BETH JACOBS, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and a former faculty member of the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. A lay teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, Jacobs incorporates Buddhist studies and meditation into her work as both a psychologist and a writer. She is the author of Writing for Emotional Balance (2005) as well as an award-winningcolumn for the National Association for Poetry Therapy.
Beth Jacobs has the kind of mind that absorbs Abhidharma
information and structure, combined with a lifetime of eloquent
writing and clinical skills as a psychologist. The result is a
unique treasure of a book and contribution to the study of Buddhism
--Sojun Diane Martin, founding and guiding teacher, Udumbara Zen Center
Jacobs' work here is unprecedented: for all of the popular
literature on Buddhist thought and practice and its relationship to
psychotherapy, no one has yet made the foundational Buddhist
psychological sources--the Abhidharma--available to a non-academic
audience. Jacobs is doing just that. The Abhidharma is notoriously
difficult to understand, let alone master. But in weaving her
personal experiences as a therapist and Zen student into her
learned discussion of the Abhidharma psychology, Jacobs makes the
Abhidharma come alive. Her examples are startlingly illustrative,
her language is fresh and immediate, and her use of her personal
story breathes life into what is often thought of as the driest of
--Joy Brennan, PhD, assistant professor of religious studies, Kenyon College "Beth Jacobs not only reveals the essence of the complex and nuanced text of the Abhidharma but holds it lightly and turns it slowly so that we can see through it to a whole new view of ourselves and the world."
--Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD, author of The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery
"A wonderfully unique, refreshing, and much-needed alternative to the seemingly dry, tedious, and endless lists that typify the vast Abhidharma literature. Beth Jacobs has given us a penetrating, thorough, and dynamically practical study, full of beautiful lived examples that clearly demonstrate everyday usefulness."
--Seiso Paul Cooper, author of The Zen Impulse and the Psychoanalytic Encounter