This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Buddhism on human personality: psychological response to dhukkha

Mangala Chinchore & Savita Deo — University of Pune, Pune


One has to make difference between Indian and Western modes of living and thinking, taking into account of which, analysis of human personality also changes. Duhkkha is a universal phenomenon no doubt, but how we respond to it depends and depicts our personality and psychological growth and development. There can be various frameworks of analysing the fundamental nature of humans and reality at large. Correspondingly, we have different philosophies and cultures within the Indian civilisation. Amongst them Buddhism occupies a predominant position, since it is Buddhism, which for the first time attempted to correlate the nature of human existence with duhkkha.

Everybody is susceptible to pain and suffering through out life. Rather going one step ahead, one can claim that roots of Indian Psychology originate in Buddhism. No other tradition has given such importance to pain and suffering as compared to Buddhism. It is true that all classical Indian philosophical traditions hold that so long as we do not remove pain and suffering, we are not free completely and we cannot use that freedom for the good of ourselves minimally and of all generally/ultimately. But it is Buddhism alone, which attempts to analyse human personality on the basis of- not what kind of duhkkha comes to my lot, but how I respond to and adjust, assimilate and accept it as part of my life. That will depict my emotional development and growth of personality. All the Indian philosophical traditions stress on training of mind (Yoga) to respond the situations that we confront through out our life, but it is Buddhism alone, which stresses on socio-cultural training of mind and cognition for the appropriate spiritual development.

To deal with some of the aspects of human personality from Buddhist perspective is the main contention of this paper, which is divided in to three sections. The first will throw light on Buddhism, its place and consideration of human personality. Second will deal with problems and situations that we usually confront –how they themselves are the tools of categorisation of human personality. In the third we hope to develop some therapeutic-techniques of dealing with situations confronted or likely to be confronted in life.

Email the author, Dr. Savita Deo, at