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Article

Daniel J. Madigan, Andrew P. Hill, Sarah H. Mallinson-Howard, Thomas Curran, and Gareth E. Jowett

Perfectionism and performance have long been intertwined. The conceptual history of this relationship is best considered complex, with some theorists maintaining that perfectionism is likely to impair performance and others more recently suggesting that aspects of perfectionism may form part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. Recent studies on perfectionism and performance in sport, education, and the workplace provide us with evidence that perfectionism is indeed an important characteristic in achievement domains. However, this relationship is exceedingly complex. In examining this relationship empirically, researchers have distinguished between two dimensions of perfectionism. The first is perfectionistic strivings that comprise high personal standards and a self-oriented striving for perfection. The second is perfectionistic concerns that comprise a preoccupation with mistakes and negative reactions to imperfection. With regard to perfectionistic strivings, research has revealed that in certain circumstances they are related to better performance. Evidence for this is strongest in education but notably mixed in sport and the workplace. With regard to perfectionistic concerns, while there is evidence that they may not directly impair performance, there is also enough evidence that they may have a detrimental indirect influence on performance. Based on existing research, we argue that there is currently too little research and too many mixed findings to conclude perfectionistic strivings forms part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. In addition, the role of perfectionistic concerns for performance is likely to be more substantive than currently suggested.

Article

Mipam  

Douglas S. Duckworth

Mipam (or “Mipham”; ’Ju mi pham rgya mtsho, 1846–1912) was one of the most influential figures in the Tibetan Buddhist world in the last 500 years. In his writings, he integrates aspects of the Buddhist epistemological tradition with a view of tantra and associates the view of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) with Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka. The Great Perfection is for the Nyingma (rnying ma) tradition its highest esoteric teachings, and Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka is the philosophy commonly accepted in Tibet as the highest exoteric view. Buddhist epistemology, as a system that delineates the means of reliable knowledge, in particular plays an important role in both esoteric (e.g., sutra) and exoteric (e.g., tantra) domains by outlining the authentic means of knowing reality. By integrating the esoteric teachings of Nyingma tantra with Buddhist epistemology and Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka, Mipam affirms the Nyingma not only as a tradition of tantric exegesis and ritual practice, but also as grounded within the rigorous intellectual traditions of Buddhist exoteric philosophy. Mipam systematized the Nyingma tradition’s view of the Great Perfection within his writings on the Buddhist literature that had become the predominant topic of study in the curriculum of monastic education. Central to Mipam’s writing is the prominent place of reasoned inquiry as a means to arrive at the view of the Great Perfection. This is a feature that distinguishes the character of his works and is a significant contribution to Nyingma philosophy. Indeed, the interplay of reason and the transcendence of reason is a central theme in his writings. His skill in engaging the Great Perfection within a rational, dialectical exchange underscores that the Great Perfection is not naive anti-intellectualism, but involves a subtly profound view that, at least in Mipam’s presentation, incorporates reason and transcends it. In his writings on Madhyamaka and other works, Mipam developed a platform for Nyingma monastic education by formulating a systematic presentation drawn from an interpretative framework based on the Great Perfection. This was his unique contribution to the Nyingma, but not all in the Nyingma tradition were ready or willing to adopt his interpretation. It did not take long, however, for this interpretative framework, forged for the Nyingma monastic colleges, to dominate the curriculum in these colleges in Tibet, India, and Nepal. His works continue to be widely studied in such institutions up to the present day.

Article

The etymology of the Sanskrit and Pāli term pāramitā was a contested issue in classical India. One representation considered that the term was derived from pāram, “other (side),” plus the past participle ita, “gone.” This derivation is later preserved in the standard Tibetan translation pha-rol-tu phyin-pa, “gone to the other shore,” implying that such virtues lead to the blissful shore of nirvāṇa and away from the side of saṃsāra, the conditioned world of repeated rebirth and redeath. Other interpretations advocated that this etymology was misguided, and derived pāramitā from the term parama, “excellent, supreme.” The noun pāramitā is translated in early Chinese through “double translation” composed by tu wu-chi, meaning “crossed over” (tu) plus “limitless” (wu-chi), which brings together both of the traditional etymologies. The conception of the perfections as a specific set of practices is not found in the earliest layers of Buddhist literature. Rather, the perfections as a set of practices developed sometime before the common era as an alternative group of spiritual practices in conjunction with revised notions of buddhahood as well as newly considered notions of what constitutes the path leading to buddhahood. The lists of perfections varied according to the genre of literature in which they appeared. What practices constituted the varied lists of perfections and how the perfections were conceived differed not only among groups but also among scholarly authors. The perfections appear in Buddhist literature as a group in varying lists, but the lists of perfections are notoriously unfixed, with six and ten perfections being the most common. The Theravāda tradition recognizes ten, although only eight are listed in the Buddhāpadāna and seven in the Cariyāpiṭaka. The ten perfections in the Theravāda tradition are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (sīla), (3) renunciation (nekhamma), (4) insight (pañña), (5) energy (viriya), (6) patience (khanti), (7) truthfulness (sacca), (8) resolution (adhiṭṭhāna), (9) loving-kindness (metta), and (10) equanimity (upekkhā). This list differs from the list of ten perfections found in Buddhist Sanskrit literature. A set of six perfections became common among some genres of mainstream Buddhist literature and developed into a standard list in a number of Mahāyāna sūtras. However, other lists of four, five, or seven perfections also occurred. In time, a set of six perfections became standard in Mahāyāna sūtras. The six are (1) generosity (dāna), (2) morality (śīla), (3) patience (kṣānti), (4) vigor (vīrya), (5) concentration (dhyāna), and (6) wisdom (prajñā). This list was expanded to complement the ten stages (bhūmi) traversed by a bodhisattva in the course leading to full buddhahood. The additional perfections were (7) skill-in-means (upāya-kauśalya), (8) resolution (praṇidhāna), (9) strength (bala), and (10) knowledge (jñāna). The manner in which the perfections were understood in different Buddhist cultures, such as in East Asia, Tibet, or Southeast Asia, was dependent on the Buddhist literature that was accessible or acceptable to the particular culture and the interpretative attention given to that literature.

Article

When and why are coercion, indoctrination, manipulation, deception, and bullshit morally wrongful modes of influence in the context of educating children? Answering this question requires identifying what valid claims different parties have against one another regarding how children are influenced. Most prominently among these, it requires discerning what claims children have regarding whether and how they and their peers are influenced, and against whom they have these claims. The claims they have are grounded in the weighty interests they each equally have in their wellbeing, prospective autonomy, and being regarded with equal concern and respect. Plausibly children have valid claims regarding the content and means of influence they themselves are subjected to. For instance, considerations of concern and respect for children confer duties on others enable them to know important information and develop important skills. Children also plausibly have valid claims to be free from certain means of influence, including indoctrination. This is because indoctrinatory practices threaten to diminish both their capacity to reason soundly, thereby constituting a wrongful harm, and their opportunities to form judgements and choices in response to relevant evidence and reasons, thereby constituting a wrong of disrespect.

Article

Katherine A. Tamminen and Courtney Braun

Adolescent athletes face increasing opportunities for competition at higher levels, as well as increasing demands on their time, pressure from parents and coaches, and conflicts with teammates and opponents, all during a time when adolescents are exploring different aspects of their identity and sense of self. Sport is a context for adolescent development, and despite the wide array of positive benefits that have been associated with sport participation during adolescence and into adulthood, it is also acknowledged that sport participation does not automatically confer benefits to adolescent athletes, and it may lead to potentially negative experiences and poor psychosocial outcomes. Key concerns for researchers and practitioners working with adolescent athletes include managing various stressors and the development of adaptive coping strategies, the risk of experiencing sport burnout, bullying, and the potential for withdrawing or dropping out of sport. Despite these concerns, a large body of research among adolescent athletes provides evidence that athletes’ performance and positive psychosocial development may be enhanced among adolescent athletes by intentionally structuring the sport environment to promote positive outcomes; in particular, coaches, parents, and peers play an important role in shaping the sport experiences of adolescent athletes. Furthermore, the psychosocial characteristics and competencies associated with sport participation may not automatically transfer to other areas of adolescents’ lives unless they are intentionally and systematically structured to do so. It is important for coaches, parents, and sport administrators who are involved in developing and delivering programs for adolescent athletes to be aware of some of the psychosocial concerns that are relevant for this population, and to consider intentionally structuring sport programs to promote high levels of achievement as well as healthy psychological and social development among young athletes.

Article

Jātaka  

Naomi Appleton

A jātaka story narrates an episode in a past life of the Buddha. Such tales are found in a variety of Buddhist texts, the largest and best known of which is the Jātakatthavaṇṇanā, a collection of almost 550 stories in the Pāli language preserved by the Theravāda school. Jātaka stories emphasize the Buddha’s great abilities as visionary and storyteller, and illustrate moral lessons, the workings of karma, or the perfections required for the attainment of buddhahood. A focus of a large number of stories is the ideal of generosity, which, for an aspiring buddha, includes being prepared to give away one’s own children, or the flesh and blood from one’s own body. In addition to their widespread presence in texts, jātaka stories have been depicted at Buddhist stūpa and temple sites since before the beginning of the Common Era, and continue to be a popular form of Buddhist visual art to this day. They also play an important role in the cultural life of some Buddhist countries, inspiring literature, theater, opera, and other art forms. Their place in the Buddha’s sacred biography gives them a special symbolic value, which is behind some uses of the stories in art and ritual. The Vessantara-jātaka, understood in Theravāda tradition as narrating the Buddha’s penultimate human birth and his acquisition of the perfection of generosity, takes on a particularly important role in artistic, ritual, and festive contexts. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that the jātaka genre as a whole had an important role in the formation and communication of ideas about buddhahood, karma and merit, and the place of the Buddha in relation to other buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Article

Chris Hatchell

Tibetan religious traditions contain a variety of practices and discourses that involve the eyes: epistemologies that investigate the act of seeing, ritual uses of visual arts, literary references to light, and meditative practices of looking and visualization. Tibetan traditions also use practices of “vision,” where luminous scenes appear spontaneously to the eyes. Insofar as Tibetan Buddhists have extensively theorized these visionary experiences and identified them as important methods of attaining Buddhist goals, they can be thought of as constituting a kind of “visionary” Buddhism. Visionary practices in Tibetan religion can be placed on two interconnected registers: those having practical or this-worldly benefits, and those that are viewed as leading to liberation. In the first category, vision is commonly found in practices related to prognostication, mediumship, and textual revelation. The second category is more characteristic of tantric yogic practices related to Kālacakra and the post-tantric movement known as the Great Perfection. In these cases, practitioners use sensory deprivation to induce complex visions. Such visions are described variously as being expressions of emptiness, expressions of one’s own mind, or the “lighting up” of an omnipresent awareness. Recognizing the nature of these visions is seen as part of the path to enlightenment.

Article

Simon Birnbaum

The idea that states should provide a means-tested guaranteed minimum income for citizens who are unable to meet their basic needs is widely shared and has been a central component in the evolution of social citizenship rights in existing welfare states. However, an increasing number of activists and scholars defend the more radical option of establishing a universal basic income, that is, an unconditional income paid to all members of society on an individual basis without any means test or work requirement. Indeed, some political philosophers have argued that basic income is one of the most important reforms in the development of a just and democratic society, and is comparable to other milestones in the history of citizenship rights, such as universal suffrage or even the abolishment of slavery. Basic income or similar ideas, such as a basic capital or a negative income tax, have been advanced in many versions since the 18th century in different parts of the world and under a great variety of names. However, while these were previously often isolated and disconnected initiatives, basic income has more recently become the object of an increasingly cumulative research effort to shed light on the many aspects of this idea. It has also inspired policy developments and given rise to experiments and pilot projects in several countries.

Article

Doret de Ruyter and Lynne Wolbert

Human flourishing has gained and is gaining popularity as an overarching ideal aim of education. Influential advocates of educational theories on flourishing are, among others, Harry Brighouse, Kristján Kristjánsson, Doret de Ruyter, and John White. Most contemporary theories on flourishing hark explicitly or implicitly back to Aristotle’s theory about eudaimonia. Aristotle constructed his theory as an answer to the question of what is the ultimate aim of a human life and defined it as acting virtuously. Contemporary theorists define it in somewhat wider terms, namely as a successful, morally good, happy, and well-balanced life. A theory on human flourishing is regarded as an objective well-being theory, that is, it describes from an objective point of view rather than a person’s subjective evaluation what it means to live one’s life well. Flourishing as an ideal aim of education has implications for the education and upbringing of children. Teachers and parents need to know what constitutes a flourishing life, what contributes to it and what does not, and they are expected to act in a way that enables children to lead a flourishing life (in the future). This, however, raises, several issues. Firstly, there are different ideas (of philosophers of education) as to what flourishing precisely means and therefore also different views on the role of schools and how they should aim for the flourishing of children: for instance, whether there should be a course on living a good life, or whether education for flourishing should permeate the entire curriculum and school ethos. Secondly, it could be objected that aiming for flourishing implies aiming for perfection and that this is not only detrimental to the well-being of children, but also too demanding for parents (and teachers). With regard to the well-being of children it is, however, possible to refer to empirical research that shows that when educators aim for self-oriented perfectionism (i.e., that children are themselves convinced that it is good to strive for perfectionism rather than having to do so to gain approval), they actually contribute to the well-being of children. With regard to the demands against parents it can be argued that in addition to their responsibilities regarding the interests of children to be able to live a flourishing life, parenting (well) is an important aspect of a flourishing life of many adults. Thirdly, it could be objected that focusing on the ideal aim of flourishing does not sufficiently take into account the differences in “luck” in individual lives and inequalities on a societal level, that is, human vulnerability. Theory on education for flourishing therefore does well not to overestimate the influence of parents and educators to equip children to live flourishing lives and needs to keep asking questions such as, for example, what role the (political) community plays in enabling all children to have the chance to lead a flourishing life.

Article

Jean-Luc Achard

Dzogchen (“Great Perfection”) is a philosophical and yogic tradition largely developed within the Bönpo tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Its first datable sources surface on the religious scene of Tibet sometime around the late 10th to the early 11th century with the discoveries of Treasure text (gter ma) that are supposed to have been hidden during the 8th century and earlier, as well as with the seminal composition of texts and commentaries that are based on these Treasures. Some of its teachings are also presented as having been transmitted orally from archaic, undatable times through an uninterrupted lineage of masters. Groups of lay Bönpo practitioners, later followed by monastics of the same tradition, started to gather around the discoverers and authors of these works, thus creating the first postdynastic religious communities of Bön dispersed throughout Tibet. Deeply enriched by the integration of a vast amount of traditional Buddhist literature, the Bön tradition absorbed teachings from all other Tibetan Buddhist lineages. The core of these teachings is made up of profoundly secret instructions said to enable practitioners to reach the state of total Buddhahood in a single lifetime. The quintessence of these teachings focuses upon yogic techniques centered on the contemplation of light sources, such as the sun, the moon, or a butter lamp. Particular methods are also applied in a completely dark room in which special visualizations are combined with yogic devices that lead to visionary experiences which are unique throughout Buddhist teachings. These practices based on colored visions produce various signs manifesting at the end of the practitioner’s life such as the famed Rainbow Body (‘ja’ lus).

Article

Performance psychology addresses issues of optimal performance across a wide range of fields. Optimal performance can be enhanced via psychological methods; psychology also addresses the mental barriers and detriments to performance. One major performance arena is the performing arts. The performing arts include music, dance, and theatre arts. In some instances, people are performing live in front of an audience; in other situations, their performance is prepared for a future audience (e.g., movie, TV, or video). A number of psychological aspects need to be addressed to produce optimal performance: flawless performance, optimal arousal, focus maintenance, competition and perfectionism, and artistic expression. Much of the knowledge concerning the enhancement of performance is derived from the field of sport psychology. Some common concerns include the management of performance arousal, developmental issues in relation to early training, injury recovery, and transitions within or out of the performance arena. Although many concerns and expectations are similar with regard to the end “product” of excellent performance, there are also vast differences in such aspects as the culture of the performing arts, historical roots, purpose of the activity, resources and supports, and the place of the particular performance arena within the larger culture. Both research and practice opportunities are increasingly of interest to academicians, practitioners, and performing artists themselves.

Article

Franz Mang and Joseph Chan

In contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy, perfectionism is widely understood as the idea that the state may, or should, promote valuable conceptions of the good life and discourage conceptions that are worthless or bad. As such, debates over perfectionism occupy a central place in contemporary political philosophy because political philosophers are deeply concerned about whether or not a liberal state is permitted to promote any particular ethical or religious doctrine or impose it on its citizens. In general, contemporary perfectionists do not argue for the state’s pursuit of any religious doctrine. They only maintain that the state is permitted to make a wide range of public policies with the aim of promoting the good life. These policies, commonly found in liberal democratic societies, may include subsidizing museums and art galleries, preserving cultural heritage, setting up public libraries and providing free access to reading materials, encouraging athletic excellence, conserving nature and biodiversity, and educating citizens about the harm of recreational drugs. Nevertheless, perfectionism remains controversial among philosophers and political scientists. It might be beneficial to take a sympathetic view of perfectionism and consider how perfectionists might defend their position against some of the common objections. These objections mainly include: (a) that the state does not possess legitimate authority to make decisions about the good life and seek to promote it; (b) that perfectionist policies are generally illiberal and paternalistic; and (c) that conceptions of the good life are objects of reasonable disagreement and hence cannot legitimately be promoted by the state. In addition, the nature and importance of perfectionist policies and politics will be discussed.

Article

Chöd (gcod), “severance” or “cutting,” is a Tibetan term referring to a cycle of Tibetan Buddhist practice and to the lineage initiated by the Tibetan woman Machik Lapdrön sometime in the 11th or 12th century. It is primarily based on the teachings of the perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) that represent the second phase of Buddhist texts that developed in India. In Tibet itself, Chöd was one of the many new sects that flourished in the second dissemination of Buddhism from India from 950 to 1350ce. Chöd has been classified as a branch of Zhijé (zhi byed) or “Pacification,” one of the eight great practice lineages that trace back to India, though no actual text on Chöd has been discovered in the early texts of Zhijé. Despite this quandary, its classification has afforded a kind of validation in being connected with the sources of Buddhism through the Indian master Dampa Sangyé. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Machik Lapdrön herself is the sole progenitor for the teachings and the lineage. This woman from the area of Lap in central Tibet was known as Lapkyi Drönma, “the Light of Lap.” The respectful title of Machik, “One Mother,” was added later and is shared with several other important women of the time, often leading to confusion. Lapdrön showed remarkable abilities from an early age, and later gained mastery of speed reading. This led to a job as a chaplain in a patron’s house, where she met her future partner, providing her biographers with a fascinating narrative revealing the problematic status of female masters in Tibet. The recitation of prajñāpāramitā sūtras also led to her epiphany around the parts on māra, “devil,” “demon,” or (spiritual) “death.” This, along with her visions of the bodhisattva Tārā and the important connection with the Indian master Dampa Sangyé, were the inspiration for what became one of the most widespread practices in Tibet. The early Chöd teachings represent aspects derived from both sūtra and tantra sources. The focus is on the understanding of emptiness that severs fixation on the reification of the self and the resultant conduct based on compassion for others. The impediments that prevent such realization, called māras in Sanskrit, were a point of departure. As time went on, specific techniques and methods of practice (sādhana) accrued to this philosophy. While the main practice has remained the cultivation of insight and the enactment of separating the consciousness from the body, the post-meditation practice known as lü jin (lus byin) “giving the body” developed elaborate visualizations and ritual accouterments that came to dominate popular practice. Renowned as a charnel ground practice due to the visualized offering of one’s corpse as food for demons and other beings in situations that are intended to provoke fear, it is this that has become known far and wide as Chöd. The sources for this aspect are obscure and may well come from the surrounding culture of the Tibetan plateau, harking back to Bön and other pre-Buddhist practices. Some elements associated with shamanic practices are enacted in the Chöd rituals, despite its Buddhist soteriological assertions. With its beautiful melodies and lurid visualizations, Chöd quickly became popular in Tibet for exorcism, healing, and other practical usages. Its followers did not establish monasteries, as the lifestyle of roaming mendicants was emphasized, but Chöd was incorporated into most other schools in Tibet. Their liturgies are drawn from the works of Lapdrön’s descendants, or from visionary experiences, or found as treasure texts (terma). As of the early 21st century, Chöd has gained popularity worldwide, with many iterations in 21st-century practice.