How do I maintain a mind of humility?

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How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Sonrisa » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:35 pm

I am beginning to feel my daily life improve as I think positive thoughts. Even on the cloudiest of all days, I feel..happy. Other than that, with my practiceof Dharma, I am beginning to feel internally happy..even bit by bit. I realize things little by little as I go on living my days.

The thing is, I dont want to develop arrogance. Im not really afraid of this though, but I just want to be aware of these feelings. I dont want to think or develop a mindset of "OH, Im soooo wise. This person knows nothing and is dumb".

I recognize that I am imperfect. I still have desires and attachments. Im a human being..just like anyone else. I dont like bragging or boasting about myself. When I am praise by others, I thank them for their kind thoughts but I say "no, I still have a long way to go". Whether it be with religious practice, calligraphy, music, art, or when people describe me as nice.

I've heard a saying the says "The more one knows, the more humble one is".

I want to be a simple person. How can I prevent arrogance from leaking in and causing me trouble? Is this what Shakyamuni meant when he taught to guard your mind just as soldiers would guard carefuly a town to prevent bandits from entering? (okay, that was paraphrased :tongue: )
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:26 pm

Hi Sonrisa, a close Dharma friend once said to me when we were talking about this very subject that perhaps true humility comes from acknowledging and admitting our utter lack of any. i don't know, i can't lay claim to any wisdom or proficiency in Dharma practice but i was struck by his words and perhaps somewhere in them in the space which allows us to move forward humbly and respectfully can be found.
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


- Ashvaghosa, The Awakening of Faith

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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:04 pm

If we cultivate the mind of Compassion there is no place for anger and attachment to dwell, hence humility results.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Luke » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:25 pm

This is damn hard to do on one's own! The only reason I have developed my good qualities even a little bit is because of interacting with my lama and receiving his teachings. :anjali: Before I learned things from him, I was just your average western "nightstand Buddhist" wrapped up in my own selfish fantasies. Having a teacher makes things real and more serious.

A teacher can give you honest feedback about yourself, which you'll never quite be able to give yourself.

And even after one finds a good teacher, this is still very hard work, since the mind is a difficult beast to tame.

I still lack compassion and am selfish much too often in real life. It takes a long time to make others one's consistent priority. I'm often embarrassed by how non-Buddhists are often much more kind and giving than I am. I have so much to learn from everyone!
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Jechan » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:19 am

Perhaps thinking about `am I cultivating humility?` or `Damn! I forgot to do my humility practice today!`, would hinder your focus.
As we progress in our practice and study more, things like humility, compassion, integrity, generosity, respect and all manner of other fine traits should manifest by themselves, naturally.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:52 am

Standard metta meditations might do the trick. Like considering the importance of your own needs compared with the needs of the billions of others whose needs are very often far more pressing. This might help maintain humility. It might also help to spend time listening to teachers who exemplify humility especially well.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby neverdowell » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:27 am

Meditate on death and other sufferings of samsara. Since you haven't purified all of your bad karma yet, you may still go to the lower realms or have a poor human rebirth. Meditation on death is a very powerful way to purify karma too.

To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:14 am

Sonrisa wrote:I am beginning to feel my daily life improve as I think positive thoughts. Even on the cloudiest of all days, I feel..happy. Other than that, with my practiceof Dharma, I am beginning to feel internally happy..even bit by bit. I realize things little by little as I go on living my days.

The thing is, I dont want to develop arrogance. Im not really afraid of this though, but I just want to be aware of these feelings. I dont want to think or develop a mindset of "OH, Im soooo wise. This person knows nothing and is dumb".

I recognize that I am imperfect. I still have desires and attachments. Im a human being..just like anyone else. I dont like bragging or boasting about myself. When I am praise by others, I thank them for their kind thoughts but I say "no, I still have a long way to go". Whether it be with religious practice, calligraphy, music, art, or when people describe me as nice.

I've heard a saying the says "The more one knows, the more humble one is".

I want to be a simple person. How can I prevent arrogance from leaking in and causing me trouble? Is this what Shakyamuni meant when he taught to guard your mind just as soldiers would guard carefuly a town to prevent bandits from entering? (okay, that was paraphrased :tongue: )


One of the best ways is to reflect on the qualities of the Buddhas, the bodhisattvas, great acaryas, teachers, masters, and so on.

Though, ultimately, one will have to destroy clinging to any sort of "self" ("me", "I", etc...) altogether in order to be totally free from this potential problem.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby muni » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:58 am

It is a very exhausting job in the temporary given breath to be great, beautiful, famous, not losing face and defeat all what is not satisfying our comfort.
Being lazy in that way, opens hearts in natural simplicity.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Sonrisa » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:01 pm

Thanks everyone :smile:

Maybe Im over thinking this too much. Someone once told me to just be. In other words, you dont have to be..just be.

Thankfully, practice is like watering a flower. With patience and nurture, the beautiful flower blooms and releasing its fragrance everywhere.

I'll just be.

:thanks:
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Luke » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:34 pm

Another way to remain humble is to regularly meet with people who are better at doing certain things that interest you than you are. This includes not only Buddhist teachers, but all kinds of experts.

I used to think that I was very smart until I met some of my math professors at university. There I saw what truly smart people were like, and it permanently changed me.

Everyone will reach his or her intellectual limit eventually, but one's compassion can be increased forever.
*************

And also, Sonrisa, my apologies for implying that you did not have a lama in my previous post. I can see from other threads that you do have a lama.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Sonrisa » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:50 pm

Luke wrote:Another way to remain humble is to regularly meet with people who are better at doing certain things that interest you than you are. This includes not only Buddhist teachers, but all kinds of experts.

I used to think that I was very smart until I met some of my math professors at university. There I saw what truly smart people were like, and it permanently changed me.

Everyone will reach his or her intellectual limit eventually, but one's compassion can be increased forever.
*************

And also, Sonrisa, my apologies for implying that you did not have a lama in my previous post. I can see from other threads that you do have a lama.



Hi Luke,

Thank you for your suggestion. I guess that way is a good way to decrease jealousy as well.

Oh and I dont have a lama. I dont practice Vajrayama. Just your typical pure land practitioner here :smile:
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Ogyen » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:59 pm

To be honest, I felt this question too, and still do time to time, but if you look at how life cuts your pride down one side while strengthening your confidence in your ability to shape and mold your attitudes, humility is maintained by never avoiding the part that cuts you down to size...

So for example, the other day I felt great, because I accomplished this great bit of work for an important deadline, the next day I got completely crapped on by the same people who were so happy with me.

What should I feel? Proud of good work, crappy for all this blah side? Well, the truth is I think now, a few days later, this is the flow. This IS what keeps you humble. Not clinging to the "happiness" you experience by practicing dharma. That is, the happiness is just a state of ease, so no need to cling to the ease of feeling like you don't cling to the road that you travel...

When you feel boosted by the good, if you feel nervous about growing a seed of arrogance, accept the next time you are cut down size with good grace, that this is just another occurrence like that happiness.

I too feel happy most of the time now even when life is crappy, but sometimes I panic that I've got it "too good" now. But that's silly, all I've got that's good is a better mindset. My conditions aren't that much easier just because I'm ok with what I have to face every day. So while life is what it is, I am more of who I am in this tranquility I'm cultivating...

Remember the mindset is a tool, not the end goal of your practice. That should help you maintain humility, as you won't attach meanings to your tools that are more than the tools themselves. I see arrogance emerge in people when they forget that they also just poop and pee every day like any other living being. They get stomach aches, no matter how wise or unwise they are... LOL Rejection hurts, wounds cut, and hope and fear is experienced by all that is sentient.

You too, are no better or worse, and enjoy that happiness you experience, it's the fertile ground for your growth and development of your subtle mind... You too, are a buddha in the mire, just remember the mud is what made you, and you will keep a humble mind.

Mama's two cents worth...

:heart:
Ogyen.

Sonrisa wrote:I am beginning to feel my daily life improve as I think positive thoughts. Even on the cloudiest of all days, I feel..happy. Other than that, with my practiceof Dharma, I am beginning to feel internally happy..even bit by bit. I realize things little by little as I go on living my days.

The thing is, I dont want to develop arrogance. Im not really afraid of this though, but I just want to be aware of these feelings. I dont want to think or develop a mindset of "OH, Im soooo wise. This person knows nothing and is dumb".

I recognize that I am imperfect. I still have desires and attachments. Im a human being..just like anyone else. I dont like bragging or boasting about myself. When I am praise by others, I thank them for their kind thoughts but I say "no, I still have a long way to go". Whether it be with religious practice, calligraphy, music, art, or when people describe me as nice.

I've heard a saying the says "The more one knows, the more humble one is".

I want to be a simple person. How can I prevent arrogance from leaking in and causing me trouble? Is this what Shakyamuni meant when he taught to guard your mind just as soldiers would guard carefuly a town to prevent bandits from entering? (okay, that was paraphrased :tongue: )
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"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby kirtu » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:56 pm

Huifeng wrote:One of the best ways is to reflect on the qualities of the Buddhas, the bodhisattvas, great acaryas, teachers, masters, and so on.


HH Dalai Lama said (I heard him say this and I also heard him say this on a recording) that he cultivated humility a little bit when he thought about the amazing things that his translator could do that he himself couldn't do.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby ground » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:18 am

Sonrisa wrote:I want to be a simple person. How can I prevent arrogance from leaking in and causing me trouble?


Confession of missdeeds and wrong thoughts. Prerequisite however is mindfulness of what to do and what to eliminate due to being convinced about karma and its effects and knowing the sufferings in samsaric realms.


Kind regards
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:45 am

Arrogance does not leak in from the outside. It is generated within and leaks out, if anything. So the question becomes, how am I generating arrogance and what can I do to break the habit?
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby muni » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:07 am

To see arrogance. When my being is filled by arrogance, others appear like mud on my shoes. Then it is up to myself to clean the shoes. As not the others is the problem but the mud of own delusion. Arrogance = pain.

This a teacher told who was teaching children. Even I was no child anymore, it was perfect teaching for me.
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby muni » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:21 am

Yeshe wrote:If we cultivate the mind of Compassion there is no place for anger and attachment to dwell, hence humility results.


:namaste:
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Re: How do I maintain a mind of humility?

Postby Jikan » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:38 pm

Wow, what a fantastic thread: an earnest question and plenty of helpful guidance on the path.

Follow-up question to Ven. Huifeng's post: what is the best way to characterize the relationship between gratitude and humility? I find that there's no room in the mind for self-conceit when it is filled with gratitude for teachers and others who are really engaged with practice.
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