Buddha spoke not in just one country or one era but wherever people
with Bodhisattva motivation followed him. The categories of sect and
scholar can not limit the qualities of that voice." - Legdan
Egotism is Death
We live in a world.… in which some people believe, truly believe, that a world without selfishness is a world without emotion.
That isn't a very enlightened point of view.
I have heard this claim about a “cold and distant” aspect of Buddhism expressed in various places over the 25 years that I’ve been a Buddhist but I just let it go.
And it wasn't until I tried to imagine going through the steps of recognition that the Buddha went to himself that I realized this was a key to the antagonism worldly points of view have against Buddhism. Another way to say it, crudely is, they think that Buddhism is “having your balls cut off” or going around as a self castrated man or woman. Talk about ego clinging! Talk about people with big guns feeling threatened!
And that is part of the world being upside down.
Remember the Buddha begin by realizing that thousands of years of religious and philosophical thinking hadn't changed the way people carried on their business in the world. All the wretched suffering and struggling and cruelty and inhumanity still prove to be the fast-food burger diet that everybody lived on. And the process kept gaining momentum like an avalanche. Here our the world of global warming and exhaustion of natural resources and increasing capacities to industrial war, the culmination is global death. I would think it would be just as reasonable to say that “egotism is death”.
If things that lasted thousands of years like religions and philosophies did nothing at all, were in fact ghosts in the machine. And if things like empires came and went over the course of a few hundred years it best. And even if the greatest kings established family lines but usually lasted only about three generations or 100 years. Well then you can see that the bigger and the more famous the social behemoth the less time it lasts. The more important something says it is here now, the faster the universe proves it is a hollow boast.
And the so if the shortest lived biggest in fame and the power to oppress is the King, and the king dwells on top of the royal bloodline, and the royal bloodline dwells on top of the Empire, and the Empire dwells on top of a philosophy that a philosophy dwells on top of a religion, what is the foundational establishment that ladies in the background of all of these, and of course it is the family.
And it is also true that as you go down from the top of the pyramid to the base you have an increase in the actual perceived virtue. Everybody at the heart knows a king is a self aggrandizement of selfishness and lies, but the family really does have an immortal value of cooperation and altruism.
There is a reason that we imagine our gods to be great parents in the sky above the top of the pyramid where the royal family lives.
So the Buddha realized that like the wandering nomads in the wilderness of India 2400 years ago the way to overthrow the way of the world begins with kicking yourself out of the nest.
And his new family, the Sangha, was based on a universalized altruism resulting in a global sense of obligation and cooperation and altruism based on compassion for the suffering of those who were going on the wrong road from the beginning.
We realize in Equanimity the equalness of the way all human beings, Kings or paupers, are flies caught in the web of futility, aging, illness and death. Seeing the passion with which we pursue bewildered actions with predictable miserable results our hearts swell with Compassion. We Love others, which means we want the same good things for them that we want for ourselves. And we Rejoice when others receive those good things.
These are 4 very powerful good emotions we Buddhists have, thank you. (at least aspire to have).
The Buddha when asked what he was said
“I am awake”.