Monday, August 27, 2012

The Ego And Non Violence

I made a wonderful discovery over the weekend. A few weeks ago a friend invited me to a lecture entitled “The Buddhist Response to Global Warming”. I attended the lecture on Saturday and much to my amazement I realized the lecture was at a Buddhist temple that’s only three miles from where I live. I’ve been looking for such a place so I can learn more about Buddhism. While I was at the lecture I picked up some literature about the local Buddhist community. I found out they have a “teaching” every Sunday morning and a meditation session every Wednesday night. Yesterday I attended the weekend teaching and was happy to discover it was given by a Buddhist monk. The session began with some chanting. It was in Tibetan so I really didn’t understand it. I simply sat there and got into the rhythm of it. Afterwards the monk began talking in a very quiet voice. He also spoke in Tibetan so another man, who also was Tibetan, translated. The teaching was about non-violence and the ego. If I could summarize the teaching it would be this. The more ego centric we are, the more likely we are to be violent. If you are focused on the self, i.e., I, me, mine, then you will likely be threatened by the needs of others. However, if your focus is on others, rather than on your own needs, it is not likely that you will feel violent towards someone you are helping. This is pretty basic stuff, simple but difficult. It is often difficult to think beyond the self. If you think of the ego as a pre-occupation with yourself and your own needs, imagine what life might be like if we all laid our egos aside. Imagine what today would be like if all of us focused on others needs first. I believe if we did this our own needs would also be met.

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