When we think of mirrors only one thing comes into mind and that is that thing that reflects our image back to us. Mirrors in Buddhism serve the same function, it helps us see ourselves. In Buddhism there are 3 Mirrors that reflect ourselves, the Mirror of self, Mirror of Others and Mirror of Dharma. We will talk about each one below.
The 3 Mirrors in Buddhism
- Mirror of Others
This is our reflected image in the eyes of others. This mirror does not reflect our true selves, it shows a distorted image of it. Why? Because we do things so others will approve of us. Because this is based on people’s biased evaluation of us, depending on how beneficial or convenient we are to them. So it’s futile to rejoice or get depressed over other people’s opinion of you because these opinions are mostly biased.
- Mirror of Self
The Mirror of Self is self-reflection. While self-reflection is good as we mentioned that is it one of the 6 Good Deeds this kind of mirror tends to be biased too. This mind of conceit cannot see our shortcomings. It’s easy to see our good qualities but hard to accept our faults. Because of this it is impossible to see our true self through this mirror.7 kinds of Conceit
1. Pride over inferiors . Looking down on someone in a lower position than me or someone who has lesser than me (school, job or society).
2. Pride over equals. Finding something we are superior at or better at over people who are our equals.
3. Stubborn pride. Even when we know we are in the wrong we still can’t admit it. In Buddhism we are encouraged to admit our mistakes immediately. “Don’t take pride in not making mistakes, but instead take pride in correcting mistakes immediately.” Every mistake is an opportunity to do better.
4. Pride over superiors. Finding something we are better at over our superiors.
5. Pride in thinking that one knows the truth, also known as Grandiose Pride. (Also pride in the belief of having attained enlightenment). One thinks that they are an enlightened being or they have a certain kind of wisdom, they are a spiritual leader, they are buddha. Conceit makes us deluded and self-righteous.
6. Conceit in ones humility. Pride in ones humbleness. If we try to accept that we have failings, then we take pride that we are able to be humble. Even our humility is tainted with pride.
7. Pride in the wrong. Pride in doing something bad. For example, a thief taking pride in their agility or someone who commits murder and take pride in their cruelty.
- Mirror of Dharma
This is our image reflected in the eyes of the Buddha or the teachings of the Buddha. To seek Buddhism is to see the true image of yourself or to be aware of yourself. It doesn’t distort anything and shows us everything exactly as it is. Buddhism goes beneath our tangible exterior and places our actions in 3 categories. Buddhism places emphasis on the actions of the mind because it is the source. Conceit is the hardest obstacle when seeking for the true nature of ourselves.