...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

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reflection
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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:52 am

hgg wrote:There was a double negation but with the first substitution its much better.
The word suffering (Dukkha) is more appropriate. That was the easy part. Now,

What is suffering, that is not self.
(what is suffering, that is the negation of a self)

Do you really understand the above sentence?
I don't.

The only alternative that makes sense to me is the following:
-suffering is the illusory self-

Don't try to understand the sentence, but try to see what it is pointing to. If you want to know, you have to investigate what you take to be 'you' on a deep level beyond thoughts. Investigate attachments, the aggregates, meditate, walk the path. You are still at the level of intellect for which we've warned you multiple times won't cut it. It's like fishing in the desert. And the Buddha said the same thing. His path is not an intellectual challenge. The insights that make you understand these sentences in their context won't arise this way.

I hope you understand this is not to put you off, but that I say it to help you see that the way you are approaching things now is not fruitful. Even if you get close, no sigar.

But for what it's worth: What is suffering (aka the aggregates), that is not a self (aka that is not 'you' or 'yours'). You shouldn't read it as "suffering is not a self" (although that is also true).

:anjali:

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby hgg » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:08 pm

Thank you for your help.
hgg2014.

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:16 pm

I'm happy to, and hope it helps you. Again, not judging you in any way. I think a lot of practitioners (mainly Western ones) at some time have to see the limited scope of intellectual pursuit. I know I did. But the teachings only make sense if you put them into context of the entire 8-fold path. The practices of meditation and virtue are there for a reason.

:anjali:

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:30 pm

OP,

Keep in mind the three universal truths:
Life is suffering (dukkha), temporary (anicca) and not self (anatta).

The sequence that ignorance typically follows is resistance to these truths:
first to the temporal state, attempting to make permanent all pleasant experiences.

The Buddha thus stated that anything that is temporary is unsatisfactory as it will require a longing for it after it ceases or during unpleasant experiences a dual state of aversion of "this" and a longing for "otherwise". Vice versa. It is because we know pain that we are addicted to pleasure.

Establishing:
Anything that is temporary is unsatisfying.

Ignorance associates an identity to "pleasant" states, thus "I am this", however since the point has already been established regarding the temporary and dissatisfaction, we are left with "I am not this", which is the common ignorant association of "unpleasant" states. It then follows that because these states are all fluxes (temporary) they are unsatisfactory and are not self.

Establishing:
Anything that is unsatisfying is not self.

"One should discern it as it really is through perfect wisdom" is a very important follow up statement to these thing as seeing things as they are is the practice that results in insight of the truth within regarding annica, anatta, and dukkha.

In the end, how the Buddha got from point "a to b" is the conversation was regarding the three universal truths.

P.S.
I suppose it would possible if there was permanence there could be a self and thus happiness remains, however this is exactly how ignorance is defined in Buddhism.

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:47 am

I think the Buddha's interpretation of what is "self" equates to the meaning of some entity being omnipotent.

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby TroyAsher » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:51 am

hgg wrote:Hello to all,

"Material form monks, is impermanent. Whatever is impermanent, that is unsatisfactory.
What is unsatisfactory, that is not self. What is not self, should be regarded, 'This is not
mine, I am not this, this is not my self.' One should discern it as it really is through perfect
wisdom." - S.iii.21


... but the statement "What is unsatisfactory, that is not self", that I cannot understand. Does it mean that if there was a self, then that would be satisfactory, or, if there was something satisfactory, then that could be self ? How can he go from a to b, meaning that anything that is unsatisfactory, that is not self? Is there any logical or empirical explanation to reach that conclusion ?


Hi George,
That is how I interpret it; If there was a self, it would be satisfactory.

Unfortunately whatever is impermanent is unsatisfactory and therefore not-self and this includes rupa (material form) and the other aggregates.

This talk might help:

http://archive.org/details/DeanHayson-T ... atIsReborn

When we "see things as they really are" we understand that all "things" are just impersonal processes, including an impersonal process which is often mistaken as atta (self).

Regards,

Troy

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:04 pm

reflection wrote:Hi,

If there was a self, there would be self control. With self control there would be the creation of something satisfying. Who would with self control choose to suffer? For an example, who would choose for his or her body to get sick? Who chooses to become sad or depressed? Nobody would. But it still happens because it is not under our control. We can't choose our body (form), our perceptions, thoughts, etc.


Why can't external conditions, other people, etc, limit control?
"dust to dust...."

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:10 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I think the Buddha's interpretation of what is "self" equates to the meaning of some entity being omnipotent.



Buddha spoke about anatta (not-atta). What Atta meant for Hindus living in 5th century BC India is important to be clear about. The sort of arguments that seem to refute Atta seem to suggest that even Christian soul would not be considered an Atta. So much less an empiric "self" which the Buddha didn't deny in Attakārī sutta or Bhāra Sutta.
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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:27 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I think the Buddha's interpretation of what is "self" equates to the meaning of some entity being omnipotent.

What did you see that gave you this idea?
chownah

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:52 pm

Alex123 wrote:
reflection wrote:Hi,

If there was a self, there would be self control. With self control there would be the creation of something satisfying. Who would with self control choose to suffer? For an example, who would choose for his or her body to get sick? Who chooses to become sad or depressed? Nobody would. But it still happens because it is not under our control. We can't choose our body (form), our perceptions, thoughts, etc.


Why can't external conditions, other people, etc, limit control?

Well, where does external stop and internal begin? There is many ways you can look at things like this. The interplay of anatta, anicca and dukkha is on various levels. What I mean here is there is no intrinsic self control. Because there is no "self", it can't actively change thoughts, perceptions etc. All activities we think we are (this I do, this I control, etc) are just processes doing their own thing.

Many people who have never meditated for example, have the illusion they can control their thoughts. What a big surprise when you sit down and the thoughts do whatever they like. It's like this, but then applied to everything.

:anjali:

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:29 pm

reflection wrote:Well, where does external stop and internal begin? There is many ways you can look at things like this. The interplay of anatta, anicca and dukkha is on various levels. What I mean here is there is no intrinsic self control. Because there is no "self", it can't actively change thoughts, perceptions etc. All activities we think we are (this I do, this I control, etc) are just processes doing their own thing.

Many people who have never meditated for example, have the illusion they can control their thoughts. What a big surprise when you sit down and the thoughts do whatever they like. It's like this, but then applied to everything.

That's not how the Buddha described the practice or the results of the practice. I think you've described a far too passive perspective, one that doesn't have anything to do with the anatta teachings. They are never framed in terms of "there is no self, therefore...."
"There is the case where evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — arise in a monk while he is referring to and attending to a particular theme. He should attend to another theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful. When he is attending to this other theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful, then those evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — are abandoned and subside. With their abandoning, he steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it, and concentrates it.

... steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it and concentrates it: He is then called a monk with mastery over the ways of thought sequences. He thinks whatever thought he wants to, and doesn't think whatever thought he doesn't.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:45 pm

reflection wrote:Well, where does external stop and internal begin?


It depends what precisely we divide into internal/external.

You are internal to yourself, and external to Alex. I am external to you, but internal to me.


reflection wrote:Many people who have never meditated for example, have the illusion they can control their thoughts. What a big surprise when you sit down and the thoughts do whatever they like. It's like this, but then applied to everything.
:anjali:


Some thoughts that appear in your head can be conditioned by to other people, things you've read or seen, events, etc.

Decide to turn your head to the left, right, up or down and then turn it. There you go, some form of control is there.
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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:24 pm

Alex123 wrote:
reflection wrote:Well, where does external stop and internal begin?



Some thoughts that appear in your head can be conditioned by to other people, things you've read or seen, events, etc.

Decide to turn your head to the left, right, up or down and then turn it. There you go, some form of control is there.

Actions like turning a head can happen without any self "control room" initiating it. This is clear to me after peaceful meditation when I let go of control totally. I can see how all actions happen by themselves and the will that makes the "decision" comes later, if it does come.

Modern scientific research also shows that movements are not under free choice, even if people think they made a free choice. This is the Libett experiment. The initiation for the movement starts before people make the choice, which thus is not a free choice, but already conditioned in the brain. In this case hand movements are most commonly measured, but the principle is the same if it were measured for head movements.

:anjali:

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:40 pm

reflection wrote:Actions like turning a head can happen without any self "control room" initiating it. This is clear to me after peaceful meditation when I let go of control totally. I can see how all actions happen by themselves and the will that makes the "decision" comes later, if it does come.

You are not discerning the initiation of action.
“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:14 pm

kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:Actions like turning a head can happen without any self "control room" initiating it. This is clear to me after peaceful meditation when I let go of control totally. I can see how all actions happen by themselves and the will that makes the "decision" comes later, if it does come.

You are not discerning the initiation of action.
“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html


To me this sutta just goes against the view of there being no initiative, no beings making a decision. But there is an initiative, and beings do make a decision - however these are not free or made by a central controller.

(It is getting quite off topic though. )

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:44 pm

reflection wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:Actions like turning a head can happen without any self "control room" initiating it. This is clear to me after peaceful meditation when I let go of control totally. I can see how all actions happen by themselves and the will that makes the "decision" comes later, if it does come.

You are not discerning the initiation of action.
“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html


To me this sutta just goes against the view of there being no initiative, no beings making a decision. But there is an initiative, and beings do make a decision - however these are not free or made by a central controller.


But where did the Buddha refute existence of beings?
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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:04 pm

reflection wrote:To me this sutta just goes against the view of there being no initiative, no beings making a decision. But there is an initiative, and beings do make a decision - however these are not free or made by a central controller.

So you agree about initiative and beings do make a decision... but you still think "all actions happen by themselves" ? That doesn't add up.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:39 pm

Alex123 wrote:
But where did the Buddha refute existence of beings?

He didn't and neither do I. I'm refusing a self - ie a core "me" that makes the decision.

:anjali:
Last edited by reflection on Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:42 pm

kirk5a wrote:
reflection wrote:To me this sutta just goes against the view of there being no initiative, no beings making a decision. But there is an initiative, and beings do make a decision - however these are not free or made by a central controller.

So you agree about initiative and beings do make a decision... but you still think "all actions happen by themselves" ? That doesn't add up.

On first glance it doesn't add up. But the it does if you see that beings are processes and not things. In other words, no "thing" decides. Instead, decisions or initiatives are the outcome of a process. In other words, the entire process happens by itself without a free will to initiate it. The initiation or decision is part of the process, but needs no self - no central "I". And the thought construct that feels "I made that choice" is what happens later. That is the delusion the mind usually upholds and that makes people feel they have control or free will. So part of enlightenment is getting beyond this "I am in control"-thought.

And to get back on topic: because we don't have this control, we certainly also don't have control to turn the unsatisfying into the satisfying.

:anjali:

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Re: ...what is unsatisfactory, that is not self...

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:51 pm

reflection wrote:On first glance it doesn't add up. But the it does if you see that beings are processes and not things. In other words, no "thing" decides. Instead, decisions or initiatives are the outcome of a process. In other words, the entire process happens by itself without a free will to initiate it. The initiation or decision is part of the process, but needs no self - no central "I". And the thought construct that feels "I made that choice" is what happens later. That is the delusion the mind usually upholds and that makes people feel they have control or free will.

And to get back on topic: because we don't have this control, we certainly also don't have control to turn the unsatisfying into the satisfying.

I've already shown that the path the Buddha taught does involve developing a high degree of self-control. Your philosophical interpretations are not found in the suttas.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230


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