Great Construction

Ego and Attachment

     When we observe individuals in society, among the characteristics that all possess, much like siblings, are those of ego and attachment. When we take note of all the tangled, complex problems that cannot be easily resolved, we discover that there are hardly any that have nothing to do with ego and attachment. For example, politicians have attachment to their positions, so instead of choosing the best time for resigning from their posts, time passes, and they end up in situations as if they had been discarded by the roadside, which is due to ego and attachment. Businessmen are attached to money, and because they are attached to profit, rather they earn the dislike of those with whom they deal, thus losing harmonious cooperation in negotiations. It is often the case that such businessmen seem to profit for a while, but in the long run, their business becomes unprofitable. In relations between the sexes as well, a side with undue attachment is disliked. There are often examples where the side whose attachments are overly strong causes problems. In other instances, all should nod in agreement when they look back on their own experiences that were due to ego. They may have made others suffer which bought suffering upon themselves or may have become the cause of conflict.
     In this sense, the main goal of faith is the removal of ego and attachment. Once I understood this, I made it a point to make every effort to rid myself of ego and attachment. The most important result of these efforts has been that the suffering in my own heart has been lifted, and that I have good results in my matters and affairs. The words of a certain teaching, “do not worry about worry unnecessarily or about the past,” are very apt.
     Thus, the greatest goal of training in the spiritual world is removing attachment. As attachments are removed, one’s position in the spiritual world rises. In this regard is the following. In the spiritual world, there are hardly any instances where husband and wife usually live together. That is because the spiritual positions of the husband and that of the wife differ, so the living together of husband and wife is something permitted only to those who have achieved the position of dwelling at the levels of heaven. There are those who have both achieved a certain level in their training who are permitted to be together, but they can be together only for a temporary period. To meet, permission is asked of the supervising deity of that level of the spiritual world, and even when husband and wife do actually meet, they are not permitted to embrace no matter how much they may be yearning to do so. In the spiritual world, when even a small amount of negative intention arises, the spiritual bodies harden and control is lost. To such extent is attachment not permitted. Therefore, as attachment is removed through training in the spiritual world, one’s position rises. As one’s position rises, casual meetings become more easily possible, so how the situation in the spiritual world differs from that of the physical world can be imagined. I have already mentioned how frightening attachment is because the personification of attachment becomes the spirit of the snake. When the human spirit becomes a snake spirit, the part of the feet gradually move upward, and, as a sizable amount of time passes, the spirit becomes a snake. I have had the experience in the past of treating an individual whose head was that of a human being but whose body was that of a snake, which was because the individual’s spirit had halfway become a snake.
     Therefore, when speaking of the benefits of practicing faith, tenaciously trying to persuade others may seem to be a form of enthusiasm, but the results will not be good. Such efforts become a way of forcing faith on others which is a blasphemy of the divine. When recommending your faith to others, it is quite permissible to continue speaking if it appears that the interest of the listener has been aroused, but when there is no interest, you should stop your approach, and wait until another opportunity arises.

Essays on Faith, page 85, September 5, 1948
translated by cynndd

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This essay has appeared previously in translation. The citations are given below for reference.

    “Ego and Extreme Attachment,” Foundation of Paradise, 1984, page 330.

    “Freedom from Ego-centeredness and Over-attachment,” Reaching for Faith,  2010, page 56.

    “Obstinacy and Obsession,” Meishu and His Teachings, no date, page 77.

    “Egotism and Worldly Attachment,” A Hundred Teachings of Meishusama, no date, page 149.