Ven Anālayo's book ~ Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions, A Historical Perspective

We would like to let you know about venerable Anālayo’s latest book, Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions, A Historical Perspective, which will come out with Wisdom Publications (Boston) on coming February 9th.


(Dhammadāna notice: the venerable has waived royalty payments for this book and all his past publications and translations of his work).

With kind regards,
Āgama Research Group


The four conceits:

the androcentric tendency to prevent women from occupying leadership roles, be these as fully ordained monastics or as advanced bodhisattvas/ the Mahayana notion that those who don’t aspire to become bodhisattvas are inferior practitioners/ the Theravada belief that theirs is the most original expression of the Buddha’s teaching/ the Secular Buddhist claim to understand the teachings of the Buddha more accurately than traditionally practicing Buddhists


Thanks for the summary I am SO looking forward to reading this.


Definitely adding this to my list.


“It is by diminishing ego, letting go of arrogance, and abandoning conceit that one becomes a better Buddhist,” he reminds us, “no matter what tradition one may follow.”


From the Asian view where the majority of people live simply, it seems this applies particularly to western countries.

" An entire society may be predicated upon a confusion of correct moral values, and even though everyone within that society may applaud one particular kind of action as right and condemn another kind as wrong, this does not make them validly right and wrong."—Bikkhu Bodhi

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Yes, sharply criticizing others as “superiority conceit” in Buddhist Traditions, it seems also suggesting that Bhikkhu Analayo himself is the one urgently needs to overcome personal self-conceit/pride to improve his personal practice and to challenge his own intellectual understandings!

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I don’t think this forum is the appropriate place for ad hominem attacks or for judging the quality of another’s personal practice. If you have disagreements with Venerable Anālayo’s arguments on a particular topic related to early Buddhism, would you please start another thread and raise your objections there?


Here is Bhikkhu Anālayo’s talk on “Respecting the Different Buddhist Tranditions”.


Neither @paul1 nor I made it clear where we took our quotations from. We should have. We had both visited the publisher’s page and were quoting from Simon & Schuster’s pre-publication blurb. Since the book is not yet published no one is yet in a position to know how accurate a description it is. Here is some more from the blurb:

Thoroughly researched, Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions provides an accessible approach to these conceits as academic subjects. Readers will find it not only challenges their own intellectual understandings but also improves their personal practice.

I would assume that conceit is being used not in the everyday sense of being conceited, but rather in a less familiar way meaning something liked developed idea.


Probably these issues occurred to the author as he was considering conceit as one of the higher fetters, extended from a personal to a public sense.

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Did you even read? “Concept” is literally definition 2.d in the link you posted :roll_eyes:


Yes. Concept. Definition 2.d.

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Tks, I have always understood conceit to involve opinion or a judgemental perspective on things. Concept instead, is more a neutral mental model or neutral abstraction about things.

Do you think Ven Analayo really meant to use conceit as concept and not as the more problematic judgemental opinion about things?

Thanks, I did, but understand that even in that definition it is usually used more with an opinion / judgement flavour.

Conceit: From the Latin term for “concept,” a poetic conceit is an often unconventional, logically complex, or surprising metaphor whose delights are more intellectual than sensual.
~ Conceit | Poetry Foundation

Sure, but do you think Ven Analayo really meant to use conceit as concept and not as the more problematic judgemental opinion about things in his book? :thinking:

It wouldn’t surprise me if the title was based on that teaching where “arrogance” or “conceit” is listed as being of 9 types. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s the one where thinking yourself as superior to, equal to, or less than another person are all forms of “conceit.”

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The book is specifically about conceit in the sense of superiority and looking down on others that aren’t part of the group that one identifies with. It discusses this in four areas of Buddhism in particular: male practitioners looking down on female practitioners (esp. regarding monastic leadership roles and potential to be bodhisattvas); aspiring bodhisattvas looking down on those practicing for arahantship; Theravādins looking down on other traditions as deviating from the true teaching; and Secular Buddhists looking down on Asian Buddhists as dogmatic, burdened by cultural baggage, and unaware of the historical Buddha’s real teachings.

@dayunbao, regarding the nine types of conceit, I believe that’s from the Vibhaṅga. It’s not discussed in the book, and I don’t think the title of the book is connected with it.


:arrow_up: Point missed.

I look forward to this book. We absolutely see this pervading western Buddhism and western affiliations in general be it politics (especially politics) or other “clubs” etc.