In my interactions with other people I am sometimes very full of my self, proud and vanitous and it leaves me with a bad taste afterwards or it even stops me from taking action in a direction I would desire.

Do you know any examples in the Suttas where these conditions of the mind are treated?

I am thinking about the perception of a skeleton as a helpful aid in this matter but maybe there are others.


3 Answers 3


If you are doing things the correct way in your practise in listening to Dhamma, in participating in Dhamma discussions, in doing Samatha and Vipassana properly, dispassionateness with understanding should develop within you. At times this happens. But if this is not the case - if dispassionateness with understanding does not take place, it is the vanity and pride that surfaces. That’s what happens when doing something which appears as correct thinking or correct action. If vanity and pride arises in you, then you will have to take a step back and go through a process of introspection.

If vanity and pride is what gets developed in placing oneself above others and looking down on others arise in a person, it is due to his not doing things the proper way. That would not happen if you follow this Path with a sense of humility. To deal with this defilement from a Buddhist Perspective, one has to practice five factors that is found in the scriptures. Then you will invariably develop the required antidote in dispassionateness.

In the Asavakkhaya Sutta, the Buddha explains,

“Oh Bhikkhus. There are five activities which if practised, if practised extensively results in the wiping out of defilements”.

These five activities are the same as explained in the Nibbida Sutta. They are Asubha Sanna (perceiving the impurity of the body), Ahare Patikkula Sanna (perceiving the impurity of material food), Sabba Loke Anabhirata Sanna (not taking delight in worlds), Sabba Sankharesu Anicca Sanna (impermanence of all aggregates), of Marana Sati (to be mindful of death).


The premise of this topic is that conceit is one of the last fetters to be abandoned (so I guess you may just have to live with it: be aware of it, occasionally, for a while).

There are a couple of articles about it here on Access to Insight.

Not a sutta, but there's a Zen story: The Giver Should Be Thankful

There's also a quote from Bodhidharma:

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall says that in 527, Bodhidharma visited Emperor Wu of Liang, a fervent patron of Buddhism:

Emperor Wu: "How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?"
Bodhidharma: "None. Good deeds done with worldly intent bring good karma, but no merit."


The Buddha taught not all beings could realise his Dhamma because attachment to self is a very strong instinct. Possibly you can ask yourself is Buddhism actually suitable for you? If you realise Buddhism may not be suitable for you, this might help end pride & vanity.

For example, in Christianity, they say the words: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Only say the words so I can be healed". This is said to end pride & vanity, which are one of the seven deadly sins.

Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.'

Just then these verses, unspoken in the past, unheard before, occurred to me:

'Enough now with teaching what only with difficulty I reached. This Dhamma is not easily realized by those overcome with aversion & passion.

What is abstruse, subtle, deep, hard to see, going against the flow — those delighting in passion, cloaked in the mass of darkness, won't see.'

MN 26


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