Leung Wai Yin, Amy
THE THREE MONKEYS: CAPTURING A MOMENT OF CRISIS
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 19, Number 2, 2010
KEY WORDS: three monkeys, sandplay, “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” Confucius, animal, Sandplay therapy, symbol, clinical examples.
ABSTRACT: Closely resembling human beings, the monkey connotes a rich symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. Among the different monkey symbols, the three monkeys are particularly intriguing and contain multiple levels of meaning. The author discusses the biological aspects and natural habits of monkeys then explores the monkey as a symbol in different cultures including China, India and Japan focusing on the principle of “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.” The author elaborates the symbolic meaning of the three-monkeys and how this symbolic image can be understood in sandplay therapy. Clinical case examples are included.