Books by Seth Zuihō Segall
Encountering Buddhism: Western Psychology and Buddhist Teaching (SUNY Press, 2003)
“This book is fascinating, intelligent, and creative. It addresses the strengths and weaknesses of both Western psychology and Buddhism in a balanced way. Not only is it very interesting to read, but it has also literally initiated a transformation in my own person.”
“Seth Segall offers the reader selections that challenge the mind and expand its horizons … [This] book is an excellent one for any therapist interested in understanding Buddhist psychology. While some of the chapters are challenging to read, they are worth the intellectual effort. Whether one finishes the book with a clearer understanding of Buddhism or just a clearer understanding, this book is a keeper.”
“Encountering Buddhism is a welcome alternative to the oft-times glib interconnections drawn between Western Psychology and Buddhist Teachings, two fabrics of vastly different composition as well as construction in their warp and weft. With the advent of a ferocious interest in all things mindful, there is a rising concern that the nuances of similarity and glaring differences between Western and Buddhist models of mind are being lost. Segall and his collection of incisive colleagues offer their perspectives on these similarities and differences in a way that fosters a discerning mind.”
Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020)
Seth Zuihō Segall is one of a kind: a Zen Buddhist priest, a hospital chaplain associate, psychotherapist, existentialist, peace activist, and as fluent in recent philosophical debates about the nature of self and consciousness as in the history and philosophy of Buddhism. In this timely, crystal clear book, Segall defends a version of Buddhism modernism attuned to the sensibilities of secular and scientifically minded people. How can people in the lineage of Plato and Aristotle and the Abrahamic traditions adapt and adopt Buddhist beliefs and sensibilities? In this terrific book, Seth Segall shows a way.
Buddhism and Human Flourishing is an admirably thoughtful work of comparative practical philosophy and psychology. It is one of the few books from a modern Buddhist perspective that grapples with the realities of historical and cultural context and with what it means to take up ideas and practices from a very different time and place with nuance and complexity. A rare fusion of erudition and accessibility, it will be of interest to scholars and practitioners alike.
Challenging traditional understandings of rebirth and karma is a hallmark of all emerging modernist Buddhisms. If they’re right, then one question burns: what is enlightenment? Seth Zuihō Segall, Zen priest and psychologist, explores how Aristotle’s eudaimonia may prove the key to a modernist Buddhist path of awakening. This is a compelling book, challenging but also inviting. It’s an important contribution to a growing modernist Buddhist literature. I recommend it to anyone wrestling with the great questions of who are we and how can we live lives of value and meaning.
“Contemporary Western Buddhism has become a process, not of the extinction of the self and desire, but of their transformation in the service of human flourishing. Seth Zuiho Segall, with a creative synthesis of contemporary psychology and Aristotelean virtue ethics, has formulated a new “eudaemonic Buddhism” that is both relevant to our times, while preserving the essential teachings of traditional Buddhism.”
“While the influence of Buddhism has made its way from the east to the west most people have a very superficial understanding and appreciation of the rich Buddhist tradition and are often challenged by integrating Buddhist concepts, insights, and wisdom into contemporary life in the western world. Dr. Seth Zuiho Segall offers a much needed remedy for this problem in his new book, Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective. As both a clinical psychologist and a Zen Buddhist priest he provides a thoughtful and unique perspective written in a scholarly yet very engaging and approachable style. Certainly anyone who is interested in the Buddhist tradition and contemporary society will want to read this book and will be grateful that they did. “
Living Zen: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Existence (Rockridge Press, 2020)
Seth Zuihō Segall is a Zen priest and a seasoned clinical psychologist. In this original synthesis of foundational Zen teachings and therapeutic insight, he shows how the skillful application of Zen principles can resolve interpersonal conflicts and foster compassionate understanding. Living Zen is at once a well of timeless wisdom and a reliable instrument for navigating twenty-first-century life.
The House We Live In: Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism (Equinox, 2023)
“It would hardly be an exaggeration to call this brilliant and beautiful book one of the most important works of our time. In my view, it should certainly rank as one of the wisest. Looking deeply into today’s social, cultural, and political crises, the author points to the compelling need to re-envision the perennial moral and intellectual virtues as the indispensable key to human flourishing in both the personal and communal dimensions of our lives. His close and careful analysis of these virtues, and their connection with well-being, shows us what we must do to emerge intact from the confusion and conflicts of our age.”
Talk of “multiculturalism” and of “the virtues” are often seen as incompatible. “Multiculturalism” is a slogan of contemporary liberals, while conservatives bemoan the loss of our traditional “virtues.” Segall’s The House We Live In is an exciting attempt to bring multicultural liberalism into dialogue with classic accounts of virtues like wisdom, courage, and justice. Segall makes an ambitious attempt to show that the freedom offered by multicultural liberalism has to be grounded in a robust account of what it is to live well and to be a good person. This provocative and timely book deserves a wide audience.
“Through a rich and rigorous synthesis of flourishing-based ethical perspectives, Seth Zuihō Segall offers insights and inspiration from religious and secular traditions both past and present. To address our increasingly global crisis, we urgently need the kind of globally informed ethics that this book provides.”
“Segall is a gifted writer with encyclopedic knowledge, keen insights, and flowing prose. The reading public who are concerned about the general state of affairs in America should be very interested in this book. It is full of sensible examples and free from academic jargon while thoughtfully engaging great ancient thinkers from different cultural and intellectual milieus, i.e., Aristotelian, Confucian, and Buddhist, for alternative sources of virtues and values at this moment of our history.”