"Q: How does one decide in oneself whether ego is ignorance or wisdom?
"A: It is not really a question of deciding. It is simply that one sees in that way. You see, basically there is no solid substance, although we talk about ego existing as a solid thing having various aspects. But in fact it merely lives through time as a continual process of creation. It is continually dying and being reborn all the time.
"Therefore ego doesn't really exist. But ego also acts as a kind of wisdom: when ego dies, that is wisdom itself, and when ego is first formulated that is the beginning of ignorance itself. So wisdom and ego are not really separate at all. It seems rather difficult to define, and in a way one would be happier if there was a clear-cut black and white, but somehow that is not the natural pattern of existence. There is not clear-cut black and white at all, and all things are interdependent.
"Darkness is an aspect of light, and light is an aspect of darkness, so one really can't condemn one side and build up everything on the other. It is left entirely up to the individual to find his [ or her ] own way, and it is possible to do so.
"It is the same for a dog who has never swum - if he was suddenly thrown in the water he could swim. Similarly, we have a kind of spiritual instinct in us and if we are willing to open ourselves then somehow we find our way directly. It is only a question of opening up and one doesn't have a clear cut definition at all."
- Chogyam Trungpa and a friend.