Things Gone and Things Still Here (jette) wrote,
Things Gone and Things Still Here

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Hang on to your ego.

As many of you know, I am often (lovingly) annoyed by Westerners who convert to Buddhism or other Eastern religions. I feel like many don't understand that you can't really convey a differently structured language with the same symbols, that there's not a real comprehension of the words they hear when they hear the teachings, because you can't completely absorb a new idea using only the tools of your old knowlege.

The biggest example of this to me is the newly converted Western Buddhist's terror of "the ego." They scoff and scorn, "if you're upset by other's behavior it's just your ego talking," or perhaps they give you encouragement to do silly-looking yoga poses by admonishing that the asana is "an ego destroyer!" The ego is bad, bad, bad, a block to enlightenment that should be treated with derision and suspcision at all times.

And so they've replaced one boogeyman, "say-tun," with another, "the ego" without understanding that "non-attachment" and "rejection" are not really the same thing.

I can show you thousands of people, right now, this very minute, who have rejected their egos. They're in our mental hospitals if they're lucky, but more likely to be lying in a pool of their own secretions. Most of them are not in a state of eternal bliss.

I love my ego, it's what makes me a part of the world of living people.

Edited to add: What I am talking about, really, is people who tell you they are hearing a new story, but their perception is limited and they are really hearing the same old story with new words.
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