Tanha = ego?

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    • #34071
      lodonyo
      Participant

      My question here is:
      1. if I think of tanha as the ego, will this lead to good fruits? Is it useful?

      Here’s my case.

      Story: I was at a mahayana dharma event for maitripa institute in Oregon, US. I was very humbled yet conceited in my thinking. A dharma woman there and I had this exchange:
      me: i’m Gabriel
      teacher: that’s a big name to live up to
      me: i’m in training i guess
      teacher: yeah, for the REST OF YOUR LIFE

      For months and years afterwards I remember the “cutting” feeling her words had on me. I analyzed whenever I could get the chance. Why did I feel pain when she said that? This was about 5 years ago or so now. I now believe this “pain” feeling I had was my ego.

      The idea of my life not really being worthy; the idea of “my life” in general; and also the idea that what I wanted, this kind of “heavenly bhava” wouldn’t be fulfilled…was emotionally painful and disturbing to me. This is all because of the “ego” that I had. Some idea of “mine” or some kind of bhava tanha.

      Recently in the studies I’ve come across this image: https://sacbc.org/docs/Structure%20of%20Buddhism.pdf. It basically labels tanha as “self-grasping(tibetan phrase” or simply the ego.

      If I replace Tanha in paticca samupada cycle with “ego”, it makes a lot of sense. After vedana, if I DON’T have an ego, there is a kind of peace or equanimity. After experiencing a pain or pleasure or even neutral, and there IS an ego, I start wanting something and going after something and planning for that thing.

      Also this would mean that our ignorance of how the world actually exists, is the reason our ego is generated. If we’re ignorant, after (abhi)sankharas are produced, we experience ego. If we’re wise, after (non-abhi)sankharas are produced, we experience subtle peace.

      Am I on the mark at all? Because if I am, all the “kill your ego” spiritual talk makes a lot more sense now. I know a lot of teachings aren’t incomplete or corrupt but it at least puts the western concept of “ego” into context within the buddha dharma and that’s what I want to do.

      Regardless of the western concepts, if i’m on the mark about this, it’s entirely possible to be aware my ego/tanha and thus attempt to come back to dharma and (indirectly)start kusala cycles instead.

    • #34074
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Tanha in not ego.
      – I think that teacher was unkind. There should not be any significance attached to one’s name. You had nothing to do with you being named Gabriel.
      – It is sad to see that many Dhamma teachers (even Theravada) have not grasped Buddha’s teachings.

      Tanha arises with cravings for worldly things. Greed is the first manifestation.
      – When one does not get what one desires, greed turns to anger.
      – Therefore, tanha involves both greed and hate/anger.

      Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance

      The Pāli word for ego is “māna.”
      – It is reduced in stages and is completely removed ONLY at the Arahant stage.
      – At a deeper level ego is the view of “me” and “mine.”
      – The first stage of REDUCTION is at that Sotapanna stage with the removal of sakkaya ditthi;

      Sakkāya Diṭṭhi – Wrong View of “Me” and “Mine”

    • #34092
      TripleGemStudent
      Participant

      Would ego be in the vinnana? While avija is the fuel or cause of ego.

      One of the reasons why I say this is because Vinnana is taught as “our future expectations and hopes we have for this world”. We have these expectations and hopes because of avija. Having expectations, hopes, etc . . . as long as one thinks this way, to me it seems like one will always have the view of a “self” or ego in this thinking process.

      As well, at Arahant stage, one gain’s Samma Nana, to me Samma nana is the key to remove avija and mana. An Arahant would still have vinnana until death of the body, but they would no longer be fooled by the vinnana and avija. They would truly see this world as it is.

    • #34093
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes. Ego and all other defilements are in vinnana.
      However, we need to differentiate between vipaka vinnana and kamma vinnana.
      – We experience the world with Vipaka vinnana. They are of six types: Cakkhu, sota, ghana, jivha, kaya, and mano vinnana. Even an Arahant experiences the world and has those vinnana.
      – A kamma vinnana is a mano vinnana that arises via “avijja paccaya sankhara” and “sankhara paccaya vinnana.”

      That kamma vinnana is purified as one cultivates the Path.
      – Lobha, dosa, moha are gradually removed as one cultivates Panna (wisdom). Dasa samyojana (including sakkaya ditthi, mana, etc) are removed with stages of magga phala. All those can ONLY be removed via Panna.
      – However, moral conduct (sila) is NECESSARY to be able to comprehend the Noble Truths and to cultivate Panna.

      Thus, an Arahant WILL NOT generate kamma vinnana via “avijja paccaya sankhara.” But he/she would still have the vipaka vinnana, i.e., is able to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, and think.

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