Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

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Goofaholix
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:02 pm

TheNaturalMind wrote:I have been studying Theravada for about 8 months now, so maybe I should attribute my diminishing sense of personal self to it, but at this stage I have a strange sensation that there is a more direct way. Though I am very interested in the opinions of more experienced practitioners.


I think self view is probably the last delusion that falls away before enlightenment.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:19 pm

Akuma wrote:
Everyday existence already presumes an "I" The point of this kind of practice is to focus on this illusion to expose it for what it is. The first thing you find out when doing this kind of self inquiry practice is that this "I" you have been taking for granted all your life is nowhere to be found.


The meditation is colored by expectation and has different aims. In Advaita you expect "who" to be the true self and look for this. When you talk of huatou your expectation on the other hand side is already colored by you reading about it and expecting the opposite, namely not to find a self at all, which also explains why its the "first thing" you notice, while f.e. in the Buddhas times ppl (possibly way more skilled in meditation than we are) took all sorts of realisations for the true thing while only the Buddha realized No-Self.
If you dont have expectation then in my opinion if you ask "who" you expect a "who". More applicable would probably to ask "where", but youd probably still expect a positive answer slightly more because of that way of asking. In Theravada at least I dont know of a technique like this being applied tho.



I think you may be misunderstanding the nature of this kind of inquiry. Its not about confirming any particular expectation, but questioning all of them. If that werent the case, it wouldnt be inquiry, it would be some sort of prayer or mantra. For example, speaking from my own experience to date with the kind of self inquiry involved in chan practice, you would be just as disappointed with the expectation of self as with the expectation of no self. The point is to transcend expectation of any kind and to subject even the most basic and fundemental expectations of self and reality, including the identity and existence of the questioner, to the most sincere and honest examination possible. Give it a try :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby cooran » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:27 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
TheNaturalMind wrote:I have been studying Theravada for about 8 months now, so maybe I should attribute my diminishing sense of personal self to it, but at this stage I have a strange sensation that there is a more direct way. Though I am very interested in the opinions of more experienced practitioners.


I think self view is probably the last delusion that falls away before enlightenment.

Hello Goof,

'Personality View' is the one of the first to fall away - on becoming a Sotapanna.

Here is the progression, as one begins and progresses on the Path to Nibbana:

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyacht.htm
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyas4.htm

with metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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ground
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby ground » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:09 pm

TheNaturalMind wrote:It seems that once you see through the false I, everything else would naturally fall into place. The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging - the realization of all of these things seem to be obstructed by ignorance that gives rise to the false self. Once one realizes the true nature of self, what else is there to be done?


"the true nature of self" is that "self" is a thought,
the "I" is a thought.
"The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging" are thoughts.

Now are these all "just thought" or is there a difference between some of these being "just thought" and other being "thought"?

Kind regards

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby TheNaturalMind » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:46 pm

TMingyur wrote:
TheNaturalMind wrote:It seems that once you see through the false I, everything else would naturally fall into place. The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging - the realization of all of these things seem to be obstructed by ignorance that gives rise to the false self. Once one realizes the true nature of self, what else is there to be done?


"the true nature of self" is that "self" is a thought,
the "I" is a thought.
"The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging" are thoughts.

Now are these all "just thought" or is there a difference between some of these being "just thought" and other being "thought"?

Kind regards
I think I understand you. Are you saying there's a difference between something being a mere thought, and something being a thought? Can you elaborate?

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:16 pm

cooran wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
TheNaturalMind wrote:I have been studying Theravada for about 8 months now, so maybe I should attribute my diminishing sense of personal self to it, but at this stage I have a strange sensation that there is a more direct way. Though I am very interested in the opinions of more experienced practitioners.


I think self view is probably the last delusion that falls away before enlightenment.

Hello Goof,

'Personality View' is the one of the first to fall away - on becoming a Sotapanna.

Here is the progression, as one begins and progresses on the Path to Nibbana:

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyacht.htm
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyas4.htm

with metta,
Chris


Hi Chris

A sotapanna has abandoned personality view but still retains a subtle form of conceit, Asmi-mana, the I-conceit and this is only fully abandoned with attainment of Arahatship.

Asmi-mana

Asmi-māna: lit.: 'I am'-conceit, 'ego-conceit', may range from the coarsest pride and self-assertion to a subtle feeling of one's distinctiveness or superiority that persists, as the 8th fetter samyojana, until the attainment of Arahantship or Nobility.

It falsely assumes an entity 'I' the be real and existent. It is based upon the comparison of oneself with others, and may, therefore, manifest itself also as a feeling of inferiority or the claim to be equal see: māna. It has to be distinguished from 'ego-belief' sakkāya-ditthi which implies a definite belief or view ditthi concerning the assumption of a self, personality or soul, and, being the 1st of the mental chains, which disappears at attainment of Stream-Entry sotāpatti. Even when the five lower mental chains have vanished in a Noble Disciple, there is still in him, with regard to the five groups of clinging, a slight remaining measure of the conceit 'I am', of the desire 'I am', of the latent tendency 'I am' see: S. XXII, 89. māna This is the root assumption of Egoism.
References

Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.


http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Asmi-mana

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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ground
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby ground » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:15 am

TheNaturalMind wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
TheNaturalMind wrote:It seems that once you see through the false I, everything else would naturally fall into place. The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging - the realization of all of these things seem to be obstructed by ignorance that gives rise to the false self. Once one realizes the true nature of self, what else is there to be done?


"the true nature of self" is that "self" is a thought,
the "I" is a thought.
"The Four Noble Truths, compassion, impermanence, dukkha, clinging" are thoughts.

Now are these all "just thought" or is there a difference between some of these being "just thought" and other being "thought"?

Kind regards
I think I understand you. Are you saying there's a difference between something being a mere thought, and something being a thought? Can you elaborate?


Yes.
E.g. "horn of a hare" is "mere thought" (or "just thought"). "Apple" or "joy" are thought but not "mere thought".

I think that these questions are worth investigation.

Kind regards

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby vinodh » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:49 pm

Its true.

The realization of self is important.

(Assuming its "The Dhammic free-for-all" after all)

There is a Mantra in Mahayana,

oṃ svabhāva śuddhāḥ sarvadharmāḥ svabhāva śuddho'haṃ.

Om the self-nature of all dharmas is pure [likewise] My self-nature is also pure.

And why is the self-nature pure ? Its because every thing is essential Void .

So, Yes.. Realizing the nature of self is very much essential.

Else.. we would fall into the falsehood of Atmavada [Soul-Theory] or even worse Ucchedavada .

V
http://www.virtualvinodh.com

Buddhists Texts in Brahmi Script : http://www.virtualvinodh.com/brahmi-lipitva

yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati
One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]

mlswe
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby mlswe » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:06 pm

.
Last edited by mlswe on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheNaturalMind
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby TheNaturalMind » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:09 pm

mlswe wrote:this might seem like a trivial thing naturalmind, but you have framed the question as if there was a self and it had nature belonging to it, what is to be realized is that all phenomena are impersonal (i find this word more practical and down to earth than not-self which has a abstract kinda philosophical ring to it and might make it seem more difficult than it is). I find that mindfulness of phenomena internally (in oneself) and externally (in others) and the joining of these mindful observations can clarify this aspect of the impersonal nature of for example breathing or walking.
Yes, you are correct. I don't mean to imply a self that has a nature, putting these things into language is a sticky, tricky thing.

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby mlswe » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:35 pm

if one believes that existance doesnt begin with the birth of this body and end with the dying why not give keeping the 5 precepts and following the satipatthana sutta with the mindset that one does it for ones own welfare, the welfare others, the welfare of the whole world. And in regard to anatta i found this passage in the satipatthana sutta a good help "thus he lives contemplating the body in the body internally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body externally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body internally and externally" as i described in previous post. qoute from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/soma/wayof.html. (suggest looking at other translations and comments to get a rounded picture, and some delving in to the pali key terms is also very useful)

may you take care of mind and be awakened

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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:41 am

Hi TNM,

Somebody on this forum said '(theravada) Buddhism is not a head trip', and I agree. This is no magic switch someone could through that would make everything 'ok'.

The idea of a Self, goes, early on in the path, before stream entry.

We are not trying to find the 'true radiant pure self' -Advaita would be trying to do that because they must find atman, that which unites with Brahma upon emancipation.

The Theravada inquiry into self (or the lack of such a 'substance') happens in the inquiry into the Five aggregates. These are five aspects of our experience that we consider to be self, falsely.

To fully understand the Five aggregates, we must apprehend them, understand their causes, get rid of their causes, and see the escape from them.

There is a path which allows us to do this. That is the Noble Eightfold Path.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

mlswe
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Re: Is realizing the nature of the self the most important thing

Postby mlswe » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:44 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi TNM,

Somebody on this forum said '(theravada) Buddhism is not a head trip', and I agree. This is no magic switch someone could through that would make everything 'ok'.

The idea of a Self, goes, early on in the path, before stream entry.

We are not trying to find the 'true radiant pure self' -Advaita would be trying to do that because they must find atman, that which unites with Brahma upon emancipation.

The Theravada inquiry into self (or the lack of such a 'substance') happens in the inquiry into the Five aggregates. These are five aspects of our experience that we consider to be self, falsely.

To fully understand the Five aggregates, we must apprehend them, understand their causes, get rid of their causes, and see the escape from them.

There is a path which allows us to do this. That is the Noble Eightfold Path.

with metta

Matheesha


Word, as the fellas on the block would say


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