CR_Intro - one thing of which we each are absolutely...

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From Robert Thurman, “Wisdom,” in the NHR : When apes or bulls or mountain goats snort and paw the ground and then charge head first at one another, we interpret their behavior as an “I” versus “I” contest, sometimes to the death. Similarly, the imperative issuing from our “I’ can be so adamant, so unchallengeable, that we human beings, too, will sacrifice our lives. Just think of the nature of such statements as follows, when the “I” is aligned with country, church, God, family, race, gender, or species: “I am a patriot!” “I am a Protestant!” “I am a Catholic!” “I am a Christian!” “I am a Muslim!” “I am a believer!” “I am an atheist!” “I am white!” “I am male!” “I am human!” In these situations, the “I” exercises tremendous power over us, and can often lead us to our death. The “I,” the ego-self seemingly absolutely resident in the heart of our being, is the
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Unformatted text preview: one thing of which we each are absolutely certain, which we will die for, which we will kill for, which we will obey slavishly and unquestioningly throughout our lives. We are so accustomed to our habitual sense of self that we consider even the slightest absence of it—a moment of derangement, a loss of consciousness in fainting or deep sleep, a disorienting distraction of passion or terror, a dizzying state of drunkenness or drug-intoxication, a psychological or neurological disorder—absolutely terrifying. We can’t imagine our lives without our “I” as a constant, demanding presence. What is shocking and difficult for most Westerners to accept is that the Buddha discovered that this most certain knowledge of the “self” is actually “misknowledge”—a fundamental misunderstanding, a delusion. (p. 744)...
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