What does Buddhist say to all forms of prestige? Starting with high-school popularity, social status, being regarded as intelligent, or honest.

Should Buddhists try to build these as long as they are true images of oneself or should we ignore them, since they are unreal?

  • 2
    Buddhists say that all phenomena are an illusion and that any form of desire or aversion leads to suffering.
    – mdg
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 9:58
  • The first is a great question, IMO. The second brings along presumptive baggage that may not be consistent with the Buddha's teachings ("true images of oneself" .. "unreal")
    – alex
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


A Buddhist ought not try to build images of oneself, as the idea of 'oneself' entails having a static identity, i.e. "I am popular, honest and intelligent." The concept of Anatta in Zen Buddhism describes this well - this 'I' or 'me' that I speak of eternally changes, morphs and shifts in a fluid way. Buddhism isn't simply a theoretical underpinning - it's meant to extend into the world. How can I be mindful if I worry or stress about this idea about myself?

What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
― Alan Watts


Good effects such as good popularity, high social status, good regard, intelligence, from buddhist point of view, is result of previous good (in buddhist sense) conduct. So if you want to achieve such qualities in future or also have them in next births you should live and act propely (in buddhist sense again), be generous, don't harm other beings, study dharma (meditate, develop wisdom and other required mind qualities).

Of course to have such goal is samsaric type of wholesomeness, which is normal in buddhism. But buddhism also provide higher type of goal - enlightenment.

Buddhism have some straightforwardiness in it. Like if you want to be regarded as honest person - be honest person. But priority of being honest is (much) higher than being regarded as honest. Being honest also conductive to other good effects and development of mind.

Even if buddhist, for example, is slandered without apparent reason, he/she should regard is as result of wrong conduct in previous lifes.


I don't think that this "quality" could be important for buddhism philosophy. Rather, I think that are ways that can put you ahead the others.

"high-school" popularity, for example, could be avoided.

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