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Verse 46: The competitor disliked by all

Verse 46: The competitor disliked by all

Part of a series of talks on Gems of Wisdom, a poem by the Seventh Dalai Lama.

  • Some people use underhanded ways of competing with others
  • A person who achieves something by harming others is not respected

Gems of Wisdom: Verse 46 (download)

“Who is the competitor disliked by all the world?”

Come on all you competitors. [laughter]

“He not respected by others, but who thinks himself superior.”

Who is the competitor disliked by all the world?
He not respected by others, but who thinks himself superior.

Somebody who loves competing with other people, wants to be top-notch, wants to be recognized, wants the attention. People don’t respect him. Maybe he plays dirty. Maybe he’s too egotistcal. For whatever reason, people don’t respect him. But he thinks himself superior. “I came out on top, even though I did it in an underminded way.”

Or it pertains to the discussion we just had. You know, “I got the promotion, I came out on top, but I did it by playing on somebody else’s attachment to reputation, or attachment to approval and manipulating them. So, aren’t I such a good person for doing that, I got what I wanted.” But everybody else knows that that person manipulated other people, or was falsely praising people just to get what he wanted. And so not respecting him.

Then that person, he’s sitting there going, “Oh, I’m so superior, look I got this award, I got this status, this rank, this whatever it was I was looking at. Aren’t I great?” And everybody else is going, “We don’t think so. You got that, but the way you went about getting it was really rotten… So we don’t respect you.”

That’s the competitor who is disliked by all the world. Because they came out on top but by a really crummy way of doing it.

But we don’t act like that, do we? No. We’re not like that. [laughter]

[In response to audience] Yes, undiscriminating ambition. “I want to get ahead, and it doesn’t matter really what I do to get ahead.” … Yes, playing politics. Losing your own integrity. But, like somebody said, it’s for the group’s benefit, or, “I have my family relying on me, my integrity isn’t so important, I have to come out on top…” I mean, that’s how we justify and rationalize the whole thing to ourselves.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.