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127582Sri Lanka Revisited, Ch 7, no 5.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Nov 3, 2012
      Dear friends,

      How often do we find ourselves important? How often do we have
      conceit? Do we think ourselves better than others? Even when we think
      ourselves equal to or less than others we may find ourselves
      important and that is conceit. We may, for example, think: �Why does
      he treat me in that way?� Does this not often happen in daily life?

      The �Vibhanga� (Book of Analysis, Second Book of the Abhidhamma)
      enumerates in the �Analysis of Small Items� (345) many objects which
      can be objects of pride and conceit. Pride is here the translation of
      the P�li word �mada� which literally means intoxication. We read:

      �Pride of birth; pride of clan; pride of health; pride of youth;
      pride of life; pride of gain; pride of being honoured; pride of being
      respected; pride of prominence; pride of having adherents; pride of
      wealth; pride of appearance; pride of erudition; pride of
      intelligence; pride of being a knowledgeable authority; pride of
      being (a regular) alms collector; pride of being not despised; pride
      of posture (bearing); pride of accomplishment; pride of popularity;
      pride of being moral; pride of jh�na; pride of dexterity; pride of
      being tall; pride of (bodily) proportion; pride of form; pride of
      (bodily) perfection; pride; heedlessness; (mental) rigidity;

      All these objects can be a source of intoxication and conceit. We
      should consider them in daily life, that is the reason why they are
      enumerated. Is it not true that we want to be honoured and respected,
      that we want to be popular and receive compliments? We are attached
      to other people�s opinion about us. The word �rivalry� used in the
      �Vibhanga� is another word for competition. We do not want others to
      be better than we are, even with regard to kusala and right
      understanding. We may not have noticed that we are so self-seeking,
      but the enumeration in the �Vibhanga� can remind us to be aware more
      often of such moments. We should investigate the deepest motives of
      our behaviour. Behaviour and speech we thought to be correct and
      pleasing are often motivated by selfishness. Acharn Sujin told us in
      plain words that we should do something for others instead of doing
      something for ourselves, and that this gradually can become our
      nature. It will condition more kusala in our life. When we consider
      ourselves not as �somebody� we see more the importance of other
      people. A �nobody� or �not somebody� is another word for non-self,
      anatt�. Do we really understand the meaning of anatt� and its
      application in daily life? The sot�panna has realized the truth of
      anatta and for him there are no more conditions to neglect the five
      precepts. When we transgress them there is no true consideration for
      other people�s well-being. The sot�panna has eradicated stinginess.
      We are still stingy, we do not always want to share with others what
      we have because we think of our own comfort. Through satipatth�na
      there will be less ignorance of the many moments of selfishness which
      arise and there will be the understanding that akusala is only a
      conditioned reality, not �my akusala�. We shall develop satipatth�na
      with a more sincere inclination, we shall develop it in order to
      understand whatever reality arises, to understand it as non-self.



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