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«  One who conceives 'I am equal, better, or worse'
October 30th, 2018 (October 31st, 2018)
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illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

« One who conceives 'I am equal, better, or worse',
might on that account engage in disputes.
But one not shaken in the three discriminations
does not think 'I am equal or better'. »
Samiddhi sutta (SN 1.20)

The Buddha saw 'self-view' and 'conceit' as major fetters on the path to Awakening. Where he was wise is that he saw 'conceit' not only as "I am better than others (in this-or-that)" but also as "I am worse". And conceit was also linked to indirect views: 'MY understanding is better', 'MY situation is worse'…

Conceit, like self-view, tends to make you (or phenomena you appropriate as yours) special. And being worse, identifying with special negativity, with special evil, with special blame or guilt, with victimhood appends to be enough for the ego to thrive and be content with being special.
The ego arises as soon as you "take things personally"… usually with a "why is this happening to ME?" even though what is happening to you also happens to many others (be it being attacked, or sick, or facing whatever difficulty really —even if you suffer from a 'rare disease', you're still not alone in having it!).

Thus, to free oneself from stress, one has to let go of the chase for the top, the envy, the jealousy, the lust, which come with the fear of losing as well… but one also has to let go of the victimhood, the complaints, the comparisons, the aversion… "Freedom from lust, aversion and ignorance" requires letting go of all self-views and all conceits.
Then you're able to look at whatever happens to you in a larger context, in relation to others… and, instead of complaining and requiring the world to comply with your wishes, you can develop compassion and empathy for others as well as for yourself. You don't vanish in thin air, but you're no longer the center of the world. Compassion is a Dharma gate, alongside wisdom.

#Buddhism #Dharma
image: gilt-bronze figure of a seated Avalokiteshvara (China, 17th century). Avalokiteshvara is the bodhisattva / embodiment of compassion (karuṇā).