seanpdx wrote:I don't believe we cling to a self because we see it as a solid thing. We can just as easily cling to things that are not "solid things" (i.e., cling to processes that have no inherent "thing-ness" even in a "mundane" sense). We cling (upadana) because we crave (tanha). It revolves around delight (nandi).
Well, you started to go down the chain of events in D.O., so let's keep going. We cling, because we crave, because we feel, etc. on down to ignorance (which loops with the tains). Ignorance means ignorance of the four noble truths. It means not seeing things as they are - that is, as transient, as notself, as unsatisfactory.
Actually, I wasn't going down the chain of DO! Although in hindsight, I can see the connection. Woops. =) Actually, I had three specific things in mind: The first noble truth (referencing upadana), the second noble truth (referencing tanha), and a couple suttas from the suttanipata (referencing nandi). I'm not really prepared for an in-depth discussion of DO, though. It's on my long list of things to investigate much more deeply (not from an orthodox perspective -- I already know the orthodox perspective). But it's not near the top of that list.
One does not cling to the flavour of ice cream because one sees the flavour of ice cream as a "solid thing". One clings to it because one takes delight in it (or wants to).
I'd argue that there's still some ignorance of the transient nature of that pleasure there. It's as if on some level we don't realize that the ice cream doesn't bring lasting happiness. The Dharma is pointing to finding a lasting happiness that doesn't depend on transient things. It seems that in order to cling to anything we have to have some perception of solidity.
Oh, no question about the ignorance of the transient nature. I think part of the problem is not seeing that things are, in fact, transient, and yet at the same time part of the problem with clinging is that, perhaps subconsciously, we know that things are transient and yet WANT so badly for them to not be transient (ie, maybe if we can just cling HARD enough... they'll stop being transient!). Ahh, we're such silly humans. =D
But I don't think that the perception of solidity must necessarily be based on a perception of a solid "self". To be sure, much suffering is caused by not accepting the transient nature of the components of our selves (e.g., those who suffer because their body -- form -- ages, against their desire to stay youthful). I simply don't believe that _all_ of our suffering is contingent upon the perception of a solid "self".
Likewise, one does not cling to a self because one sees the self as a "solid thing". One clings to it because one takes delight in it (or wants to).
The conclusion from this would be that one who sees the self as it really is - anicca, anatta, dukkha, would still cling to it. Is that possible?
I think it may very well be possible. I think that, perhaps, if one truly sees the self as dukkha, it may be less possible (if not impossible?) to cling to the self. But even then, I'm not entirely certain.
This is, sort of, the underlying foundation of my spiritual turmoil. Knowing full well that what I want (I'll leave it as an unknown object at this point) is not permanent, will not bring lasting happiness, and will in fact cause moments of suffering... do I abandon its pursuit? The only thing I've ever truly wanted in life? In order to fully renounce the world and put an end to my suffering once and for all?
Of course, in this particular case, it's not quite a "self" to which I cling, but the example still holds true for clinging to a self.
I think the whole self/not-self/no-self/etc thing has been blown waaaay out of proportion.
I disagree, seeing as it's right there in the first noble truth. However I might say that a) I think it often degrades into a discussion of ontology and b) it may be more important to focus on things like kamma, sila, etc. before one really can have a chance of grasping the antta teaching.
Ummm... This is the first noble truth, from the dhammacakkappavattana sutta. No mention of attā or anattā.
"Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ – jātipi dukkhā, jarāpi dukkhā, byādhipi dukkho, maraṇampi dukkhaṃ, appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ – saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā"
I definitely agree that it often degrades into meaningless ontological discussions, though. Ugh. That, actually, is one of the reasons why I think it's been blown way out of proportion. =D