self

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self

Postby jajas » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:43 am

I am wondering how the buddha explains that self wich I am experiencing. I can see that there is no constat and therefore abosulte self, but I see a kind off stream off states off me. like a movie. Many pictures connected together resulting in a moving person. all the pictures different, but strongly depending on the pictuteres before it. the collection off pictures i recognize as being a kind off entity.


in my topic i asked a queston about self but naming the topic not-self.
most off the reply`s were handling not-self.
alltough enlightning it didn`t really answer my question.
The thing i am wondering about is:

if self doesn`t excist, how must i see this body and mind. I have to treat it as an thing. I have to feed it and more. allso i want to let it meditate. does the buddha have any suggestions?
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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:55 am

jajas wrote:
I am wondering how the buddha explains that self wich I am experiencing. I can see that there is no constat and therefore abosulte self, but I see a kind off stream off states off me. like a movie. Many pictures connected together resulting in a moving person. all the pictures different, but strongly depending on the pictuteres before it. the collection off pictures i recognize as being a kind off entity.


in my topic i asked a queston about self but naming the topic not-self.
most off the reply`s were handling not-self.
alltough enlightning it didn`t really answer my question.
The thing i am wondering about is:

if self doesn`t excist, how must i see this body and mind. I have to treat it as an thing. I have to feed it and more. allso i want to let it meditate. does the buddha have any suggestions?
It is not that the self does not exist. It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being. It is a product, a conditioned thing that changes and fears its death. The self does not exist as an absolute unchanging thing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:12 am

jajas wrote:

if self doesn`t excist, how must i see this body and mind. I have to treat it as an thing. I have to feed it and more. allso i want to let it meditate. does the buddha have any suggestions?


How to see the body and mind. See it like this...
Form* is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick —
this has been taught by the Kinsman of the Sun.


*Form -- this refers to the physical material that a person is made of.

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

What about feeding it? Feed it, as it does depend on food (nutriment). Think about what you're feeding to it, and why. What are the thoughts and emotions that you experience in connection with feeding it? Here is an interesting sutta on this, although it is also disturbing.

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

How to meditate. This is called anapanasati or mindfulness of breathing.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Here is a more accessible teaching on anapanasati. Read over both a few times.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ml#method2

These questions you've asked are serious and important. Unfortunately it is difficult to express the course of action for you to take in order to know the truth. Perhaps a teacher would be helpful? Someone to speak to in your native language?

On this page there are links to Dutch translations of suttas. Perhaps this would be helpful?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/outsources/foreign.html

Have a good night.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: self

Postby jajas » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:17 am

It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being.


how do you mean?
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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:28 am

jajas wrote:
It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being.


how do you mean?
You are you? You feel like you. Someone pokes you with a pointy stick, you hurt and you do not like it. You like certain things and want more of them. There is all that, and underneath all of that, the self we think we are assumes it is some sort of non-dying thing that goes on forever.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self

Postby Virgo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
jajas wrote:
I am wondering how the buddha explains that self wich I am experiencing. I can see that there is no constat and therefore abosulte self, but I see a kind off stream off states off me. like a movie. Many pictures connected together resulting in a moving person. all the pictures different, but strongly depending on the pictuteres before it. the collection off pictures i recognize as being a kind off entity.


in my topic i asked a queston about self but naming the topic not-self.
most off the reply`s were handling not-self.
alltough enlightning it didn`t really answer my question.
The thing i am wondering about is:

if self doesn`t excist, how must i see this body and mind. I have to treat it as an thing. I have to feed it and more. allso i want to let it meditate. does the buddha have any suggestions?
It is not that the self does not exist. It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being. It is a product, a conditioned thing that changes and fears its death. The self does not exist as an absolute unchanging thing.

Wrong.

All dhammas are not-self. There is not self anywhere to be found, ever.

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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:04 pm

Virgo wrote:Wrong.

All dhammas are not-self. There is not self anywhere to be found, ever.

Kevin


Kevin, please don't turn this thread into another drawn out and painful debate of interpretations. Recall to mind that jajas is very new to Buddhist thought and that she/he would certainly not benefit from the ugly F*** fest that some recent threads have experienced.

Thanks.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: self

Postby Virgo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:08 pm

thereductor wrote:
Virgo wrote:Wrong.

All dhammas are not-self. There is not self anywhere to be found, ever.

Kevin


Kevin, please don't turn this thread into another drawn out and painful debate of interpretations. Recall to mind that jajas is very new to Buddhist thought and that she/he would certainly not benefit from the ugly F*** fest that some recent threads have experienced.

Thanks.

Tiltbillings wrote: "It is not that the self does not exist. It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being. It is a product, a conditioned thing that changes and fears its death. The self does not exist as an absolute unchanging thing."
"It" is a product a thing that changes and fears its death?

That is the view of eternalism-- the view that there is a self but that it is not one solid thing, but a thing that is always changing.

The point is that no dhammas are self whatsoever. All dhammas are not self. No dhamma is classified as "self". So there is no eternal self whether changing or unchanging.

I don't want to argue, just point out the facts. What is wrong with that?

Thanks,

Kevin
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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:20 pm

Virgo wrote:I don't want to argue, just point out the facts. What is wrong with that?

Kevin


Nothing, if you just stick to the sutta-s and present your POV clearly, keeping the recent past out of the equation. However, the wording of your post makes me think that the recent past is very much on your mind.

If it is not, then I applogize. I simply ask that you define your positions via the sutta-s so that we can have a productive discussion.

Which brings me to my inquiry: where in the sutta-s is the definition of eternalism that you are positing? I understood eternalism to posit the existence of an immutable self - that is, an unchanging self that last forever without alteration.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:15 pm

Virgo wrote:Wrong.

All dhammas are not-self. There is not self anywhere to be found, ever.

Kevin[
Tiltbillings wrote: "It is not that the self does not exist. It is, rather, the self that we feel we are, around which our experience is organized, is not what it seems to think itself as being. It is a product, a conditioned thing that changes and fears its death. The self does not exist as an absolute unchanging thing."
"It" is a product a thing that changes and fears its death?

That is the view of eternalism-- the view that there is a self but that it is not one solid thing, but a thing that is always changing.
Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five clinging-aggregates, or a certain one of them. SN III 46.

The sense of self that we all have, which is what I am talking about, the sense of self that we all have to work with, is a product of the khandhas. While it may imagine itself to be more, it is a conditioned, changing experience that has no absolute existence.

So there is no eternal self whether changing or unchanging.
I did not come anywhere close to saying that there was an eternal self.

I don't want to argue, just point out the facts. What is wrong with that?
It helps for you to have your facts straight. Now, if you want to discuss this further, start a new thread.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:24 pm

jajas wrote:
if self doesn`t excist, how must i see this body and mind. I have to treat it as an thing. I have to feed it and more. allso i want to let it meditate. does the buddha have any suggestions?


See it just as a body and mind, arisen due to causes, impermanent, unsatisfactory (because you have to look after it, yet it grows old, gets diseased and dies).

Yes, yet we need to body to escape the body. We need it to meditate and put an end to the rounds of rebirth.

I wouldnt worry too much about how you see things right now. Set up a daily practice and start meditating ( I hope you already have)- there are some truths which cannot be communicated using words, but must be experienced through meditation - then everything falls into place. Otherwise it is possible that we may develop bits of world view which are floating around a bit and dont sit quite right with each other. The dhamma is an intellectual inquiry only to a certain degree and there are problems with making it just that.

with metta

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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:36 pm

:goodpost:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: self

Postby Goedert » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:22 am

Vacchagotta the Wanderer went to visit the Exalted One, and said:

"Now, master Gotama, is there a self?" At these words the Exalted One was silent.

"How, then, master Gotama, is there not a self?" For a second time the Exalted One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the Wanderer rose from his seat and went away.

Now not long after the departure of the Wanderer, the Venerable Aananda said to the Exalted One:

"How is it, lord, that the Exalted One gave no answer to the question of the Wanderer Vacchagotta?"

"If, Aananda, when asked by the Wanderer: 'Is there a self?,' I had replied to him: 'There is a self,' then, Aananda, that would be siding with the recluses and brahmins who are eternalists.

"But if, Aananda, when asked: 'Is there not a self?' I had replied that it does not exist, that, Aananda, would be siding with those recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists.

"Again, Aananda, when asked by the Wanderer: 'Is there a self?,' had I replied that there is, would my reply be in accordance with the knowledge that all things are impermanent?"

"Surely not, lord."

"Again, Aananda, when asked by Vacchagotta the Wanderer; 'Is there a self?,' had I replied that there were not, it would have been more bewilderment for the already bewildered Vacchagotta.

"He would have said: 'Formerly indeed I had a self, but now I have not one any more.'"

— SN 44.10
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Re: self

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:30 am

:goodpost:
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:29 am

With the Vacchagotta dialogues we need to be careful about what is being talked about in terms of self. In Vacchagota case I think what is being pointed to is a more metaphysical understanding, less the sense of self that we must deal with on an everyday basis. Both the everyday sense of self and the metaphysical self, however, greatly overlap, but we need to be very care about running around saying we have no self, which is not quite empirically true.

There is a sense of self that we have which is real: "I feel," "I want," "I am." The problem with this sense of self is that it assumes it is more real than it is, that it does not change, that it is an independent agent, but the insight that arises from the Dhamma practice allows us to see that this "self" is both conditioned and conditioning. It does not exist independently of the rise and fall, the ever-changing flow of conditions of the mind/body process. There is a delusion we suffer from which is the assumption, the radical feeling, that we are in our heart of hearts, in the very core of our being, a singular independent thingie, a real and independent agent.

The radical insight of the Buddha is that we are not that. We are, rather, a dynamic interdependent process were choice, feelings, sensations, and the whole catastrophe can play itself out without a need for a sense of self, no matter how rarified the concept may be. Though we may believe this, the practice of the Buddha's teachings is a matter of cultivating the mindfulness that gives rise to the insight into what it is that the Buddha taught about self.

In the mean time we have to start from where we are; we have to deal with this sense of self that seems so real. We can tell it where to get off, we can pretend it is not real, but being stubborn, recalcitrant, it won't get off; it persists. So we in a real sense, via the teachings of the Buddha, we cultivate it, we train it, we tame it via learning the teachings, via practicing the precepts and meditative practice, and through giving and lovingkindness practice.

All this helps to thin the walls of delusion of permanence with which we surround the our feeling of self, allowing us to see the self's actual interdependent nature, which allows us to let go of that sense of self-ness that we seem to think is so real.

The Buddha's insight into this is radical and uncompromising in that it cuts to the very depths of what we imagine we are and if any sense of independent self as being what we truly are lingers, we are to that extent not awake.

The Buddha taught not-self as a methodology for gaining insight into our nature which has no independent self. Not-self is no more a independent thing than is self. The truth of what we are lies in the very rise and fall of our very experience, but in the mean time we have to start from where we are.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self

Postby Shonin » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:16 am

There are real bodily processes. There are real mental processes. There is a real sense of self (created by mental processes). But none of these processes constitutes a real self. We do exist - as the collection of these processes - but we don't exist in the way that most people feel they exist - as something continuous and distinct, a transcendent ego.
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Re: self

Postby Goedert » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:36 pm

There is a text of Ajahn Thanissaro that can clarify the not-self and no-self.
One of the first stumbling blocks that Westerners often encounter when they learn about Buddhism is the teaching on anatta, often translated as no-self. This teaching is a stumbling block for two reasons. First, the idea of there being no self doesn't fit well with other Buddhist teachings, such as the doctrine of kamma and rebirth: If there's no self, what experiences the results of kamma and takes rebirth? Second, it doesn't fit well with our own Judeo-Christian background, which assumes the existence of an eternal soul or self as a basic presupposition: If there's no self, what's the purpose of a spiritual life? Many books try to answer these questions, but if you look at the Pali canon — the earliest extant record of the Buddha's teachings — you won't find them addressed at all. In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible. Thus the question should be put aside. To understand what his silence on this question says about the meaning of anatta, we first have to look at his teachings on how questions should be asked and answered, and how to interpret his answers.

The Buddha divided all questions into four classes: those that deserve a categorical (straight yes or no) answer; those that deserve an analytical answer, defining and qualifying the terms of the question; those that deserve a counter-question, putting the ball back in the questioner's court; and those that deserve to be put aside. The last class of question consists of those that don't lead to the end of suffering and stress. The first duty of a teacher, when asked a question, is to figure out which class the question belongs to, and then to respond in the appropriate way. You don't, for example, say yes or no to a question that should be put aside. If you are the person asking the question and you get an answer, you should then determine how far the answer should be interpreted. The Buddha said that there are two types of people who misrepresent him: those who draw inferences from statements that shouldn't have inferences drawn from them, and those who don't draw inferences from those that should.

These are the basic ground rules for interpreting the Buddha's teachings, but if we look at the way most writers treat the anatta doctrine, we find these ground rules ignored. Some writers try to qualify the no-self interpretation by saying that the Buddha denied the existence of an eternal self or a separate self, but this is to give an analytical answer to a question that the Buddha showed should be put aside. Others try to draw inferences from the few statements in the discourse that seem to imply that there is no self, but it seems safe to assume that if one forces those statements to give an answer to a question that should be put aside, one is drawing inferences where they shouldn't be drawn.

So, instead of answering "no" to the question of whether or not there is a self — interconnected or separate, eternal or not — the Buddha felt that the question was misguided to begin with. Why? No matter how you define the line between "self" and "other," the notion of self involves an element of self-identification and clinging, and thus suffering and stress. This holds as much for an interconnected self, which recognizes no "other," as it does for a separate self. If one identifies with all of nature, one is pained by every felled tree. It also holds for an entirely "other" universe, in which the sense of alienation and futility would become so debilitating as to make the quest for happiness — one's own or that of others — impossible. For these reasons, the Buddha advised paying no attention to such questions as "Do I exist?" or "Don't I exist?" for however you answer them, they lead to suffering and stress.

To avoid the suffering implicit in questions of "self" and "other," he offered an alternative way of dividing up experience: the four Noble Truths of stress, its cause, its cessation, and the path to its cessation. Rather than viewing these truths as pertaining to self or other, he said, one should recognize them simply for what they are, in and of themselves, as they are directly experienced, and then perform the duty appropriate to each. Stress should be comprehended, its cause abandoned, its cessation realized, and the path to its cessation developed. These duties form the context in which the anatta doctrine is best understood. If you develop the path of virtue, concentration, and discernment to a state of calm well-being and use that calm state to look at experience in terms of the Noble Truths, the questions that occur to the mind are not "Is there a self? What is my self?" but rather "Am I suffering stress because I'm holding onto this particular phenomenon? Is it really me, myself, or mine? If it's stressful but not really me or mine, why hold on?" These last questions merit straightforward answers, as they then help you to comprehend stress and to chip away at the attachment and clinging — the residual sense of self-identification — that cause it, until ultimately all traces of self-identification are gone and all that's left is limitless freedom.

In this sense, the anatta teaching is not a doctrine of no-self, but a not-self strategy for shedding suffering by letting go of its cause, leading to the highest, undying happiness. At that point, questions of self, no-self, and not-self fall aside. Once there's the experience of such total freedom, where would there be any concern about what's experiencing it, or whether or not it's a self?


Further understanding:
The Not-self Strategy
Emptiness
The Integrity of Emptiness
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Re: self

Postby chandrafabian » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:18 pm

Shonin wrote:There are real bodily processes. There are real mental processes. There is a real sense of self (created by mental processes). But none of these processes constitutes a real self. We do exist - as the collection of these processes - but we don't exist in the way that most people feel they exist - as something continuous and distinct, a transcendent ego.


Dear Shonin,

I agree with you, what we call being is only construction of aggregates.
The translation of atta as self probably not accurate enough, ATTA or ATMAN in Sanskrit means soul (eternal soul)
The Indians believe there is eternal entity in every being, what they called soul, much like Yudeo/Christian beliefs.
If we applied soul as translation of atta would help clear up the confusion.
So in my opinion the translation of anatta would be more accurate no soul or no eternal soul.

Mettacittena,
fabian
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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:53 pm

chandrafabian wrote:
Shonin wrote:There are real bodily processes. There are real mental processes. There is a real sense of self (created by mental processes). But none of these processes constitutes a real self. We do exist - as the collection of these processes - but we don't exist in the way that most people feel they exist - as something continuous and distinct, a transcendent ego.


Dear Shonin,

I agree with you, what we call being is only construction of aggregates.
The translation of atta as self probably not accurate enough, ATTA or ATMAN in Sanskrit means soul (eternal soul)
The Indians believe there is eternal entity in every being, what they called soul, much like Yudeo/Christian beliefs.
If we applied soul as translation of atta would help clear up the confusion.
So in my opinion the translation of anatta would be more accurate no soul or no eternal soul.

Mettacittena,
fabian
Take a look at Dhammapada chapter XII, the Attavagga. Atta is used as a reflexive pronoun: By oneself [atta] committing evil. . . . - v 165. One [atta], truly, is the master of oneself [atta]. - v 160.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: self

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:26 pm

I think there is a danger in considering atta as just the soul. Because then the solution is to not believe in a soul, yet there might still be a sense of 'me' as a person being in existence. This is also illusory. It is nothing but a string of causes and effects. There is no doer.

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