how to lose the sense of self?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

how to lose the sense of self?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:03 am

hey guys.. im new to Buddhism and as far as I've known, almost all of the attachments (which leads to suffering) comes from our idea of the self or ego.. so how can i train my mind not only in meditation but in the perspective of daily thinking as i go with my everyday duties to disengage from this sense of self? i'm struggling from negative thoughts like envy, insecurity, guilt (not being good enough) and shame which i believe is the cause of my being so attached to the self idea.. what precepts / concepts can help me separate negative / positive feelings from my mind which solidifies the sense of self? :thinking:
User avatar
josephcmabad
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:42 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:06 am

Greetings josephcmabad,
My opinion is that I believe you might be trying to put the cart in-front of the horse. Though, I am sure, others will disagree.
The eradication of the defilement of conceit occurs as the result of sustained practice. Sakkyaditthi (personality-view) is eradicated with sotapatti-magga (first stage of enlightenment). To get to that stage, you will need to engage with Dhamma on a practical level by:
1. Taking refuge in triple gem
2. Engage in dana (generosity) and pariyatti (study)
3. Develop samadhi (concentration) via samatha (calm/tranquility) meditation
4. Develop panna (wisdom) via vipassana (insight) meditation.

Very many people find themselves well assisted on the path by going on a residential meditation retreat which includes most aspects of the above. Having done a residential retreat, one is then well equiped to keep the practice going in day-to-day life and to make progress on the path.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16256
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby unspoken » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:10 am

Just keep on practicing. If your meditations gone stronger, in normal daily activities you will suddenly remind yourself of the practice and you will be mindful all the time.

With insight
unspoken
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:41 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:39 am

Follow the threefold Buddhist training:
  1. Cultivate generosity (dāna) — give material things or practical help
  2. Observe morality (sīla) — undertake five precepts or eight precepts
  3. Practice mental development, (bhāvanā) — learn what the Buddha taught, develop concentration (samatha) and insight (vipassanā).
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2060
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:55 am

josephcmabad wrote:... so how can i train my mind not only in meditation but in the perspective of daily thinking as i go with my everyday duties to disengage from this sense of self?

I guess the only way for this is mindfulness. But in order to have the capacity to practice mindfulness in the right way one needs to practice/cultivate all 8 items that constitute the 8fold noble path. So the most important thing initially is to start out with confidence.

josephcmabad wrote:i'm struggling from negative thoughts like envy, insecurity, guilt (not being good enough) and shame which i believe is the cause of my being so attached to the self idea..

If one recognizes as "negative" what is "negative" and as "positive" what is "positive" then this is reason to rejoice.
Shame is only appropriate when voluntarily and consciously indulging in the "negative". Shame is inappropriate when negative habits manifest themselves as habitual thoughts as such but when there is proper attention and mindfulness. Why? It is important to recognize habits as habits to be able to renounce involvement.

kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:07 am

so i just renounce my involvement with them? how do you do that? if i renounce my involvement, does that mean these "habits" disappear from the mind? its tough cause i find them just lingering there.. causing some unpleasantness..

residential retreats doesn't come easily here in the Philippines.. thats one of my problems as a Buddhist.. can't find some support structure to help me so i gotta do with what i find.. it seems that the theravada tradition isn't known or practiced enough here..
User avatar
josephcmabad
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:42 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:15 am

josephcmabad wrote:so i just renounce my involvement with them? how do you do that? if i renounce my involvement, does that mean these "habits" disappear from the mind? its tough cause i just find them just lingering there.. causing some unpleasantness..
Highly unlikely. Unless you engage in practices, such as vipassana, which eradicate the root of the defilement, habituated reactions to sense stimuli will continue to dominate.

josephcmabad wrote:residential retreats doesn't come easily here in the Philippines.. thats one of my problems as a Buddhist.. can't find some support structure to help me so i gotta do with what i find.. it seems that the theravada tradition isn't known or practiced enough here..

My own tradition offers courses in Quezon City. http://www.ph.dhamma.org/
Alternatively, the organisations listed here: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/search.ph ... =theravada might be able to help referring you on to Theravadin monks or lay-people in or near your community who can offer you some support.
kind regards

Ben
http://www.ph.dhamma.org/
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16256
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:44 am

josephcmabad wrote:so i just renounce my involvement with them? how do you do that?

"my involvement" implies that there is someone who "controls" and "has the power" which is based on "the sense of self". But somehow we have to communicate so take this as a side note but still mindfully watch your own experience when you say things like that.


josephcmabad wrote:how do you do that?

Studying the Buddha's teaching and conceptually understanding and applying the learned in meditation.

josephcmabad wrote:if i renounce my involvement, does that mean these "habits" disappear from the mind?

Not necessarily but you get familiar with the temporary arising and temporary passing away of these habits. Impermanence. You get experienced with causes of arising and causes of passing away and are getting mindful of these. You are getting experienced with the being conditioned of these habits and the causes as well. You are getting experienced with there being no self having absolute control, no owner, no substantiality just causes and conditions.

josephcmabad wrote:its tough cause i find them just lingering there.. causing some unpleasantness..

"unpleasantness" is recognition of dukkha. When there is even no involvement in this recognition then that is a good basis.
So "disappearance from the mind" is certainly ultimately important. However a mandatory prerequsisite is "not getting involved", i.e. renunciation. However if "not getting involved" entails carelessness then this actually is "getting involved". why? Because carelessness, meaning lack of proper attention and mindfulness, fosters perpetuating habits.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:02 am

:thanks: Tmingyur

therefore I just identify their impermanence.. sort of like just watching and not acting upon, but not ignoring them?
User avatar
josephcmabad
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:42 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:16 am

josephcmabad wrote:therefore I just identify their impermanence...

Well actually not "just" although anicca is just one aspect to be recognized ... one aspect of what? Of the triad "anicca, anatta and dukkha" which are inseparable.

josephcmabad wrote:sort of like just watching and not acting upon, but not ignoring them?

In the Satipatthana Sutta it is described this way:

"In this way he remains focused internally on ... in & of themselves, or externally on ... in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on ... in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to ... , on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to ... , or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to ... . Or his mindfulness that 'There are (is) ... ' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on ... in & of themselves.


This mindfulness is extremely subtle ... really ... the subtleness reveals itself in the context of the Buddha's teachings only. Step by step. There is no fast track. But you can rely completely that this is the right way in the context of the 8fold path.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:03 pm

If you are trying to dismantle the self, it is worthwhile understanding about the Five Aggregates.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html

Know well, what you are trying to work on. The Budhha has already been there and done that ('the elephant foot similie'). So no need to reinvent the wheel. (mind the pun).

I agree with the above advice- watch it pass. We don't take our eyes off the target!

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby PeterB » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:26 pm

josephcmabad wrote:hey guys.. im new to Buddhism and as far as I've known, almost all of the attachments (which leads to suffering) comes from our idea of the self or ego.. so how can i train my mind not only in meditation but in the perspective of daily thinking as i go with my everyday duties to disengage from this sense of self? i'm struggling from negative thoughts like envy, insecurity, guilt (not being good enough) and shame which i believe is the cause of my being so attached to the self idea.. what precepts / concepts can help me separate negative / positive feelings from my mind which solidifies the sense of self? :thinking:



I think your point about solidifying the sense of self is important. Almost all attempts to undermine our sense of self are likely to solidify it.
It has to be done obliquely.

I like the Zen story of the man who was hunting a fabulous beast called the Satori.
He discovered that it lived in a certain remote region so he travelled there.
After many weeks he finally gimpsed the Satori, but it was always moving away, always behind the trees.
No matter how quietly he approached it always melted away as a soon he approached.
Years passed, and he was no nearer the Satori.
Finally, in despair he gave up his search and sat by a tree. He became aware of his breath, and simply sat, feeling the breath in his nostrils , in and out.
After a while he heard gentle footsteps and out of the corner of his eye he saw the Satori coming to investigate HIM...
PeterB
 
Posts: 3907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby Moth » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:44 pm

The sense of self arises when one clings to and thus identifies with any of the five khandhas (a.k.a the five aggregates): form, feeling, perception, mental formation, and consciousness. First study the aggregates so that you can recognize them when they arise, then develop mindfulness and notice how the "self" as we commonly understand it is nothing more than these aggregates, all of which are (1) unsatisfactory, (2) impermanent, (3) not self.

For example, if you feel "love" you may identify with that feeling, thinking "this love is mine," "I am in love," etc. If you feel anger you may identify with the feeling, thinking "this anger is mine," "I am angry." If you see yourself in the mirror you may think "this perception is mine," or "this perception is me." If you experience pleasant or unpleasant thoughts you may identify with them, thinking "these thought are mine, I am these thoughts, these thoughts are myself."

So in reality there are only these five aggregates, each of them constantly changing, never anything permanent, never anything suitable to be called "me, mine, myself." In your original post you mention suffering due to negative thoughts of envy, shame, insecurity and the like. This will take practice, but ultimately you should not identify with these thoughts because they are not yours. They are simply passing phenomena. Good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, skillful or unskillfull, all thoughts are not self and should be understood as such. Regardless how embarrassing, disturbing, painful or unpleasant your thought may be, do not cling to it, do not make it yours, just experience it--watch it arise and watch it cease. Practicing like this, you will develop awareness, dispassion, dissolution, cessation.

Imagine a tree.
If you remove the leaves is it still a tree? Yes, therefore the leaves are not the tree.
If you remove the bark is it still a tree? Yes, therefore the bark is not the tree.
If you remove the branches is it still a tree? Yes, therefore the branches are not the tree.
Thus a "tree" is nothing but a signifier we use to describe of the combination of bark, leaves, and branches. The self is the same. When there is form, feeling, perception, mental formation, and consciousness, we call it "I."


Imagine that you are not the body. Focus on the sensation of detachment. This often feels as if you are wearing a suit, or inside some kind of biological mechanism.
Now imagine that you are not that even that feeling, that that feeling is not yours, not you.
Now imagine that you are not the thoughts that are arising at this very moment, that these thoughts are not yours, not you.
Now Imagine that you are not what is being perceived at this very moment, not what is being read, not what is being seen.
Now imagine that there is nothing in this world that is you.
In this brief moment there should be no refuge for the sense self to descend into, and perhaps for a split second there may be some experience of emptiness.
Understand that all things are like this.

Suñña Sutta wrote:Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."



I hope this helps :smile:
May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering.
http://www.everythingspirals.com
User avatar
Moth
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:22 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:29 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Stress and its cessation, on the other hand, are categories that avoid these problems. To begin with, they are immediately present and apparent. Even babies recognize stress and pain, well before they have any concept of "self" or "being." If one pays close attention to one's actual experience, there is no question about whether or not stress and its cessation are present. Finally, because these categories don't require that one fashion notions of "self" or "other" — or "no-self" or "no-other" — on top of one's immediate awareness [§§228-230], they allow one to reach the mode of "entry into emptiness" on the verge of non-fashioning, in which, as we mentioned in III/H, the mind simply notes, "There is this..." Thus they are ideal categories for analyzing experience in a way that (1) reduces the confusion that causes people to act in unskillful ways and (2) brings the mind to a point where it can disengage and transcend all suffering and stress by ending the mental fabrication that provides input into the causal web.
From: Wings to Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
dhammapal
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:15 am

I like and respect Thanissaro Bhikkhu. His translation of Dukkha as " stress" however seems to me to have very few merits.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby imagemarie » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:42 am

PeterB wrote:I like and respect Thanissaro Bhikkhu. His translation of Dukkha as " stress" however seems to me to have very few merits.


As do I. It's off topic... :shrug: But what's wrong with "stress", Peter?

:anjali:
User avatar
imagemarie
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:55 am

Hi Peter,
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Stress (dukkha)
Alternative translations for dukkha include suffering, burdensomeness, and pain. However -- despite the unfortunate connotations it has picked up from programs in "stress-management" and "stress-reduction" -- the English word stress, in its basic meaning as the reaction to strain on the body or mind, has the advantage of covering much the same range as the Pali word dukkha. It applies both to physical and mental phenomena, ranging from the intense stress of acute anguish or pain to the innate burdensomeness of even the most subtle mental or physical fabrications. It also has the advantage of being universally recognized as something directly experienced in all life, and is at the same time a useful tool for cutting through the spiritual pride that keeps people attached to especially refined or sophisticated forms of suffering: once all suffering, no matter how noble or refined, is recognized as being nothing more than stress, the mind can abandon the pride that keeps it attached to that suffering, and so gain release from it. Still, in some of the verses of the Itivuttaka, stress seems too weak to convey the meaning, so in those verses I have rendered dukkha as pain, suffering, or suffering & stress.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Also check out my Yahoo Group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dukkha

With metta / dhammapal.
dhammapal
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:53 pm

Because the good Bhikkhu is mistaken. It simply does not have the same range of meanings as does dukkha.
Neither does any other translation.
Better to leave it untranslated and for those interested to internalise it, as has happened with "kamma" , "dhamma", and even "Buddha".
Sometimes we cant drag concepts into european thought forms.
Sometimes WE have to go to THEM.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:31 pm

probably 'misery' could be a better translation for 'dukkha'.
Sambodhi in Oz
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: how to lose the sense of self?

Postby josephcmabad » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:15 am

ok thanks guys.. can anyone recommend me some articles, ebooks, mp3 talks for begginers about the study of five aggregates in contrast with the approach to non-self? :thanks:
User avatar
josephcmabad
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:42 am

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chownah and 9 guests