Give Your Ego the Wisdom Eye
by Lama Thubten Yeshe
From a five-day meditation course Lama Yeshe taught at Dromana, near Melbourne, Australia, in March 1975. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.
We always use the word, "ego." But although we're all the time saying, "ego, ego, ego," we don't realize the ego's psychological aspects, its mental attitude. We interpret the ego as some sort of physical entity. Therefore, it is necessary to discover that the ego is mental, not physical. That's so worthwhile.
We have such a short time to realize egolessness, but searching for it is what differentiates us from animals. Otherwise, what's the difference? Animals enjoy the sense world and conduct their lives to the best of their ability. Just like ourselves, they like those who feed them and dislike those who beat them, isn't that so? What's the difference?
Perhaps you think, "Rubbish! I can intellectualize, I can write; I can make money to support and enjoy my life." But even rats and mice can look after themselves with ego and attachment. They can collect and store food many times their own weight. Look at the bees: even though their lives are so short, they collect enough honey to last for maybe hundreds of years. So, what difference is there between bees and so-called intelligent humans if the mental attitude is the same, where both are living only for sense pleasure? Perhaps bees are even more intelligent than us-they live such short lives but still accumulate vast amounts of what gives them pleasure.
Therefore, I think it's so worthwhile and so important that while we occupy these precious human bodies, with all our intelligence and where everything has come together, we use our ability to seek our inner nature and release ourselves from all the problems of mental defilement, which come from our ego. Everything we've done since the time we were born until now has come from our ego, but it's all been so transitory and our pleasure has been so small.
But don't think, "Oh, I'm too bad; my mind is completely dominated by my ego." Don't put yourself down. Instead, be happy to realize such things.
Realizing that only your own mind and effort can bring you release from your ego is so worthwhile. For years and years, ages and ages, all you've done is build up your ego, and under the influence of its hallucinated projection of the sense world, you've run, run, run from one thing to another, as if you'd lost your mind. So to now have just one flash of recognition of all this is most worthwhile; it really is worth putting in the effort.
Don't think that without your own effort, without your own wisdom functioning, you can stop the schizophrenic mental problems that result from the energy force of your own ego. It's impossible.
Lama doesn't believe that he can solve your problems without your own effort and action. That's a dream; if that's your attitude, it's a complete misconception. "God can do everything for me; Buddha can do everything for me. I'll just wait." That's not true! "I don't have to do anything." That's not true! You did everything, now you have to experience the powerful consequences. You can see now, with your own experience, can't you? Just one meditation session is all it takes.
What Lama wants is for you to become a wise human being instead of one who is dominated by the energy force of a super-sensitive ego. At the end of a meditation course, I'd like you to be thinking, "Well, that was my own meditation course, given by my own wisdom." If you feel like that, the course was worthwhile. Otherwise, if you just go, "A high Tibetan lama gave a meditation course; I went," it's just another ego trip. What's the purpose? Your old habits, your schizophrenic mental attitudes haven't changed a bit. So what meditation did you do? Lord Buddha is already enlightened; through his own effort, with his own wisdom, he freed himself from his schizophrenic mind, but here we are in a still agitated condition.
So you can see, realization is so individual. It depends upon each individual's mind, effort and wisdom. Realization is so personal. From morning until night, you all have different experiences, even though you're all trying to meditate on the same thing-different experiences according to the individual level of the individual mind.
If you think, "Oh, I have so much to do at home...my house, my family, my friends...it's difficult to sit and meditate," it means your mind is ensnared by the worldly life. You've been like that from the time you were born until now, and if you keep going that way, you'll end up dying with nothingness. How can you ever finish anything like that? Work in the materialistic life continues to pile up, one thing after another, then another, another, another, and you can never say, "Ah, at last I've finished everything, now I can sit and meditate." That time will never come.
You can see, when your mind is occupied with ego energy, it's like constantly having needles stuck into your body. That would be pretty uncomfortable, wouldn't it! It's the same thing, exactly the same thing. So you can realize how Important it is to release attachment and ego. When you do release them, you will experience everlasting joyful realization, inner freedom, inner liberation, nirvana...it doesn't matter what you call it. But instead, all we do is try to please our ego; it's like we're praying to our ego. We dedicate all our energy to our ego, and what we get in return is mental pollution; there's such a bad smell in our minds that they can't even breathe.
So from now on, instead of welcoming your ego's energy force, stand guard against it with mindfulness and wisdom, watching with penetrative attention for the first sign of its arrival. And when it comes, instead of welcoming it, "How are you, ego? Come right in! Have a cup of tea, have some chocolate," examine it with a big wisdom eye, a wisdom eye bigger than your head! Just watch it. When you give your ego the big wisdom eye, it disappears, all by itself.
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