Where is that external, permanent, absolute beauty?
It is only the way our ego mind interprets objects that makes them beautiful or ugly. You check up; it’s so simple. When you do the body-sweeping meditation—where your mind examines every part of your body—try to find the beauty. Check up: what’s beautiful? Which part are you clinging to as beautiful? Check up. Your interpretation of what’s beautiful and what’s ugly is extremely superficial. It’s just your ego’s projection but it makes you very confused. You’re confused even now. You no longer know what is good and what is bad. Really!
When you go to the bathroom you don’t stand there admiring what you’ve just deposited into the toilet bowl, do you? Similarly, when you gaze into the mirror at your beautiful body or face, when you get stuck on the aspects of yourself that your ego’s projection has deemed attractive, let your mind travel into your body from the inside of your nose all the way down, trying to determine exactly where your beauty is. You’ll find that in essence, every part of your body is identical to what you’ve just excreted. This is scientific reality, not a matter of belief. The object of beauty that you cling to seems attractive simply because of an extremely superficial judgment made by your fickle mind.
Look at the confused young women of today. They run from one man to another, to another, to another; another man, another man, another man…they experience much trouble, more trouble, trouble on top of trouble, but at the same time they’re expecting, “Maybe this is the one, maybe this is the one….” These are such superficial experiences, all mental projections painted by their egos. “Maybe this, maybe this,” with expectation; “Maybe this, maybe this, maybe this….” No satisfaction at all; always trouble.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Oh, Lama’s putting women down too much.” Men are the same; they’re so deluded. One changes his wife, superficially discriminating the new one as “Good, good, good….” Then after a while “good” turns to “bad,” so he changes again. Then good, then bad, then change; then good, then bad, then change. His judgment—good and bad, beautiful and ugly—is completely superficial and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, either inner or outer. There’s no understanding, no communication, only fear and insecurity—all because of ego and attachment.
All this comes from the mind. We’re totally preoccupied with our ego’s superficial projections and turn our backs on reality. No wonder we’re completely confused and unable to communicate properly with any living being. All this comes from our big ego.
Therefore, it is highly worthwhile to switch your mental attitude from the attachment that always says “I, I, I” to purely dedicating your life to the welfare of others, as we tried to do at the beginning of this course. Recognize that for years and years you have been building attachment but still have nothing to show for it. It’s really important to be aware of this. When you dedicate your life to others you acknowledge that true human beauty is not on the outside, not the view projected by your ego onto another person’s skin, but rather others’ inner potential. When you realize that, you will respect other sentient beings and try to help them, instead of respecting only yourself and spending all your time developing your two inner departments of ego and attachment.
Read more from Lama Yeshe’s Ego, Attachment and Liberation. This book contains the teachings and meditations Lama gave at a five-day retreat that he led near Melbourne, Australia, in March 1975. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.
Freely available from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.
Author: Lama Yeshe
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photos: All images via the author.