Buddhism, emptiness and pride

I came across a fairly concise wiki for Tibetan Buddhist doctrine today, and it reminded me once again of the common anthropological merits that emerge within intelligent and well-developed religious/philosophical systems.

Consider for example the seven kinds of pride:

  1. the simple pride or lesser pride of thinking that you are the same as your peers
  2. the greater pride of thinking that you are better than your equals
  3. exceeding pride, i.e., thinking you are even better than those who are great
  4. the pride of thinking “I exist”
  5. blatant pride, i.e., thinking you have greater qualities than you actually possess
  6. the pride of thinking that you are slightly inferior, i.e., thinking you are slightly inferior to those who are great, but that you are excellent nonetheless
  7. unfounded pride i.e., taking pride in what is actually a fault

Catholic moral theology resources offer much more by way of the manifestations and expressions of pride, but I’m fairly confident that the Tibetans would have more of the same as well. Once you establish a methodical approach to cataloging errors, there’s no real reason to stop until you’ve defined and included every possible iteration.

Better still, the wiki included a quotation that corresponds with my theory about “emptiness” being comparable to the Christian-Hellenistic understanding of creation as “contingent”:

“Unfortunately, the word ‘emptiness’, which is used to translate the Sanskrit term shunyata, carries a connotation of a nothing-ness, or a void. Happily, there is a wonderful definition in Tibetan that captures its true meaning: Tib. རྟག་ཆད་དང་བྲལ་བ་, tak ché dang dralwa, which translates as: ‘free from permanence and non-existence’.
Generally, all philosophies tend to fall into one of two extremes: ‘eternalism‘: believing in the existence or permanence of something, or ‘nihilism‘: believing in non-existence. Shunyata goes beyond both of these extremes, because it is neither permanent nor non-existing, and that is, ultimately, how things are.”

This still leaves open the question of “necessity”, but I’m pleased to see that the rejection of nihilism is so open.

Incidentally, the connection between pride and emptiness is that pride ultimately fails to comprehend or accept the reality of emptiness. And in Christian terms:

“The remedy for pride is to tell ourselves that of ourselves we are not, that we have been created out of nothing by the gratuitous love of God, who continues freely to preserve us in existence; otherwise we would return to nothingness.”