Long ago, there lived a beggar in a ruined house. He didn't know about the biggest treasure buried underneath his house.1 He didn't know that he was indeed far richer than the king of his country. In the end, he lived and died as a beggar. We are also like that, living like a beggar without knowing the treasure within us.2 We have all the real richness in the world. We have all peace, joy, love and strength within us. And the more we share it, the more we gain and the more we become enriched.3 Without realizing this, we go out looking for them and begging. We wander in search of peace and happiness; we yearn for love, for affection, for relationship; we lament that our respect and status are gone. The moment we expect respect from others, we lose our dignity. We madly chase after wealth, fame, power and status without even realizing how our peace and happiness are leaving us. When we run after superficial glamour, our true richness and brightness become hidden from us, denied to us.4
"When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." — Lao Tzu
Where does this begging mentality come from? It is a manifestation of our ego. Ego is created, protected and strengthened by three kinds of poisons:
ignorance. First, we try to possess many things with desire, and then we create a protective wall around us to secure them. When this wall gets thickened, it becomes as our ego and it separates us from our true nature, from others, from reality. We become lonely. And our life becomes full of struggles with competition, jealousy, fighting and quarreling. When we fight against nature and reality, our life becomes full of suffering.
"Our needs are very few, but desires have no limit."
"Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived." — Dalai Lama
Ego is something artificially created and imposed from the society in which we live. Since the ego grows slowly step by step from an early age, we become fully identified with that ego and become that ego. Even though it is not our true reality, we waste our whole life struggling to satisfy it. But there is no way to satisfy the ego and find lasting peace and true happiness. When we chase after our desires, they further multiply and we become more and more addicted to them. When we drive towards security, it increases our insecurity and fears. When we strengthen the protective wall, it dulls our sensitivity and awareness, and makes it difficult for us to experience life truly, fully and deeply.
"We are like senseless children. Shrink from suffering, but love its causes." — Shantideva
When we fight and establish our status, the ego grows stronger - increasing our arrogance. When we lose and our status collapses, the ego gets hurt - crippling us in fear. The ego either boasts in arrogance, or it is paralyzed in victim-hood. The ego makes its own pains and problems as a big deal, but if it is about others, it does not bother to understand. The ego does not bother to notice its own shortcomings, but it magnifies others' shortcomings.5 It rationalizes and makes excuses for its own anger, weaknesses and mistakes; but if they happen to another person, it blames and does not accept. It adamantly upholds its own thoughts, views and opinions as correct. It does not know how to gracefully accept disagreements in opinions with others, instead it fights and defends like dealing with matters of life and death. It even kills for mere words.
"All the wars, all the hatred, all the ignorance in the world come out of being so invested in our opinions." — Pema Chodran
When there is genuine
humility, the ego is destroyed. The ego needs divisions and conflicts for its survival. So it creates divisions in everything: race, class, religion, language, country, etc. The ego's begging mentality does not know how to accept and embrace all, and how to appreciate all the wisdom of the world with an open mind. It gets attached to a teacher or a book, and refuses to look at the faults and issues in them, and hesitates to accept good things from a different teacher or a book. The spiritual paths that are intended to destroy the ego, have become the religions that promote the ego.
"Humility is the solid foundation for all the virtues" — Confucius
All that the ego knows is reckless anger and rudeness. When there is genuine
courage, the ego is destroyed. Ego is a manifestation of begging and cowardice mentality. Hence people develop inferiority-complex. To hide this, they try to elevate themselves and lower others by repressing, oppressing, deceiving and manipulating. So, they use anything and everything — size, beauty, talent... race, class, religion... power, status, fame, wealth, rank, title, degree... — to elevate themselves in some way. With these struggles, they cause so much of pain, suffering and horrors to themselves and others.
"Tell me what you brag about and I'll tell you what you lack."
As long as the ego is there, it will only bring suffering to ourselves and those around us. When we gain a deeper
wisdom, we realize that the security of the ego is bogus and its growth is actually our pathetic state of slavery. Then we can courageously open to life just as it is with genuine maturity. When we completely destroy our ego, our real nature — and its lasting peace, satisfaction, joy, love, wisdom and power — will shine brightly. That is our true dignity and freedom.6
"Blind is the world; here only a few possess insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms of bliss." — Buddha.
Attachment, Lust, Nostalgia, Greed, Jealousy, Competition, Expectation, Frustration, Stress, Dissatisfaction, Addiction
Anger, Rage, Hatred, Rudeness, Fight, Anxiety, Worry, Impatience, Hopeless, Inferiority-complex
Foolishness, Delusion, Deception, Blindness, Misunderstanding, Confusion, Denial
Arrogance, Selfishness, Pride, Shame, Bragging, Loneliness, Depression, Hurt, Misery, Struggle, Hell
Although it may appear differently as it comes from a totally different place, time, circumstance, language, etc., with many transfers and changes, yet all wisdom are fundamentally the same.
1. [Matthew 13:44]: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field".
2. [Luke 17:21]: "The kingdom of heaven is within you."
3. [Luke 6:38]: "Give, and it will be given to you".
4. [Mark 8:36]: "What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?"
5. [Matthew 7: 3]: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"
[Matthew 7: 1]: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged"
6. [Matthew 5: 3]: "Blessed are the poor in spirit (ego-less), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
[Matthew 16:24]: "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself (deny his ego) and take up his cross and follow me"