Gestalt Interpretation of Ego and Dependent Origination

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Pandit Cittasaṃvaro
Phra Rajaparipattimuni


Buddhist translators and teachers commonly use the term ‘ego’ to depict and
elucidate Buddhist concepts. But when we examine how they use the term it is found to
be poorly defined and of many divergent meanings. In the psychological sense, according
to the standard Freudian interpretation, ego has a very clear, specific meaning, which is
very different to the way people commonly understand. At the same time as Freud was
popularizing his theories, another school of psychology called Gestalt also had an alternative
ego theory. In this paper will be analyzed the meaning of ‘ego’ as Freud intended it, how
it is commonly interpreted by non-psychologists, and how the Gestalt school understood it.
Each definition will be compared to Buddhism to find the common and divergent points.
Finally will be shown how the Gestalt interpretation fits with dependent origination.

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How to Cite
Cittasaṃvaro, P., & Rajaparipattimuni, P. (2019). Gestalt Interpretation of Ego and Dependent Origination. The Journal of International Association of Buddhist Universities (JIABU), 12(1), 88–105. Retrieved from
Research Article


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