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[Buddha]

Author Topic: [Q&A] How to stop comparing oneself with others? (Or start?)  (Read 212 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,

 *sgift*

- 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,

Quote
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 :

Quote
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:

Quote
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
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August 20, 2017, 01:37:40 AM
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July 25, 2017, 03:59:03 PM
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July 25, 2017, 03:55:25 PM
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Herzliches Hallo an alle nach sehr langem!

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July 17, 2017, 01:50:17 AM
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July 14, 2017, 07:07:17 AM
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July 13, 2017, 08:12:46 AM
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Chom reap lea
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Johann

July 08, 2017, 02:26:09 AM
Vor mehr als 2500 Jahen wurde a diesem Vollmondtag das Rad des Dhammas in bewegung gesetzt. Anumodana!

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