salivation) and abnormal speech.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is clinically defined by abnormalities in reciprocal social and communicative behaviors and an inflexible adherence to routinised patterns of thought and behavior. Laboratory studies repeatedly demonstrate that autistic individuals experience difficulties in recognizing and understanding the emotional expressions of others and naturalistic observations show that they use such expressions infrequently and inappropriately to regulate social exchanges (Gaigg, 2012).
The Jataka story book discloses extraordinary narrative of a Prince who displays Autism related symptoms to deceive the King and the Royal healers. The little Prince Themiya becomes disgusted with the way his father rules the country tormenting the subjects. He does not want to be a part of the kingdom. Therefore the little Prince Themiya exhibits autistic behavior pattern disregarding his surroundings. He intends to run away from the kingdom. The King makes numerous efforts to heal the prince. But his condition remains the same. Eventually the King orders to kill the Prince who has no value to the kingdom. When the executioner takes the Prince to the forest to kill him, unexpectedly the Prince talks to the executioner. The Prince states that it was an act and he needed to escape from the palace. The executioner releases the Prince and he goes to Himalayan forest and becomes a hermit.
Also in Padangali Jatakaya the Prince Padanjali shows a number of Autistic traits with poor social skills, difficulty understanding linguistic terms, and lack of sensitivity to outer environment.
Children with conduct disorder repeatedly violate the personal or property rights of others and age-appropriate social standards and rules. Associated features of conduct disorder include an inability to appreciate the importance of others’ welfare and little guilt or remorse about harming others. Children with Conduct Disorder often view the world as a hostile and threatening place and they have difficulty maintaining friendships. They often have low self-esteem and low frustration tolerance. Peers and family members become negative and irritated with their misbehaviour, which leads to a vicious cycle.
Thila Mutti Jatakaya of the Jataka storybook gives details of a Prince who had positive features of Conduct Disorder. He violates social rules and shows temper outbursts and aggressive behavior.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an abnormal reactivity to real or imagined separation from attachment figures that significantly interferes with daily activities and developmental tasks. To meet DSM-IV-R diagnostic criteria, the anxiety must be beyond what is expected for the child’s developmental level, last longer than four weeks, begin before age 18 and cause significant distress or impairment (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The fear of separation is associated with leaving the safety of parents and home may escalate into tantrums or panic attacks and cause significant interference with academic, social, or emotional development (Hanna, 2006).
Mahajana Jataka story describes separation anxiety in a child following Paternal Derivation. According to the Mahajana Jataka story the child demonstrate numerous behavioural problems. Finally his mother makes arrangements to meet the child with his father and hence the anxiety comes to an end.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is considered as a body-image disorder. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a distressing or impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance, has been described for more than a century and increasingly studied over the past several decades (Phillips, 2010). In DSM-IV, BDD is classified as a separate disorder in the somatoform section (APA). Individuals with BDD have intense preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance and if a slight physical anomaly is present, the person’s concern is markedly excessive. This preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. BDD is associated with substantial impairment in psychosocial functioning and markedly poor quality of life (Bjornsson, 2010).
In Kusa Jatakaya the King Kusa is overly anxious about the size of his nose. His preoccupation with his facial image causes him immense distress and impairment in social functioning as a king and a husband.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.
The Jathka storyteller elegantly portrays the clinical picture of a monk (in Dummbala Katta Jathakaya) who had fear feelings, flashbacks, hyperaousal, avoidance and startling reactions. The monk who was described in this Jataka story fits in to the DSM criteria of PTSD. He was named Marana Bhiruka Bikku or the monk who had mortal fears.
Sleep Terror Disorder
According to the DSM IV -TR Sleep Terror Disorder ( pavor nocturnus ) is characterized as having recurrent episodes of abrupt awakening from sleep, usually occurring during the first third of the major sleep episode and beginning with a panicky scream , intense fear and signs of autonomic arousal, relative unresponsiveness to efforts of others to comfort the person during the episode , no detailed dream is recalled and there is amnesia for the episode and the episodes cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The DSM highlights that the disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition. Maha Supina Jatakaya gives an unambiguous case study of Sleep terror disorder.
Pain disorder is chronic pain experienced by a patient in one or more areas. Often the pain does not subside for medications and it has a psychological origin. According to the Ummaga Jatakaya the Count Sirriwaddana is suffering from a headache for over seven years. This pain was headed by infant Mahosadha Pandit with a piece of sandalwood.
Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
According to the DSM-IV-TR Alcohol Abuse and Dependence are describe as maladaptive pattern of drinking, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. DSM–5 integrates the two DSM–IV disorders, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, into a single disorder called alcohol use disorder (AUD) with mild, moderate, and severe sub-classifications.
Surapana Jatakaya and Bddraghataka Jatakaya point out health and behaviour related problems associated with alcoholism. According these Jataka stories the persons who abuses alcohol loses their rational judgment.
Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder
Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder has been revealed in the Darmadavaja Jataka story. According to the story a King with alcohol induced psychosis kills his infant son and forces the Royal Chef to cook the dead infant’s meat. This horrendous narrative is dramatically presented by the Jataka storyteller.
Alcohol-related psychosis is a secondary psychosis that manifests as prominent hallucinations and delusions occurring in a variety of alcohol-related conditions. For patients with alcohol use disorder, previously known as alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, psychosis can occur during phases of acute intoxication or withdrawal, with or without delirium tremens (Medspace)
As described by Perälä and colleagues (2010) Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder is a severe mental disorder with poor outcome. Also they specify that psychotic symptoms can occur in several clinical conditions related to alcohol such as intoxication, withdrawal, alcohol-induced psychotic disorder and delirium. The association between alcohol and homicide is well documented and according to a study done by Razvodovsky (2008) showed that homicide and alcohol are closely connected in the prevailing culture with its intoxication-oriented drinking pattern.
According to the American Psychiatric Association Pathological gambling (PG) is classified in the DSM-IV as a disorder of impulse control with the essential feature being recurrent and maladaptive gambling behaviour. The individual has a preoccupation with gambling, needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired level of excitement, repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling, feels restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling, uses gambling as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood, has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or educational or career opportunity because of gambling etc.
In his paper Dostoyevski and Parricide”, Freud (1928) suggests that pathological gambling is a form of addiction related to the Oedipus complex. The individual gambles as a substitute for masturbation. Also gambling constitutes a way of punishment that secondarily becomes a pleasurable activity. Thus, Freud suggests masochistic component to pathological gambling (Moreyra et al., 2000).
The Jataka storyteller narrates of a pathological gambler named Thundila in the Thakari Jataka story. The behavioral features of the gambler Thundila is very much similar to the behavioral symptomatology that has been described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Dissociative Trance Disorders (Possession Disorder)
Although dissociative trance disorders, especially possession disorder, are probably more common than is usually though, precise clinical data are lacking (Ferracuti , Sacco & Lazzari, 1996). According to Ross (2011) Dissociative trance disorder, which includes possession experiences, was introduced as a provisional diagnosis requiring further study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Consideration is now being given to including possession experiences within dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).
Spirit possession is a common, worldwide phenomenon with dissociative features and studies in Europe and the United States have revealed associations among psychoform and somatoform dissociation and (reported) potential traumatic events (van Duijl et al., 2010)
Dissociative trance disorder, which includes possession experiences, was introduced as a provisional diagnosis requiring further study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) and consideration is now being given to including possession experiences within dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -5th ed (Ross, 2011).
Aspects of possession are reviewed in historical, cultural and clinical contexts (Prins, 1992). Possession disorder is basically an illness of attribution that has intrinsic meaning to the individuals suffering from it. Illnesses of attribution are defined not so much by their signs and symptoms as by their presumed etiologic mechanisms (Gaw et al., 1998). Ferracuti, Sacco and Lazzari (1996) state that although dissociative trance disorders, especially possession disorder, are probably more common than is usually though, precise clinical data are lacking.
Pathological Possession Trance (PPT) was formerly known as dissociative trance disorder in the DSM psychiatric manual, and became included within the dissociative identity disorder criteria in the DSM-5. The experience of being “possessed” by another entity, such as a person, god, demon, animal, or inanimate object, holds different meanings in different cultures. Yet the phenomenon of possession states has been reported worldwide (Gaw et al., 1998).
Spirit possession little attention from mental health care systems, possibly due to the cultural complexity of defining pathological trance syndromes and its diagnosis and treatment (Cardeña et al. 2008; Castillo 1992, 1998; Marjolein van Duijl, 2010).
Distinction between normal dissociative trance and possession states, for example, as part of cultural or religious rituals, and pathological trance and possession states bringing distress and impairment in functioning has been an important debate preceding inclusion of experimental criteria for possessive trance disorder and dissociative trance disorder (DTD) in the DSM-IV (Marjolein van Duijl, 2010).
The Pandit Kavinda (in the Ummaga Jatakaya storyline) seems to be suffering from Dissociative Trance Disorder- Possession state. As the Pandit describes it is a transient monthly occurrence on full moon days. When he is under the trance he loses control of his body as well as the control over his consciousness. His behavior changes rapidly. There is a change in tone of voice and he barks like a dog. He loses the awareness of surrounding and there is a loss of personal identity. The Pandit Kavinda believes that he is under a possession by a demon.
The Concept of Death described by the Jathaka Storyteller
Death is a universal phenomenon. Sujatha Jataka story discusses the meaning of death in existential point of view. Death is the irredeemable loss of consciousness. The existential level is organized around life on earth itself and social, cultural 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/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.
Savage Part of the Human Psyche
Freud described that savage part of the human psyche.
In 1929 Sigmund Freud wrote . . . men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him…… (Civilization and Its Discontents)
Similarly, in the Jataka stories the dark side of the human mind is revealed. In Suthasoma Jathaka Porisada, the cannibal shows series of psychopathic personality traits. People fear him and avoid him. Porisada is violent and shows no compassion. He derives satisfaction torturing and cannibalizing human beings. He disregards moral beliefs. According to the story the villain Porisada was reformed by the Bodhisatta. (A Bodhisatta is a person who is devoted to Enlightenment)
The act of killing one’s father (patricide) has been described in the Jataka storybook. The Sankichha Jatakaya is based on patricide.
Early explanations for parricide were predominantly psychodynamic interpretations. These theories included suggestions that the murderous impulse to kill a parent might have oedipal origins, as a defense against hostility or incestuous desires (Bourget et al., 2007). Silva and colleagues (1989) hypothesized that an unresolved incestuous conflict or a parent-victim who mistreats the child excessively may push the child to the point of explosive violence.
In Sankichha Jatakaya t