“Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind. Follow the calmness, the absence of pride.” ~ Sutta Nipata All forms of Buddhism contain and dwell into six human traits, which have been contained into three distinct pairs over the years. The Visuddhimagga or the Path of Purification from the Pali Canon was written 1,600 years ago, in Theravada Buddhism by one of its esteemed commentator, Buddhaghosa. Theravada is the oldest school of thought in Buddhism and is revered to date, as the Teachings of the Elders.
Let’s dwell deeper into this subject. The Types of Human Personality in Buddhism As per the Visuddhimagga, the human personality dawns six intricate facets, each of which has a bad/good or negative/positive or a yin/yang for modern reference. These six types have been summarized into three distinct pairs of personality type. The negative characteristics are called Unwholesome , while the positive traits are known as the Wholesome. The three pairs of personality are as following: Greed/Faith Anger/Wisdom Confusion/Balance When asked to develop the mind of equilibrium, the Sutta Nipata (Buddhist scripture) , encourages its believers to gain control of their thoughts. While figuring out your Buddhist personality, you must realize that, each sentient being, that ever existed on the earth has all these characteristics, inherent within him. Which simply refers to the fact that, all the three types and all its six aspects are existing parallel to one another.
It’s up to you to analyze and question yourself as to which category you fall in, and which traits manifest the most in your thoughts and action. The Twin Centric Combination of Traits You must also be aware of the fact that, while judging your personality, you must remain unbiased. You will need to let go of all inhibitions and fear, and not worry about the outcome. As I mentioned earlier, none of the traits are evil, and are a part of our being. We all have our quirks and drawbacks, as well as our positive attributes. The Path of Purification wants that we allow our positive personality to take charge and keep the negative aspects at their bare minimal.
The idea is to eventually renounce the negative aspects of our personality, so that we progress as humans and achieve the fullest of our potential. In order to bring forth your positive side, every personality is required to meditate on specific aspects, which shall be discussed in this article. Buddhist Personality Test Let’s find out which Buddhist personality type you fit in and which ones dominate your being through the chart mentioned below. Try our quiz to figure out who you are… When colleagues ask you to join them for a movie, what do you say? A) Great, that’s a plan. Let’s go!
B) I don’t even know them that well, I don’t think so… C) OK, if you say so, but do I really want to go? Don’t know… When you see a posh new car entering the driveway, what do you think? A) WOW! I want that car for myself… B) Why do people have to flaunt so much?
C) There is no way I can ever afford something that good… You see a happy couple lost in each other. What would be your thoughts…? A) You’ll be jealous and will inadvertently envy the two…if you do not have a healthy relationship. B) It’s inappropriate for people to get too cozy in public… C) You’ll feel dejected and lonely for not having someone special in your life but all the same, you’ll be happy for the couple. You received a bonus on your salary. What will you do with the extra money? A) Spurge it within the next few days on extravagances. B) Save it and put the money in a separate account, even though there are a few things you really want to buy for a long time. C) Spend the money on useless things that you gain no pleasure out of it. What would you do if you found out that your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on you? A) Not worry so much as you can easily move on and will find someone else. B) Be furious and extremely hurt, and end up verbally accusing the other of deceit. C) You’ll blame yourself and think that there must be something wrong with you and that you were not good enough for him/her. Answer Key A) If all your answers were (A), then you are greedy. B) If all you answers were (B), then you are angry. C) If all your answers were (C), then you are confused. D) A combination of A, B and C will show that you have a bit of all these traits in you. However, one of the three traits will dominate the rest. It will be that dominant trait that you will need to tame more intently. Manifestation of Your Positive Self 1) The Greedy Soul That Found Faith The greedy personality is always associated with the one who has faith. These people like to enjoy good life, such as new possessions, expensive lifestyle, excessive friends, money, and class. They are possessive about love and jealous by nature. The flip side to this trait is that when the greed overtakes the person, they can become power-hungry and will continually seek the attention of people. They will want to be the center of attention and can go to the extent of harming others for personal gains. “If beings knew, as I know, the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their gifts without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it” ~ Itivuttaka 18 Meditation for Faith, requires such individuals to focus on impermanence and expiry of life itself. They need to understand that the life they are living is bound to end and so shall temporary happiness be gained from greed. Realizing that everything has an end and will come to its end, is the only belief which will break the cycle of addiction, that the greedy mind revels in. According to all Buddhist beliefs, greed is a sinister addiction of the soul, which inhibits its victims from experiencing true harmony with themselves and the world. If you find yourself in this dilemma, you are requested to meditate and imagine that each and every part of your body is gradually shutting down or dying. It’s a difficult form of meditation which will require that you steel yourself for this daunting task. The feeling of death overcoming your being, will gradually help you understand that greed is not worth it, and death is inevitable. Thus, leading a philanthropic and charitable life is more fulfilling to your soul. 2) The Angry Soul That Found Wisdom Anger makes people weary and suspicious of everything around them. The angry personality is always critical and judgmental, ever willing to condone the actions of others and find faults in them. Though, this attribute when tuned to the right direction becomes an asset, as it helps these individuals steer clear of negative influences and bad decisions. They are very adept at figuring out the true characteristics and intentions of people, because of their strong sense of intuition or inkling. However, because of their quick and rash irritation or animosity with the world, these people often suffer from unhappiness. They expect the world to be up to their mark of perfection, which strains their relationship with dear and near ones and others. They complain and crib about the lack of order in their relationships, as well as in the thoughts and action of others around them. They feel like misfits and feel hurt that others are making the world a bad place to live in. “Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth.” ~ The Dhammapada Meditation for wisdom, will help bring out the sharp sense of intellect that the angry personality harbors. Through meditation they can harness on their deep insight to things and learn to forgive and accept others for who they are. Wisdom allows magnanimity, which teaches such people to love. Much like the quote from Dhammapada, mentioned above. These individuals need to let go of their pain and resentment, that they know deep within has no just cause. If you find yourself within this abyss, you will need to seek forgiveness from within, from yourself. Meditate and simply enjoy the feeling of kindness and love that you feel from within you. Your objective is to treat people with respect, kindness and love, without expecting anything in return. All you need to do is feel good about your own actions. 3) The Confused Soul That Found Balance This personality type, as per Buddhist teachings, is a person who goes with the flow, and keeps changing his course depending on who influences him the most. Such people are confused and do not know what they want out of their lives. They get easily influenced and listen to people and trust them too much. They are fickle-minded, easily distracted by everything around them and are easily swayed by opinion. They often, doubt their own potential and are conflicted about their ideologies. When something goes wrong, they question themselves and place the blame on themselves. The biggest drawback of this personality is that they find it very difficult to make decisions pertinent to their lives and keep dilly-dallying with their time. They are self-conscious and have low aspiration levels. “Half the spiritual life consists of remembering what we are up against and where we are going… And the other half is taking complete personal responsibility for getting there!” ~ Ayya Khema, “When the Iron Eagle Flies” ~ Joshua Bryer These individuals must meditate and learn to focus all their attention towards one sole objective. They must assimilate all their scattered thoughts into one single purpose, and make that their goal. This has to be done through simple, steady and deep breathing, thereby allowing the mind to relax and gain steadiness. If you find yourself stuck in this limbo of a personality, through focus and meditation, you’ll find yourself becoming more aware of the things you wish out of your life and how to achieve them.