Are Buddhists type A’s?

After last night’s meditation group, one of the members stated that Buddhists are type A personalities. Immediately I felt I needed to refute that (being the type A that I am!). Pressed further, she said that’s because Buddhists are perfectionists. I didn’t quite understand this conclusion and said that they wouldn’t be good Buddhists if they didn’t accept reality. The subject ended there.

However, this still bothered me. So I thought about it. What I imagine is that, as with many misconceptions about Buddhism, this person thinks the point of Buddhism is to strive for a state of perfection, i.e. Nirvana. There is the belief that according to Buddhism a person is stuck in the cycle of reincarnation until one lives a devout, sinless, “perfect,” or whatever description you want to use, life. Hence, you are striving for “perfection.”

Of course, that’s at best a very simplistic viewpoint. (At worse, it’s just plain wrong.) Without getting into karma and dharma, Buddhism is a philosophy of seeing things for what they are. It is a vehicle to understand the nature of the reality by deep examination of ourselves. At its core, it’s very simple.

But, not easy.