Through a theoretical analysis, this paper suggests that the Buddhist philosophy and psychology offer a unique contribution to our understanding of conflict escalation and the potential for its transformation from a relational point of view. In particular, it presents an in-depth analysis of conflict escalation, applying the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Twelve Links models. With the help of these models, it analyzes the psychological process that invokes the escalation of conflict, resulting in what is considered “suffering” (Duhkha) in Buddhist thought, seen also as lack of relational awareness. The paper demonstrates how a Buddhist-oriented view of conflict adds value to current scholarship of relational conflict resolution and has the potential to help conflict specialists transform adversity into dialogue. Furthermore, it argues that the suggested framework can help scholars and practitioners who implement Mindfulness practices into ADR processes assist disputants cultivate relational awareness.

Author Bio(s)

Ran Kuttner is an Associate Professor of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law. Prior to joining Creighton he was a Visiting Scholar at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (2005–2008). He has written on various issues relating to theory and practice of conflict management, mediation and dialogue from a relational point of view. Email: rankuttner@creighton.edu


alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Aristotelian metaphysics, Buddhist philosophy, conflict transformation, psychology, relational awareness, Western thought

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