And to whom does it arise?

As spoken about by Dr. Berzin?

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1 Answer 1


It's described in a couple of pages of The Complete Foundation: The Systematic Approach to Training the Mind by HH the Dalai Lama.

I paraphrase:

  • It is the one object of all blame -- the source of all miseries therefore the only object to be blamed for all misfortune.
  • Normally we blame others because we are self-righteous
  • Problems come from the kind of body we assume, which is contaminated and a product of actions -- we possess that body because of attachment to self -- therefore it's attachment to self that gives rise to suffering.
  • "The self-cherishing and self-grasping attitudes abide strongly fortified in the mind, we have never been able to shake the in the least."
  • It leads to wars (globally) and problems within the family.
  • It also leads to arguments between people with one assuming they have more truth than the other.

  • The chronic disease of cherishing myself
    is the cause of unwanted suffering
    Perceiving this, may I be inspired
    To blame, begrudge, and destroy
    This self-cherishing demon.

When I read a bit of https://www.google.com/search?q=%22self-cherishing+attitude%22 it seems to include both what Theravada calls "conceit" (e.g. "I am better than you") and other vices, e.g. attachments (and I don't know about comfort-seeking too ... and presumably "becoming" and "birth" and so too).

It possibly doesn't include "the view of a real personal identity" which (as in Theravada) might be stated as a separate problem.

"Bodhicitta" is maybe meant to be the antidote, to the "self-cherishing attitude". I've also seen on video his holiness say that he sees himself as "not special" and "just, like everyone else" -- because otherwise he would be/feel imprisoned (in/by his identity).

Combining the last two paragraphs above, I wonder if sunyata rather than Bodhicitta is the antidote to "the view of a real personal identity" -- but sunyata (without Bodhicitta) isn't enough by itself to get rid of the "self-cherishing attitude".

  • What theravada calls conceit? Can conceit walk on earth? You saw the topic in which Ven Yuttadhammo described "conceit", it's also described here on Wikipedia: Māna. Among other things it's identified as a major cause of sectarian argument (e.g. "I know better than you do" etc.).
    – ChrisW
    Feb 16, 2020 at 23:51
  • Separate problem? Separate from what and what? I was saying that, although HH describes the "self-cherishing attitude" as the only problem or the root problem, in another text I saw it identified as one of two problems -- with the other problem being "the view of a real personal identity".
    – ChrisW
    Feb 16, 2020 at 23:54
  • Are you calling HH dalai lama conceited? No the opposite -- his saying that "I see myself as being like everyone else" (and not "better than everyone else") seems to be the opposite or absence of conceit.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 16, 2020 at 23:57
  • I doubt one could develop proper bodhicitta without doing sunyata As you might have seen, the Theravada doctrine is that "identity view" is the first to be eradicated (i.e. before "conceit" is). I guess they might be both a little-by-little step-by-step -- and "gradual training" includes generosity (dana) early on, that is, before "stream-entry".
    – ChrisW
    Feb 17, 2020 at 0:14
  • I'm saying Theravada doctrine identifies a fetter called "identity view" which might correspond to what Mahayana doctrine calls "the view of a real personal identity". And Theravada identifies several other fetters, which including "conceit" and others -- and that these may all correspond to or be different aspects of what Lojong calls "self-cherishing attitude".
    – ChrisW
    Feb 17, 2020 at 0:24

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