Self-Esteem?

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Individual
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Self-Esteem?

Postby Individual » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:51 pm

What is the Buddhist position on "self esteem"? Is there any comparable notion in the Tipitaka? Does Buddhism reject self esteem as a bad thing?

In terms of its outward appearance, one could draw comparisons between Saddha (meaning confidence or faith) and self-esteem, but there is a difference that self-esteem is confidence in one's self or a sense of self-worth. Saddha, on the other hand, is confidence or faith in the Buddha's teachings, or a sense of knowing their worth.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:50 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:What is the Buddhist position on "self esteem"? Is there any comparable notion in the Tipitaka? Does Buddhism reject self esteem as a bad thing?


Whilst there is ignorance there will be perception of self.

I would suggest that "self esteem" in the context of Buddhism signifies an absence of aversion towards that deluded perception of self.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:21 am

I visited all quarters with my mind
Nor found I any dearer than myself;
Self is likewise to every other dear;
Who loves himself may never harm another.

Ud 47, translated by Ven. Ñanamoli
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Ordinaryperson » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:23 am

Individual wrote:What is the Buddhist position on "self esteem"? Is there any comparable notion in the Tipitaka? Does Buddhism reject self esteem as a bad thing?

In terms of its outward appearance, one could draw comparisons between Saddha (meaning confidence or faith) and self-esteem, but there is a difference that self-esteem is confidence in one's self or a sense of self-worth. Saddha, on the other hand, is confidence or faith in the Buddha's teachings, or a sense of knowing their worth.


I always consider the notion of "self esteem" in the western terminology to associate with sense of strong negative emotional ego or at least to unknowingly generate more strong ego of self that tends to enhance or to reinforce the competitive nature of a person. In another word, the western terminology of "self esteem" essentially is in the danger of creating more craving/desire/greed in my view.

Through out my life I have never considered the term "self esteem" until the "management gurus" started banging on the term "self esteem" to all that are learning to "manage" or to improve on ones' competitiveness nature at the expense of others. I only use the term "self esteem" as a form of communication or in explaining to others about certain issues that I feel is the closest possible way for me to describe and to make them understand a particular matter. I am always mindful of the using the term "self esteem" as I know there is a tendency one might take it to the extreme by focusing on "me, me, me" or "me come first".

The application of the term "self esteem" to myself is basically a measurement of my understanding in Buddha's teaching and how closely I can adhere to them but the "management gurus" started to spoil the party by injecting some extras for me to think about. My intention when I am using the term "self esteem" has always been trying to rely on what Buddha would say if the same situation was presented to him. So at the back of my mind when using the term "self esteem" (I don't like that term to be frank and always throw caution when I use them when I speak to others) I try to remember the five precepts and the noble eightfold path. Alternatively, I just substitute the term "self esteem" with the term "principles" as at least the latter term you can set the parameter of what is right or wrong, while the former can only encourage one to think more of him/herself which may lead to Unwholesome Roots.

Yes, self esteem = greed in my opinion in western terminology.

:smile:
~Actively trying to destroy the Three Unwholesome Roots of Greed, Hatred and Ignorance~

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Jechbi
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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:32 am

Here's another reference:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time King Pasenadi Kosala was together with Queen Mallika in the upper palace. Then he said to her, "Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?"

"No, your majesty," she answered. "There is no one more dear to me than myself. And what about you, your majesty? Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?"

"No, Mallika. There is no one more dear to me than myself."

Then the king, descending from the palace, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Just now I was together with Queen Mallika in the upper palace. I said to her, 'Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?'

"'No, your majesty,' she answered. 'There is no one more dear to me than myself. And what about you, your majesty? Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?'

"'No, Mallika. There is no one more dear to me than myself.'"

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

Searching all directions
with one's awareness,
one finds no one dearer
than oneself.
In the same way, others
are fiercely dear to themselves.
So one should not hurt others
if one loves oneself.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Ordinaryperson
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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Ordinaryperson » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:40 am

Jechbi,

Only if the "management gurus" follow the advice of Buddha.

:D

P/s: My understanding of the term "dear to myself" is completely different from "self esteem". The former is what I was taught as a kid but the latter was taught by "management gurus" while studying at the university.
Last edited by Ordinaryperson on Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:45 am

Individual wrote:What is the Buddhist position on "self esteem"?


Hello Individual

It would be by verifying the matter of self.

From a Theravadan perspective, the Buddha's teachings on anatta are relevant to a degree. And I say "relevant to a degree" because in and by itself even the most accurate intellectual comprehension of anatta is insufficient - i.e. it is nothing more than the intellect trying to grasp its own position and like a dog chasing its tail, it is not a satisfactory course, I understand.

The Buddha's outline of the path is the Eightfold Path and the development of kindness and meditation (attention) are key to that end.

In verifying the matter of self (not through a mere intellectual appreciation or discussion) matters like self-esteem, high and low or otherwise, naturally fall away.

With regards to self, the Buddha did teach that thinking oneself is better, worse or the same as another is still a matter of conceit. I understand this to be an encouragement to not stop short.

Hope this helps.

Abu
Last edited by floating_abu on Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:02 am

In Western psychotherapeutic thought, greed would be regarded as a symptom of a lack of self-esteem. It is a futile attempt to compensate for some type of alienation from self and the world - mistakenly attempting to fill an internal void by manipulating external circumstances for material gain.

There are as many definitions of self-esteem in the West as there are flavors of ice cream, but all share to a certain extent the idea of self-value in relationship to the larger community. Knowing what one's value is to self and others. Having a fluid sense of agency and place. It is a by-product of an effective integration within oneself and with the external world.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Individual » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:52 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:What is the Buddhist position on "self esteem"? Is there any comparable notion in the Tipitaka? Does Buddhism reject self esteem as a bad thing?


Whilst there is ignorance there will be perception of self.

I would suggest that "self esteem" in the context of Buddhism signifies an absence of aversion towards that deluded perception of self.

Metta,
Retro. :)

That makes sense, I guess. And arrogance and egoism would be attachment?

Jechbi wrote:Here's another reference

Thanks for sharing the full sutta.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Rui Sousa » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:19 pm

When people have hate towards their body or mind, or act in careless ways that damage their mind or body, I usually call that lack of self-esteem.

Esteem towards this body and this mind seems to me as a good thing to do.
With Metta

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:41 pm

Greetings Individual,
Individual wrote:And arrogance and egoism would be attachment?

Yes, in the form of conceit (mana).

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:48 pm

I am reminded of the higher fetters- there is high self esteem and low self esteem and comparing onesself with others as equal -all are to be abandoned.

while there is no direct mentioning of the term 'confidence' as far as I am aware, things like energy, determination, being 'upright' often talked about in the suttas suggest that it must be present. So perhaps the concept didnt exist in ancient india but existed in their descriptions of how a person was supposed to practice the dhamma.

with metta
With Metta

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Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Self-Esteem?

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:16 pm

In Portuguese the translation for self-esteem is 'auto-estima', which seems less egocentric.

I see it as auto-metta, and as something benign, but it seems that in the english language it gets a completely different connotation.
With Metta


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