Egotism is one biggest impediment in the human world; it gives rise to difficulty, to conflict, racism, sexism, discrimination, and so on. But there is a solution to this problem. We have to pay close attention to life; just see or watch it, acknowledge it, don’t react to it and let it go. If we react to it, the result will be as in the following story:
A long time ago, the Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero due to his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.
One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, "Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?" The master’s face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, "What kind of stupid question is that!?"
This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, "This, Your Excellency, is egotism".
From the story, egotism hides in all human beings. When we are careless, it springs out and harms us and others around us. So we should pay close attention to our way of life, especially when anything such as egotism, greed, hatred, illusion, jealousy arises. We should observe each of these qualities as they really are and not react to them. Just acknowledge them and let them go. If we react to them, they will turn on us and harm us. They are like fire; reacting to them is like adding fuel to the fire. It will burn everything in its path. The lesson to learn then is that we should observe these undesirable qualities as they really are and let them go.