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As Zen Replaces the Id...


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Maslow's Self-Actualization and the Buddha's Enlightenment


A.H. Maslow proposed one of the more general theories on motivation. He explained motivation in terms of a hierarchy of needs. According to his theory, we must first fulfill the most basic needs before being motivated to fulfill the higher ones. In ascending order, the needs are: Physiological (food, temperature, etc.); Saftey; Belongingness and love; Esteem (prestige, accomplishment); and self-actualization, or achieving one's fullest potential as a human being.
Maslow listed the following properties of a "self-actualize d personality":

  1. An accurate perception of reality, that the world is "as it is," not as they would like it to be.
  2. Independence, creativity and spontaneity.
  3. Acceptance. Of themselves and others.
  4. Outlook on life is problem-centered, not ego-centered.
  5. Enjoyment of life, open to "peak experiences."
  6. Sense of humor.

"Peak experiences" are times when a person feels contentment, peace, and "oneness with the universe."

*(currently looking for a proper source from Maslow to footnote this and add his own words.)



This FORUM topic:

  • Is Maslow's "peak experience" the same a "satori" (enlightenment)? How about "moments of clarity," "breakthroughs," or other such experiences? Is Maslow's "self-actualized person," "enlightened?"


  • Please share your feelings below.

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