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Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:06 pm
by Maarten
I understand humility is one of the virtues to cultivate as a buddhist. I can see how it could benefit me as I would not be very upset if someone insulted me, or embarassed me, if I did not take myself so seriously.

I tried a google search on how to become more humble, but I only found articles on the good traits of humble people. I also could not find any suttas on how to cultivate it. I would be interested in a special meditation or reflection or practice/therapy designed to make you more humble.

Thanks in advance for any help.

With Metta,

Maarten

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:32 pm
by befriend
I think bowing causes humility. It's worth googling. try checking out which tradition bowing emphasizes humility.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:50 am
by mettafuture
The Buddha addresses humility as conceit (mana). Personally, I find few things more humbling than contemplating my own mortality. It's a little depressing, but it helps you prioritize the important, and not dwell so much on the unimportant. Here's an excerpt from the Upajjhatthana Sutta (AN 5.57).
“Worldlings subject to illness, old age, and death are disgusted by other people who exist in accordance with their nature. If I were to become disgusted with beings who have such a nature, that would not be proper for me since I too have the same nature. While I was dwelling thus, having known the state without acquisitions, I overcame all intoxications—intoxication with health, with youth, and with life—having seen security in renunciation. Zeal then arose in me as I clearly saw nibbāna. Now I am incapable of indulging in sensual pleasures. Relying on the spiritual life, never will I turn back.”
Anger (kodha) may also be an issue. For subduing anger, I like to reflect on the Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8). Here's a passage.
What should be done by one who is skilled in wholesomeness, to gain the State of Peacefulness is this: One should be able, upright, straight and not proud, easy to speak to, mild and well content, easily satisfied and not caught up in too much bustle, and frugal in one’s ways, with senses calmed, intelligent, not bold, not being covetous when with other folk, not even doing little things that other wise ones blame. (And this the thought that one should always hold): “May beings all live happily and safe, and may their hearts rejoice within themselves.
Simple breath meditation, and noting the hindrances as they arise, is also beneficial. It cultivates mindfulness, which in turn cultivates humbleness.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:41 am
by binocular
If you search ATI by the keywords "humble" and "humility," you get a decent number of results.

E.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... l#humility

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:36 pm
by BasementBuddhist
Serving others helps increase humility, at least in my experience. Are there centers for the homeless near you? Perhaps a retirement community nearby? Serving either group with intention to be a good servant helps with humility. You have to do it with the right mindset, though, or you could actually become more prideful.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:57 pm
by Chi
Service, prostration, being around masters all helps.

Ultimately, not trying to be humbled is probably the best way. Just observe the sense of a person trying to be humble and realize it's just an idea. Smile and laugh (internally or externally) at the sense of a self when it arises.

Reality is what it is. Trying to be more humble is like trying to improve on the perfection of the manifestation of infinity and eternity in this moment. It's purely delusional.

Only the ego wants to kill the ego.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:36 am
by binocular
One doesn't need to be more humble.
One might need to be more productive, have more to show for one's time.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:36 pm
by BasementBuddhist
binocular wrote:One doesn't need to be more humble.
One might need to be more productive, have more to show for one's time.

May I ask why you think this?

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:02 pm
by binocular
Why would one need to be more humble -- other than just for show, to keep up appearances?

The point is in being productive, in having things to show for one's work, one's time, one's effort.
Making the effort to be productive (in one's worldly work and in one's spiritual practice) will put everything else in place.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:36 pm
by BasementBuddhist
I guess it depends on how you define humility. If you see it as some faux act put on not to hurt other peoples feelings and to be accepted by the crowd, then yes, humility in this sense is quite useless. If however you see humility as a tool towards being more compassionate, then it becomes of inestimable value. Compassion leads to metta, and to seeing others as the same as self. This helps lead to the dissolution of self and to the understanding of Dependent-origination and to Impermanence.

Taken in this regard, humility becomes a tool for productivity. Like a hammer, or a tape measure to a craftsmen.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:31 am
by binocular
BasementBuddhist wrote:Taken in this regard, humility becomes a tool for productivity.
I think it's the other way around.
humility as a tool towards being more compassionate

Compassion leads to metta

seeing others as the same as self

the dissolution of self
Could you provide canonical support for these four claims?
and to the understanding of Dependent-origination and to Impermanence.
Impermanence already is.
;)

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:44 am
by BasementBuddhist
binocular wrote:
BasementBuddhist wrote:Taken in this regard, humility becomes a tool for productivity.
I think it's the other way around.
humility as a tool towards being more compassionate

Compassion leads to metta

seeing others as the same as self

the dissolution of self
Could you provide canonical support for these four claims?
and to the understanding of Dependent-origination and to Impermanence.
Impermanence already is.
;)
I cannot give you a quote with numbers, but what I can provide is direct experience. I was once an arrogant, narcissistic man who thought only of his own needs and desires. Particularly when I was in High School. The school after grade school. I have no shame in admitting this. Many people are like I was. People would tell me their feelings and I would laugh at them. Mock them. Literally ignore them. At times I literally believed I was some special breed of human. Given noble rights over others through birth. I am not joking. I truly believed this. I was superior to those around me. Then I had several humbling experiences that knocked me down a peg. Times I was mocked and humiliated in front of my peers. A teacher once laughed in my face and called me condescending. My schoolmates treated me poorly. In my sadness and anger, I stopped being arrogant and started looking around me. I had no friends. only what I thought were enemies. So I started serving others. Getting things for them. Putting their needs before my own. People started to see me differently and *I* started to see them differently. I saw that their feelings were my feelings. I felt for them. I sacraficed for them. I learned through experience the things I am suggesting.

I cannot provide a sutta reference, yet. Also, I am not the Buddha. But I have lived and known things and this is what I know to be a fact, because I have been there. Felt it. Sensed it. Lived it. Humility leads to servitude. Servitude leads to seeing the needs of others. Seeing the needs of others leads to compassion. Compassion leads to sameness. Sameness leads to non-self. Humility is a great tool.

Take that for what you will. :heart: :hug:



:anjali:

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:04 am
by binocular
BasementBuddhist wrote: I cannot give you a quote with numbers, but what I can provide is direct experience. I was once an arrogant, narcissistic man who thought only of his own needs and desires. Particularly when I was in High School.
It's common for teenagers to have the profile of a psychopath or narcissist. It's called "being a teenager" and it's the reason why personality disorders aren't formally diagnosed in young people (except in the US, it seems).
The school after grade school. I have no shame in admitting this. Many people are like I was. People would tell me their feelings and I would laugh at them. Mock them. Literally ignore them. At times I literally believed I was some special breed of human. Given noble rights over others through birth. I am not joking. I truly believed this. I was superior to those around me. Then I had several humbling experiences that knocked me down a peg. Times I was mocked and humiliated in front of my peers. A teacher once laughed in my face and called me condescending. My schoolmates treated me poorly. In my sadness and anger, I stopped being arrogant and started looking around me. I had no friends. only what I thought were enemies. So I started serving others. Getting things for them. Putting their needs before my own. People started to see me differently and *I* started to see them differently. I saw that their feelings were my feelings. I felt for them. I sacraficed for them. I learned through experience the things I am suggesting.

Normally, this is what happens to people and this is how they develop.
I cannot provide a sutta reference, yet.
For doctrinal claims, one should have canonical references.

Re: Any suttas or resources on developing humility?

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:16 am
by BasementBuddhist
I haven't made a claim about buddhist doctrine, as I see it. I was simply giving a suggestion to someone who was asking about humility. You said humility was a waste of time, I said it wasn't because X. You asked, do you have sutta suggestions for thinking this? I responded. You want to discredit everything I'm saying as natural human progression and claim that makes my idea somehow less or invalid. That if I want to talk about ideas in Buddhism I need to cite the suttas. This is fine. The thing is, the buddha suggested a system that was achieved through natural human progression. You do this. You get this. It is a gradual development over time. The buddha did not demand citations from the vedas. He said "HEY guys, we've got a problem, I have an answer. Try it for yourself to see if it is right." I am not the Buddha.

Buddhism is not a religion of doctrine, but of method. I have produced a method I believe makes sense in light of the Buddha Dhamma and explained my reasoning. All that is left is for the OP to try it and say yay or nay. Either is a good answer.