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Author Topic: [Q&A] How to stop comparing oneself with others? (Or start?)  (Read 342 times)

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Online Johann

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How to stop comparing oneself with others? Or start?

Quote from: by Eggman on BSE
How to stop comparing oneself with others?

I'm wondering how Buddhism deals with the comparison of oneself with others, and I'm specifically thinking in terms of accomplishments. For example, I have usually had some success in art fields in my life. I now am in a setting where many people have similar, or greater talent. I can't help but compare myself to them, and this causes suffering.

Similarly, I tend to compare myself to others generally, in many ways. I am aware it is bad to do so, but I cannot help myself in engaging in that process.

Is there any way to make the comparisons cease? What does Buddhism teach about this?

If comparing is conceit, many of the answers to How are 'conceit' and 'identity-view' not the same? seem to advocate merely watching mindfully the arising and passing away of the aggregates to extinguish conceit. Would this be the recognized ways of diminishing the presence of conceit?

If any practice could be recommended it would be much appreciated.

Thank you for any reply.'

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

  _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community  _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,


- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" that can be found here .)

Actually start, not stop to compare yourself with others! , but only with the wise, if looking for a longer lasting good.

It's against the mainstream believe totally not wrong to compare "oneself" to others, Eggman, according to the teachings of the Buddha and the path going beyond comparing individuals.

If looking and reading the Suttas one will not find many places where not good or bad samples are used for orientation purposes. Path to liberation is all about learning how and what to judge.

Others then in usually wordily regards the objectivity does not focus on material thing to be compared, but virtues, and while ordinary man judges in the frame of gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. (the 8 worldily Dhammas on which the world turns around), a Dhammika (one following the path, "Buddhist") look for orientation amoung the seven treasures. Which seven?

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

The treasure of conviction, the treasure of virtue, the treasure of conscience, the treasure of concern, the treasure of listening, the treasure of generosity, the treasure of discernment...

That means that one goes after, associate with virtuose people and compares ones own deeds, and this is importand, with people seemingly having such virtues. But like when one seeks for orientation for material skills, one tries not to do it in a battle way, but by reducing to regard individuals. One compares action and tendencies.

When ever there is much notion of "I" and "you", it gives much rise to envy, issa .

That is the result of conceit, and conceit (mānā) ends only for an Arahat totally. A big amout of this notion of comparing in the three conceit-full ways "better I am", "lower I am" but also "equal I am", falls with the reach of the Stream and the lose of personal-views (sat/k kaya ditthi).

Todays popullar notion "equal are we" is in fact most dangerous, because it forms even bigger groups (kayas) as if as individual for identification.

For the daily live with material items to trade, one of course needs to compare certain gains of others, but if wise one puts also the factor "in what way was this gained", in therms of virtues, into it, gives that more and more value for orientation. "How does he find so much peace while merely poor", for example.

How ever, envy, jealousy, does not end at the point when going even a total spirital way and the best description of what is really and most worthy to compare with, is given in the Cula Saropama Sutta: The Shorter Heartwood-simile Discours

So again, it's not bad at all, but foolish if one puts it more or lesser into such as a lasting person and it's qualities, when knowing that the 8 Wordily-Dhammas are not for sure and change sometimes very quick. So it's good the seek after the possession of the seven treasures, with what one does not only have a good and legitime source for ones healthy selfestimate but also would not be easy excelt by material things. At least, who ever had not found the real heart-wood, will not be perfect and secure, aside of all needs for comparisons, beyond.

One compares oneself not to put others down, but to possible learn from them, become equal, seeing that this also does not lead to lasting ease and searches again for better, till on possible sees and recognice Noble ones, listen to their Dhamma and by understanding loses the gross problems of comparisons of the world, able to even be an island for oneself.

Aside the "Self" and the Devas and gods, admirable friends are always good for comparing oneself, and should be ones govering principles all the time.

And to add a short note on "watching the aggregats", if not having accomplished the treasures, is not really possible to do such, so it is good to compare oneself in regard of generousity, moral and their virtues first, become as good as possible equal with that of the Noble Ones. There then is the place to enter the stream .

May this brief talk about a big issue, as well as the advices to a "youngster " in this manner be of understanding it and with it a help for those able to take.

In a following discussion there, with Nyom Chris , he found reminded on the Bhikkhunis Sutta, and inspired to give an answer on the question, based on it, as following:

Further to Samana Johann's answer, I wanted to add...

Buddhism does have things to say about comparing oneself with others.

I think that it (i.e. the Buddhism which I understand from the Pali canon) recommends that you should compare, that you should be discriminating (about whether people are good or bad), that you should try to associate with good people; emulate and learn from, follow, good people; avoid bad people, and so on.

In advice to lay-people, for example, there's this answer about choosing a marriage partner. And there's the Sigalovada Sutta which has a long section about good and bad friends.

And, in advice for spiritual development, there's the concept of the admirable friend , for example:

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

In the answers to How are 'conceit' and 'identity-view' not the same? people said that "comparing" is a symptom of "conceit" ... and that conceit is one of the very last fetters (I won't try to explain that now).

But I think it's worth noting that "conceit" seems to be explicitly identified as essential, in one of the suttas, the Bhikkhuni Sutta :

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.'

Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears,
'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.'

The thought occurs to him,
'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now. Then why not me?'

Then he eventually abandons conceit, having relied on conceit.
'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.'

Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

If I can interpret it, a thought like "Why not me?" and "I can compare myself to him" or "I am or should or could like him, and do or behave as he does" is what makes it conceit.

What makes it useful is, as mentioned in Samana Johann's answer ...

wise one puts also the factor "in what way was this gained"

... in other words you ask yourself, how is it that this person who I admire has attained that admirable state? So in the sutta I quoted, for example, the thought-train includes understanding how the other person did it ("through the ending of the fermentations") and thus sees what needs to be done in order to be successful.

Also you wrote,

I now am in a setting where many people have similar, or greater talent. I can't help but compare myself to them, and this causes suffering.
I guess you're talking about jealousy or envy or something like that.

There is another doctrine in Buddhism, i.e. the Brahma-viharas :

These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu samma patipatti). They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.

The Brahma-viharas are incompatible with a hating state of mind, ...

In this case I'm thinking especially of mudita i.e. taking joy in someone else's being happy or skillful or successful; for example:

When unselfish joy grows, many noxious weeds in the human heart will die a natural death (or will, at least, shrink): jealousy and envy, ill will in various degrees and manifestations, cold-heartedness, miserliness (also in one's concern for others), and so forth.

I expect that mudita can be developed or brought into being by conscious meditation, i.e. people practice "metta-bhavana" meditation and you might presumably practice "mudita-bhavana" too.

This doesn't answer the question at all, of how to stop comparing yourself. Instead it talks about how to make use of it, and how to live with it.

Sadhu & Anumodana
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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March 19, 2018, 05:20:12 AM
This "wiki"-like backup tool is meant as a outwardy insurance that one does not be afraid that anything possible good can be desroyed or made bad while looking for cleaning it. So worry at all, kamma does not dissapear. No need to fear to make good deeds, knowing that.


March 19, 2018, 04:03:35 AM
And there is no intention to just make a museum out of a working and concentration camp, since the Dhamma can not be understood by just looking on forms but by learning and experiance skillful deeds.


March 19, 2018, 04:00:47 AM
Post-history: http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,1164.0.html (but there is no notification system). My person uses to make a @mention , off topic "/me" in the OP.


March 19, 2018, 03:49:28 AM
Or to simply make a new post. No need to be shy in doing good things. It's not a museum, it's a working and concentration place. Mudita.


March 19, 2018, 03:47:57 AM
There is such as a "wiki" backup function in all posts, Nyom Danilo. Good is to use the mention option, at the places where making changes @Johann , that it gets not "lost".


March 19, 2018, 03:02:46 AM
I have a backup of the original post in any case. I might review the second post next time. Very insightful teaching. _/\_


March 19, 2018, 03:01:35 AM
I've recently fixed many words and sentences of the first post of the thread "Debts, but to whom?". It take me some time trying to figure out the meaning of some sentences. So it would be good if Bhante could check if the original intended meaning of the post still intact. I have a backup of the ori


March 19, 2018, 01:57:28 AM
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_


March 19, 2018, 12:01:09 AM
One leading to peaks pointing downward so that aging, sickness and death can be seen, know him/her as a sage, a giver of release.


March 18, 2018, 11:57:30 PM
One leading people to papanca, promoting rejoicing in objectification as the heart wood, increases to fields of corpse in the world.


March 18, 2018, 12:03:14 AM
Good night _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:59:14 PM
Vandami, Bhante _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:51:37 PM


March 16, 2018, 01:19:17 AM


March 15, 2018, 09:53:07 PM
 :-* ich wünschen allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-*


March 14, 2018, 11:19:11 PM
Sounds like a good idea to rest. I will be taking a break from the internet for a while i feel detached a lot from the worldly feminisms and all. It is wonderful not to be lusting, walking the streets with lowered gaze, delighting in meditation... I fear it compromises me to even think about the pol


March 14, 2018, 11:10:27 PM


March 14, 2018, 10:58:38 PM
Marcel, Morits, Upasaka X, it's time to break up this auspicious coming in touch now also for my person. Observe, remember, how you have been yesterday an now and guess of what will be tomorrow probably... maybe just not sure.


March 14, 2018, 10:06:46 PM
Sadhu, _/\_

may Bhante have a peaceful day.

Chom reap sour.


March 14, 2018, 09:58:42 PM
 :-* :-* :-*


March 14, 2018, 09:55:00 PM
O yes... will be a long day, this yesterday, but possible a remorseless.


March 14, 2018, 09:46:45 PM
Vandami Bhante,
good evening (morning in Cambodia?).



March 14, 2018, 03:03:38 AM
Wie war es gestern? Wie geht es heute?

How was it yesterday? How are you today?


March 06, 2018, 02:24:03 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 05, 2018, 02:25:22 PM
 :-* erhwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


March 05, 2018, 02:17:57 PM
Nyom Marcel


March 01, 2018, 12:52:02 AM
Sadhu, eine des Magha-puja allen jenen die sie heute Begehen.


February 28, 2018, 09:48:58 PM
 :-* allen ein verdienstvollen uposatha tag :-*


February 24, 2018, 02:37:41 AM


February 24, 2018, 01:31:25 AM


February 24, 2018, 12:50:00 AM
Es ist sehr selten, ungewöhnlich und erfreulich, zur Mitfreude anregend, junge Menschen Kloster aufsuchend zu sehen.


February 23, 2018, 02:56:54 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


February 23, 2018, 04:04:45 AM


February 23, 2018, 02:16:16 AM
Nyom Danilo.
(Atma will leave for a while for his almsround.)


February 22, 2018, 10:08:41 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, ja ich ahb die khmer tastatur installiert! ich werde in den nächsten tagen text teilen und berichten!  :-*


February 22, 2018, 12:34:06 PM
Hat Nyom Marcel schon eine Khmer Tastatur installiert?


February 22, 2018, 12:32:21 PM
So ist das. Wenn Nahrung aufgebraucht, dann ist da für eine Weile Ende, und Wiedergeboren, es wieder brennen wird. Zum endgültigen legen des Feuers sind wir hier, oder? Pfau ruft, Gecko balzt, alles in Ordnung, oder?


February 22, 2018, 12:16:35 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, letzte nacht davon geträumt, dass es beim ashram brennt!!
ich hoffe, das feuer hat sich gelegt  :-*


February 22, 2018, 11:43:37 AM
Nyom Marcel.


February 22, 2018, 09:08:57 AM


February 22, 2018, 08:49:51 AM
Möge Regen kommen und alle beschützt werden


February 22, 2018, 01:59:08 AM


February 22, 2018, 01:04:19 AM
ich  wünsche einen verdienstvollen uposatha!! all jende für morgen auch einen hervorragenden uposatha!!!
 :-* :-* :-*


February 19, 2018, 06:00:04 PM
Much joy and releasing touches here, Nyom Chris, my person will leave for today, befor it becomes tomorrow, and rest a little.


February 14, 2018, 03:57:33 PM
Sadhu, auch jenen, die ihn morgen, auch Chinesisches Neujahrsfest, begehen, einhalten.


February 14, 2018, 01:37:51 PM
einen verdienstvollen uposatha allen!!!


February 10, 2018, 12:31:09 PM
Sadhu! Mag er fruchtvoll verlaufen sein. Gerade wieder Möglichkeit erhalten, in dieser Welt hier beizutragen.


February 08, 2018, 12:46:43 PM
 :-* :-* :-* ich wünsche allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-* :-* :-*


February 05, 2018, 02:19:14 PM

 :-* :-* :-* sadhu,sadhu,sadhu

 :-* :-* :-*


February 02, 2018, 12:38:06 PM
Meinereiner ist so schnell ie noch nie genesen. Die Symptome des Befalls nur 2 Tage, und die üblichen 5 Tage um das Medikament zu überstehen. Atma ist gerade wohl auf und auch das ist wie für alle nicht sicher. Nutze den Tag heißt vorallem über Alter, Krankheit und Tod, wie Alternative z

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