I have read in psychological studies that oxytocin and serotonin interact to produce social rewards. Serotonin has been postulated to relate to authentic pride (a positive kind of pride based on accomplishment). Oxytocin is a hormone linked with compassion. Therefore, it would seem natural that pride and compassion relate in some way.

Even, I will say that when I meditated on compassion, imagery of altruistic pride naturally emerged. Recently, I'm in a more depressed state -- which may entail less serotonin -- and the pride imagery fails to occur as well as the reward.

My question is: is there any evidence of such an interaction between compassion and pride in Buddhism? I feel naturally emptiness entails an interaction with compassion in the Mahayana, but I feel pride would be linked with desire and materiality.

Authentic pride is based on accomplishment, not feeling superior to others (hubristic pride). Does Buddhism have a place for such attachment?


3 Answers 3


Authentic pride is based on accomplishment, not feeling superior to others (hubristic pride). Does Buddhism have a place for such attachment?

Not sure if such concept has a place in the Teaching. If authentic pride is based on accomplishment, then it's important to notice that "accomplishment" in the Dhamma is just a label, or a word expression to denote how much one has given up instead of picked up. For example, one's accomplishment in Sotapanna-hood/Stream-entry is simply a label to denote someone who has completely given up the 3 lower fetters: identity view, doubt, and wrong grasp of rules/rituals. Similarly for other higher "accomplishments", the higher one "attains" something, it really means the more one has "given up/let go" of something. And the highest "accomplishment", again, is really just a label for someone who has completely eliminated all hindrances/fetters/defilements of the mind.


Without having the buddhist source to back it up, i'd argue that compassion is all-encompassing, meaning that true compassion doesn't distinguish between self or others.

Pride then, would be a flavor of self-compassion, as long as we're talking about the type of pride free from arrogance or grandiose perception of the self.


In Aditya Sutta, the Buddha describes a Dhamma-following householder who expresses altruistic pride and states how this is a positive state of mind:

'My wealth has been enjoyed,
my dependents supported,
protected from calamities by me.
I have given supreme offerings
& performed the five oblations.
I have provided for the virtuous,
the restrained,
followers of the holy life.

For whatever aim a wise householder
would desire wealth,
that aim I have attained.
I have done what will not lead to future distress.'
When this is recollected by a mortal,
a person established in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones,
he is praised in this life
and, after death, rejoices in heaven.

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