A Comparison of the Western Concept of Emotional Intelligence with Buddhist Principles


  • Watunyoo Suwannaset
  • Paranee Svastdi-Xuto
  • Krisana Kimlengchiu
  • Rapin Chuchuen


Emotional Intelligence, Buddhist principles


             This article introduces readers to various views of what is known in Western Society as Emotional Intelligence. It then goes on to compare the concept of Emotional Intelligence with Buddhist teachings and philosophies. These similarities are then explored in greater depth. The article finally concludes by highlighting how alike this Western concept is with Buddhism. While emotional intelligence is regarded as a primary tool for human resource development in today’s society and in a global economy, there has been some beliefs that emotional intelligence from the western point of view does, in fact, share some similarities with Buddhist principles. Some said that the concept might have been firstly developed in Asia but adapted to suit western culture. Dechkhong (2003), for example, claimed that Dr Daniel Goleman who introduced emotional intelligence to Americans was trained in meditation in Myanmar and adapted this teaching into awareness in his interpretation and pronouncements regarding emotional intelligence. Joungtrakul (2007) relatively claimed that Thai wisdom recently has been exported out of the country to be studied in many other parts of the World. It is important in this study not to take any side but at least to examine whether the concepts of emotional intelligence in western society are somehow trained and taught at the same way in differing cultures and societies. To compare the similarities between the Thai understanding of emotional intelligence with the western view, this article, raises some Buddhist teachings relating to the western view of emotional intelligence. Firstly the article presents how the western concept of emotional intelligence has been developed, and then by presenting examples of Buddhist teachings similar to the emotional intelligence components trained in western society. The reader can then draw their own conclusion as to whether one came first and was then adapted by the other or whether they are two different concepts which have similarities.

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