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Ego

Ego 

Dealing with the Ego

Ego consists of various misconceptions, attachment to name, body, possessions, and our life stories. It is all hallucination, a dark phantom. It seems so concrete to us because we have habitually believed in this sense of “I.” This ego is deeply rooted in each of us. The moment we are born we have innate ego. It is the most ancient habit we have. It is the fundamental tendency.  

Our life is mostly lived under the influence of ego. We have to change and dedicate our life to the cause of liberation of all beings, not to the strengthening of ego. Right now we are not doing so much dedication. Our ego and attachment become stronger and stronger until we really undertake the Bodhisattva’s path and purify that false belief system. The practice of tonglen is a very good practice to do this. Tonglen is a very powerful method that allows us to deal directly with our egos.  

A Bodhisattva is in a battle, not with outer circumstances, but with transforming the ego. Bodhisattvas do not use weapons, guns, spears, anger, or hatred. He or she uses the weapon of wisdomthe realization of emptiness, or Buddha mind. This is the Bodhisattva’s secret weapon.  

In tonglen, we have to face our ego right on the spot. Especially if we are practicing the visualization of giving away everything to others and taking their suffering into ourselves. Our egos wake up right there, saying, “No, no, I can’t do that!” It is a reversal practice.  

We see that ego pops up, wrapped in fire with lots of teeth. In Tibetan Buddhism, the demons are a symbol of ego. The wrathful deities, like Vajrakilaya, are trampling on demons. We can visualize the ego as very angry, insecure, feisty, obnoxious, and demanding.  

We can feel the ego. We do not have to try to do analytical meditation. We can feel it immediately when we practice tonglen. I think tonglen is one of the most transformative practices.
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