By Rebecca Bradshaw, IPV Guiding Teacher
One form of creating the sense of a separate self is what is called mana in Buddhism, usually translated as comparing or conceit. In Buddhism there are three forms of this conceit and all are considered forms of suffering and bondage. For example, superiority conceit strengthens the suffering of separation, inferiority conceit can include the torments of shame and self-judgment, and equality conceit still manifests as the pain of monitoring and measuring ourselves against others. Obviously, all three forms of mana strengthen the sense of self as separate from others and therefore are part of our exploration of anatta, or not-self.
Given that this form of conditioning and thinking is often a source of great suffering for us, what are we to do? Trying to ban or exile or get rid of it (our usual first strategy) seems unlikely to have any huge success, in the short term anyway. We can, however, cultivate a relationship to this thinking in which we don't get entangled or lost in it. We can develop a compassionate relationship to the suffering that is present. By understanding the deeply universal nature of this conditioning, we can take it less personally, with more spaciousness. These seem like realistic goals. Through this process, we develop a deep and abiding trust and confidence in our own experience, relying on authenticity as our antidote.
Join Rebecca on Wednesday, April 26, 7:00pm for an open sitting and dharma talk.