Our Ego and our Relinquishment of Desires

Is our ego stronger than our suppression of desires? The ego can cause personal suffering, including hurt feelings and problems for others around us. If we can not learn to remove our harmful desires and become liberated from our ego we can suffer from many emotional problems and may have trouble dealing with others in any social environment. It may also result in evidence that we have personal problems with authority, spiritual or civil.

What are some signs that our ego is higher than our wish to relinquish harmful desires?

There are a number of signs that would indicate our ego, our “self” is being thought of as more important than spiritual matters.

1) Do you think you must be informed about everything before anyone else?

2) Does it cause you anger that someone else in the community finds out some kind of important information before you do?

3) Do you speak of others who do not share your convictions as being “lower” or somehow less deserving than your fellow Dharma brothers?

4) Does everything you say or write come off as negative, without a ray of hope?

5) Are we easily angered at others because they are not progressing as much as we personally would like?

6) Do we assume too much about anything? (“An immature mind full of illusions and false assumptions can never lead you to a better future.” “Assume nothing, presume nothing. Take hold of the Truth and the Light as it is. When you learn this you will find peace.” – Elucidation on the Sutra of the Teaching of Amitabha Buddha)

These are only a few signs that we should always be on the alert, not only in our thoughts but also in our day to day actions and speech.

What are some methods in which we can let go of the ego?

The first and perhaps most important is realizing that we are only one single organism in the entire universe and recognize that there are billions of others who have needs, pains and who are suffering on different levels in the world. We need to always realize that someone else in the world has it worse off than we do. This is part of our cultivating humility.

We should also be in the habit of recalling the Twelve Virtues taught to us by Buddha Moni.

We must each, individually practice humility and patience. Patience is one of the Twelve Virtues of the Religion of Light. If we do not have patience, then we have learned nothing in our journey on the Path of Buddha’s Pure Light.

There are also various methods in which we can practice daily meditation. In this way, we can also put ourselves in the right place.

When our ego is in the forefront, it may cause us to commit unskillful actions and therefore cause suffering not only to ourselves but to others as well.

By honestly practicing the Twelve Virtues, we are better equipped to lessen our ego and desires, put others’ well being before that of our own, practice skill actions, and develop loving kindness towards all living beings.

We are then able to find peace and get ourselves back on the road to liberation, having joy and being a cause of joy for others.

“For those plunged in the water of pride, you showed the bridge of the Highest Dharma.” (The Great Song to Buddha Moni)

By Tenzin Bhikkhu