The Ego has Landed
Okay! Talking ego… this is where I stick my succulent little neck out at the swinging blades of world-wide readers.
As we Buddhists continuously work ourselves to death in the process of destroying the “e” word, believing that ego and enlightenment do not go hand-in-hand. Hearing about the egos on that monk or that practitioner… I was shocked yesterday to hear what one of the kids thought about a great Vietnamese monk teaching in France. “That monk still possess ego in his speech and writing” he said.
All in all, ego seems to be a big blockage to our vision of enlightenment, but have we ever seriously thought about what ego truly is?
1. Ego is not the ultimate engine of Universe, unlike the five aggregates or The Mind (Eye-Ear-Nose-Tongue-Touch, Thought, Memory (perception) and Feeling). Meaning that it is only embedded within parts of the aggregates… in other words, Thought is Ego, Perception is Ego & Feeling is Ego.
With this factor… ego isn’t part of enlightenment. It is conjured every time one uses the mind. When a monk is asked to answer a question or give a Dhamma Talk, he uses his aggregates to conjure up perspectives and answers, this is when ego is expressed.
Of course, ego can be reduced through lifetimes of training, by correcting the mind against raga (greed), dithi (views), mana (selfishness). One develops a correcting mind in training, which through habits, automatically displays itself when one is unaware… so when the aggregates are used, ego seems to express itself less and less. This training however, contains struggle and is not the middle path, it leads to suffering and requires major repairs later.
2. Ego is entirely within one’s own perceptions and feelings.
Like beauty, ego is in the eyes of beholder. To some, ego in a person isn’t a big deal. People who develop compassion through their training for example, do not see ego in others, but instead gain understanding of their suffering.
3. Ego or no ego, has nothing to do with selfless universe.
As practitioners, wisdom, happiness, compassion and realisation in not-self, not-soul are matters of paramount. The times we look at or judge others are the times we miss the great truth about ourselves. Ego like all truth in life… cannot be stopped, but can only be observed.