The core belief in the solid permanent self we think we are creates enormous suffering.
Once this belief is in place as ‘real’ a whole array of tasks spreads out before us. Our most pressing job is to make the self feel important, to enlarge the domain of the self, to chase after whatever the self demands, to control, avoid, and remove whatever the self dislikes or fears.
It does not seem possible to refuse these emotional commitments we have made to the self. As a consequence, karma and klesa fill and shape our lives.
This situation is not the result of someone’s personal fault or idiosyncrasy.
It is simply the way of samsaric identity founded on ignorance.
Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Milking the Painted Cow