24 January 2009
When you are enlightened, there is one relationship that you no longer have: the relationship with yourself. Once you have given that up, all your other relationships will be love relationships. (The Power of the NOW p145)
Beyond happiness and unhappiness there is peace...Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not. (The Power of the NOW p147 )
When ever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it....There may be sadness..but provided you have relinquished resistance, underneath the sadness you will feel a deep serenity, a stillness, a sacred presence. That is the emanation of Being, this is inner peace, the good that has no opposite...acceptance immediately frees you from mind dominance and thus reconnects you with Being. As a result, the usual ego motivations for "doing"---fear, greed, control...will cease to operate. An intelligence much greater than the mind is now in charge, and so a different quality of consciousness will flow into your doing,. (The Power of the NOW p147-9)
Most of the so-called bad things that happen in people's lives are due to unconsciousness.....they are self created, or rather ego-created...."drama". When you are fully conscious, drama does not come into your life anymore....the basic ego patterns are designed to combat it's own deep seated fear and sense of lack. They are resistance, control, power, greed, defence, and attack. Some of the ego's strategies are extremely clever, yet they never truly solve any of it's problems, simply because the ego is the problem itself. (The Power of the NOW by Eckhart Tolle p150)
"Whenever two or more egos come together, drama of one kind or another ensues. But even if you live totally alone, you still create your own drama. When you feel sorry for yourself, that's dram. When you feel guilty or anxious, that's drama. When you let the past or future obscure the present, you are creating time, psychological time--the stuff out of which drama is made. (The Power of the NOW p150-151)
Most people are in love with their particular life drama. Their story is their identity. The ego runs their life. They have their whole sense of self invested in it. Even their--usually unsuccessful---search for an answer, a solution, or for healing becomes part of it. What they fear and resist most is the end of their drama....You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person. An argument implies identification with your mind and a mental position, as well as resistance and reaction to the person's position. (The Power of the NOW p151)
The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realisation. You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension....Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure. (The Power of the NOW p 152)
the ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get away with it.....whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness "buys" you what you want. If "you"--the mind--did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it it? The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work. Instead of attracting a desirable condition, it stops it from arising.....Its only "useful" function is that it strengthens the ego, and that is why the ego loves it. (The Power of the NOW p156-7)
Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry, or hard-done-by-person. You will ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane. (The Power of the NOW p157)
Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain...you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain. That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed , there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. they do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you. Every addiction does that. (The Power of the NOW p127)
Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity. This happens because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past...You are not fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the meantime, the conditioned mind is running your life....if you are one of those people who have an issue with their parents, if you still harbour resentment about something they did or did not do, then you still believe they had a choice--that they could have acted differently. It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realise this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone's illness? The only appropriate response is compassion. (The Power of the NOW p 190.)
You cannot truly forgive yourself or others as long as you derive your sense of self from the past. Only by accessing the power of the Now, which is your own power, can there be true forgiveness. this renders the past powerless, and you realise deeply that nothing you ever did or that was ever done to you could touch even in the slightest the radiant essence of who you are. the whole concept of forgiveness then becomes unnecessary. (The Power of the NOW p 191)
It is mental volition, O monks, that I call karma. Having willed, one acts through body, speech or mind. - The Buddha (Anguttaranikaya, III, p. 41)
Karma is a very important subject, one which we should understand clearly. Karma is not a concept or a theory; karma is a natural law of the universe. Comprehending karma is the Right Understanding (or Right View) of Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. With right understanding, we realize the wholesome, life-affirming actions that bring benefit and happiness to all beings, as well the unwholesome, negative actions which bring unhappiness and suffering. With this correct understanding we are able to cultivate true wisdom. Our present understanding of karma may be vague or unclear. Although we may know that our thoughts, speech, and actions bring benefit or suffering to ourselves and others in this present life, have we given deep consideration to the fact that karma is a possession we have brought with us from the past, and one that will certainly follow us everywhere...even into the future?
What is Karma?
It is essential to understand karma as a foundation for our behavior, for our dharma practice, and for the quality of our lives as a whole. The Sanskrit word karma means action. This refers to intentional physical, verbal, or mental actions. Karma is directly related to our intention or motivation while doing an action. Very simply, we receive what we give; we harvest exactly what we plant. Our actions, whether they are positive or negative, virtuous or non virtuous, leave imprints or seeds in our minds, and these imprints ripen into our life experiences when the appropriate conditions come together. Karma is the universal law of cause and effect. The seeds of our actions continue with us from one lifetime to the next and do not get lost. Our relationship to karma is very simple—we are the actual product of our karma. We are the product of every thought, feeling, word, and action from our past and we will be the product of our karma in the future as well. Life is a seamless continuum, uninterruptedly weaved together with the threads of our karma; our volitional (intentional) actions. Whether it is good or bad, our karma follows us everywhere, in this life and the next. If we are compassionate, wise, honest, and skillful, we create positive and harmonious circumstances in this and future lives. Committing cruel, dishonest, and other unskillful actions of body, speech, and mind, we will certainly not escape the consequences of these deeds, either in this life or in the future. Whatever happiness and good fortune we experience in or lives comes from our own positive actions. Our problems and conflicts also arise from our own negative and destructive actions. Karma is our only true property—for better or worse, it follows us everywhere. Therefore, the Law of Karma teaches that responsibility for unskillful actions is born by the person who commits them. Again, karma is our only true property. It can be confusing when we see cruel people in positions of great power, wealthy people who are dishonest or selfish, or very kind people who have bad things happen to them or who die young. Seeing this, we may certainly wonder about the Law of Karma. Our largest obstacle to understanding or even believing in karma may be the factor of time. Most often, the results of our actions will show up after a delay of time. As ordinary human beings, who have not developed the omniscient eye of wisdom, we cannot see into past lives. Thus, it is difficult to discern which action caused which result. We must realize that we are only looking at a very small period of time in this one life. Many of the experiences we have in this life are the inevitable results of actions done in previous lives. In addition, the seeds of our actions in this life will ripen in future lives.
The following contemplations were offered by the Buddha in the Upajjhatthana Sutta: “I am the owner of my actions (karma), heir to my actions, born from my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my judge. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, that I will inherit.”
The Four Laws of Karma
1. Results are similar to the cause. Karma and its results are certain and unfailing. Positive actions of body, speech, and mind will always bring the positive result of some form of happiness and benefit. Negative actions of body, speech, and mind will always bring the negative result of some form of suffering. Karma and its results are exactly like a seed and its fruit.
2. No results come without a cause. Actions not engaged, will not brings results. It is obvious that things do not just appear out of nothing. If the cause has not been created, the effect will not be experienced.
3. Once an action is done, the result is never lost. An action done, is not lost and will definitely ripen and bring a result.
4. Karma expands. Once we have an imprint of an action in our mind, it tends to be habit-forming.
Changing Our Karma Some people misunderstand the concept of karma. They take the Buddha's doctrine of the law of causality to mean that all is predetermined, that there is nothing that the individual can do. This is a total misunderstanding. The very term karma or action is a term of active force, which indicates that future events are within your own hands. Since action is a phenomenon that is committed by a person, a living being, it is within your own hands whether or not you engage in action. - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from his book: Path to Bliss Understanding the universal Law of Karma, rather than being discouraging or overwhelming, can actually be very inspiring and uplifting. With a clear understanding of the Law of Karma (cause and effect/causality), we can choose to be the captain of our own ship. We can navigate our life in the exact direction we choose, rather than being tossed about upon the stormy seas of our own ignorance and delusion. If we ignore the workings of karma, we tend to create many problems for ourselves and others. However, with this excellent understanding, we have the ability to transform our mind, heart, and life for the better, and we will be able to benefit others as well. Changing our karma is not difficult. However, this change does require a very sober realization and acknowledgment—simply that our situation in life is the result of our own actions! According to Buddhist teachings, there is nobody in the universe who is distributing rewards and punishments. We ourselves create the causes of our life experiences by our own thoughts, speech, and actions, and we experience the results. In this way, we can learn to be accountable. We can take full responsibility for our lives. Once we acknowledge that our situation in life is the result of our own actions, we can begin to change our karma. To change our karma, we need to understand the unwholesome, negative, and non virtuous actions that bring pain, unhappiness, and suffering. We also need to understand the wholesome, positive, and virtuous actions that bring benefit and happiness. The rest is diligent practice. By practicing the essential foundation of the Buddhist Path, morality (personal integrity), we will transform our karma and our life experiences. By understanding the Four Noble Truths and following the Noble Eightfold Path we will transform our karma. By practicing The Six Paramitas (Perfections), we will transform our karma. By cultivating positive, virtuous thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, exercising compassion, loving-kindness, and wisdom in our daily lives, we will transform our karma. By way of this practice, we will change the entire course of our life experience and move swiftly toward liberation.
The Buddhist teachings of all lineages offer many excellent practices for training the mind, purifying the heart of defilements, and transforming our karmic tendencies. It is wise for us to truly contemplate the workings of karma so that we are not influenced by deluded views of reality.
Understanding karma and learning to take responsibility for our every thought, word, and action is true sobriety, wisdom, and awakening.
The Four Powers of Purification
The purification practices we find in Buddhist teachings are similar to those in many other religions. The most essential factor that one requires is sincerity or honesty with oneself. When we want to purify past negative karma, we must apply ourselves to engaging in all actions with the correct motivation and by using the following Four Powers of Purification:
1. Power of the Object: One should practice remembering and thinking of all sentient beings one may have hurt. Traditionally, one remembers and generates compassion for all sentient beings and takes refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
2. Power of Regret: One realizes soberly, “what I did was wrong and negative.” One regrets having committed that action and feels this regret in their heart. This regret should not be senseless guilt, self-recrimination, or criticism, which are said to be useless emotional torture. What is intended here is to examine oneself and one's actions and to truly recognize that negative actions done in the past were very unwise. With the power regret, one feels deep remorse for their past negative actions.
3. Power of Promise or Remedy: As a logical consequence of the above, one should promise not to repeat these negative actions and apply oneself diligently to doing virtuous actions in order to counteract the negative ones. It can be helpful to at least promise oneself to avoid a negative behavior for a specific period of time. Not being honest at this stage makes the practice useless or even harmful to oneself. Here one can also rely on and pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisttavas for the purification of the negative actions one regrets.
4. Power of Practice: Basically any positive action with a good motivation can be used. Traditionally in Buddhism one can use practices such as prostrations (as a means to destroy pride), making offerings (to counteract greed), reading Buddhist texts (to counteract ignorance and negative thoughts), and acts of kindness to cultivate a heart of compassion, and so forth.
Through applying these Four Powers of Purification and dedicating ourselves to the Buddha’s Path of Liberation, we can purify the karma of negative actions and completely transform our lives!
17 January 2009
This mode is called emptiness because it's empty of the presuppositions we usually add to experience to make sense of it: the stories and world-views we fashion to explain who we are and the world we live in. Although these stories and views have their uses, the Buddha found that some of the more abstract questions they raise -- of our true identity and the reality of the world outside -- pull attention away from a direct experience of how events influence one another in the immediate present. Thus they get in the way when we try to understand and solve the problem of suffering.
Say for instance, that you're meditating, and a feeling of anger toward your mother appears. Immediately, the mind's reaction is to identify the anger as "my" anger, or to say that "I'm" angry. It then elaborates on the feeling, either working it into the story of your relationship to your mother, or to your general views about when and where anger toward one's mother can be justified. The problem with all this, from the Buddha's perspective, is that these stories and views entail a lot of suffering. The more you get involved in them, the more you get distracted from seeing the actual cause of the suffering: the labels of "I" and "mine" that set the whole process in motion. As a result, you can't find the way to unravel that cause and bring the suffering to an end.
If, however, you can adopt the emptiness mode -- by not acting on or reacting to the anger, but simply watching it as a series of events, in and of themselves -- you can see that the anger is empty of anything worth identifying with or possessing. As you master the emptiness mode more consistently, you see that this truth holds not only for such gross emotions as anger, but also for even the most subtle events in the realm of experience. This is the sense in which all things are empty. When you see this, you realize that labels of "I" and "mine" are inappropriate, unnecessary, and cause nothing but stress and pain. You can then drop them. When you drop them totally, you discover a mode of experience that lies deeper still, one that's totally free.
To master the emptiness mode of perception requires training in firm virtue, concentration, and discernment. Without this training, the mind tends to stay in the mode that keeps creating stories and worldviews. And from the perspective of that mode, the teaching of emptiness sounds simply like another story or worldview with new ground rules. In terms of the story of your relationship with your mother, it seems to be saying that there's really no mother, no you. In terms of your views about the world, it seems to be saying either that the world doesn't really exist, or else that emptiness is the great undifferentiated ground of being from which we all came to which someday we'll all return.
These interpretations not only miss the meaning of emptiness but also keep the mind from getting into the proper mode. If the world and the people in the story of your life don't really exist, then all the actions and reactions in that story seem like a mathematics of zeros, and you wonder why there's any point in practicing virtue at all. If, on the other hand, you see emptiness as the ground of being to which we're all going to return, then what need is there to train the mind in concentration and discernment, since we're all going to get there anyway? And even if we need training to get back to our ground of being, what's to keep us from coming out of it and suffering all over again? So in all these scenarios, the whole idea of training the mind seems futile and pointless. By focusing on the question of whether or not there really is something behind experience, they entangle the mind in issues that keep it from getting into the present mode.
Now, stories and worldviews do serve a purpose. The Buddha employed them when teaching people, but he never used the word emptiness when speaking in these modes. He recounted the stories of people's lives to show how suffering comes from the unskillful perceptions behind their actions, and how freedom from suffering can come from being more perceptive. And he described the basic principles that underlie the round of rebirth to show how bad intentional actions lead to pain within that round, good ones lead to pleasure, while really skillful actions can take you beyond the round altogether. In all these cases, these teachings were aimed at getting people to focus on the quality of the perceptions and intentions in their minds in the present -- in other words, to get them into the emptiness mode. Once there, they can use the teachings on emptiness for their intended purpose: to loosen all attachments to views, stories, and assumptions, leaving the mind empty of all greed, anger, and delusion, and thus empty of suffering and stress. And when you come right down to it, that's the emptiness that really counts.
The first thing to be understood is what ego is. A child is born. A child is born without any knowledge, any consciousness of his own self. And when a child is born the first thing he becomes aware of is not himself; the first thing he becomes aware of is the other. It is natural, because the eyes open outwards, the hands touch others, the ears listen to others, the tongue tastes food and the nose smells the outside. All these senses open outwards.
That is what birth means. Birth means coming into this world, the world of the outside. So when a child is born, he is born into this world. He opens his eyes, sees others. 'Other' means the thou. He becomes aware of the mother first. Then, by and by, he becomes aware of his own body. That too is the other, that too belongs to the world. He is hungry and he feels the body; his need is satisfied, he forgets the body.
This is how a child grows. First he becomes aware of you, thou, other, and then by and by, in contrast to you, thou, he becomes aware of himself.
This awareness is a reflected awareness. He is not aware of who he is. He is simply aware of the mother and what she thinks about him. If she smiles, if she appreciates the child, if she says, "You are beautiful," if she hugs and kisses him, the child feels good about himself. Now an ego is born.
Through appreciation, love, care, he feels he is good, he feels he is valuable, he feels he has some significance.
A center is born.
But this center is a reflected center. It is not his real being. He does not know who he is; he simply knows what others think about him. And this is the ego: the reflection, what others think. If nobody thinks that he is of any use, nobody appreciates him, nobody smiles, then too an ego is born: an ill ego; sad, rejected, like a wound; feeling inferior, worthless. This too is the ego. This too is a reflection.
First the mother - and mother means the world in the beginning. Then others will join the mother, and the world goes on growing. And the more the world grows, the more complex the ego becomes, because many others' opinions are reflected.
The ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a by-product of living with others. If a child lives totally alone, he will never come to grow an ego. But that is not going to help. He will remain like an animal. That doesn't mean that he will come to know the real self, no.
The real can be known only through the false, so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it. It is a discipline. The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you.
Ego is a need; it is a social need, it is a social by-product. The society means all that is around you - not you, but all that is around you. All, minus you, is the society. And everybody reflects. You will go to school and the teacher will reflect who you are. You will be in friendship with other children and they will reflect who you are. By and by, everybody is adding to your ego, and everybody is trying to modify it in such a way that you don't become a problem to the society.
They are not concerned with you.
They are concerned with the society.
Society is concerned with itself, and that's how it should be.
They are not concerned that you should become a self-knower. They are concerned that you should become an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. You should fit into the pattern. So they are trying to give you an ego that fits with the society. They teach you morality. Morality means giving you an ego which will fit with the society. If you are immoral, you will always be a misfit somewhere or other. That's why we put criminals in the prisons - not that they have done something wrong, not that by putting them in the prisons we are going to improve them, no. They simply don't fit. They are troublemakers. They have certain types of egos of which the society doesn't approve. If the society approves, everything is good.
One man kills somebody - he is a murderer.
And the same man in wartime kills thousands - he becomes a great hero. The society is not bothered by a murder, but the murder should be commited for the society - then it is okay. The society doesn't bother about morality.
Morality means only that you should fit with the society.
If the society is at war, then the morality changes.
If the society is at peace, then there is a different morality.
Morality is a social politics. It is diplomacy. And each child has to be brought up in such a way that he fits into the society, that's all. Because society is interested in efficient members. Society is not interested that you should attain to self-knowledge.
The society creates an ego because the ego can be controlled and manipulated. The self can never be controlled or manipulated. Nobody has ever heard of the society controlling a self - not possible.
And the child needs a center; the child is completely unaware of his own center. The society gives him a center and the child is by and by convinced that this is his center, the ego that society gives.
A child comes back to his home - if he has come first in his class, the whole family is happy. You hug and kiss him, and you take the child on your shoulders and dance and you say, "What a beautiful child! You are a pride to us." You are giving him an ego, a subtle ego. And if the child comes home dejected, unsuccessful, a failure - he couldn't pass, or he has just been on the back bench - then nobody appreciates him and the child feels rejected. He will try harder next time, because the center feels shaken.
Ego is always shaken, always in search of food, that somebody should appreciate it. That's why you continuously ask for attention.
You get the idea of who you are from others.
It is not a direct experience.
It is from others that you get the idea of who you are. They shape your center. This center is false, because you carry your real center. That is nobody's business. Nobody shapes it.
You come with it.
You are born with it.
So you have two centers. One center you come with, which is given by existence itself. That is the self. And the other center, which is created by the society, is the ego. It is a false thing - and it is a very great trick. Through the ego the society is controlling you. You have to behave in a certain way, because only then does the society appreciate you. You have to walk in a certain way; you have to laugh in a certain way; you have to follow certain manners, a morality, a code. Only then will the society appreciate you, and if it doesn't, you ego will be shaken. And when the ego is shaken, you don't know where you are, who you are.
The others have given you the idea.
That idea is the ego.
Try to understand it as deeply as possible, because this has to be thrown. And unless you throw it you will never be able to attain to the self. Because you are addicted to the center, you cannot move, and you cannot look at the self.
And remember, there is going to be an interim period, an interval, when the ego will be shattered, when you will not know who you are, when you will not know where you are going, when all boundaries will melt.
You will simply be confused, a chaos.
Because of this chaos, you are afraid to lose the ego. But it has to be so. One has to pass through the chaos before one attains to the real center.
And if you are daring, the period will be small.
If you are afraid, and you again fall back to the ego, and you again start arranging it, then it can be very, very long; many lives can be wasted.
I have heard: One small child was visiting his grandparents. He was just four years old. In the night when the grandmother was putting him to sleep, he suddenly started crying and weeping and said, "I want to go home. I am afraid of darkness." But the grandmother said, "I know well that at home also you sleep in the dark; I have never seen a light on. So why are you afraid here?" The boy said, "Yes, that's right - but that is MY darkness." This darkness is completely unknown.
Even with darkness you feel, "This is MINE."
Outside - an unknown darkness.
With the ego you feel, "This is MY darkness."
It may be troublesome, maybe it creates many miseries, but still mine. Something to hold to, something to cling to, something underneath the feet; you are not in a vacuum, not in an emptiness. You may be miserable, but at least you ARE. Even being miserable gives you a feeling of 'I am'. Moving from it, fear takes over; you start feeling afraid of the unknown darkness and chaos - because society has managed to clear a small part of your being.
It is just like going to a forest. You make a little clearing, you clear a little ground; you make fencing, you make a small hut; you make a small garden, a lawn, and you are okay. Beyond your fence - the forest, the wild. Here everything is okay; you have planned everything. This is how it has happened.
Society has made a little clearing in your consciousness. It has cleaned just a little part completely, fenced it. Everything is okay there. That's what all your universities are doing. The whole culture and conditioning is just to clear a part so that you can feel at home there.
And then you become afraid.
Beyond the fence there is danger.
Beyond the fence you are, as within the fence you are - and your conscious mind is just one part, one-tenth of your whole being. Nine-tenths is waiting in the darkness. And in that nine-tenths, somewhere your real center is hidden.
One has to be daring, courageous.
One has to take a step into the unknown.
For a while all boundaries will be lost.
For a while you will feel dizzy.
For a while, you will feel very afraid and shaken, as if an earthquake has happened. But if you are courageous and you don't go backwards, if you don't fall back to the ego and you go on and on, there is a hidden center within you that you have been carrying for many lives.
That is your soul, the self.
Once you come near it, everything changes, everything settles again. But now this settling is not done by the society. Now everything becomes a cosmos, not a chaos; a new order arises.
But this is no longer the order of the society - it is the very order of existence itself.
It is what Buddha calls Dhamma, Lao Tzu calls Tao, Heraclitus calls Logos. It is not man-made. It is the VERY order of existence itself. Then everything is suddenly beautiful again, and for the first time really beautiful, because man-made things cannot be beautiful. At the most you can hide the ugliness of them, that's all. You can decorate them, but they can never be beautiful.
The difference is just like the difference between a real flower and a plastic or paper flower. The ego is a plastic flower - dead. It just looks like a flower, it is not a flower. You cannot really call it a flower. Even linguistically to call it a flower is wrong, because a flower is something which flowers. And this plastic thing is just a thing, not a flowering. It is dead. There is no life in it.
You have a flowering center within. That's why Hindus call it a lotus - it is a flowering. They call it the one-thousand-petaled-lotus. One thousand means infinite petals. And it goes on flowering, it never stops, it never dies.
But you are satisfied with a plastic ego.
There are some reasons why you are satisfied. With a dead thing, there are many conveniences. One is that a dead thing never dies. It cannot - it was never alive. So you can have plastic flowers, they are good in a way. They are permanent; they are not eternal, but they are permanent.
The real flower outside in the garden is eternal, but not permanent. And the eternal has its own way of being eternal. The way of the eternal is to be born again and again and to die. Through death it refreshes itself, rejuvenates itself.
To us it appears that the flower has died - it never dies.
It simply changes bodies, so it is ever fresh.
It leaves the old body, it enters a new body. It flowers somewhere else; it goes on flowering.
But we cannot see the continuity because the continuity is invisible. We see only one flower, another flower; we never see the continuity.
It is the same flower which flowered yesterday.
It is the same sun, but in a different garb.
The ego has a certain quality - it is dead. It is a plastic thing. And it is very easy to get it, because others give it. You need not seek it, there is no search involved. That's why unless you become a seeker after the unknown, you have not yet become an individual. You are just a part of the crowd. You are just a mob.
When you don't have a real center, how can you be an individual?
The ego is not individual. Ego is a social phenomenon - it is society, its not you. But it gives you a function in the society, a hierarchy in the society. And if you remain satisfied with it, you will miss the whole opportunity of finding the self.
And that's why you are so miserable.
With a plastic life, how can you be happy?
With a false life, how can you be ecstatic and blissful? And then this ego creates many miseries, millions of them.
You cannot see, because it is your own darkness. You are attuned to it.
Have you ever noticed that all types of miseries enter through the ego? It cannot make you blissful; it can only make you miserable.
Ego is hell.
Whenever you suffer, just try to watch and analyze, and you will find, somewhere the ego is the cause of it. And the ego goes on finding causes to suffer.
You are an egoist, as everyone is. Some are very gross, just on the surface, and they are not so difficult. Some are very subtle, deep down, and they are the real problems.
This ego comes continuously in conflict with others because every ego is so unconfident about itself. Is has to be - it is a false thing. When you don't have anything in your hand and you just think that something is there, then there will be a problem.
If somebody says, "There is nothing," immediately the fight will start, because you also feel that there is nothing. The other makes you aware of the fact.
Ego is false, it is nothing.
That you also know.
How can you miss knowing it? It is impossible! A conscious being - how can he miss knowing that this ego is just false? And then others say that there is nothing - and whenever the others say that there is nothing they hit a wound, they say a truth - and nothing hits like the truth.
You have to defend, because if you don't defend, if you don't become defensive, then where will you be?
You will be lost.
The identity will be broken.
So you have to defend and fight - that is the clash.
A man who attains to the self is never in any clash. Others may come and clash with him, but he is never in clash with anybody.
It happened that one Zen master was passing through a street. A man came running and hit him hard. The master fell down. Then he got up and started to walk in the same direction in which he was going before, not even looking back.
A disciple was with the master. He was simply shocked. He said, "Who is this man? What is this? If one lives in such a way, then anybody can come and kill you. And you have not even looked at that person, who he is, and why he did it."
The master said, "That is his problem, not mine."
You can clash with an enlightened man, but that is your problem, not his. And if you are hurt in that clash, that too is your own problem. He cannot hurt you. And it is like knocking against a wall - you will be hurt, but the wall has not hurt you.
The ego is always looking for some trouble. Why? Because if nobody pays attention to you, the ego feels hungry.
It lives on attention.
So even if somebody is fighting and angry with you, that too is good because at least the attention is paid. If somebody loves, it is okay. If somebody is not loving you, then even anger will be good. At least the attention will come to you. But if nobody is paying any attention to you, nobody thinks that you are somebody important, significant, then how will you feed your ego?
Other's attention is needed.
In millions of ways you attract the attention of others; you dress in a certain way, you try to look beautiful, you behave, you become very polite, you change. When you feel what type of situation is there, you immediately change so that people pay attention to you.
This is a deep begging.
A real beggar is one who asks for and demands attention. And a real emperor is one who lives in himself; he has a center of his own, he doesn't depend on anybody else.
Buddha sitting under his bodhi tree...if the whole world suddenly disappears, will it make any difference to Buddha? -none. It will not make any difference at all. If the whole world disappears, it will not make any difference because he has attained to the center.
But you, if the wife escapes, divorces you, goes to somebody else, you are completely shattered - because she had been paying attention to you, caring, loving, moving around you, helping you to feel that you were somebody. Your whole empire is lost, you are simply shattered. You start thinking about suicide. Why? Why, if a wife leaves you, should you commit suicide? Why, if a husband leaves you, should you commit suicide? Because you don't have any center of your own. The wife was giving you the center; the husband was giving you the center.
This is how people exist. This is how people become dependent on others. It is a deep slavery. Ego HAS to be a slave. It depends on others. And only a person who has no ego is for the first time a master; he is no longer a slave. Try to understand this.
And start looking for the ego - not in others, that is not your business, but in yourself. Whenever you feel miserable, immediately close you eyes and try to find out from where the misery is coming and you will always find it is the false center which has clashed with someone.
You expected something, and it didn't happen.
You expected something, and just the contrary happened - your ego is shaken, you are in misery. Just look, whenever you are miserable, try to find out why.
Causes are not outside you. The basic cause is within you - but you always look outside, you always ask:
Who is making me miserable?
Who is the cause of my anger?
Who is the cause of my anguish?
And if you look outside you will miss.
Just close the eyes and always look within.
The source of all misery, anger, anguish, is hidden in you, your ego.
And if you find the source, it will be easy to move beyond it. If you can see that it is your own ego that gives you trouble, you will prefer to drop it - because nobody can carry the source of misery if he understands it.
And remember, there is no need to drop the ego.
You cannot drop it.
If you try to drop it, you will attain to a certain subtle ego again which says, "I have become humble."
Don't try to be humble. That's again ego in hiding - but it's not dead.
Don't try to be humble.
Nobody can try humility, and nobody can create humility through any effort of his own - no. When the ego is no more, a humbleness comes to you. It is not a creation. It is a shadow of the real center.
And a really humble man is neither humble nor egoistic.
He is simply simple.
He's not even aware that he is humble.
If you are aware that you are humble, the ego is there.
Look at humble persons.... There are millions who think that they are very humble. They bow down very low, but watch them - they are the subtlest egoists. Now humility is their source of food. They say, "I am humble," and then they look at you and they wait for you to appreciate them.
"You are really humble," they would like you to say. "In fact, you are the most humble man in the world; nobody is as humble as you are." Then see the smile that comes on their faces.
What is ego? Ego is a hierarchy that says, "No one is like me." It can feed on humbleness - "Nobody is like me, I am the most humble man."
It happened once:
A fakir, a beggar, was praying in a mosque, just early in the morning when it was still dark. It was a certain religious day for Mohammedians, and he was praying, and he was saying, "I am nobody. I am the poorest of the poor, the greatest sinner of sinners."
Suddenly there was one more person who was praying. He was the emperor of that country, and he was not aware that there was somebody else there who was praying - it was dark, and the emperor was also saying:
"I am nobody. I am nothing. I am just empty, a beggar at our door." When he heard that somebody else was saying the same thing, he said, "Stop! Who is trying to overtake me? Who are you? How dare you say before the emperor that you are nobody when he is saying that he is nobody?"
This is how the ego goes. It is so subtle. Its ways are so subtle and cunning; you have to be very, very alert, only then will you see it. Don't try to be humble. Just try to see that all misery, all anguish comes through it.
Just watch! No need to drop it.
You cannot drop it. Who will drop it? Then the DROPPER will become the ego. It always comes back.
Whatsoever you do, stand out of it, and look and watch.
Whatsoever you do - humbleness, humility, simplicity - nothing will help. Only one thing is possible, and that is just to watch and see that it is the source of all misery. Don't say it. Don't repeat it - WATCH. Because if I say it is the source of all misery and you repeat it, then it is useless. YOU have to come to that understanding. Whenever you are miserable, just close the eyes and don't try to find some cause outside. Try to see from where this misery is coming.
It is your own ego.
If you continuously feel and understand, and the understanding that the ego is the cause becomes so deep-rooted, one day you will suddenly see that it has disappeared. Nobody drops it - nobody can drop it. You simply see; it has simply disappeared, because the very understanding that ego causes all misery becomes the dropping. THE VERY UNDERSTANDING IS THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE EGO.
And you are so clever in seeing the ego in others. Anybody can see someone else's ego. When it comes to your own, then the problem arises - because you don't know the territory, you have never traveled on it.
The whole path towards the divine, the ultimate, has to pass through this territory of the ego. The false has to be understood as false. The source of misery has to be understood as the source of misery - then it simply drops.
When you know it is poison, it drops. When you know it is fire, it drops. When you know this is the hell, it drops.
And then you never say, "I have dropped the ego." Then you simply laugh at the whole thing, the joke that you were the creator of all misery.
I was just looking at a few cartoons of Charlie Brown. In one cartoon he is playing with blocks, making a house out of children's blocks. He is sitting in the middle of the blocks building the walls. Then a moment comes when he is enclosed; all around he has made a wall. Then he cries, "Help, help!"
He has done the whole thing! Now he is enclosed, imprisoned. This is childish, but this is all that you have done also. You have made a house all around yourself, and now you are crying, "Help, help!" And the misery becomes a millionfold - because there are helpers who are also in the same boat.
It happened that one very beautiful woman went to see her psychiatrist for the first time. The psychiatrist said, "Come closer please." When she came closer, he simply jumped and hugged and kissed the woman. She was shocked. Then he said, "Now sit down. This takes care of my problem, now what is your problem?"
The problem becomes multifold, because there are helpers who are in the same boat. And they would like to help, because when you help somebody the ego feels very good, very, very good - because you are a great helper, a great guru, a master; you are helping so many people. The greater the crowd of your followers, the better you feel.
But you are in the same boat - you cannot help.
Rather, you will harm.
People who still have their own problems cannot be of much help. Only someone who has no problems of his own can help you. Only then is there the clarity to see, to see through you. A mind that has no problems of its own can see you, you become transparent.
A mind that has no problems of its own can see through itself; that's why it becomes capable of seeing through others.
In the West, there are many schools of psychoanalysis, many schools, and no help is reaching people, but rather, harm. Because the people who are helping others, or trying to help, or posing as helpers, are in the same boat.
...It is difficult to see one's own ego.
It is very easy to see other's egos. But that is not the point, you cannot help them.
Try to see your own ego.
Just watch it.
Don't be in a hurry to drop it, just watch it. The more you watch, the more capable you will become. Suddenly one day, you simply see that it has dropped. And when it drops by itself, only then does it drop. There is no other way. Prematurely you cannot drop it.
It drops just like a dead leaf.
The tree is not doing anything - just a breeze, a situation, and the dead leaf simply drops. The tree is not even aware that the dead leaf has dropped. It makes no noise, it makes no claim - nothing.
The dead leaf simply drops and shatters on the ground, just like that.
When you are mature through understanding, awareness, and you have felt totally that ego is the cause of all your misery, simply one day you see the dead leaf dropping.
It settles into the ground, dies of its own accord. You have not done anything so you cannot claim that you have dropped it. You see that it has simply disappeared, and then the real center arises.
And that real center is the soul, the self, the god, the truth, or whatsoever you want to call it.
It is nameless, so all names are good.
You can give it any name of your own liking.