Our ego – in this context, the neurotic mind that grasps onto a solid sense of self-identity for support – is extremely powerful and will fight against any view that threatens its security. It is deeply disturbed by the suggestion that the I, like everything else, is something merely designated by conceptual thought. Therefore we should expect a lot of resistance when we meditate on the non-self-existence of the I. This is natural; it is only our deeply ingrained ego struggling against annihilation.
Our ordinary ego-conception thinks, ‘I definitely exist somewhere, I am real.’ Not for a moment do we consider that what or who we are is only the result of giving a name or a label to a group of ever-changing mental and physical parts. Our ego-grasping mind, so intent on establishing and maintaining a solid and secure sense of identity, would never accept that the I or self is just an imputation, a mere name or designation. It asserts instead, ‘I exist from my own side, inherently. I am not something merely conjured up by superstition.’ But this assertion is completely mistaken. It is the wrong view that lies at the root of all our difficulties.1
- Yeshe, Lama. Introduction to Tantra. Shambhala Press, 1988. 73 [↩]