Beliefnet
The concept of pride is similar in many religions. Most view it as focusing too much on the self, and not enough on God. Often, doing away with the ego is considered a prerequisite for true belief in God. Choose one of the five major religons below to explore more about each faith's teachings on pride.



Buddhism

Buddhism stresses the importance of shedding the ego, the sense of a self-identity. Pride is seen as not letting go of this sense of self.

The Diamond Sutra explains that one cannot reach enlightenment without letting go of this sense of self and pride. "'Subhuti, what do you think? Does a holy one say within himself, 'I have obtained Perfective Enlightenment?''" Subhuti replied, 'No, World-honored One...If a holy one of Perfective Enlightenment said to himself, 'Such am I,' he would necessarily partake of the idea of an ego-identity, a personality, a being, a separated individuality.'"

Buddhism also warns against not taking pride in one's learning or one's advances on the road to enlightenment. This kind of pride causes one to expect special status and homage. As the Dhammapada states, "Only for his ruin does renown come to the fool. It ravages his bright fortune & rips his head apart. He would want unwarranted status, preeminence among monks, authority among monasteries, homage from lay families."

The Sutta Nipata tells a similar story: "A questioner asked the Buddha: 'I would like to know about the state of peace, the state of solitude and of quiet detachment. How does a person become calm, independent, and not wanting to grasp at anything?'

"'A person does this,' replied the Buddha, 'by eradicating the delusion of 'I am.' By being alert and attentive, he begins to let go of cravings as they arise. But whatever he begins to accomplish, he should beware of inner pride. He must avoid thinking of himself as better than another, or worse or equal, for that is all comparison and emphasizes the self.'"

Christianity

Pride is often considered the foremost vice in Christianity, since it is contrary to love of God. As Christian thinker and writer C.S. Lewis, "According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind."

Christianity teaches that there are many different manifestations of pride. They include "boasting of men (1 Corinthians 3:21)," doing something "from selfishness or conceit (Philippians 2:3)," and refusing to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)."

Like Islam, Chrisitanity views pride as a hatred of God that was the reason for the fall of the devil. The Catholic Catechism teaches, "Hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments."

Orthodox Christianity also warns against pride. "A festival for the spiritual man," Saint Ephraim the Syrian writes, "is the observance of the divine commandments, and his consolation abstinence from evil. His pride is the fear of God, his real joy the day when the Heavenly King calls him to inherit His eternal riches." This passage from the Desert Fathers teaches that a life of humility before God should be enough for man.

The Mormon Doctrine & Covenant similarly states, "Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride."

Hinduism

Hinduism teaches that one must renounce the ego in order to understand the Self and reach ultimate reality. Pride inhibts renunciation. One can only come to a state of true knowledge by letting go of pride and one's "ego-sense." As the Bhagavad Gita states,"Those who know truly are free from pride and deceit (13:7)."

One who does not focus on oneself sheds all pride and is able to understand ultimate reality. Krishna says later in the Bhagavad Gita, "Living beyond the reach of I and mine and of pleasure and pain, patient, contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, with his heart and all his mind given to me-with such a one I am in love."

But in Hinduism, pride is not always bad. The Tirukkural explains: "Not all pride is bad: "Just as wise men know the goodness of non-coveting, so Fortune herself knows their goodness and draws near. There is a desire for another's possessions which is thoughtlessly destructive. There is a pride which, refusing to covet, is mindfully triumphant (Tirukkural 18:179-180)." If one has enough pride in oneself, one won't covet the possessions of someone else.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus