After Ego Death
Life of Naropa Seminar, New York, 1972
Student: In the Buddhist tradition, after the death of ego, is there any self left?
Does self exist?
Trungpa Rinpoche: That’s a very old question. You see, in order to have the continuity of something, you have to have somebody constantly watching this continuity happening. If you have ego continuing, you also have to have the observer observing that ego is continuing. This is because the whole thing is based on a mirage. If there’s no watcher, there’s no mirage. If there’s a watcher to acknowledge that the mirage exists, there will be a mirage. After enlightenment, there’s no watcher anymore; therefore the watcher’s object does not exist anymore.
Student: Does the being exist after that?
Trungpa Rinpoche: The being is self-consciousness, making sure you are there. And you don’t watch yourself being there anymore. It’s not a question of whether being exists or does not exist. If you see being as not existing, then you have to watch that, make sure that being does not exist anymore, which is continuing the being anyhow.
Student: So in other words, there is a death or an identity after ego death, and the death or ego is the death of confusion about it?
Trungpa Rinpoche:: Well, the watcher dissolves, so we cannot say yes or no either. It’s beyond remark.