Understanding Self

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Understanding Self

Postby Varillon » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:48 pm

I am trying to bring a lot of concepts down to my level of understanding. One of the difficult ones has been the self. Currently, I'm leaning toward this analogy: The human body is nothing more than a space suit or deep sea diving suit we must inhabit for a short time to gain experiences in a new plane. The problem comes from the human body having cravings and desires. (Perhaps hunger is a new experience for us.) In gaining experience through being human, we must overcome things, like cravings, that produce suffering, or this suffering stays attached to our spirit form. I am assuming here that we are also attached in some way to our physical bodies until human death.

So am I in the ball park, or does this need some serious refining?

Namaste
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:01 pm

Varillon wrote:I am trying to bring a lot of concepts down to my level of understanding. One of the difficult ones has been the self. Currently, I'm leaning toward this analogy: The human body is nothing more than a space suit or deep sea diving suit we must inhabit for a short time to gain experiences in a new plane. The problem comes from the human body having cravings and desires. (Perhaps hunger is a new experience for us.) In gaining experience through being human, we must overcome things, like cravings, that produce suffering, or this suffering stays attached to our spirit form. I am assuming here that we are also attached in some way to our physical bodies until human death.

So am I in the ball park, or does this need some serious refining?

Namaste




The idea of "self" or "I am" comes to be via feeling developing into craving.


For example, a brick falls on a leg. There is contact between the body, the brick and a painful feeling is produced.

If there is ignorance then there is aversion to the feeling and so "I am" is born... And so a sense of self.


All doctrines, notions/ feelings of self arise from the same process ... Contact, external object (bricks, ideas etc) and feeling combined with ignorance.


If however we are aware of feelings, we see that they are subject to change, they are painful if followed and are not-self. Then when there is a feeling, we just observe it as it is. Then "I am" or "self" is not born and all notions and doctrines of self disappear. :)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby Seiyo » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:01 pm

From my understanding, I believe that you are correct in your interpretation.

Be well...
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby JeffR » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:51 am

It needs refining. There is no "we" to be attached to our human bodies. Nor an "I" to wear the space suit. There is a train of thought (consciousness) that is associated with the other four aggregates.
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby Varillon » Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:10 am

For some reason, I didn't recall aggregates from my readings and decided to look it up. Now I get it. I was struggling with the idea of what's left when the human part dies. "I" wanted to label it when the whole idea wasn't necessary for my growth. Thanks for the help!

Namaste
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:42 am

Varillon wrote:For some reason, I didn't recall aggregates from my readings and decided to look it up. Now I get it. I was struggling with the idea of what's left when the human part dies. "I" wanted to label it when the whole idea wasn't necessary for my growth. Thanks for the help!

Namaste

That's much closer!

:meditate:
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby Derek » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:41 am

Try this 60-second explanation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATOkm47P0Y4
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Re: Understanding Self

Postby Varillon » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:30 pm

Thanks, Derek. This must be the hardest part for a lot of people. I find myself phasing in and out of understanding while reflecting. It's like consciousness is a ping pong ball, and my senses are the paddles.
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