Theories of Personality

Buddhists’ personality concepts are universal and can be applied by non-Buddhists, including western audiences. As Buddhism’s approach to personality emphasizes exploration, control of the mind (cognitive), and ethical behaviour, the concepts also apply to the western audience. Dalai Lama views personality from several perspectives. To name a few, he says healthy function requires undistorted perception (Steele & Lama, 1998). He says, giving up illusory notions and accepting reality enables one to reduce narcissism and embrace interrelationships with people. He conceives openness to new information as a personality trait for healthy functioning.

Dalai Lama acknowledges the importance of meditation to become aware of suffering, perception, and closer to reality. Through meditation, consciousness is developed, and it instils the concept of humanity in one’s mind. Dalai Lama also holds to the importance of conserving culture. For example, he tries to educate and advocate for cultural diversity in his community, Tibet. He also proposed peace making between Tibet and China in 1987 to preserve the culture of peace (Steele & Lama, 1998). To him, the society in which one grows can hinder or self-development; therefore, it is essential to developing within a healthy community.


Buddhists’ four noble truths focus on teaching about suffering, its origin, cessation, and the path suffering takes (Tsering, 2010). The first truth is becoming aware of suffering. Buddha explained three kinds of suffering; old age, sickness, and death. Limited satisfaction and lack of fulfilment are also kinds of suffering, as Buddha explained. The second truth concerns the beginning of suffering. Buddha stated that the root cause of all suffering is the desire, which comes in three forms; roots of evil, three fires, and three poisons (Tsering, 2010). The third noble truth is the cessation of suffering. Buddha explained that the way to kill desire is by liberating oneself from attachment. The fourth one is the path to the cessation of suffering. Eight divisions characterize the best path to cessation (Tsering, 2010). They include the right understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.

Buddhism teaches that self is a combination of five elements. They are the form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness (Sinha, 1982). The form is made up of physical condition; sensation involves physical and emotional feelings, perception consists of thinking, mental formations deal with habits and prejudices, and consciousness focuses on awareness. Buddhist ideas have become popular among therapists due to several reasons. Firstly, it is a sequence of simple steps. Teachings are simple and can be understood by anyone. Secondly, it is a fad that people seem to enjoy because it does not have strict rules to follow.

The most appropriate metaphor for personality theory is the conceptual metaphor. It explains personality in terms of concretely, even if it is logically abstract. It views an individual’s emotions, behaviour, and thoughts as factors that make up personality. Other metaphors that adequately describe nature the conduit metaphor. It involves communication with feelings, emotions, thoughts, and conceptions. For example, when writing, an individual includes their feelings and emotions in a text.

A unified theory incorporates different key insights of psychology into a whole framework. It explains four significant psychology ideas; the tree of the knowledge system, the justification hypotheses, the influence matrix, and the behavioural investment (Henriques, 2011). In my opinion, we need the theory because it makes the psychology discipline one coherent subject rather than having many different parts that are not unified. In conclusion, this assignment has made me realize personality is more than how one behaves as it also incorporates control of mind, exploration, and ethical behaviour as Buddhists explain. It has also taught me the noble truths of suffering and the combination of elements that create a self, thereby learning more about personality.


Henriques, G. (2011). The tree of knowledge system. A New Unified Theory of Psychology, 153-178. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0058-5_6

Sinha, K. P. (1982). Nairatmya-vada: The Buddhist theory of not-self.

Steele, S., & Lama, D. (1998). The good heart: A Buddhist perspective on the teachings of Jesus. Buddhist-Christian Studies18, 240. DOI: 10.2307/1390464

Tsering, G. T. (2010). The four noble truths: The foundation of Buddhist thought (Large Print 16pt).