The Four Noble truths – Chap 10: Selfishness and Ego


Cling to ego is a cause of selfishness.
Selfishness is a cause of suffering.

From the clinging to ego, our selfishness arises. If we said that selfishness comes from ignorance, we don’t know for sure if people can completely understand this concept. If we said that ignorance bears clinging to ego, maybe some people can slightly image how it is, or they can a little get what it is.

At this understandable point, the Buddha stated: selfishness is the cause of suffering.

If the Buddha stated in the first step of the Four Noble Truths that ignorance is the root of suffering, then people would be afraid of practicing Buddhism, because they cannot fully understand. We are lucky that our Buddha knew very well our abilities, so He just said in brief that selfishness is the cause of suffering, so that people could grasp something more easily understandable.

If people have compassion, they will always try to help others no matter how hard their own lives are, and they will have some happiness as their compensation. On the contrary, if people are selfish, and they only do everything for themselves, and their retribution for their selfishness is their suffering.
The Buddha’s teachings are the utmost truth that are easy for us to understand.

The first Dharma is the Four Noble Truth. We thought this Dharma is something super high-minded; however, when the Buddha said that selfishness is the cause of suffering, we are suddenly illuminated with the truth.

Previously, we haven’t been told yet, haven’t thought about this matter, but when we are told this truth by the Buddha, we can realize it immediately, because we now have available our wisdom to grasp it. This point is especially in the Four Noble Truths.

A tendency of the selfishness is also called love, in that what we love, we keep for our own. Love is not simply a love between man and woman. It is the tendency of selfishness. Love between man and woman is also a part of the tendency of selfishness. As we said before, it’s extremely selfish.

When we talk about selfishness being the cause of suffering, we can give some examples.

First, we can talk about people who strive for wealth. All people striving for wealth are selfish, and they will suffer. What is suffering of those people? Psychological suffering is the first. Their minds are always so hurried with their plans, while a purified and peaceful mind is highly appreciated by the Buddha.

Physical suffering is the second. Their bodies must be used to working too hard. Besides, they have to deal with difficulties in business market.

Thus, the rich or the poor has the same suffering. Everyone has their own difficult situation. Only people who have the great blessing can have a lot good lucks, and live comfortably, since they practiced the Eight Fold-Path in their past lives.

When people want to create financial wealth for their own out of their selfishness, they will suffer with their bodies, suffer with their minds, and suffer from their karma. When people are in pursuit of a fortune, they are ruthless, cunning, and cheat others. This means that they lead themselves to guilty path. And when they commit sins, their bad karma is waiting for them in future.

Besides the suffering of mind and body in pursuit of a fortune, those people will receive their bad karma; that is what the Buddha really wanted to say. Suffering of mind and body is insignificant, but bad karma will tie those people to the Circle of Birth, plunge them into the sea of extreme suffering forever.

In brief, there are three kinds of suffering in process of selfish mind.

+ First, this is psychological suffering.
+ Second, this is corporal suffering.
+ Third, this is suffering from karma.

The three kinds of suffering knit human beings to the net of transmigration (samsara) from which they never get free.

In present, their minds suffer, and their bodies suffer. In the future lives, they will continue suffering due to their karma.


Authorized by Thích Chân Quang

Source Facebook Buddha Everywhere

The Four Noble truths - Chap 9: The Causes of Suffering
The Four Noble truths - Chap 11: Chain of existence

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