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Asmi-māna: lit.: 'I am'-conceit, 'ego-conceit', may range from the coarsest pride and self-assertion to a subtle feeling of one's distinctiveness or superiority that persists, as the 8th fetter samyojana, until the attainment of Arahantship or Nobility.
It falsely assumes an entity 'I' the be real and existent. It is based upon the comparison of oneself with others, and may, therefore, manifest itself also as a feeling of inferiority or the claim to be equal see: māna. It has to be distinguished from 'ego-belief' sakkāya-ditthi which implies a definite belief or view ditthi concerning the assumption of a self, personality or soul, and, being the 1st of the mental chains, which disappears at attainment of Stream-Entry sotāpatti. Even when the five lower mental chains have vanished in a Noble Disciple, there is still in him, with regard to the five groups of clinging, a slight remaining measure of the conceit 'I am', of the desire 'I am', of the latent tendency 'I am' see: S. XXII, 89. māna This is the root assumption of Egoism.
Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.