“The stronger your ego, the more problems in your life,” says Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
I define expressions of ego as expressions of fear-based emotions. Think about it. Your every egoistic thought, word or action is generated by a fear-based emotion. How could it be otherwise?
A friend says something that irritates you, and you respond curtly out of insecurity (a fear-based emotion). You fear your friend doesn’t respect you enough, or you fear your friend thinks she knows better than you, or maybe you fear what she said is true. Or the insecurity has generated an attachment, resulting in anger when your friend didn’t live up to your expectations.
Let’s say your mate is late and you want to know why. Your ego demands your mate answer to you. Are you being possessive or jealous (both are fear-based emotions)?
Your neighbor purchases a new car, causing you to experience envy (a fear-based emotion). Your ego demands an equal level of prestige.
If you work to rise above your fears, you rise above ego and this wisdom erases karma. And the more patient and compassionate you are, the easier it is to evolve beyond ego ... resulting in less problems in this life and future lives.
In his book, “Virtue and Reality,” Rinpoche says, “By practicing Dharma today we also create the causes for our own happiness -- the happiness of this life, future lives, liberation and enlightenment. This is something we can do right now. Therefore, it is essential to create as much good karma as possible, while we have the chance. We should take every opportunity to create even the tiniest merit. Since we want even the smallest comfort, we have to create its cause. Similarly, since we don’t want to experience even the smallest suffering or inconvenience, we have to avoid creating even the tiniest non-virtue. As it says in the Vinaya teaching, “Dulwa lung,” ‘Small drops fill a big pot.’ Therefore, we shouldn’t think that small merits are useless. Try to collect as many as possible. It also says, ‘A tiny spark can ignite a huge forest.’ Therefore, don’t think that small negative karmas won’t bring results. Avoid them too. Here is where we must direct all our effort. This is the Buddha’s fundamental advice.