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I'd like to share a situation that happened to me and brought me a question about this arising of arrogance.

I was driving and another driver got mad at me for a not-so-correct maneuver I did. At first I felt a bit uncomfortable for making him angry, but quickly I felt more compassion for the fact that he was feeling anger than any other un wholesome state of mind.

Until a bit of arrogance arose, when a thought appeared: I was able to feel in peace even though the situation, while he let that unrest him and feel anger.

Is that arising of this kind of arrogance usual? How could I meditate upon it or think about the causes and consequences of it? The problem I have is that I do feel sometimes like I'm in a better path to happiness (that is buddhism) than others but that makes this arrogance appear.

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I was able to feel in peace even though the situation, while he let that unrest him and feel anger.

The Brahmavihara Sutta (see also Wikipedia) mentions 'sublime attitudes' including equanimity and compassion.

To the extent that you develop equanimity, to that extent perhaps you can be content. If arrogance arises, so that you are no longer in a state of equanimity (no longer "devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful" and "with detachment"), then there's little to be proud about any more! So perhaps it's self-limiting, i.e. when you're arrogant then there's nothing to be arrogant about.

Another thing is that the experiencing of anger is unsatisfactory. If you can skillfully avoid the experience of anger then you should probably feel Muditā i.e. "the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings" towards yourself, i.e. "it's fortunate that this person didn't suffer from anger".

Similarly if another person is suffering because they're angry then compassion, "the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering", i.e. "may this person become freed from anger".

Perhaps you can sometimes 'turn it around' as well: instead of seeing the other person as angry, see them as not angry. If they didn't pull a gun on you or die of apoplexy, you could (possibly) think "that person is doing quite well at controlling their anger" as well as trying to root out the cause of that anger.

So 'metta meditation' might be a form of meditation to help inform "the causes and consequences of it". You mention that you were already doing that, i.e. "I felt more compassion for the fact that he was feeling anger". Maybe it would work to feel some compassion towards your own kilesas i.e. "may this person become free of conceit, delusion, doubt".

I guess that one of the worst things that could happen, a worst-case scenario, might be to welcome and to enjoy and to become attached to that arrogance: if you go around with the attitude, "I'm so great and good, because other people get angry with me and I skillfully don't get angry with them in return" and then because of that you're going around provoking other people to anger. So, instead, also avoid repeating the "not-so-correct maneuver" which provokes other people to anger.

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The feeling of pride is okay in the sense that it is conditioned so long as you do not act following that feeling.

That you are able to notice the arising of the feeling shows some mindfulness and restraint.

Conceit is one of the 10 fetters to be abandoned by an Anagami, the last stage of the practice.

So long as you are not holding on to that pride or perpetuating it you are doing fine.

To stop pride & conceit from arising don't compare!

  • Just by calling it pride rather than arrogance really makes things easier to handle and understand. Thanks. – Masclins May 29 '15 at 7:24
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    I've added a link to pride & conceit if you want further information. :) – Samadhi May 29 '15 at 7:32
  • @Samadhi is it ok to counter pride with the percepetion of a skeleton? – user4878 May 29 '15 at 7:36
  • Yes it is. Perception of a skeleton is perception of, rupa, one of the five khandas (an ultimate reality, paramattha dhamma) and perception of a person is a perception of pannati (concept) or a conventional reality (sammuti sacca). – Samadhi May 29 '15 at 7:46

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