The Advantages of Doing Naikan Therapy

According to Dr. Clark Chilson, Naikan benefits may vary from person to person, depending on their purpose. However, the common effect of Naikan on people is that people see themselves differently after doing it.

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People do Naikan for various purposes

Nick: Back to Naikan, I guess some listeners might be thinking, why would you do this? So what are the benefits? And I know there's all these applications or history of the application of Naikan which is fascinating. So yeah, what are the benefits of doing Naikan? 

CLark: Right, so it depends on the person. I think when I did Naikan, I did it because I had a graduate student who was a Buddhist monk, and he wrote a paper on Naikan for independent study with me. And I have known Naikan just by reading about it. And then after he did his independent study I thought I'll try Naikan.

I mean, he was working in the prison and he was using Naikan in the prison here in Pittsburgh. I was like wow, you actually learned something useful. Actually, you learnt something practical. So I thought I'm gonna try naikan when I go to Japan. And so that's why I did. I did it just to try it. 

And believe me on the second day, I was thinking I should not have done this. So in my case, I didn't do it for any particular benefit, but a lot of times people do it, I would say slightly more than half of the people that do it, maybe 60% is because they're having a serious problem, that they could not make progress on doing anything else.

I mean, it might not be the last resort, but it's pretty close to the last resort for a lot of people. It's a rare person who's suffering from a problem that thinks, oh, I'm gonna go do Naikan. And the problems could be various; it could be addiction problems, that could be psychosomatic problems, they could be gambling problems, real difficulties with a child or spouse.

So I'd say about 60% of people do it to solve some specific problem. And then about 30 or so percent of people do it as a form of self-cultivation, they want to be better at something. So, it was a baseball player who did it who thought it might help with his hitting in Japan, and managers, company managers do it, because they want to become a better manager.

And then the last 10% is a whole mixture of a bunch of different things. So, people are looking for some spiritual experience, people who worked for a company and a company sent them, and people who work in corrections, or jails -- things like that.