Arrogance is a mental event which is a kind of inflated mind making whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. Here the lam-rim states,What is arrogance? It is an inflated mind as to what is perishable and its function is to serve as the basis for disrespect and frustrations.-Abhidharmasamuccaya
The statement 'bases itself on a nihilistic outlook' is used because all forms of arrogance come simultaneously with the belief in oneself and an over-evaluation of oneself.Arrogance bases itself on a nihilistic outlook and gets inflated about the high and low, the good and evil of the within and without, and assumes superiority.
Arrogance is sevenfold:
1. Arrogance [nga-rgyal]The first is an inflated mind in which one thinks, "Look here, I am so superior compared to those low creatures."
2. Excessive arrogance [lhag pa'i nga gyal]
3. Pride of excessive arrogance [nga rgyal las kyang nga rgyal]
4. Egoism [nga'o snyam pa'i nga rgyal]
5. Arrogance of showing off [mngon pa'i nga rgyal]
6. Arrogance of thinking small [cung xas snyam pa'i nga rgyal]
7. Perverted arrogance [log pa'i nga rgyal]
To feel proud about what is actually a matter of shame is like feeling pride about what one has done to householders and goblins in one's attachment to honor and riches after one has failed and discarded all disciplinary rules.While this exposition is according to the Abhidharmakosa, the Ratnamala classifies arrogance as follows:
Arrogance is the cause for being born into evil existence in a later life and, even when one is born in a human existence, it is the cause for being born in a low caste and as a servant. Through disrespect to those who have (virtuous) qualities, one spoils the opportunity of receiving instructions and understanding them. Thus, arrogance creates unpleasantness both here and in the hereafter. The Ratnamala states,Arrogance is of seven kinds.
I shall explain them by distinguishing them.
Regarding them, the person who boasts openly
That he is equal to or greater than his equal
From having made the low low and
The equal either equal or lower,
Ought to be known as having arrogance of sameness.
He who is vile, yet venerates himself and
Boasts that he is particularly great
Thinking that he is truly ambitious by being lofty,
Has the pride of excessive arrogance.
He who boasts about those five meaningless things
Called 'constituents of the personality',
Which are vicious like the coming into existence
Of pus pots, the sprouts of karma,
Is called an 'egoist'.
When in fact he has not attained anything but thinks that
He has attained something, he is openly arrogant.
Praising the performance of evil actions is,
By the wise, understood as perverted arrogance.
To say, "I am useless,"
Is to belittle oneself.
This is known as arrogance of self-abasement.
This is to put it concisely.
Inflatedness leads to an evil status,The lam-rim states,
Jealousy leads to pale complexion,
Anger to evil looks, and
Lack of consultation with learned persons to stupidity --
The result among humans is,
First of all, a hellish way of life.
Since arrogance in this life is the greatest hindrance in the development of one's potentialities and in the next life is the cause for becoming a servant, it has to be given up.