How could you cut fetter of conceit?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

I have been told many times from many people that I am an arrogant and conceited person, and I believe there is truth to these statements because I am unabashedly confident and feel pretty certain about my discernment about aspects of reality, and also ways of living. For that I have been censured and rebuked and I know I bring it upon myself. I recognize and acknowledge that I am arrogant, and that I am conceited, but I do not know how I would go about getting rid of this arrogance and conceit. For example things I have tried to remember in conquering my conceit is that I understand there are different perspectives and views on how to live one's life in a fulfilling manner, and I understand that mine may not be the best way of life for others, but only something that I think is best for me, but upon sharing perspectives I tend to be outspoken. I know also that without any past or present help of others, I would not be able to have achieved anything. I know that I have nothing I have learned by myself that did not depend on others for example reading, writing, arithmetic, ethics, etc. Without the sacrifices of others I would not be able to eat, wear clothes, sleep under a roof, go on a vacation, etc. I know without my parents I would not be here. They paid for my education with the help of taxpayers of my country. Educators and millions of people from times past have taught me all the things I know now. Yet for some reason I am arrogant and conceited.

I figured understanding Anatta would be strong enough, but maybe my understanding is deficient, maybe my knowledge of the suttas and even reality is not enough. For that I ask for help.

Can someone give me any advice or suttas on how to learn a good way of conquering one's own conceit?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
Hoo
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Hoo »

I've found that there are some kind of fun ways to go at it :) I haven't mastered these, mind you, but I have made some inroads - chuckle. These are just things that I have done "on the spot" when arrogance or conceit crop up.

Deal with it as if it's real: Don't deny or excuse it, acknowledge that you may be that way at times. I sounds like you take this step already.

Question the King: If King Wizard is making judgements of others or of events, ask yourself just when you assumed the throne? When did you obtain such great authority and wisdom? ...and have fun with it! :)

Look for the source: Whenever you have an event that looks like arrogance or conceit, look for the influence of "I/ME/MINE" at the heart of it. Why am "I" so important in this matter? Why does "my" view surpass the others? How dare they disagree with "me?"

The Four Brahma Viharas: Is what I am doing Kind, Compassionate, Joyful for others, and treating them as Equal to all (not above or below). I found this one very useful. Someone would say something I thought particularly stupid and I would ask myself, "What part of my thoughts and words are Kind, Compassionate, Joyful toward them and treating them as Equal?"

Go second, or go last: Putting others first was very instructive to me. I'd do that whenever the opportunity arose and see pretty clearly how much I was used to putting myself first. "The King" always went first, never second or last. Sure made it stand out how much I elevated myself over others.

Harm no one, even yourself: See Four Brahma Viharas above and think about it: Which one of the four is beating yourself up because you goofed? Which one is getting instantly mad when someone cuts you off in traffic? A "negative" emotion is a flag that someone is being harmed by your thoughts or deeds. Is it the man who cut in front of the line at the checkout? Is it yourself when you think someone should drag him to the back of the line and teach him some manners? If you're struggling with this, don't beat yourself up either. Consider yourself a trainee, likely to make regular mistakes until you get better at it :)

Look at what talents you have and if they contribute to your view of yourself: There is nothing "wrong" with being intelligent, well educated, or having talents in different areas. There's nothing "right" with it either :) The workman isn't known by the size of the toolbox, but by the way he/she uses the tools and the end result. If you have some good tools, don't throw them out. See if they are usable in new ways.

I hope you find some something beneficial in these ideas. I've used them all at one time or another and that's why I share them. I'm not good at any of them, so this isn't a holier than anyone else trip - just what has sometimes worked for me. When I actually use them, they work well - now to work on mindfulness ;)

Hoo
Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Individual »

Wizard in the Forest wrote:I have been told many times from many people that I am an arrogant and conceited person, and I believe there is truth to these statements because I am unabashedly confident and feel pretty certain about my discernment about aspects of reality, and also ways of living. For that I have been censured and rebuked and I know I bring it upon myself. I recognize and acknowledge that I am arrogant, and that I am conceited, but I do not know how I would go about getting rid of this arrogance and conceit. For example things I have tried to remember in conquering my conceit is that I understand there are different perspectives and views on how to live one's life in a fulfilling manner, and I understand that mine may not be the best way of life for others, but only something that I think is best for me, but upon sharing perspectives I tend to be outspoken. I know also that without any past or present help of others, I would not be able to have achieved anything. I know that I have nothing I have learned by myself that did not depend on others for example reading, writing, arithmetic, ethics, etc. Without the sacrifices of others I would not be able to eat, wear clothes, sleep under a roof, go on a vacation, etc. I know without my parents I would not be here. They paid for my education with the help of taxpayers of my country. Educators and millions of people from times past have taught me all the things I know now. Yet for some reason I am arrogant and conceited.

I figured understanding Anatta would be strong enough, but maybe my understanding is deficient, maybe my knowledge of the suttas and even reality is not enough. For that I ask for help.

Can someone give me any advice or suttas on how to learn a good way of conquering one's own conceit?
Māna (not to be confused with Mana; notice the different A) doesn't mean quite equate with conceit in English from what I've seen, it's just the closest translation. Because it could be positive or negative or it's not just having a favorable opinion of oneself, it's the process of measuring.

Māna means measuring yourself and\or others by the standard of self. You weigh yourself against others and think of yourself as greater or lesser, or you take two people and weigh them, consider one "better" or "worse."

To stop being conceited, in this sense, means to recognize the measuring, see how it's deluded, and then stop doing it. Anatta is enough to overcome conceit, because if you recognize anatta: Who or what is there to measure? Who or what is there to be proud or ashamed of?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

Individual wrote: Māna (not to be confused with Mana; notice the different A) doesn't mean quite equate with conceit in English from what I've seen, it's just the closest translation. Because it could be positive or negative or it's not just having a favorable opinion of oneself, it's the process of measuring.
Oh that's a very important distinction. I don't measure people with myself, but rather my experiences. Is that an important distinction or is it still the process of measurement that is harmful? :?:
Māna means measuring yourself and\or others by the standard of self. You weigh yourself against others and think of yourself as greater or lesser, or you take two people and weigh them, consider one "better" or "worse."
Oh, no I don't do that. I don't weigh others by myself as a standard, but rather compare actions that may be wholesome or unwholesome on the basis of my experience. For example I came down hard yesterday on a drug user because when I was younger I bore witness to the death of a kid who died from water toxicity from taking MDMA, and he sincerely believed what he was doing wasn't harmful, and was convinced that the only way that he could fully believe it is harmful is if he has a personal experience of harm with the drug use, and I told him that was selfish because there's plenty of information outside of myself to confirm the same type of experience I had, and yet he was willing to risk himself and others to test something that is well known. I then told him it was a stupid thing to do, and then the arrogance and conceited card was thrown about.
To stop being conceited, in this sense, means to recognize the measuring, see how it's deluded, and then stop doing it.
I will do my best to take control of it, but I don't know how to make people realize their own harmful actions without relating to my own or other personal experiences I have had. I am handicapped still with only being bound by my own perceptions, and experiences, so I can only tell what I know and I will be as outspoken as my experience guides me. I don't want to risk other people and have them face the same things I have experienced. Nor do I want anyone getting hurt by other types of issues I know well may lead to harm so my ego calls out in fear for others. :weep:
Anatta is enough to overcome conceit, because if you recognize anatta: Who or what is there to measure? Who or what is there to be proud or ashamed of?
No one. :anjali:
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8503
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by cooran »

Hello all,

māna
'conceit', pride, is one of the 10 fetters binding to existence (s. samyojana). It vanishes completely only at the entrance to Arahatship, or Holiness (cf. asmi-māna). It is further one of the proclivities (s. anusaya) and defilements (s. kilesa). "

The (equality-) conceit (māna), the inferiority-conceit (omāna) and the superiority-conceit (atimāna): this threefold conceit should be overcome. For, after overcoming this threefold conceit, the monk, through the full penetration of conceit, is said to have put an end suffering" (A. VI, 49).

"Those ascetics and brahman priests who, relying on this impermanent, miserable and transitory nature of corporeality, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, fancy: 'Better am I', or 'Equal am I', or 'Worse am I', all these imagine thus through not understanding reality" (S. XXII, 49).
In reality no ego-entity is to be found. Cf. anattā.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/maana.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

Aye, but acknowledging that holiness is possible, it's important to be able to understand a way to abandon conceit if one can do so. So then I ask ways to limit and abandon such conceit. Did the Buddha provide such methods, and also is my understanding of Anatta perhaps deficient?
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 3064
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Goofaholix »

It seems to me that you are probably no more conceited than anyone else, you are just more outspoken and more forceful in presenting your views.

A lot of people keep their judgements and conceit to themselves so on the surface of it may seem quite easygoing.

I think gradually as you practice if you do it right you'll develop more of a not sure or beginners mind. You'll gradually more and more get into the habit of looking at your own judgements and perspectives objectively and realising you cannot be certain of anything, this might tone down your bravado somewhat.

I think you should probably make a point making a day to day practise of of looking at your own judgements and perspectives objectively and realising you cannot be certain of anything.

Books by Ajahn Chah and Shunryu Suzuki might be good reads on the not sure mind.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6922
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by bodom »

Hi Wizard

You may find this article helpful:

Pride and Conceit
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl014.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
If one regards himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of the body that is impermanent, painful and subject to change, what else is it than not seeing reality? Or if one regards himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of feelings, perceptions, volitions or consciousness, what else is it than not seeing reality? If one does notregard himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of the body, the feelings, perceptions, volitions or consciousness what else is it than seeing reality?— SN 22.49


:anjali:
Liberation is the inevitable fruit of the path and is bound to blossom forth when there is steady and persistent practice. The only requirements for reaching the final goal are two: to start and to continue. If these requirements are met there is no doubt the goal will be attained. This is the Dhamma, the undeviating law.

- BB
starter
Posts: 935
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by starter »

Hi Wizard,

I split this thread into a related new topic. You might find something interesting there ...

Break the 1st fetter & conceit to uproot greed and hatred?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6395" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,

Starter
User avatar
Wizard in the Forest
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: House in Forest of Illusions

Re: How could you cut fetter of conceit?

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

This is brilliant. Thanks everyone. I'll be chipping in later more some time tonight. Happy Thanksgiving All!
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
Post Reply