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I have been all my life judged by people, especially women including my sister and mom. I have also been rejected badly by some women or at least I made wrong judgements to feel that way. My question is how can I overcome this. It is causing feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and low confidence. Is there any particular meditation practice available in Buddhism or any particular practical teaching that I can implement to be free of this karma and advance on the path?

Thanks, let me know if any more info is needed.

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  • Follow the Buddha's teaching. Human beings are all unaware unless they are saints. It's highly improbable that your sister and your mother are saints.
    – Lowbrow
    May 3, 2023 at 7:12
  • In Buddhism, only the judgments that are in accordance with Dhamma are accepted, regardless of the person who judge. (whether it is you or others). So go forth in the Triple Gem and read the Viduddhimagga to know about the Path.
    – Blake
    May 9, 2023 at 10:35

4 Answers 4

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I found this answer help (by Ven Yuttadhammo).

It's not in answer to a question about meditation -- you can read the question -- but here's how I read the answer.

First it distinguishes "conceit" from "view".

  • A conceit is feeling or experience which arises
  • It may or may not be valid
  • One may not (need not) "hold" it as a "view" or "belief" -- instead one might "mentally discard it as being based on delusion rather than accepting it as valid"
  • As a "defilement" it is a "remnant of past belief in self"

I also find Wikipedia's summary of conceit useful:

Māna (Sanskrit, Pali; Tibetan: nga rgyal) is a Buddhist term that may be translated as "pride", "arrogance", or "conceit". It is defined as an inflated mind that makes whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. It creates the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering.

The canon identifies it as a source of inter-personal argument -- perhaps "my understanding of Dhamma or Vinaya is better than yours", for example -- to be avoided.

See:

I found that "you are blame-worthy" is a (unfortunate) dynamic in some family relationships.

I also like the second part of Ven. Yuttadhammo's answer:

  • Comparisons are a form of conceit -- and here your question was about "inferiority"
  • "a Sotapanna can only give rise to true conceit"

I guess that in terms of "being judged" -- whether that's "by others" or perhaps by the "arising of a conceited thought" -- you may (especially if you're able to see clearly) consider whether that judgement or comparison is "valid".

  • If it's invalid then perhaps discard
  • If it's valid then perhaps, learn from it and behave accordingly?

There's another aspect to the Dhamma, about "spiritual friendship", which holds that it's by comparing yourself to -- emulating, living with -- someone "better" that you may progress; see for example:


One more thing -- my wife and mother were both professional pre-school teachers -- and I think that the conventional wisdom, the teacher-training or philosophy which they were taught and acted on, is to avoid blaming people (children) and making out people to be inferior. My mum's senior teacher gave her some version of this text as an embroidery, she had it on the wall by her desk when I was a child:

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE
--Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

I think the rule for teachers is to distinguish or to teach good and bad behaviour -- praising good behaviour, and teaching better behaviour -- not the same as trying to teach a child that the child is a bad person.

I think there may be parallels with "identity view" in Buddhism -- i.e. you learn "this is good or bad behaviour" without necessarily taking that as an identity-view or a belief about "self".

It also helps to distinguish the behaviour from the person -- it's not that "he's bad" because "he behaves badly" -- behaviour changes and can be directed.

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  • Conceit is a fetter cut only by Arahants. May 4, 2023 at 2:54
  • That was why I posted that question i.e. to understand the distinction.
    – ChrisW
    May 4, 2023 at 2:58
  • Your answer says you have/had a wife & mother. I think the OP question is about expectations of women towards men rather than related to supramundane matters of conceit. Surely your mother & wife had intentions towards you so you were a well-behaved submissive obedient son & husband? Were you well trained in wishy-washy flexible feminist political correctness? May 4, 2023 at 3:04
  • "I think the question is about expectations of women towards men rather than related to supramundane matters of conceit" I didn't think so. "Inferiority" (per the title) is implicitly "a comparison", that and its asking about "feelings" of inferiority (and how not to hold onto those) reminded me of Ven Yuttadhammo's explanation.
    – ChrisW
    May 4, 2023 at 3:10
  • Sure. All dukkha is attachment & conceit. But, imo, there is underlying nestbuilding dynamic in the OP question. – May 4, 2023 at 3:36
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In Buddhism, there is the practice of 'metta', often translated as 'loving-kindness' but simply meaning 'good-will' or 'respectful friendliness'.

Metta is practiced towards both oneself & others. The suttas say:

157 If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. 165. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. 166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.

Dhammapada

Searching all directions with your awareness, you find no one dearer than yourself. In the same way, others are thickly dear to themselves. So you shouldn't hurt others if you love yourself.

Ud 5.1

And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience [forbearance; tolerance], harmlessness, lovingkindness and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

SN 47.19

To have feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and low confidence seems to indicate insufficient metta development towards oneself. A Buddhist practice of metta is chanting or repeatedly thinking the following:

May I abide in well-being,

In freedom from affliction,

In freedom from hostility,

In freedom from ill-will,

In freedom from anxiety,

May I maintain well-being in myself.

Page 41

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    Thanks for the answer, the last part really helps. I also felt this myself recently when I meditated on my subjective view of myself, I realized I am angry at myself on a subtle level. Then I gave myself love, and I felt a lot different afterwards. I am just putting here in case future readers find this helpful. May 5, 2023 at 3:34
  • You are welcome. Our goal is for our own well-being. May 5, 2023 at 5:35
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Generally, women close to us, such as our mother, want what they personally believe is best for us, according to their own views of what is best in life. While we may disagree with them, we should try to appreciate their intentions. Always remember our mother looked after us & sacrificed for us; even though her giving birth to us was her personal choice & desire.

Did I tell you about when I visited my lesbian cousin last year? My lesbian cousin & her partner said they previously were considering having a child however I (Dhamma Dhatu) was the only man they would consider being the sperm donor. I was totally horrified; despite the compliment. But my mother scolded me, replying at least I would have done something useful in my life for once by being a sperm donor. My mother was all on board in agreement with the other four women in the room. I was the sole male (mindfully, with clear-comprehension) enduring this kamma of others.

My lesbian cousin really loves me. We took lovely photos together. We hung out a lot when we were young plus we look so much alike. I suppose, for her, her intentions were a type of 'love'. Fortunately, as men, we are physically created stronger & faster to escape such intentions.

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The Pali suttas say:

  1. The power of women is anger - AN 8.27

  2. Women have as their ultimate goal authority/domination - AN 6.52

  3. A husband should serve his wife - DN 31

We should be careful with Western Marxist Woke ideas about female equality & Patriarchy or pornographic ideas about female submission. The Buddha taught it is the nature of women to domineer men. That is the way things are. If you wish to improve how women view & treat you then you should develop qualities that please women, such as working for them, serving them, complimenting their appearance, buying them regular gifts, etc. The Buddha taught:

A husband should serve his wife as the western quarter in five ways: by treating her with honor, by not looking down on her, by not being unfaithful, by relinquishing authority to her and by presenting her with adornments. DN 31

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  • "Western Marxist woke ideas" is a nonsense phrase that has nothing to do with either the question or Buddhism in general. Additionally the asker didn't mention if they were interested in the Theravada or Mahayana take; the Mahaprajnaparamitasastra breaks down the idea of gender entirely; some early Mahayana texts like Srimalidevi and Sumati's Questions make it clear that there's no spiritual difference between female and male practitioners; in EBT, Visakha, Mallika, and Ambipali, for example, were treated as socially more or less equal in status.
    – Zac Anger
    May 3, 2023 at 12:57
  • " If you wish to improve how women view & treat you then you should develop qualities that please women, such as working for them, serving them, complimenting their appearance, buying them regular gifts, etc. " Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose..we are here to be liberated so wouldn't placing our happiness on a conditioned thing like women's view of us - wouldn't that be binding and be impermanent? May 3, 2023 at 13:02
  • @Kobamschitzo this sutta is advice to a layman on proper conduct for in the current lifetime, and also includes instructions on how to build a good relationship with your serfs — clearly not a section applicable to modern life.
    – Zac Anger
    May 3, 2023 at 13:16
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    Zac. The dhamma in the suttas has no historical context. The dhamma is natural law, always applicable. Please kindly write your own answers and try to not taint my answers with non-Buddhist comments. What you call "modern life" is often non-dhamma and saturated with defilements of greed, lust, hatred & delusion. Thank you May 3, 2023 at 20:56
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    I see that SN 37.30 says that women have up to five "powers" in fact -- of which, it says, "ethical behaviour" is the one of import to "the family".
    – ChrisW
    May 4, 2023 at 1:02

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