Most people on the so called spiritual path have a tendency to fight Ego, to consider it a burden to get rid of. That is not a very wise position. Believing Ego is bad, how can you trust in your self to mature and make progress on the path? If Ego-self were stupid, it wouldn’t consider the effort of change in the first place, so there has to be something precious and valuable in it. Instead of ridiculing Ego as confused and stupid, we are better of being grateful for all the marvelous things it is capable of. Remember that all the suffering and crap you have to put up with is just the flipside of all the joy and accomplishments that is also the work of Ego.
Of course, as the Buddha’s teach, the end of suffering comes with a full understanding of the nature of mind and how Ego is a byproduct of those processes, but up until we reach that profound insight, before we acquire the habit of being not one/not two, Ego is our everyday savior and best friend. It is Ego that can help us evolve, to become more than just Ego. But in order to do that, Ego must consider itself worth the effort and entitled to the teachings and the practice. You see, Ego has no control over this process of change, it has no agency, no matter how strongly that sense of control might be. Ego acts as if in control of what happens, but in reality, that is not so. It just feels that way. So, as the Pure Land path emphasizes, Ego must rely on “other-power” to instigate change. That is to start out with totally accepting the ultimate truth of dependency. There is a very deep understanding within this approach. An understanding that is way too underrated or overlooked. The basic idea of the Pure Land path is to make the Dharma available to those of us having a sense of being fools and unable to attain any deeper understanding. It is for me when I consider myself less worthy, less capable. One might say that this, seemingly simple, path for simple people starts where others end. So when Zen makes a fool out of a sage, Pure Land makes a sage out of a fool. Whatever practice we happen to be doing, it will boil down to this: Sage and Fool are mutually dependent, and when recognized as this, Wisdom unfolds.
So celebrate your Ego as fool, celebrate your Ego as sage, and let your Self be united by the Dharma. Have faith in the Dharma to know You, so You don’t have to know it. Allow your Ego to have some time off from its duty of doing right and understanding correctly. Being stupid and ignorant is hard work, but it can be done. Just accept that you cannot do it by your Self, because Self will not accept such nonsense.
We should be thankful for having this ability to act as if we were knowledgeable agents and Masters of Reality. What we need is not a weak and self loathing Ego crying for help, but a strong and powerful Ego that is ready, willing and able to evolve, to recognize its brilliance and learn how to share its powers in a skillful way. It is easier to let go of something you love and respect than of something you despise and want to correct. Further, no matter how hard you work and how far you travel on the path, Ego will not dissolve completely and disappear forever. In the end, you must make friends with it. You must show compassion for Ego or it will, sooner or later, become self destructive. So keep in mind: Destroying Ego is not the way Knowing Ego is the way Jesus was destroyed so His teaching could be fully recognized. Had he been known for what He was, that would not have been necessary.
The Easter Buddha