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.