Teachings Ego  

Positive and Negative Power
Yin and Yang



The sense of self limits everything. You cannot contain the limitless if you are limited. That’s the logic of it. In order to become limitless we have to practice “self-losing”, must practice the ever-present power of God. One must reserve some time daily to contact with this “Word”.

If you want to find God, I have actually not much to teach you except how to be quiet, and what is the best time to catch Hirm. We can make a rendezvous with Hirm everyday, and then at the exact time Hes will appear. Then, we become so acquainted with Hirm, Hes appears everywhere, anytime, any hour; and even when we are so acquainted with Hirm, others will see Hirm within us or near us, standing by. That is so good. Then, this so-called God power will flow out like the ocean or a stream and benefits anyone that comes nearby like sandalwood.

From News 63, Pearls Of Wisdom
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
San Francisco, California, USA
May 25, 1989
(originally in English)

Q: How do you deal with the fear of letting go of self, of becoming selfless, egoless?

M: I don’t remember how I deal with it. It just naturally goes by getting in touch with God, and merging yourself with God. You just naturally have no more self. Slowly, slowly the self will go out. That’s it. I don’t deal with it. To have to deal with it is a problematic thing. Because the self is very big, therefore, you let God deal with it. After you practice this method, you become less and less self, and then you become greater and greater. The less you become, the greater you are. This is a paradox of God. It is not for us to understand.

From “What is True Meditation”
News 63, Selected Questions & Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
San Francisco, California, USA May 25, 1989
(originally in English)

Q: What kind of practice can I do to reduce my ego?

M: Just continue meditating. Also, the more you meditate, the more you can tell yourself, “This isn’t right: Control it!” Don’t give in to what your ego demands all the time. Because it’s easy to blame someone else for our failures, easy to get mad at everything, easy to give in to our own desires and lusts. It’s easy. So just try to modify it and moderate it.

Q: But sometimes you’re in that situation, and you’ve already done it before you finally discover that you did it wrong.

M: I understand. Then the next time, in a similar situation, you’ll know. That’s how you learn; learn by your mistakes. Forgive yourself, and learn from these lessons. Because if you keep continuing to do the same thing again and again, and you know it’s wrong but you continue to do it, later you won’t be able to change anymore! It becomes a pattern, and you automatically react. If you allow yourself to be spoiled or bad, it will be big trouble later.

From “How to Diminish the Ego”
News 151, Selected Questions and Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
International four-day Retreat in Washington D.C., USA December 25, 1997
(originally in English) Videotape No. 610

To kill our ego is to merge ourselves with God. When we are one with God, then we lose ourselves. It’s as simple as that.

From News 110, Aphorisms
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
California, USA
May 27, 1989
(originally in English)

The ego is a terrible thing. So what we should fight, what we should criticize, what we should be on guard with...it is the ego not the other person. It is enough to take care of ourselves and control our own temper, and bad habits and all kinds of ego tricks. Never mind if we left it unguarded and then go attack a neighboring country. You know, you don’t have enough army to even protect our own country so don’t attack other country. That is the problem with us.

It is just like a strategy in war. Only if people attack us then we use our defense. Otherwise we don’t need to spend so much money on army, first. Second, if our defense is not enough, don’t attack other country because you’ll murder yourself, you commit suicide. But that’s what we do all the time. We don’t guard our own country, the five senses, the deadly enemy. We don’t guard ourselves; we don’t guard our mind; we don’t guard our thinking; we don’t guard our talk.

You just try to watch other people. And even if that person is really bad, you are taking in all the bad things because you pay attention to it. Just like you’re receiving things; otherwise, how do you know it is there? If you open a door and ask five persons to come in, you have to have them. If they are outside, you don’t notice them, you don’t ask them in. You don’t have them in your house. Is that not so?

From “The Supreme Military Strategy”
News 71, Master’s Words
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Group Meditation in Los Angeles, California, USA March 13, 1994
(originally in English)

Many people pursue spiritual practice, but very few attain the Truth. Or, they have attained half, one-third, two-thirds, but not the whole. It is all because they cannot control their mundane ideas and habits.

The biggest obstacle for our practitioner is our own mundane habits and ego. Everyone wants to be the boss and thinks that we ourselves are right, and don’t listen to anyone else.

From “The Supreme Military Strategy”
News 72, Pearls Of Wisdom
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Hsihu, Formosa
June, 4, 1995
(originally in Chinese)

Q: In one of Your video cassettes, I heard about Emerson, an American philosopher. He said, “It’s a difficult thing to reach God-hood on this plane.” I don’t understand if this is against what You’re talking about.

M: No!

Q: Then You said, “Let God do the business.” And “let God do everything for us, through us.” What I need is Your guidance. Thank You.

M: He said “difficult”. He didn’t say “impossible”. Of course, it’s difficult to reach God. That’s why we need the guidance of a master and blessing from the Master power. And after that we should let God bless and guide us, and do everything through us, instead of doing things with the ego. Everything is correct the way I said it; there’s nothing contradictory. It’s just that you understood it differently. It is not that it’s different. Emerson said, “A big burden will fall from our shoulders if we let God run the universe.” Most of us run the universe. We worry about this, we take care of that, and we don’t rely on God’s power. That’s why we exhaust ourselves without much success. So, if we do things to our best ability, and let God arrange whatever the outcome will be, then we won’t feel so hurt, so disappointed, and so tired. That’s what he meant. Are you satisfied?

Q: This is confusing to me, Master. I have a lot of expectations that God should run all these things. But I facing all these troubles, and it has not been lightened, and it is a burden for me. I’m expecting God to do that for me.

M: Oh! It’s not that you’re expecting, you’re dictating to God what to do. And Hes won’t listen. Obstacles and troubles are there for you to overcome. But God will dictate the outcome. You have to always try your best. But don’t expect anything. That’s the best. That’s the proper way of expectation.

If you expect and say, “God, I’m putting one hundred dollars here, and I want to get one thousand dollars tomorrow.” That won’t do. You expect too much. Most of the time, we do things and we expect the outcome to be like this or that. But it doesn’t come out like this, it comes out like that. Then we feel disappointed, sad, hurt. But it may be that this is good. Maybe the third outcome is better than the first or the second that we expected. We don’t know. We should just try our best, and when our conscience is at peace we can say, “Okay, I tried my best.” And if the outcome doesn’t suit our taste, just let it be. Then that way, you don’t feel burdened. You don’t feel exhausted. You don’t feel hurt. You might still feel hurt, but in the end we realize it’s best for us whatever happens.

I’ve told you many stories about surrendering to God’s will. Remember the Indian story about the person who came to take refuge in a house, during a wartime bombing. And the family members — the owner and the other members — just pushed him out into the street again. They didn’t let him stay in their house and take refuge. So he had to get out and meanwhile blamed God for not protecting him. But as soon as he got out of the house, the house exploded. A bomb dropped right onto the house. He was the only one that survived, after being kicked out. So we never know what’s good for us. It’s better to just try our best and accept whatever comes. But you always have to try your best. In that way you’ll rest in peace and you’ll know you have tested your strength and wisdom.

From News 90, Selected Questions & Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Surabaya, Indonesia
March 19, 1997
(originally in English)

Q: Sometimes I think when you’re working, you feel apprehensive about becoming successful because your ego will grow with it. So I find that a bit confusing in the sense that if you’re doing a certain job and you become materially successful, I think then you become more and more materialistic towards the work as well. And then because of your success, your ego grows as well.

M: I’m not sure about that. Sometimes you derive joy from being successful and having done something completely. It has nothing to do with the ego. For example, an artist sometimes will carve something in a dark cave alone, for himself. It has nothing to do with the ego. No one will go there and applaud him and say he’s successful. He’s just happy that the work is done the way he wants it.

We’re also creators. If we create and complete something, we feel good! Even if it’s ego, that’s fine; it’s not a bad form of ego. The ego is only bad when it harms someone, when it obstructs you from spiritual practice and progress or when it hinders someone else’s progress because you prosper at their expense. Then it’s bad.

So ego is just a word. Depending on how you use it, it’s fine. That’s the last thing to go before we die, which is good. But before that, we have to keep a little in order to work. Without the so-called ego, we don’t even want to eat or to sit here. What are you doing here? You want to become a Buddha; that’s also ego. You have to have something. It’s just a motivation, a behind-the-scenes push to get us to do this and do that.

But if we give in completely to the ego, we become obsessed with it. And we become arrogant, we become ignorant, and we become consumed in all this kind of fame and glory or illusionary honor, then it’s bad. But the so-called ego is like fuel for a car, or mud for a lotus or fertilizer for a rose. You can’t go without it all the time.

From “A Positive Sense of Ego Is Essential”
News 142, Selected Questions and Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Group meditation in London, UK
March 10, 1998
(originally in English) Videotape No. 631

Q: How can we know the motives of all our actions? I mean, if we’re doing something out of service, out of proving our qualities, or if we’re just doing something because of our ego?

M: We do know what we’re doing, don’t we? You know what you’re doing it for. You can feel it right away. And even if you don’t realize it in the beginning, later you check yourself and you’ll know why you’re doing this, and why you’re doing that. If you’ve doing it for ego, then just check yourself, turn around, and be more selfless. Many times in the beginning, probably we do not know why we do this, and why we do that. We take up some service, some work, probably out of a competitive kind of attitude. But then as soon as we realize that we’re being competitive, we turn around immediately and say, “Oh, no! I should not think that way. I should not feel this way. I should take this honor and opportunity to serve people selflessly.”

That is more noble. The moment we realize that we aren’t noble enough in our behavior and in our intentions, then we just check on ourselves and then change the attitude. The service remains the same, but just the attitude should be changed. Even if we didn’t have a noble intention in the beginning, we still can change in the middle of it.

It’s sometimes difficult because we cheat ourselves too. The mind cheats us into thinking, “Oh! I want to serve humankind and all that.” But sometimes we serve more out of self-interest. After we check ourselves for a long while, we become more prudent in our attitude, in our thinking, in our motives. Then it becomes that we’re just selfless by nature. Even sometimes if we do it with the ego, it’s all right. Just forgive yourself. At least someone else is being served. Someone else benefits from your actions. Then it’s okay. But it is better for us, if we know that our intentions are noble so that we know we’re on the way to becoming a better being, more improved.

From “How To Make Our Motives Selfless”
News 92, Selected Questions & Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
London, UK
August 25, 1997
(originally in English)

To be the master of ourselves, to have victory over our own weaknesses,
our ego and our evil tendencies is the best victory of any war.

From News 143, Aphorisms
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Madrid, Spain
May 5, 1999
(originally in English) Videotape No. 644


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