The Compatibility of Person-Centred Therapy and Buddhist Teachings

Fung Kei Cheng


Previous scholarly studies have discussed the use of Zen Buddhism within the person-centred approach of Carl Rogers, demonstrating the feasible influence of Buddhism over Rogers’s theories. The present research delves into the convergence and divergence of person-centred therapy and the Mahāyāna (one of the current mainstreams of Buddhism) philosophy explicated within the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra (a significant Mahāyāna canon); in particular, the bodhisattva spirit and four immeasurables, including loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Findings indicate that Carl Rogers’s counselling principles and practices comply with the Buddhist teachings of phenomenal vision, actualising tendency, and innate eagerness to alleviate suffering. This discussion also analyses ideas that have seldom been examined in person-centred principles, such as bodhisattva altruism, mind purity in nature and impurity caused by bewilderment, compassion fatigue, causes of suffering, and counselling techniques. Mahāyāna wisdom potentially offers references to the Rogerian family of theories, which also sheds light on the use of Buddhist-influenced non-medical interventions.


Bodhisattva; bodhisattva altruism; congruence; empathy; Mahāyāna; unconditional positive regard; Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra

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