Breaking the Ego and arrogance

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Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Dave The Seeker » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:10 am

I know I still have an ego, sometimes too big.
I was told I was an arrogant person yesterday, I asked a few who knew me if I was. They said once in a while.

These are things I need to overcome and am asking advise from my friends here.

:namaste:
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Seishin » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:23 am

Practice is the key. Reflect on yourself and what you've done & said over the past days. Learn to slow the gap between thoughts and speech. Also, try metta meditation.

Gassho,
Seishin.
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby lowlydog » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:50 pm

Hi Dave,

We all suffer from the ego, some (myself included), more so than others. The hardest thing to do is observe the ego when it is most active, it can be quite ugly and we tend to look away or find something to distract us from it. Honesty is the best place to start, recognise I have an ego and develope awareness towards it. Be vigilant in your observations especially if it is shortly after an outburst of ego. As soon as we look at the ego it dissolves away, it can be an embarassing process especially if we have been telling our friends and family about our buddhist practice or if we think we have reached certain stages, they are always there to point it out to us and keep us grounded.

Just keep recognising the ego and realizing its still there, and keep observing, this is walking the path.

Be happy :smile:
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Dave The Seeker » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:59 pm

Thank you both for the input. I will do these things and try to be more attentive to the actions that involve the ego.

:namaste:
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby lowlydog » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:58 pm

Also, we must learn to cultivate Metta(loving kindness). If we have had an unpleasant outburst of ego, forgive yourself do not make this into a problem, recognise this for what it is (shine the light of awareness on it) and simply begin your practice again. Over time we will slowly break the habit pattern of the mind of blind reaction, just remember this is a gradual process and be kind to yourself.

If you really think about it it is so incredibly rare that you have even come in contact with the buddhas teachings, let alone began practicing.

It is inevitable that you will be successful. :smile:
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby floating_abu » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:07 pm

Dave The Seeker wrote:I know I still have an ego, sometimes too big.
I was told I was an arrogant person yesterday, I asked a few who knew me if I was. They said once in a while.

These are things I need to overcome and am asking advise from my friends here.

:namaste:


The Buddha laid out the Eightfold Path for this.

As Ajahn Chah said if you are patient, and you practice, you too will learn the way to unselfishness, to peace.

Part of the 8fold Path is right concentration - so meditation is a big part of this.

Best wishes,
Abu
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:43 am

I got something quite helpful from a bumper sticker. It said:

"Don't believe everything you think."
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby lobster » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:10 am

Dave The Seeker wrote:These are things I need to overcome and am asking advise from my friends

These cards can be issued to friends and families to make us aware of behavior to be changed. Please recieve compassionately as if receiving the highest vajra teaching …
http://yinyana.tumblr.com/post/35898421394/these-cards-can-be-issued-to-friends-and-families :namaste: :heart:
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:13 pm

Thank you so much for all the great replies.
I guess I have a lot to work with.

Yes I do feel very fortunate to have come into contact with the Buddhas teachings, and have the rest of this life to practice.

I do feel that through practice I will be able to overcome at least some of the challenges I face in life.

:namaste:
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:15 pm

catmoon wrote:I got something quite helpful from a bumper sticker. It said:

"Don't believe everything you think."


Ahh bumper sticker wisdom, it is sometimes the greatest teacher that day.

Thanks cat :twothumbsup:
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Location: Reading MI USA

Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Matt J » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:36 pm

Why break the ego? Why not dissolve the ego in wisdom, truth, and love?

The nature of this question presumes almost that the ego is an object that exists separate and apart from us. But rather, teachings often point to at least two truths: that the ego is an illusion, and that duality is an illusion. So not only does the ego not really exist, but it is not apart from us. So to mark the ego off as a problem in fact subtly reinforces it.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:24 pm

Why would you ever want to dissolve something so beautiful?
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Re: Breaking the Ego and arrogance

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:55 pm

On a relative level, because our habitual attitudes of self-cherishing cause endless grief for ourselves and others.

I too have a close relationship with pride and arrogance. You don't want to make things harder on yourself by thinking, "I am arrogant, I have such a problem with pride." Such statements strengthen the cause we need to work on: habitual fascination with and servitude to ideas of a self. Thankfully, it's all smoke and mirrors, so it's all workable. :twothumbsup:

I've noticed a tendency to feel disappointed when others don't give me recognition for X, Y, or Z. Especially in my workplace. "I did such a good job and no one even noticed. Huff!" What juicy stuff to work with! Instead of having to dig around to find the hindrances to our happiness, this one is so kind as to jump up and wave its arms for us.

There are lots of practices that help us be gentler towards ourselves. Our habit now may be a kind of protecting and hardening our views and tendencies when there's a little prickle in our sense of security. Maybe we only notice that prickle after someone points out we've been arrogant. But the reaction is the same: yikes, ouch. So what is really needed is an approach that catches when we're about to pull out our favorite security blanket of ego and let the prickle do its work :)

There are two practices I've found that are excellent for pride. The first is doing prostrations in front of the altar or a visualization of the Buddha, the Three Jewels, your guru, etc. Whether you do the five-point prostration where you kneel and touch the ground with your knees/legs, forehead, and two hands, or a full prostration where you lie face down outstretched, these help establish our awe and devotion to objects worthy of it. The latter full prostrations are considered more potent at disarming our pride. The suffering of arrogance and pride come from our ego wanting our full attention and service. Prostrations say there's something else worthy of that instead, and by offering our attention, devotion, aggregates, etc. to them, we don't offer them to the illusory ego. You can even offer your self-cherishing and arrogance when you prostrate. After all, you're not the first nor the last to have these problems (I'm right there with you!). It can be helpful to feel you're practicing overcoming arrogance and pride for all the suffering beings who don't know about practice or don't even see there's a problem. You've been there, too. Turn that poison into bodhicitta.

Another practice I've found is great for ego reduction is the lojong mind trainings. It's more like a palette or toolkit of 59 mini practices, but some are truly excellent for turning our perspective on its head so we can see, "oh crap, I almost ran headlong into pride again. Whew!" It goes through many antidotes to self-cherishing. You may find the practices on emptiness cut through the solidity of ego right away. You may find the four thoughts that turn the mind to dharma (the "four preliminaries") do the trick. If not, then it includes tonglen to dampen ego by reversing the usual logic of good for me, bad for you. And to top it all off, you have ones that directly tackle ego: Drive all blames into one (#12), Be grateful to everyone (#13), Don't act with a twist (#36), All activities should be done with one intention (#39), and last of all, Don't expect applause (#59). You'll find a full range of commentary on each of these at http://lojongmindtraining.com/sectionSu ... ectionID=0

You can chew on one slogan a day in order, or pick ones that seem most potent for your situation. One that I return to very often is "Be grateful to everyone." When your ego gets nettled and inflates, or when someone else pops it, that person is a bodhisattva showing you the very things that trap you. Thank goodness for the rude clerk, grumpy friend, spouse who drives us insane. I've had the experience of being about to blow up into a huge drama at someone, then in a little angelic voice I heard Chekhawa say in my ear "No, no. Be grateful to everyone!" I wanted to throttle him. Then I realized I wanted to throttle a monk from the 12th century. It was my mind coming to save me from myself. I had to laugh :)

Also traditionally, I believe the common prescription for reducing self-cherishing is contemplating emptiness. You won't find a self to worship after all. It's like the man yelling at the boat that's about to crash into him on the river. He gets angrier and angrier, waving his arms, and the boat just picks up steam in the current and nearly capsizes him anyway. As he's about to give the person a good tongue lashing, he sees... the boat is empty. Ever had the feeling of the rug being pulled out from under you like that? No ego to be a problem, no problem to be a problem. That's an example of the practice of emptiness. It can be tricky though if you don't already have a foothold already, that ability to see the gap before you puff yourself right up.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Speaking from experience, this is one of the most difficult fetters to overcome because it stems directly from the root of one of our most basic misconceptions: I'm here, I need X, give me Y or I can't Z. Do your best :) If you feel that odd uncomfortable tingling of ego protesting at something, good humor will help. "Hi there, pride. What are you so worked up about? May all beings who feel this tickle be able to smile at it in this way and not get too upset about things."

:buddha2: :heart:
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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