Ego, Emptiness, and Rebirth

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche:

To approach the finality of our bodies while paying no attention to the mini-deaths of daily life is like confusing diamonds with pebbles and throwing them away.

We do not need to get rid of the ego – this unchanging, solid, and unhealthy sense of self – because it has never existed in the first place. The key point is that there is no ego to kill. It is the belief in an enduring, nonchanging self that dies. The term ego can still provide a useful reference; but we need to be careful not to set ourselves up for battling something that is not there. Ironically, when we go into combat with the ego, we strengthen the illusions of self, making our efforts to awaken counterproductive.

Once we accept the fundamental transitory nature of our minds and bodies, then we can develop the consciousness to dismantle our most entrenched patterns. Peeling off the outer levels of self is a form of dying, but the process becomes more workable if we can develop confidence in the benefits of rebirth in this lifetime.

In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying, pp. 34, 39, and 246.