Is Egoism Really So Bad?

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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:15 pm

What about proposition 3: Adumbra is on a mega ego-trip and is looking for any means whatsoever to help him accomplish it.

Breath mindfulness and Taoism as tools to develop ones ego??? :?

The world is temporary and impermanent and full of suffering but "I" am not?

Samsara is about experiences, experiences are about suffering. More experiences, more suffering. I'd wish you good luck on your path Adumbra but unfortunately I can't really see it going anywhere positive.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby muni » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:18 am

A good egoist is concerned about others more than about oneself, as happiness comes from the wish "may others be happy".
One should be a fool to further grasp for the sake of own desires.

Shantideva: "All happiness comes from the wish others to be happy, all misery comes from the desire oneself to be happy".
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby muni » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:32 pm

Regarding our desires, usually followed by hope and fear are enemy of the peace of mind. The hope misleads you and leaves you stripped and disappointed; the fear paralyses you in the confined cell of your false identity.

Only suffering is that misperception of our being, dear. :namaste:
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Adumbra » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:36 pm

Samsara is about experiences, experiences are about suffering. More experiences, more suffering. I'd wish you good luck on your path Adumbra but unfortunately I can't really see it going anywhere positive.
:namaste:


Here's another annoying question: Is suffering so bad? Or, to be more specific: Is suffering something to be avoided?

It seems almost self-evident that suffering is undesirable and that anyone would transcend if they could but consider how many people seek suffering, knowing it is suffering, and refuse to let go of it even when the source of their initial suffering is long gone. How man people pine for loved ones who are either dead or no longer return their feelings? How many people put their own lives in terrible danger, knowing full well that they are going to suffer, for the purpose of enjoying a momentary thrill (extreme sports anyone?) or helping someone who has no relationship to them (recall the recent tsunami disaster in Japan if you want a good example of that)? It seems to me that humans must see sometihng valuable in suffering if so many of them deliberately seek it and choose it over non-suffering.

I choose my suffering. Some forms of suffering, such as bad health, I avoid since I see nothing to gain from them. However, other forms of suffering, such as heartbreak and grief, I embrace without reservation or resistance. It seems paradoxical that some suffering can be enjoyable. But paradoxes can only exist on the semantic level. The truth is that 'suffering' is only a word people use to denote a multitude of different emotions that actually have very little relationship to one another. The suffering of a broken bone is a very different thing from the suffering of a broken heart. One I avoid, the other I would not renounce for a million dollars.

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
-The Prophet by Kalil Gibran
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:22 pm

Adumbra wrote:Here's another annoying question: Is suffering so bad? Or, to be more specific: Is suffering something to be avoided?
Not to be avoided, as long as you are in Samsara you cannot avoid suffering, but to be overcome. To end suffering.

The Buddhas FIRST teaching was on the Four Noble Truths:
1.The truth of the existence of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, stress)
2.The truth of the origin of dukkha
3.The truth of the cessation of dukkha
4.The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha

So, I guess, if one is a Buddhist, one aims to practice for the cessation of suffering. Now as a non-Buddhist you may wish for the maximum amount of suffering: it's your boat, whatever floats it. Just one thing though: in samsara even a happy or joyous experience from within the dualising and discriminating framework of ego will ultimately lead to suffering.

Something to keep in mind (and to link suffering back to your original question).
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:45 pm

The buddhadharma teaches how to experience joy without clinging to it
and how to experience sadness without dwelling in it.
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby wisdom » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:46 am

Suffering may usually be considered in the context of emotions, but in Buddhism suffering means attachment, attachment means suffering. They are such interchangeable ideas that you might as well say "I am in a state of attachment" rather than "I am suffering". Attachment is the cause of suffering, and where one ends and the other ends no one knows. Thats why the 12 links of Dependent Origination are a cycle. You can start anywhere in the cycle and call it the beginning and anywhere else and call it the end.
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:21 am

Except that suffering can also be based upon aversion.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:06 pm

wisdom wrote:Suffering may usually be considered in the context of emotions, but in Buddhism suffering means attachment, attachment means suffering.

gregkavarnos wrote:Except that suffering can also be based upon aversion.


ego is in itself not bad. Attraction and aversion are in themselves not bad things.
It is the attachment we have to atttraction, aversion and ignorance which results in what we experience as suffering.
So, attachment isn't merely to things we like. We can also be obsessed with hate, and this is also a kind of attachment.

Having what is generally referred to as positive self-esteem, or a healthy sense of ego is not by itself bad.
Attachment to a fixed, imaginary idea of a 'self' results in suffering because it is based on belief in something unchanging, and that does not exist.

Seeking fame or fortune is not in and of itself a bad thing, and does not automatically result in suffering. Being obsessed with fame and fortune, feeling a sense of failure if one doesn't attain fame and fortune, that is attachment. But it is possible to want fame and to want a lot of money without being attached to any notion of lasting satisfaction one might experience as a result. If one pursues fame and fortune, but knows full well that they are not the cause for happiness, then one will not be attached to fame and fortune, and they will not result in suffering (much suffering) from the complications they produce, or when they expire.

For example, a professional actor or writer or artist or musician is in a livelihood which demands some degree of "fame" , meaning that a lot of people have to be familiar with that person's work. That person also might have some reasons for wishing to acquire a large amount of money over a long period of time.

If that person does not expect fame to bring him or her any ultimate or lasting satisfaction, but merely sees it as part of the job, then there is no attachment to it. They can enjoy the pleasures fame produces while it lasts, and, if they are able, they can let go of that. In the mean time, they may be able to use their public recognition to benefit a lot of beings. At the same time, that person may have some very positive reasons for wanting to, or needing to, acquire a large fortune. They may not need wealth for personal happiness, but may need it in order to benefit others. But if they think that acquiring wealth will bring lasting happiness, then they are attached to a mistaken view, and this will result in suffering.

What has been explained to me is that it is not ego, or wanting good things (desire) per se that are really what create suffering. It is the mistaken view that acquiring things that do not last, and believing that they will provide lasting happiness is what results in suffering. It is attachment to desire, and attachment to ego. It is the attachment, rather than the object of the attachment which is, after all, empty of any intrinsic reality.

Everybody wants to eat a good meal. But if a person thought that after having a fine meal, one that really satisfied their taste buds, and that really filled their stomach, if they thought that after eating that meal they would never be hungry again, they would be wrong and it would be long before they were hungry again, because food in the stomach doesn't last forever. So, it is the attachment to the idea of a permanently-satisfying meal that creates the conditions for suffering.

Likewise, ego itself is not a good thing or a bad thing. We cannot avoid the experience, the sensation of a self. We get sick, we get hungry, we become happy or sad, bored or content. This is simply a fact. But it is the attachment to an unchanging-always happy self that creates the conditions for suffering, because life isn't always full of happy events.
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:28 am

You are a product of the "self-esteem movement", Adumbra. :lol:
If you want to know more, try reading the book "Generation Me" by Jean Twenge.
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:21 pm

Adumbra wrote: 'suffering' is only a word people use to denote a multitude of different emotions that actually have very little relationship to one another. The suffering of a broken bone is a very different thing from the suffering of a broken heart. One I avoid, the other I would not renounce for a million dollars.


"Suffering" is an English-language word used to translate the term used by the Buddha, which is in Pali/Sanskrit the word "Dukkha" which literally means pain, and in a broader sense means the constant, general state of dissatisfaction that beings experience. It is not always unbearable misery. It can be something as subtle as wishing to be in a different mood.

It can be as subtle as the desire to gain some wisdom from one's own painful experiences,
so that one does not suffer again.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Is Egoism Really So Bad?

Postby Megha » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:35 pm

Adumbra wrote:I have sometimes been accused in my life of being vain and arrogant and I must admit that it is true. I do feel very highly of myself. However, one thing I try to avoid is degrading others. It seems to me that someone who is truly and utterly convinced of their greatness should feel no need to slander and insult others or persecute those whom they consider to be lesser beings. After all, everything in this world has its place; even the lowly earth worm enrichs the soil. This is how I feel about most people. Not to say that I see them as worms, but I don't despise them just because they are inferior to me in many respects and I'm also gracious enough to acknowledge those few people who I see as superior to myself in every respect (and I'm envious enough to seek to surpass them). Contempt I reserve for the child who uses a magnifying glass to set ants on fire because the only way he can feel powerful is by killing and torturing tiny beings who stand no chance of defending themselves.

I know Buddhism is dead-set against pride and egoism, as are most religions. But to me pride need not be a bad thing and in fact can be beneficial. Proud people are not easily influenced by cults or mass political movements like Nazism. Since they see clearly that no leader or self-proclaimed prophet could be inherently wiser than them, they feel no need to be led or seek answers from such posers. It was my egoism as a teen and young adult which prevented me from becoming a drug addict, since I was simply too proud to allow myself to be enslaved by a pill and the pushers who sold it. It is my egoism right now which renders me immune to all criticism and peer pressure, and taunts. I've been baited before, called a coward, by someone who thought an arrogant person like me could be easily provoked into fighting them. But instead of punching him in the face I just kept walking without even giving him a glance. As far as I'm concerned, if he wishes to see what a coward I am he can always stop talking and try to attack me.

So is egoism always such a negative personality trait?


You believe that a doer is necessary, and that a prideful doer is potentially better than a humble doer. Just drop the doer, and the whole issue falls down.

:namaste:
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