Sharing on "Hiri Otappa"

I want to explore and sharing more on this topic of Hiri Otappa…

The meaning of these terms were defined clearly.

“To be ashamed of what one ought to be ashamed of, to be ashamed of performing evil and unwholesome things: this is called moral shame. To be in dread of what one ought to be in dread of, to be in dread of performing evil and unwholesome things: this is called moral dread” (Pug, 79, 80).

In Itivuttaka 42,

"This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle’s wife or a teacher’s wife or the wives of other honoured persons, and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother … and the wives of other honoured persons.”

Those in whom shame and fear of wrong
Are not consistently found
Have deviated from the bright root
And are led back to birth and death.

But those in whom shame and fear of wrong
Are consistently ever present,
Peaceful, mature in the holy life,
They put an end to renewal of being."

Then, in this Sutta website

"Hiri is the sense of shame which refrains us from doing evil because we do not want to harm ourselves. It is because we wish to preserve our self-respect that we develop sense of shame.

Ottapa, fear of wrongdoing, is the voice of our conscience that warns us of the serious consequences of moral transgression: blame and punishment by others, the painful kammic results of evil deeds and hinder our liberation from suffering."

According to Bhikkhu Bodhi,

“Hiri is an innate sense of shame over moral transgression; ottappa is moral dread, fear of the results of wrongdoing. The Buddha calls these two states the bright guardians of the world (sukka lokapala).”

Then, I found a verse from Devadhamma Jataka:

Santo sappurisā loke,
devadhammāti vuccare.

Literal translation is:
"Perfected with Shame (towards evil deeds) and Fear (of consequences from doing evil deeds),
engaging bright dhamma;
such peaceful True Man in this world,
this is known as “The Dhamma of Divinity”.

Put it together would be:

A peaceful True Man, having perfected with “Shame of wrongdoings” and “Fear to wrongdoings”; engage in pure deeds, such practice is “Devadhamma” or “The Way of Divinity”.

I like this verse very much, memorised it and always keep it in my mind and I find it really helpful in developing and maintaining Five Precepts.


One of the problems these days is that people have anonymous internet accounts and they say what they want without fear or shame to come to them.

The same is true with crime and the wearing of masks and hiding one’s identity. Now we are seeing more and more crime, even in broad daylight.

We had considered making real names a requirement for this user group, but we have not enforced it. Hopefully we can keep things civil. In other groups, there are many users who are anonymous and who are not so civil.

This is the problem with many aspects today’s internet. Many people think they can say things on the internet when they would not normally say them face to face.

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