Perfectionism Is the Enemy of Perfection Essay

Perfectionism Is the Enemy of Perfection Essay

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The story of Devadatta raises a compelling argument in regards to his journey in overthrowing the Buddha. In traditional Buddhism, Devadatta is seen as a selfish, greedy, jealous, cousin to the Buddha, who attempts three different times to kill him, before growing ill. Whereas in the Lotus Sutra, Devadatta is commended for being a good friend to the Buddha in helping him become fully endowed with the six paramitas. These six paramitas consists of pity, compassion, joy, and indifference, which also included thirty-two features, eighty characteristics, the ten powers, four kinds of fearlessness, four methods of winning people, eighteen unshared properties, transcendental powers and the power of the way. Famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, designed what he called “the structural model of psyche,” which consisted of an Id, ego, and super ego. The Id and ego pertain to this particular story the most, while ones Id is a set of uncoordinated instinctual trends and ones ego is the organized and realistic section of your conscious the mediates between the id and super ego. This story of Devadatta can be looked at from a metaphorical and psychological standpoint when relating Devadatta to ones Id and the Buddha to ones ego. It is inevitably the story of Good vs. Evil. Furthermore as you read this essay, you will see how the perception of Devadatta changes from the beginning with traditional Indian Buddhism to Chinese Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra.

Gotama “The Buddha”

First before delving into the story of Devadatta, I would like to briefly give the background of his cousin, “The Buddha.” The Buddha, also known by his government name Gotama, was born into both luxury and privilege. In being sheltered by his father, owning three palaces...


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...I had mentioned before with Sigmund Freud’s structural model of psyche, Devadatta can be seen from a metaphorical standpoint as ones id and the Buddha as ones ego. When transferring to the story of Devadatta told in the Lotus Sutra, we are given a completely different viewpoint of him. In Mahayana Buddhist tradition Devadatta is seen as an essential part of the Buddha’s life, in him attaining enlightenment, amongst many other things. The Buddha is always speaking of Devadatta with respect, even referring to him as a great friend. Devadatta was seen in the Lotus Sutra: Chapter 12, as the Buddha’s holy teacher who guided him on his path to Buddhahood. Although this chapter was written under the assumption that one already knows the Indian tradition, so the negative can be left out, the Buddha spoke of Devadatta as someone he could not have been successful with out.


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