kidd wrote:The ‘ego’ is an intellectualization of the experience of self-awareness; the ‘I’, the ‘self’ exists only in our minds; our notions of superiority and inferiority are figments of our imagination; we are, each and every one, simply, completely, and only, human beings; none of us is any more than this, none of us is any less. We spend our lives telling ourselves it is otherwise, wasting precious time and energy we could be spending seeing and enjoying the truth.
Let me respond to this a bit more detail. “Ego,” though I am not sure what you exactly mean by it, would be a subset of what we might simply call self. “Intellectualization of the experience of self-awareness” suggests that it is something thought out, but self, the sense of “I am,” precedes thinking. You are quite correct that the self “exists” in our minds. Where else would it be?Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them.
SN III 46.
figments of our imagination
In a sense, yes, which means, of course, that “notions of superiority and inferiority” are interdependently arisen factors of our experience.
we are, each and every one, simply, completely, and only, human beings; none of us is any more than this, none of us is any less.
Sure, and part of the experience is the sense of self and ego. It has an evolutionary function that to some degree ensures our survival.
The important point is that until we are awakened, we have to deal with our “self.” There is no point in pretending that we do not have this experience of self:
PTS: Dhp 157-166
Attavagga: The Self
translated from the Pali by
157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.
158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.
159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.
160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
161. The evil a witless man does by himself, born of himself and produced by himself, grinds him as a diamond grinds a hard gem.
162. Just as a single creeper strangles the tree on which it grows, even so, a man who is exceedingly depraved harms himself as only an enemy might wish.
163. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial.
164. Whoever, on account of perverted views, scorns the Teaching of the Perfected Ones, the Noble and Righteous Ones — that fool, like the bamboo, produces fruits only for self destruction.
165. By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depended on oneself; no one can purify another.
166. Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
It is within this “self” that is the basis for awakening.