Buddhist friends from all around the world and also the disciples of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, good evening everybody. Today, I would like to touch on Buddhism in plain terms.
We shall learn from Maitreya Buddha, having high tolerance towards the unbearable. He laughs, he laughs at those ridiculous people. Look at Ji Gong, the Living Buddha, ”You laugh at me, he laughs at me”. Just laugh it off, this is how the world works. Everything is as transient as a fleeting cloud, it’ll be gone forever with no turning back.
In this life, we often encounter complex personal issues, so how should Buddhists behave? Make effort in your spiritual practice. Treat those complicated people and matters in life as the basis to cultivate your mind. This is also a chance for you to train yourself. Express no anger when being scolded by others. Express no anger when others are angry, as you’ll be the only one who suffers if you can’t control your temper, this is to train yourself. That is why we must learn to withstand adversity, in fact, adversity helps you grow and makes you stronger, it provides an impetus for your progress.
There are some people, when being ridiculed or even being slandered by others, they will work harder to prove other people wrong, so this helps them grow and become a better person. When people criticise you, say “that’s OK, I will do my best”, to try to calm your anxious mind. Remember, staying calm enables you to find peace in your heart. When you are quiet, your mind can be emptied. When water is poured into a glass, there is a lot of sediment, isn’t it? You can’t see clearly. When you place this glass of water there and wait for a few minutes, the sediment in water will slowly settle at the bottom of the glass, and that’s how it is.
That’s why sometimes I teach you to let adversity be your teacher, hardship can make you even stronger. There are many children who stay with their parents throughout their lives, they have never encountered any difficulties, so when they are faced with a big problem they are at a loss and their life falls apart. Frequent exposure to some twists and turns in life can instead guide us to a bright future. Some little setbacks help a person experience the reality of this world, only then can you elevate yourself to a higher level of spirituality. So no matter how much adversity you encounter, be at ease, stay calm in hardship, so during the difficult times you will be grateful. Only when a person is in difficulty will they think about seeking blessings from the Bodhisattva, so that they can quickly get out of trouble. And when the Bodhisattva helps us we must be grateful. I have been expounding Buddhism in Plain Terms explaining how we can use the Dharma to tackle problems related to interpersonal relations and modern-day life, as I’m touching on the Buddha Dharma today.
Every human being has sense of pride. According to Buddhism, there are seven types of pride. You can check to see how many types you have. “Mana”, refers to a kind of pride in Buddhism. You might not know, this pride derived from conceit will cause you troubles. A conceited person will always be in endless afflictions, because conceit makes you arrogant. It makes you think too highly of yourself, once you are swollen with pride you look down on others.
As a result, when you meet people of integrity and morality, you refuse to stay humble and lower yourself. Conceit will make you feel that you are always right in every aspect, then you’ll find all sorts of reasons to back up what is actually wrong on your part. Even though there is obviously something wrong, you keep justifying yourself even though there is no justification, you keep seeking all sorts of excuses. This is conceit. Sometimes, your conceit will lead you to create all sorts of negative karma. Pride comes in several different forms. Let’s see which of the seven types of pride that you fit into.
When other people’s ability or intelligence is not as good as yours, or similar to yours, when their knowledge and ability is comparable to yours in all aspects, conceited people will be arrogant, show disdain for others, look down on others. “Gee, you are pretty good! not too bad, you do know a thing or two”. Despite that, you still look down on him, though both of you are about in the same league. Both of you are equally special in different fields, but you still look down on him. This is the first type of pride. It’s called “Mana”.
The second type is called “Atimana” (haughtiness). Being excessively proud of oneself, haughtiness is when other’s ability is equivalent to yours in every aspect or exceeds yours, haughtiness makes you sit on your laurels, you feel great about yourself and believe that others can never surpass you. ”I am very good at it, no way he can surpass me”. You only look at the weaknesses of others and you are blind to their strength. “He is very clumsy, he is good in one aspect, but incompetent in other aspects”. So they fail to see the strengths of others and only spot others’ weaknesses.
The third type is called “Manatimana” (pride and conceit). When others’ ability far exceeds yours, your pride and your conceit will prompt you to distort the facts and making you believe that you will still outperform others.
For example, someone answer a question very well, and you would say: ”Maybe he has eaten something that makes him so quick-witted”. You can always find a reason. Suppose a couple, the husband and the wife is at home, the the wife cooked a delicious dish today, but the husband, out of pride and arrogance said something stretching the truth: “The dish today tastes good, which restaurant did you get it from?” or “Luck is with you today, try to cook the same dish for me tomorrow, we’ll see if it still tastes as good”. This husband knows he is not as good as his wife, yet he doesn’t want to admit it, he doesn’t believe others are better than him. This kind of person is extremely arrogant and he cannot take it when seeing others being praised or acclaimed.
So I’m teaching you as Buddhist practitioners, when I praise someone for their accomplishments, you should learn to admire them. When I say “This auntie cooks really well today”, and if you are around you should rejoice “Indeed, she cooks very well, I have tasted her dishes too”. So you rejoice in her success. When I say “This auntie is very good at doing Buddhist chanting”. You shall rejoice “Yes, indeed”. This is rejoicing and praise. Look at the people nowadays, when a person’s achievement is recognised all other people would have different reactions. Some may agree and say “yes”, some may remain silent, others may even give that person a snub. This is human behaviour, this is the way humans behave nowadays. They know others are superior but still refuse to admit it. For example, a lady has completed a task at home, yet her husband would say “This is what women should do, how can a woman not be capable of doing this?” The problem is, do you know how to do it? You also don’t know how to do it.
Now the fourth type of pride is called “Asmimana”. Asmimana is pride of self, the conceit – “I am”. Our body is composed of Five Aggregates, so there is no self. If you were born without a name and no name since, who are you? You are called “baby”, you are called “student” when you are grown; You become a “college student” later on, and you become a “youth” upon graduation, soon you are a “middle age person”, then an “elderly person”, finally, at the memorial service, you are a “dead person”. Have you ever heard the speech during a memorial service? In the memorial speech “He passed away at the age of 78”. This is finally the end of life.
So let me tell you, egotism makes you boastful. With your big ego, you will prop yourself up and become very self-centred. “All of you have to respect me, follow my lead.” This is why during Buddhist events, there are some people who would feel bad if they are not the centre of attention. They just want to be in the spotlight whenever possible. Even though there is no more task to do, they tend to speak loudly to draw everyone’s attention. This is pride of self. They want to get attention “Wow, who is this guy?”, “He is awesome”, “He is very capable”. They are attention seekers hoping that the whole world would revolve round them as though the Earth would stop spinning without them. If you were to ask them, if the Earth would stop spinning without them. They would say: “At least it would slow down a bit”.
This is human nature.
The fifth one called “Adhimana” (or arrogance). “Mana” means being proud. Buddhists often talk about arrogance, many people don’t understand. It’s essentially pride, or conceit, so Adhimana (arrogance) occurs when a Buddhist practitioner has some spiritual achievements and gained some benefits once they have received some kind of extraordinary response. They believe that they have attained some kind of spiritual fruitions. “Wow, I can see this”, “I can see that”, “I can see Bodhisattvas”, “I can also see that”. They believe that they have reached some sort of spiritual accomplishments.
Let me tell you, if you don’t practise Buddhism properly in the Guan Yin Citta Centre, you won’t attain any form of fruition instead. So don’t get carried away, you mustn’t consider yourself above others. Some people blindly engage in spiritual practice without any directions, as a result, they deviate from the right path. All of these would lead a person to possess Adhimana (arrogance).
The sixth one called “Unamana”. Unamana is conceit of inferiority. It is derived from a sense of inferiority, feeling inferior to others. This kind of people are depraved willingly, they think they are inferior and they can’t accomplish anything, “I am good for nothing”, “I only mess things up”. You may say if that is the case, why would they be arrogant? What is there for them to be proud of? “I can’t do it”, “I won’t accomplish this”, “If you give me another task, I can get it done”. They are not willing to learn from others, they can’t accomplish the task and they refuse to listen to others. If you can’t do the job well, why don’t you learn from others?
It’s because they don’t want their ignorance to be exposed. They are not humble. They have an inferiority complex, ”Oh, I can’t do this well”, “I can’t do this”, “I can’t do that”. Others may say “Why don’t you learn from others?” “I don’t want to learn”. They refuse to learn, they don’t respect other people’s strengths. They can’t bring themselves to be humble. Isn’t it a kind of conceit?
Suppose you are operating a factory, your business isn’t doing well, doesn’t it make sense that you should learn from those who are doing well? learn from their experience? If you can’t do well, but refuse to admit it, you even refuse to learn from other people, then you gradually develop this conceit of inferiority.
The last one is called Mithyamana (conceit of hypocrisy). It is not authentic. When one doesn’t have much knowledge or good moral conduct, but in their pursuit of wealth and fame or for the sake of achieving their ends, they would use whatever means necessary to gain fame and status through dishonest means.
Then they start to behave arrogantly, thinking that they are a cut above others. This is Mithyamana (conceit of hypocrisy). That’s why a person’s virtues stem from appreciating other people’s strengths. You must be good at looking at your shortcomings. When you see the strengths of others, you will then identify your shortcomings. Be humble, then you will progress.
Do not snub each other. Don’t look down on each other, you must learn from other people’s strengths and correct your flaws. Don’t think that you can afford to be arrogant, you must gradually learn to change learn to respect and compliment others. Learn to praise people whenever you can, ”Oh, you did very well”, “Your merits and virtues have no bounds”. When you compliment others, your arrogance will disappear. When you are not proud, others will like you. Just take a look, how many of you like people who are arrogant? When you are arrogant people will keep a distance from you. That’s why a few days ago during a Dharma talk, I mentioned to my disciples that when you boast about yourself in front of others, how great your family is or how rich you are, you make others think you are rich and people around you are embarrassed. This shows that you are not compassionate enough. Compassionate people won’t make others feel inferior; Compassionate people won’t make others feel embarrassed; Compassionate people should be considerate. If you don’t care about how others feel, then you are not compassionate. Other people are upset, they are upset because of your behaviour.
Take a girl as an example, when you are good in every aspect, you should consider other people’s feelings. When others see you ”Oh, she is better than me in every aspect”. Then they might blush and feel embarrassed. It’s the same as for a young man, you may be great and a successful entrepreneur. Do you think it is necessary for you to show everybody how successful you are? Be humble! It’s your employees who make you successful, if you think in this way, then you’ll become humble.
That’s why I tell you, you must get rid of egotism, you mustn’t allow it to grow. If you constantly think how great you are because of your arrogance, you would destroy the harmonic relationships between people. It’s because a very arrogant person usually possesses very high self-esteem. Because they’ve got something to be proud of and indeed they have some achievements, they have very high self-esteem. They feel that others should respect them and they can’t tolerate others looking down on them. What if other people don’t know them? That’s why many famous people, always think that everybody knows them. Let me tell you, when I am outside, I would think it’s normal that people don’t recognise me. If they do, I would think it’s only incidental. Because of this mindset, I do my best to help others awaken themselves. That’s why a person shouldn’t think too highly of themselves as it would make them lose equanimity.
You must respect others and don’t hurt others at will. We are Buddhists, interpersonal relationships are mutual. When you give others due respect, they will respect you more. When you show more respect to others, they would respect you fully. So if you want others to respect you, you should first show due respect to others. Sometimes, if you accidentally show contempt for others or despise them, they would do the same to you very soon. Also, let me tell you this – people who have a strong sense of self-esteem are sometimes vulnerable internally. That’s because in their eyes, if anyone is superior to them, they will suffer a breakdown. They cannot live without compliments from others, if they are dealt with a blow they would soon suffer a mental breakdown.
That’s why I tell everyone not to be arrogant and practise Buddhism well. We are not as special as we like to think, no matter what. We must learn to respect others, that is the most basic quality of a Buddhist practitioner.
That’s all for today, I also hope that everyone can learn Buddhism well.
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