The Eighth Sin – the Ego in Context
Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?
I would add
wrath; sloth; pride; lust; greed; gluttony; envy.
The meaning of ego that we have come to accept, is that it is somehow the “self”, or a reflection of someone who has an inflated opinion of their “self”. This term was first used in the work of Freud to suggest on “I”. This common understanding of the word became linked to narcissism, the slang use of which represents only the negative, an “…aggrandized and entitled sense of self.”
Here is a very useful quote to clarify the idea of ego in a Buddhist view:
Trungpa states that:
“When we talk about egolessness, that does not mean simply the absence of ego itself. It means the absence of the projections of the ego. Egolessness comes more or less as a by-product of seeing the transitory, transparent nature of the world outside. Once we have dealt with the projections of ego and seen their transitory and transparent nature, then the ego has no reference point, nothing to relate to. So the notions of inside and outside are interdependent—ego began and its projections began. Ego managed to maintain its identity by means of its projections. When we are able to see projections as nonsubstantial, ego becomes transparent correspondingly (Trungpa, 1978).”
Trungpa, Chogyam. Glimpses of Abhidharma. Boulder, CO: Prajna Press, 1978.
If you would like to know more do go along and read this useful article:
Slang, Freud and Buddhist Psychology:
Clarifying the Term “Ego” in Popular, Psychodynamic and Spiritual Contexts by Deborah Bowman here.
You could also go to Tricyle here for some great quotes.