Coming from a closed, probably ill-intended and insulting question, or not, but anyway it's root is actually good to investigate:

How comes that praising oneself is unskillful but the teacher of it does?

There are many places in the teachings, where the Buddha speaks in "glorification" of the "Buddha".

`(Mv.I.6.7) [11] Upaka the Ājīvaka saw the Blessed One traveling on the road between Gayā and the (place of) Awakening, and on seeing him said to him, “Clear, my friend, are your faculties. Pure your complexion, and bright. On whose account have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? In whose Dhamma do you delight?”

(Mv.I.6.8 ) When this was said, the Blessed One replied to Upaka the Ājīvaka in verses:

“All-vanquishing, all-knowing am I, with regard to all things, unadhering.

All-abandoning, released in the ending of craving: having fully known on my own, to whom should I point as my teacher? [=Dhp 353]

I have no teacher, and one like me can’t be found. In the world with its devas, I have no counterpart.

For I am an arahant in the world; I, the unexcelled teacher. I, alone, am rightly self-awakened. Cooled am I,

To set rolling the wheel of Dhamma I go to the city of the Kasis. In a world become blind, I beat the drum of the Deathless.”

(Mv.I.6.9) “From your claims, my friend, you deserve to be an infinite conqueror.”

“Conquerors are those like me who have reached fermentations’ end. I’ve conquered evil qualities, and so, Upaka, I’m a conqueror.”

When this was said, Upaka said, “May it be so, my friend,” and—shaking his head, taking a side-road—he left.` (The Discussion of the Group of Five)

As this sample shows, such can lead to not benefical situation for one, thinking "how arrogant".

Lowering others, praising oneself... yet teaching that such is not good...

Broad believe is that the Dhamma teaches generally not so speak about ones good qualities and skills, which seems to be paradox when facing such and lead possible to questions like:

Was his mind defiled (polluted) with self-conceit; narcistically believing he was better or superior than others? Was the Buddha polluted by the fetter of conceit (mana)?

So what is that all about with this paradox?

How to explain that his disciples propably blame all others in certain ways and prais just the Buddha and his Dhamma, and his disciples with whole heart?

Just a "Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi, or how should this statement be understood in a Dhammic way, so to posible do not react foolish like Upaka the Ājīvaka did?

[[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose and other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange]

4 Answers 4


The "I" the Buddha is attributing all these virtues to is not the ego/illusion of self (atman) but the non-self (anatman), the no-soul or no-self doctrine. American-born Zen masters sometimes call this "Big Mind".

It is this non-self that speaks to the atman (in the form of Mara) in the Buddha enlightenment story:

Mara appeared in front of Buddha and said ” you, who go where no one else will dare, will you be my guardian” and Buddha said “architect, finally, I have met you. You will not build your house again”. Mara said, “but I am your house, and you live in me.” Buddha said, ” oh lord of my ego, you are pure illusion, You do not exist.”


How comes that praising oneself and blame others is unskillful but the teacher of it does?

The difference is that the teacher is a fully enlightened Buddha - the only one of his kind in this Aeon.

A fully enlightened Buddha has uprooted all defilements. There are absolutely no traces left of any defilements. Its impossible for a Buddha to create Kamma.

What might seem like praise or blame from the perspective of a non-Buddha is vastly and completely different from the perspective of a Buddha.


There are two things going on here:

  1. A Buddha is a completely enlightened being who has perfected all the virtues
  2. For us non-Buddhas, there are many virtues that can be cultivated by rejecting praise for oneself
    1. It can stop or combat the improper arising of arrogance
    2. It can be a practice in the perfection of truthfulness and honesty
    3. It can stop the arising of lust for worldly reputation
    4. It can stop the arising of the self-cherishing attitude

It can easily be seen that Buddha's are by definition completely perfected and have accomplished the perfection of all virtues. Therefore #2 is unnecessary and irrelevant for them.

To be really clear, the problem with accepting praise can be that it is not warranted OR that it causes improper or non-virtuous thoughts to arise. Or both. For someone who is on the path and has yet to perfect themselves, praise - even if it is truthful - can be problematic as it can act as a cause for the arising of arrogance and all the non-virtues mentioned above. That is why you see highly, highly, highly accomplished masters who reject praise for themselves. When you see HHDL and Lama Zopa Rinpoche rejecting praise ... well, how on the earth can such a lowly being as I accept it.

For lowly beings like myself, praise can be a really hard thing to skillfully handle. It causes definite arrogance to arise for me so I really don't want it. For a Buddha, there is no such problem.


Remember that popular "Knights and Knaves" puzzle? The Knights can only say the truth. Otherwise he'd be a Knave. Similarly, the Buddha only said the truth and He'd be a Knave otherwise. For us worldlings who are trying to walk the path, we can't praise ourselves 'cuz we'd put ourselves on the Knaves camp if we do. Simply answer honestly those questions in Mv.I.68: are you all-knowing? ended all cravings? have no counterpart? rightly self-awakened? beat the drum of the Deathless? conquered all evil qualities?

You must log in to answer this question.