Ego = Ignorance
According to the nondual teaching, suffering is the result of ego, and ego is itself ignorance.
And what is this fictitious entity called “an ego”? One simple way to define an ego is to say, with Wei Wu Wei, that the I mistakenly identifies itself with some object. (This is akin to Ramana’s account of egoity in terms of “I am this.”) Notice that the question was: “And what is an ego?” The indefinite article is key because there are a number of illusory beliefs, each of which is concerned with an ego.
And what are some basic mistaken identifications?
- I am the body.
- Specifically: I am the enjoyer of pleasures and avoider of pains. Also, I am the doer behind deeds.
- I am the senses.
- Specifically: I am the separate entity involved in, yet also behind, the act of seeing, hearing, touching, etc.
- I am the mind.
- Specifically: I am the thinker of thoughts and the feeler of feelings.
- I am any samskara.
Following the Way of Detachment, one understands that the I is separate from the body, senses, mind, and samskaras.
One easy way of disidentifying with the body, senses, mind, and samskaras is to take your stand–and to abide more firmly so–as the witness. This does two things at once:
- First, it removes ignorance, and the removal of ignorance just is knowledge.
- Second, it dissolves suffering since, again, suffering is due to ignorance.