The Ego and "Seeing Things as they are"

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Eclectic Mystic, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    It is often said that through dissolution of the ego, one can see beyond its limited misconceptions and "see things as they are." But does this necessarily mean that there is never congrance?

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    (Link): http://assets.devx.com/articlefigs/6887.gif

    To illustrate my question another way, if one circle represents the viewpoint of the ego and the other represents "reality as it is" (unadulterated by conceptions/misconceptions), then can there still be a red area where the two itersect?
     
  2. Bruce Michael

    Bruce Michael New Member

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    Hello,
    Yes one can be at-one with the object. There has always been philosophical debate as to whether we can know anything at all. Ultimately though, the process is one of clairvoyance not philosophy.

    Normally "ego disolution" leads to unconsciousness- so there wouldn't be any seeing going on anyway.

    Warm Regards,
    Br.Bruce
     
  3. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    Oh, I see how it is. None of you are going to address my thread about the supposed incompatabilty between the ego and "Seeing things as they are" directly when this is a fundamental theme and repeatedly the subject of many subliminal assertions. Fine.
     
  4. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    lol... it hasn't worked for u then, eclectic..?

    but, to try and answer your q...

    Personally, I think it's a myth that our ego, or definition of self is something to be rid of- what are we, if we are not us? A buddha, one who knows thinking, he must know he knows what he knows, and hopefully, by the same token, he must also be aware of what he doesn't know... that shouldn't mean that he should remove that which he knows, become a small wretched unprincipled idiot, surely? no, and so, the objective is for clear seeing, "samyak-drsti", perfect, or complete seeing... hence...

    to see things as they are....

    this in itself is easy: u open the eyes, have a look. Do some research. And then things become known. Perhaps this seeing things as they are is not some transcendental thing at all- maybe it's just a simple matter of being honest, realistic, and cultivating wisdom? Looking at issues and suchlike from both sides, understanding the potential repercussions of actions, understanding spin, and hype, and hearsay, etc, while at the same time understanding that you have come to the conclusions you have because of your education and experience of the world, while others might draw completely different conclusions...

    without eyes, you cannot see. Without education, people remain stupid.

    currently I am thinking that the term ego dissolution must in fact actually be a misnomer? As, for us to experience it there must be someone who watches, sees, feels, experiences... and so "I", "me", "us", "them", they haven't gone.. not entirely, surely?

    The ego is much maligned in most religions; this willful backsliding sinful thing and yet- without ego, without a sense of self, without knowledge of what makes us tick, and an appreciation of who we are, which entails understanding where we've come from and understanding all the things we've seen and felt and heard and understanding how all these things makes us the person we are today, we are ignorant. Without a sense of self we become shameless, unprincipled...

    in buddhism "mimamsa", or, "no shame" is considered a fetter, a bind, something which will hold you back, yet without an ego, there is no sense of right, and wrong, of what is acceptable and what is not, and so you might fall into the trap of no-shame- which binds you to suffering, in buddhist theory, at least...

    the idea is, giving up that part of the ego which is fake, that part of the ego which says- hey, I'm better than you, I'm better than I am, I'm so clever and marvellous, I'm original, self propelling, self originating, such a great individual, when in truth, you are the same as the rest of us, with a mind full of other people's ideas and theories, with a mind full of illusions and fears which don't exist...

    ...for, it's that false ego which gets us into trouble, blinds us to our own faults and issues, makes us greedy, dishonest, spiteful, and to rid ourselves of these stains, these flaws, we have to understand why they have arisen, and so...

    a good, honest appreciation of the self, a small but perfectly formed ego, is a good thing to have... a positive sense of self is something to cherish, not something to deride as inferior, or too human or worldly... stuff that...

    if jesus, buddha, mohammed didn't have such well developed sense of themself, their opinions, their ideas, they wouldn't have been the men we think they are today, surely?

    some people are seemingly born leaders, teachers, and guides... should we suggest that they do not bother, as their paths are considered too egocentric..? for if we do, there is no buddha, no jesus, no mohammed...

    so yes, there can be a red area, where truth is truth, regardless of who you are and where you've come from, and that's the seeing things as they really are part...

    lol... cheerio
     
  5. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    Your name's Lowell? Well then Mr. Cheerio, thank you for taking my question seriously.
     
  6. jiii

    jiii ...

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    Well, my difficulty with the question is that this venn diagram you posted presumes that the 'ego', on one hand, and 'reality-as-it-is', on the other, are two polar entities which may or may not be mutually exclusive. Perhaps ego and reality-as-it-is are one and the same... in which case this venn diagram becomes a single, empty circle... much like the 8th painting in the Ten Stages of Ox-herding.

    "At the eighth stage, 'person and ox both forgotten', we come to realize the fact that this 'I', which has been seeking, and the essential self, which has been the object of our search, did not exist at all."

    If 'self', or 'ego', is an illusion, and 'reality-as-it-is' can only be conceived of with this illusory ego as it's thinker, then this entire venn diagram represents illusory entities which cannot actually be cleaved from one another. It would be as if I cut a snake in half to investigate whether or not his head and tail conjoin... quite a self-defeating experiment. To try to seperate 'ego' from 'reality-as-it-is' is like trying to halve a stream of water.
     
  7. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    Two seperate circles would suck too.
     
  8. omprem

    omprem New Member

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    It is too bad that this thread didn't go anywhere.

    The problem with your Venn diagrams is that they both represent the view of the ego and neither represents the view of the non-ego reality. The non-individuated ego's awareness of the reality of Brahman is beyond time and space and therefore beyond all boundaries including those of your diagram.

    There will be some who claim that 'ego dissolution' means unconsciousness but they are trapped in a time-space version of ego. God Realization is not ego dissolution as these people understand it but rather the term should be 'ego expansion' to the point where it no longer makes sense to talk of ego because the ego is no longer individuated with boundaries but has realized its identity is that of Brahman. The next step is to understand that Brahman is not concerned with identity either because Brahman is everything that exists and doesn't exist and so identity is a non-sensical term that should not be entertained.
     
  9. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    I kind of felt that way before posting. Going beyond the ego doesn't involve weakening the ego. If anything it involves strengthening it. And of course, it doesn't end there.

    What I don't understand is why anyone has the nerve to suggest to another what is commonly and subliminally asserted over and over. The worst case scenario is attempted psychic castration and is usually the result of ressentiment and penis-envy. People who are not affected by this statement wouldn't know what I'm referring to.
     
  10. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Ego is you & you is ego. You cannot dissolute you if there is no you left. Ego doesnt get dissoluted, it gets cleansed. Suppose you are in a car with a windscreen in front of you. If the windscreen is filled with dirt, or if there are too many flaws in the glass, it will distort your perception of reality & you wont see reality as it is.

    The ego filled with its base desires, lusts, impulses, infatuations, repulsions serve to distort reality. When these flaws are removed, the ego gets pure & transparent. And lets the relaity through. So one sees things as they are. Because base impulses are usually seen as the only manifistation of ego, so the cleansing process is usually labelled as dissolution.

    So related sufi concepts here.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    If when you say 'strengthening the ego' you mean mastering yourself, then I could agree in this respect.

    Hehehe! Sounds somewhat analogous to this verse regarding the seventh consciousness from here:
    VERSES DELINEATING THE EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES
    by Tripitaka Master Hsuan-Tsang of the Tang Dynasty

    The seventh consciousness seems to fit in with your idea of ego:
     
  12. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I see what you mean, but I see a minor linguistic snag: how can there be 'ego expansion' when there is no ego to be expanded?

    There is not even a self,
    Like the image of the moon in water,
    The cycle of the three worlds is misleading
    ~The Buddha
     
  13. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    I agree. But I don't understand why certain other people can't put it that way-- instead selectively choosing to influence an inquiring mind in such a way as to take pleasure in falsely humbling them.
     
  14. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    Well firstly, humility is the door to reality. So its good to be humble since an arrogant man can learn nothing. He will have to accept, only then can he learn.

    Other than that, different cultures think differently. You ask the same question from Plato & Rumi, they might give the same answer, but they will answer according to their culture. In Christianity, there is the concept of renunciating the world, in Islam we have no such thing. Instead we have a similar but radically different concept, renunciation of worldly desires. The intent is the same, but the way one does it is different.

    There is another facet of this problem, which has more to do with linguistics. In English, ego means both haughtiness & self. So, ego is always linked to being egoistic. When the intent of the speaker is "kill your haughtiness", he would say "kill your ego" , which the listener understands as "kill the self".

    The concepts in my post come from Arabic & Persian; languages that have one word for the "being/existence of self", & another for its "base attributes". . In Arabic the word "nafs" means ego/self, & breath. So the term dissolution of ego would mean something similar to suicide. The phrase used in Arabic/Persian is "Tazkiya-tun-nafs". The word tazkiya comes from the root Z-K-A , which means both purification & expansion. So while in reality we do the same thing, in English, we label it as breaking the ego, in Arabic we call it expansion of ego.
     
  15. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    I agree.


    Interesting. Is "nafs" related to the Hebrew "nefesh," which means "breathing creature," often translated into English as "soul?"

    It gives a new dimension to "God of the living," rather than "God of the dead."
     
  16. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I don't know if we can fully see things as they are. But we can make an effort to see them less in terms of what we want them to be or in terms of our past conditioning.
     
  17. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    It seems there is not much consistency in the use of the term Nafs when used to refer to an individual self. Example:
    Taj al-`arus al-hawi li tadhhib al-nufus is translated by an Islamic bookstore as "The bride's crown containing the discipline of souls." Compare with a Sunni Hanafi Muslim, who translates it as "The crown of [befitting] a bride – concerning the matter of disciplining the lower-self, the ego, the nafs."​
    nibrãs: November 2006.

    In the above blog there is reference to the need to "imprison your nafs" (rather than expand). This seems consistent with the traditional emphasis on discipline and the importance of mastering or containing ones lower nature.

    Also, in the above blog nafts are referred to as the experiential self that is capable of (undesirable/tainted) egoic pleasures.


    I have seen this translated as purification of the heart.
     
  18. omprem

    omprem New Member

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    'Ego expansion' was a linguistic device to get people to think outside their box. Rather that considering themselves as individuated egos, the idea of spiritual transformation is know oneself as God or, if you don't like that term, to know oneself as One without another. This is the idea behind letting go of the individuated ego and accepting a radical expansion of who you are (in other words, ego expansion). It may have been clumsy but it may be useful to some.

    I agree with the Buddha quote and was proposing 'ego expansion' as a way to approach the meaning of the quote.

    From a Hindu, Advaita Vedanta point of view, spiritual transformation consists of having no content in your consciousness, having only Pure Consciousness that doesn't 'see' difference only unity and more.
     
  19. omprem

    omprem New Member

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    Sufism and Baha'i have the seven valleys. Christians have the seven stages of prayer as exemplified by St Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. Alchemists have the seven stages of transformation. Judaism has the Kabbalah. Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism know all of these as the seven chakras. Those at the heart of every religion know the same process of transformation, know the chakras, and know the same Absolute Divinity. They tend to have the same vision, speak the same language, and even use the same metaphors. Instead of quibbling over distinctions without a difference we should put away our limited egos and celebrate our common core of divine being.
     
  20. omprem

    omprem New Member

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    All you are doing is locking yourself into a phenomenal view of reality which is a false view. The 'reality' of sense impression is an illusion and an addiction. It is the home of separation, estrangement, fear and despair. You have to find and use other, much more subtle means, ie, learning to access the wisdom of the chakras, to approaching spiritual transformation.
     

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