The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedPhra Sasanasobhon (ed.)
Title QuotedHis Majesty King Rama the fourth Mongkut
Date (Year/Month/Day)1968/11/03
ImprintBangkok : [s.n.]. 1968
QuotationSankaracharya on the ego (from The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination): "When we say: ‘This man is that same Devadatta whom I have previously met,' we establish a person's identity by disregarding those attributes superimposed upon him by the circumstances of our former meeting. In just the same way, when we consider the scriptural teaching ‘That art Thou,' we must disregard those attributes which have been superimposed upon ‘That' and ‘Thou"¦.' "Cease to follow the way of the world, cease to follow the way of the flesh, cease to follow the way of tradition. Get rid of this false identification and know the true Atman"¦. "Cease to identify yourself with race, clan, name, form and walk of life. These belong to the body, the garment of decay. Abandon, also, the idea that you are the doer of actions or the thinker of thoughts. These belong to the ego, the subtle covering. Realize that you are that Being which is eternal happiness. "Man's life of bondage to the world of birth and death has many causes. The root of them all is the ego, the first-begotten child of ignorance. "As long as a man identifies himself with this wicked ego, there can be no possibility of liberation. For liberation is its very opposite. "Once freed from this eclipsing demon of an ego, man regains his true nature, just as the moon shines forth when freed from the darkness of an eclipse. He becomes pure, infinite, eternally blissful and self-luminous." (Sankaracharya, pp. 86, 91, 96)
JournalThe Other Side of the Mountain: The End of the Journey. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 7, 1967-1968.; Edited by Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1998, p. 248-49
Link to Merton's Copy