Quality rating: okay for now, can be better (2.8/5)


From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
(Redirected from Hiri)
Jump to: navigation, search

Hrī (P. hiri; T. ngo tsha shes pa; C. can; J. zan; K. ch'am 慚) is translated as "self-respect," "conscientiousness," "healthy shame," etc. It is mental factor which can be defined as the attitude of taking earnest care with regard to one's actions and refraining from non-virtuous actions.[1][2]

Hrī (P. hiri) is identified as:


Pali tradition

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma describes hiri (Pali) together with ottappa (Pali) as follows:

Shame (hiri) and fear of wrongdoing (ottappa): Shame has the characteristic of disgust at bodily and verbal misconduct, fear of wrongdoing has the characteristic of dread in regard to such misconduct. They both have the function of not doing evil, and are manifested as the shrinking away from evil. Their proximate cause is respect for self and respect for others, respectively. These two states are called by the Buddha the guardians of the world because they protect the world from falling into widespread immorality.[3]

The Visuddhimagga (XIV, 142) describes hiri (Pali) together with ottappa (Pali):

It has conscientious scruples (hiriyati) about bodily misconduct, etc., thus it is conscience (hiri). This is a term for modesty. It is ashamed (ottappati) of those same things, thus it is shame (ottappa). This is a term for anxiety about evil. Herein, conscience has the characteristic of disgust at evil, while shame (ottappa) has the characteristic of dread of it. Conscience has the function of not doing evil and that in the mode of modesty, while shame has the function of not doing it and that in the mode of dread. They are manifested as shrinking from evil in the way already stated. Their proximate causes are self-respect and respect of others (respectively)...[4]

Nina van Gorkom states:

Moral shame and fear of blame always arise together but they are two different cetasikas with different characteristics. The Atthasalini (I, Part IV, Chapter 1, 125.127) gives a similar definition as the Visuddhimagga of moral shame and fear of blame and illustrates their difference. The Atthasalini explains that moral shame (hiri) has a subjective original, that its proximate cause is respect for oneself. Fear of blame (ottappa) has an external cause, it is influenced by the "world"; its proximate cause is respect for someone else (1 See Also Chapter 14, where I deal with their opposites, shamelessness and recklessness).[4]

Sanskrit tradition

The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:

What is hri? It is to avoid what is objectionable as far as I see it and its function is to provide a basis for refraining from non-virtuous actions.[1]

The Necklace of Clear Understanding descriibes hrī together with apatrāpya as follows:

The difference between self-respect (hrī ) and decorum (apatrāpya) is that, despite their similarity in avoiding evil actions, when the chance of doing evil actions is close at hand, self-respect means to refrain from evil actions in view of the consideration, "This is no part of mine." Decorum means to refrain from evil action by having made others the norm in view of the consideration, "It is not appropriate to do so because others will despise me." The primary realm of restraint is the fear that one's guru and teacher and other people deserving respect would be annoyed.[5]

The Khenjuk states:

  • Tib. ངོ་ཚ་ཤེས་པ་ནི་བདག་གམ་ཆོས་རྒྱུ་མཚན་དུ་བྱས་ཏེ་ཁ་ན་མ་ཐོ་བ་ལ་འཛེམ་པ་ཉེས་སྤྱོད་སྡོམ་པའི་རྟེན་བྱེད་པའི་ལས་ཅན་ནོ།
  • Dignity is the attitude of refraining from unwholesome actions (or misdeeds) on account of one's own [conscience] and [trust in] the Dharma. Its function is to support one in refraining from negative actions.RW icon height 18px.png Dignity
  • Conscience means shunning misdeeds either because of oneself or the Dharma. Its function is to support one in refraining from negative actions.[6]

StudyBuddhism states:

Moral self-dignity (ngo-tsha, a sense of saving face) is the sense to refrain from negative behavior because of caring how our actions reflect on ourselves. According to Vasubandhu, this mental factor means having a sense of values. It is respect for positive qualities or persons possessing them.[7]

Alternative Translations

  • self-respect - Herbert Guenther, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Rangjung Yeshe Wiki
  • conscientiousness - Erik Pema Kunsang
  • moral self-dignity - Alexander Berzin
  • sense of shame - Rangjung Yeshe Wiki
  • moral shame - Nina von Gorkom
  • healthy shame - Tara Brach
  • dignity - Rigpa wiki


Search for videos:

Selected videos:

  • Shame, Healing and Transformation, with Tara Brach - 07/01/2020
    Description: Being at war with ourselves blocks us from evolving our consciousness and living from our hearts. This talk distinguishes between toxic and healthy shame, as well as shame about our individual self and our group identity. We explore how, with self-compassion and courageous honesty, we can respond to negative, painful feelings about ourselves in a way that serves awakening and alignment with our deepest values. [The speaker equates hiri with "healthy shame,"; this is specifically mentioned around the 14min mark.]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Yeshe Gyeltsen 1975, s.v. self-respect.
  2. Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. conscientiousness.
  3. Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. The Universal Beautiful Factors.
  4. 4.0 4.1 van Gorkom 1999, Cetasikas, Moral Shame and Fear of Blame (hiri and ottappa)
  5. Yeshe Gyeltsen 1975, s.v. Decorum [khrel yod-pa].
  6. Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. Formations.
  7. StudyBuddhism icon 35px.png Primary Minds and the 51 Mental Factors, StudyBuddhism


External links

This article includes content from Hrī on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo