nrose619 wrote:I understand an aim of Buddhism is to diminish one's ego but is the ego and self confidence the same thing?
great question! From my perspective the Buddha did not talk so much about self-confidence, but ego and self-confidence is not the same. The ego is a constructed thing, it's the identification with things and (wrongly) taken them to be a "self". In fact, this is actually a great obstacle for what we understand as self-confidence! The fear to be wrong, the fear to be the target of blame, danger, anger etc. is based on the assumption that there is an "I", an ego that can be hurt! No ego, no problem!
Letting go of the habit of identifying end ego-boosting is one thing. It does not mean that there is no self-confidence after that. Something that is similar to self-confidence is dhamma-chanda, sometimes called Zeal or confidence: http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Zeal
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It's a confidence that results from seeing from one's own practice that the teachings of the Buddha are correct The results, in terms of confident behaviour, can be cleary seen. I think many experienced practitioners can tell you stories how the practice made them less anxious in their interaction with other people and more relaxed about themselves. So, less ego does not mean less self-confidence. It can be quite empowering to follow the path, to see that you're not the slave of your desires, but that you can be free from enmity and fear, that your happiness does ultimatively not depend on the situation or other people, but that peace and happiness are found and established within. Another frequent experience is that with the practice people open up to being in the present moment and not running away from the challenges in life by means of distraction, drugs etc. The experience, that the present moment is nothing that needs to be feared, that life's just the way it is, that one can accept the way things are without being fearful, sad, angry or otherwise irritated... I guess you could call that self-confidence, too. I'd rather call it confidence towards life, or confidence toward things being ok. Or Fearlessness of life. You get the idea?
I hope that helps you with the question.