Tag Archives: Ego

DO EMOTIONS MAKE US? AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Spend enough time listening to people and one thing becomes very clear: people seem to really be involved with the negative experiences in their lives. Not just the intense, sometimes crippling, life-threatening dramas that can give a person PTSD. Not just the abuses that happen over long periods of time that wear down our psyche. […]

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The Buddhist Freud

As a graduate student in clinical social work, I spend a lot of time reading the theories of psychology. As a serious Buddhist practitioner, I read a lot of Buddhist philosophy and the Pali Canon. Eventually, you come across those moments when you feel like a Reese’s peanut butter cup commercial: “Hey, your Buddhism is […]

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If I am not Special, Then Who Am I?

I spend a lot of time talk with individuals and groups about Buddhism. Not only does it provide me an opportunity to share the dhamma, but I find it helps me discover aspects to develop in my own practice.

For example, recently a friend of mine has been struggling with her personal suffering: career, love life, personal sense of happiness, etc. At one point she said to me, “I think I should write a book and call it ‘If I am not special, then who am I?’”

What a brilliant title! “If I Am Not Special, Then Who Am I?”

This got me to thinking of an appropriate response. Why do so many of us feel the need to be special? Why is it the ego (the identity of ‘self’) is part of our natural progression before developing the wisdom of the Dhamma? [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Who Desires?

Dear Sumitta,

A desire is the thought, “I want this or that.” There can be no desire without the desirer.There can be no desirer without the thought “I.” The thought “I” is the mind.Ever wonder why we don’t desire when we dream? There is no thought in the dream state.
So how do we create a desireless state in the awaken state? Destroy the mind, or rather, the I-thought. You can live very peacefully without it as the Buddha has shown.

How?

The mind has an Achille’s heel. A chink in it’s armor. It really doesn’t exist.It just appears to exist.

And, since it doesn’t exist it would naturally be impossible for it to see itself.

So, when you force the mind to seek itself say, with the question,”Who am I?” it simply vanishes. and once the mind vanishes….so does the “I” that you had taken yourself to be. and with no “I”…who can possibly desire?

What appears when the mind vanishes?

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The Sorrow from Ego

Many faiths and spiritual practices define the path to happiness as the destruction of the ego. The assumption then would be that an “enlightened” person would be detached from the universe without suffering, as if the person had an emotional lobotomy. This is NOT the case. The purpose of enlightenment is to become totally conscious of our relationships with the world; and, more importantly, ourselves. Understanding and maintaining awareness of our true relationships with the world, we can appropriately engage with the world around us.

The result is that we become more humble, compassionate, liberated and content.

The appropriate engagement is the key to happiness. There are no small characters in the epic story. Understanding the arising and passing of emotion allows us understanding of when that arising is appropriate or not. Understanding that the ego is a delusion does not diminish the wonder and value of our current existence.

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