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Here is a suitable definition to talk about arrogance:-
“unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people” from here.
First and foremost to discuss arrogance it is necessary to try to understand ego. Ego is such a nasty thing and most people don’t consider they have one – including those who are egotistical and arrogant. I spend the most important part of my day, most days, in meditation trying to deal with my ego. That is because ego occurs naturally, it is part of our natural conditioning, and because that conditioning occurs continuously it is an ongoing battle trying not to let ego get a grip – discussed here and here in pathtivism. The Buddhist word for the process of forming ego is attachment, and in meditation I spend time trying to ensure I don’t have attachments – detaching those that have formed and not attaching new ones. The opposite of arrogant is humble and I try to develop a humble heart (a humble compass) from this indigenous wisdom:-
Tracy Joseph Chrest:-
"Let your soul be your guide,
Your heart be your compass,
Your mind be your map,
And never be lost -:-"
But no matter how hard I try there is ego. I accept this as a fact of life, and try to be aware of ego happening whenever possible.
For me the hardest ego to control is interacting with others. And this is because of the path. It is as if I am a path conduit, whatever I learn on the path I have to give out – hence all the writing and blogs. In a way it is beyond my control, if I tried to suppress it I suspect I would go insane. When interacting with others the path always wants to speak. I suspect this is seen as arrogance.
Let us examine the definition:-
1) Unpleasantly proud
2) Behaving more importantly than others
3) Behaving as if knowing more than others
About 3). I make an assumption, that following the path is the most important thing a human can do. I don’t make an assumption that my path is better than others, but that following the path is the most important thing to do. Suppose you are someone who makes no attempt at following the path, then by simply talking about the path makes me arrogant by criterion 3.
About 2) Based on my assumption about the path, that the path is most important, for those not following the path they would have to perceive this in an individual way, that I, and not my path, consider myself more important than others. So because others do not follow the path, do not understand the ways of path, they have to perceive that I am arrogant.
About 1) Proud is quite clearly a word describing ego, and can also be seen as the opposite of humble. I do what I can not to be proud by trying to be humble. Unpleasant is a description of how the other person feels, so what makes that other person feel unpleasant? It is their egos that feel unpleasant because egos are so competitive and egos are vulnerable afraid of being destroyed by the path. Egos are always under threat from the path and feel uncomfortable accordingly – an unpleasant feeling.
There are only two things - path and ego; following the path or living in the conditioned ego. When the path talks the ego is threatened because it is so vulnerable. To survive ego needs to protect itself, and in our society egos do this by surrounding themselves by other egos. Where I live these people are MAWPs, I live amongst Thais in a community of MAWPs. These MAWPs are happier bashing against each other’s egos, continually squabbling with each other, often drinking, rather than risk the unpleasantness of talking about the path. Ego arrogance?
In the world of the dispossessed, there is much arrogance as people are not grounded in the earth – not Gaia-conscious, not following the path. Apart from my first two years on the path, when the awareness was overwhelming and I was fortunate enough to meet Arts people who shared that awareness, I have disguised my path as a teacher. Whilst my purpose in teaching was in some way to convey the importance of path and awareness, at the same time I needed to work with people and teach a curriculum. So my path was disguised. In my struggle (political or otherwise) I saw what I was doing as enabling the conditions for spirit, such as people not being subject to abject poverty and wage-slaves having sufficient time and resources to be spiritual, but my path was also disguised. At the same time my path became compromised.
Now I am retired, and my wage-slavery does not compromise me. However I am compromised by my community – as described above. So my path is left with this writing – and no-one reads it. My ego laments the lack of being read but my path is sufficiently strong that I ignore this ego – except occasionally allowing emotion to lament .
And finally, the teachings of Ajaan Buddhadasa are my nearest external guide. He was knowledgeable - died 1993, knew and followed the path, and is an important figure to learn from. Do some consider he was arrogant?
Be careful, ego likes to use this insulting word. It is a word ego likes to use to shut out the truth.
|Books:- Treatise, Pathtivism Manual, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education. Blogs:- Matriellez, Mandtao.|