Bruised Ego

Bruised Ego

Date Posted:
October 2005

Rinpoche gave the following advice for situations where one’s ego gets bruised.

 Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Milarepa Center, Vermont, for a retreat, 2010. Photo: Jim Hagan.

When one’s ego is harmed, one should rejoice. How great it is! How wonderful it is! In the same way as ordinary people react when their enemy is harmed or when some trouble happens to them, one should rejoice and feel so happy when one’s ego is hurt. Exactly like that, one should think: How fantastic it is for this ego to be harmed!

If a person is practising lam-rim, thought transformation, and bodhicitta, then when something hurts their ego, they should think, “How fortunate! This is exactly what I need. Let the ego have this, and even greater harm!”

The stronger the harm to the ego, the more quickly one destroys the ego. Without ego, there is bodhicitta, and when there is bodhicitta, one creates so much merit and that leads one to generate wisdom quickly. Then one can accumulate the two causes, and achieve enlightenment. That is the purpose of being alive. It is what makes life meaningful.

Without bodhicitta, it is not possible to get enlightened. The highest level you can reach is that of arhat. The reason why the arhat cannot achieve enlightenment is lack of bodhicitta. So think, “How wonderful it is that my ego is being harmed.”

Treat the ego the way many Americans treat Osama bin Laden: How pleased they are when his cause is harmed. Think, my ego is trillions of times more harmful than bin Laden.