When choosing between the contemplative traditions—Vipassana, Tibetan and Zen, is the following saying accurate?

Zen is for poets, Tibetan is for artists, and Vipassana is for psychologists (Robert Wright).

This would enable me to recommend them separately to future students of Budhism.

3 Answers 3


That quote has absolutely no founding in reality. You could plumb the psychological depths of the alayavijnana in Tibetan Buddhism or Rinzai Zen, paint masterful works in Soto, compose gathas in the Theravadan, or do absolutely none of those things in any of those traditions. A good teacher is worth more than the lineage he or she teaches.


Dhamma-Vinaya, the Buddhas path, is for those seeking release from suffering, and of course, has less to do with the mentioned householder trends.


When the student is ready, the teacher appears. It all depends on the disposition of the students. No bona fide teacher can help an unready student.

Also, being an artist, painter or psychologist is not an inherent perquisite or advantage for a student of Buddhism.

Since Robert Wright does not understand Buddhism very well and also appears to pursue Buddhism for a commercial purpose, his opinion appears to not represent reality.

The Buddha himself said:

When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness" — then you should enter & remain in them.

Kalama Sutta

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