Nurturing the West from a Well in the East: The Integration of East Asian Spiritual Philosophy in Western Conflict Transformation

Jack B. Hamlin


The manner in which Western Culture addresses conflict has entered an evolving age. First embracing Alternate Dispute Resolution as a powerful tool, the culture has recognized and begun to move toward a Conflict Transformation model. The Conflict Transformation is not new or unique and, in part, is an assimilation of East Asian Spiritual Philosophies.

This paper identifies and compares the manner in which the “Chinese Religion,” comprised of the integrated philosophies of Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Confucianism, has impacted the evolution of the Conflict Transformation model in the United States, focusing on the need to recognize and understand the linear aspect and not merely its manifestations, or trigger events.

Focusing on the relevant precepts of Chinese Religion, the paper addresses the endorsement of a more complete, if not complex, approach which strives toward a transformation rather than closure to conflict; a remedy rather than a bandage. The process for transforming conflict, while adaptable, relies on recognition of a conflict, defining and acceptance of the source, manifestations of the conflict or trigger events, acknowledgment of who are the stakeholders and its degree and impact upon each. In so doing, settlement of the issues arrives through transformation, utilizing circumstantial burden and personal investment based in a balancing of emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual components. The process can only be accomplished effectively by empowering disputants with a voice and choice creating a vantage for each stakeholder, relying not on compromise, but collaboration.

These concepts place the outcome in the hands of the stakeholders to understand, work through, accept, and grow personally and socially from conflict.

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World Journal of Social Science     ISSN 2329-9347 (Print)  ISSN 2329-9355 (Online)

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