Perhaps the real question is, how big is my ego!
Because if I think you have a big ego, and I have none, then I am considering myself superior in a way. That means my ego has taken over. How’s that for a conundrum!
So is there any person without ego? Do you know anyone with no ego?
I can tell you that I do not know any human being who is completely without ego. Not one.
But I do have one example of a person who is almost completely without ego, and that is Bhante Sujatha. And I am inspired by him every day in his selfless behavior, words and actions.
And although I cannot read his mind or see his thoughts, I am just as confident that his thoughts are always focused on the benefit of others with love (metta), compassion (karuna) and equanimity (upekkha).
I often wonder how Bhante became such a benevolent being. Was he just born with this character, or has he been born a hundred times before and now evolved to this level?
I suppose the answer really does not matter. Do I need to understand how the tree was grown to enjoy the fruit that it bears? Of course not.
But having the determination myself to be of no ego, and a person who bears fruit for the benefit of others, I do attempt to investigate this quite often.
And as I see it, it is Bhante’s direction that offers the clearest path. He tells each of us to love the self. “Let it begin with me” as he says.
And while I know that it may seem that loving the self is contradictory to loving others, it truly is not.
I have come to see that a heart filled with love of self just naturally flows towards all others. And conversely, when we have fear, anxiety, anger, greed or lust, this too is what pours out into society.
Perhaps trying to let go of the ego is not the correct way of looking at this. Perhaps loving the self, with pure acceptance and compassion, is to truly open the heart of bodhicitta.
I often wonder if there is something new that I can try to help me along on my path. And this morning, I watched a video by Pema Chödrön and she talked about this very subject. her suggestion was, “if you want to try something new, return to the breath”.
This really struck home for me. This breath is new, each and every time. Each one is an opportunity to awaken. Each breath a chance to be alive and present.
Thank you Bhante Sujatha and Budu saranai. Thank you Pema Chodron for sharing your dhamma talk on a video so I may benefit from it. And thanks to each of you for your spiritual friendship (kalyana mitta).
May you be well, happy and peaceful.