self

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Re: self

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:32 pm

rowyourboat wrote: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.

with metta

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Don't forget: an illusion is real.
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.

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Re: self

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:25 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote: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.

I think that this is an important point. The Buddha's teachings have a tension between developing the realisation that there is no permanent self to be found anywhere in our experience, but on the other hand there is a "non-permanent self arising from conditions" that one must work with, and develop, in the ways you describe.

My impression is that simply clinging to the view "there is no self" is not helpful. Though it seems quite logically clear from the teachings that there is no permanent ("metaphysical") self to be found anywhere, my understanding is that one needs more than mere logic. One needs to see through the illusion experientially by dropping the clinging to those things that create a sense of self in the body and mind. Clinging to logic can be an obstacle to that.

Furthermore, it also seems clear that as well as dropping the sense of "non-permanent self", there is a concurrent development that leads towards the perfection of the "non-permanent self". If one examines the behaviour of the Buddha, as reported in the Suttas, or the behaviour of modern individuals with a high degree of development of the Path, one sees a highly functional, compassionate, decisive "conventional self".

It seems to me that the two (seeing through the sense of self and developing the conventional, impermanent self that one is working with) go hand in hand. Both are essential, and by no means contradictory.

Mike
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Re: self

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:30 am

This may be rambly - so bear with me (or not as the case may be).

Compassion - whether there are 'selves' or not - is important - because whether you look at things personally (I! Me! You! Yours!) or impersonally (no substrata, no 'ground of being' no firm foothold, a net of tendencies) (Christ it's hard to describe what cannot be described) - lack of compassion just adds to more dukkha (suffering, stress, unsatisfactoriness) in the world -

And yes - as a previous poster said - the realisation that others are acting - sometimes quite annoyingly - out of their own clinging to self - can serve to help one become more compassionate - e.g., whiny person at work whines and moans and complains all day - annoying one and all - (why? it offends "me" - it annoys "me" - aack!) However - this person is only whining because "they are coming from their "me" (I'm not being appreciated, I'm not being paid attention to, etc and so forth). If you can see that the other person's behaviour comes from their sense of 'self' - it might not annoy your selnse of "self".

This is difficult for me to explain. Apologies. And I've seen folks here freak out at the word self - although it's the referent that we must use in conventional terms. Writing "this collection of aggregates thinks ..." seems a bit awkward.

Another issue I've been mulling over (and I want to ask my teacher about this when he gets back) is - it seems that a lot of the difficulty when discussing anatta is that - nowadays - we take a positive approach to teaching - that is - we discuss what a concept is. However, the Buddha's teaching on many points done in the negative mode - what something is not - as what is ineffable cannot be reduced to a positive 'what it is' statement.

So, when teachers try and explain anatta and especially re-birth ("If there's no self then what .... ?) the eternal (ahem) question - and so forth - they use terms like 'tendencies' or 'continuum' or 'stream of consciousness' get "reborn" as the best terms available to them to describe such concepts as "what they are" - when it really can't be done. Hence the Tathagatha's refusal to get into the matter.

And hence - it's got to be worked out by experience. You can only hammer out so much by thinking.

Ajahn Sumedho said something interesting which struck me - I'll paraphrase: "What is it that goes to the freezer to get some ice cream? Is that you - is THAT your eternal soul?" Now I don't believe for a moment that Ven. Sumedho posits a soul or permanent self. However, that little sentence provoked (for me) an 'aha' moment. 'O! Wait! Yeh it feels like a 'me' deciding to go to the fridge for food but ... what is that really? " (Light bulb, zen, epiphany)

Now .. what the heck did 'I" just say? :thinking:

YFNA,

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Re: self

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:40 am

Upon re-reading my above post - I realise I was partly answering a different post in this section - on if anatta - why compasson?

Apologies for the "duh" interlude ... :shock:
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Re: self

Postby chandrafabian » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:59 am

tiltbillings wrote:
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.


What I mean here is relation of word anatta only, so exclusively we can translate anatta as no soul/no permanent soul.
But atta can be translated as self or soul.

rowyourboat wrote: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.

with metta

RYB


Please do not confuse, The Buddha teaches self as the five aggregates is empty of soul, this is the Buddha's teaching. So sometimes the statement of anatta as no soul is overlapping with understanding of five aggregates.
In some Sutta, atta means self as our five aggregates. In other Sutta's atta means soul which never existed.
Therefore we should remember "Sabbe dhamma anatta" every condition is empty of soul.
THERE WOULD NEVER BE EXISTENCE OF SOUL ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE... (sorry for capital letter) this is the Buddha's teaching. What we consider as living being is only a compound of aggregates, no substance soul, no entity soul.

I agree with your last sentence "It is nothing but a string causes and effects. There is no doer" (in the sense of soul who causes all), if the soul existed The Buddha would have told us.

Mettacittena,
fabian
Last edited by chandrafabian on Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: self

Postby ground » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:29 am

Basically one has to discern the "gross" self which is a concept caused by teachings of wrong views and is the object of "soul" theorists - and the "subtle" self which is based on the innate self habit, the misunderstanding of sankharas due to ignorance.
The former delusion is easy to overcome (by means of logic) the latter is the illusory object to be eradicated on the path.

Kind regards
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Re: self

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:37 pm

Hi Tmingyur, I think the distinction you are making is very important.

Hi Tilt, the illusion maybe real, but the content isn't :)

With metta

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Re: self

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:06 am

Greetings RYB,

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Tilt, the illusion maybe real, but the content isn't :)

What do you mean here by content, and how would you relate it to the loka of experience (e.g. five aggregates or six sense bases).

Metta,
Retro. :)
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


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Re: self

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:20 am

TMingyur wrote:Basically one has to discern the "gross" self which is a concept caused by teachings of wrong views and is the object of "soul" theorists - and the "subtle" self which is based on the innate self habit, the misunderstanding of sankharas due to ignorance.
The former delusion is easy to overcome (by means of logic) the latter is the illusory object to be eradicated on the path.

Kind regards


Hello, TMing (and RYB) -


"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness."
[Repeat for the other four aggregates]

To me the seeing/assuming of "a self" in each of the five aggregates (resulting in the 20 self-identifications) is "gross" if self is 'soul', a permanent identity.
On the other hand, the I-sense ('This is what I am') conceit is the subtle self that doesn't have to be permanent. Both cases are corrected by the right knowledge (clear knowing).

"The five faculties, monks, continue as they were. And with regard to them the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones abandons ignorance and gives rise to clear knowing. Owing to the fading of ignorance and the arising of clear knowing, (the thoughts) — 'I am,' 'I am this,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' and 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' — do not occur to him." SN 22.47 : Samanupassana Sutta.

Sincerely,

Tep
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Re: self

Postby ground » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:33 am

dhamma_spoon wrote:"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness."
[Repeat for the other four aggregates]

To me the seeing/assuming of "a self" in each of the five aggregates (resulting in the 20 self-identifications) is "gross" if self is 'soul', a permanent identity.

Yes, "in", i.e. identical with, or "other than" ... there is no difference since both is conceptual fantasy.

dhamma_spoon wrote:On the other hand, the I-sense ('This is what I am') conceit is the subtle self that doesn't have to be permanent.

"This is what I am" or "doesn't have to be permanent" is conceptualizing retrospectively. So this again is theory comparable to the one of "soul" theorists and is not what I meant with "subtle". The crucial point of "subtle" is the way the illusion appears right in the moment of arising, the instantaneously "felt" self or "I" or "mine". Right in this instant of arising it appears as if permanent and existing "in and of itself", although in the next moment you may think "doesn't have to be permanent".

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Re: self

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:08 am

TMingyur wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness."
[Repeat for the other four aggregates]

To me the seeing/assuming of "a self" in each of the five aggregates (resulting in the 20 self-identifications) is "gross" if self is 'soul', a permanent identity.

Yes, "in", i.e. identical with, or "other than" ... there is no difference since both is conceptual fantasy.

dhamma_spoon wrote:On the other hand, the I-sense ('This is what I am') conceit is the subtle self that doesn't have to be permanent.

"This is what I am" or "doesn't have to be permanent" is conceptualizing retrospectively. So this again is theory comparable to the one of "soul" theorists and is not what I meant with "subtle". The crucial point of "subtle" is the way the illusion appears right in the moment of arising, the instantaneously "felt" self or "I" or "mine". Right in this instant of arising it appears as if permanent and existing "in and of itself", although in the next moment you may think "doesn't have to be permanent".

Kind regards


Dhamma_spoon: That knowing in the "here and now" is interesting and indeed crucial, TMing. Maybe I also had a glimpse of the permanent-self illusion yesterday, when I read the following medical news.

"Writing in the The Lancet, US researchers say they have regrown the forelimb thigh joint of rabbits using their own stem cells.
Scientists say they have shown "proof of principle" for the technique which could replace hips It was the first time an entire joint surface had been regenerated with the return of functions, they said.
The research could benefit patients with damaged hips, shoulders or knees." [BBC News 28 July 2010 ]

Then I asked myself : Why are you excited? Does this joy come from the (false) hope of greatly extending life -- a subtle longing for the "permanent self" that may live forever? :popcorn:

Tep
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Re: self

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:11 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings RYB,

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Tilt, the illusion maybe real, but the content isn't :)

What do you mean here by content, and how would you relate it to the loka of experience (e.g. five aggregates or six sense bases).

Metta,
Retro. :)


An illusion (ie- a thought) has dependently arisen. This is true. It is made up of the 5 aggregates. But that illusion says that there is a self- this is the content of the illusion. But when look at the structure of the illusion (rather than the content) we see that the 5 aggregates are causally arisen, impermanent and devoid of self. Atleast, I think that was what Tilt was alluding to. :)

with metta

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Re: self

Postby Shonin » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

rowyourboat wrote: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.


Well said. Anatta is not simply an intellectual rejection of the metaphysical concept of a soul. It goes far deeper than that. If this were the case then atheists and others who lack a belief in a soul could be said to have true insight into Anatta. But that's not the case.

Anatta is indeed a refutation/rejection of a soul or essence, but this is just the beginning of eliminating the fetter of self-identification. When there is no such identification, things are seen clearly and conceptualisations about self become meaningless.
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Re: self

Postby Shonin » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:32 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Don't forget: an illusion is real.


It is a real illusion. It exists as something, but it doesn't exist as it appears to be. There are phenomena which are conditions for other phenomena, but these phenomena don't constitute a self, either eternal and metaphysical, impermanent, physical or otherwise.
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Re: self

Postby chandrafabian » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:46 am

In everyday life puthujana assumes feeling, consciousness etc is belong to an entity within, feeling etc is just part of this entity. After we learn The Buddha's teachings we understand feeling, consciousness etc is only part of mind (nama) and it devoid of entity. But this understanding is shallow, because the understanding is just conceptual (ditthi).

It needs practice to see directly this anatta to know and develop deep unshakeable true understanding .
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Re: self

Postby Shonin » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:02 am

chandrafabian wrote:In everyday life puthujana assumes feeling, consciousness etc is belong to an entity within, feeling etc is just part of this entity. After we learn The Buddha's teachings we understand feeling, consciousness etc is only part of mind (nama) and it devoid of entity. But this understanding is shallow, because the understanding is just conceptual (ditthi).

It needs practice to see directly this anatta to know and develop deep unshakeable true understanding .


Good answer
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Re: self

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:23 am

chandrafabian wrote:In everyday life puthujana assumes feeling, consciousness etc is belong to an entity within, feeling etc is just part of this entity. After we learn The Buddha's teachings we understand feeling, consciousness etc is only part of mind (nama) and it devoid of entity. But this understanding is shallow, because the understanding is just conceptual (ditthi).

It needs practice to see directly this anatta to know and develop deep unshakeable true understanding .


With the emphasise on practice. Discussion at best can only provide an impetus to practice. The time if any for metaphysical discussion is in order to verify or clarify experience. This is best done with a teacher.
No amount of trying to convince ourselves or others of the truth of Anatta will ever avail anything. Its a just a socially sanctioned way of postponing practice.
Ironically in this context...... its a way of clinging to self..
We need only a rough hewn idea of Anatta. And a meditation teacher. Practice will do the rest.
Real authentic practice under the supervision of a Vipassana teacher will in half a day begin to resolve both our queries and our as yet unasked questions.
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Re: self

Postby chandrafabian » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:40 am

PeterB wrote:With the emphasise on practice. Discussion at best can only provide an impetus to practice. The time if any for metaphysical discussion is in order to verify or clarify experience. This is best done with a teacher.
No amount of trying to convince ourselves or others of the truth of Anatta will ever avail anything. Its a just a socially sanctioned way of postponing practice.
Ironically in this context...... its a way of clinging to self..
We need only a rough hewn idea of Anatta. And a meditation teacher. Practice will do the rest.
Real authentic practice under the supervision of a Vipassana teacher will in half a day begin to resolve both our queries and our as yet unasked questions.


I agree, practicing Vipassana under experience and knowledgable teacher would help us to see three characteristics.
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Re: self

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:47 am

:anjali:
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Re: self

Postby Virgo » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:28 pm

PeterB wrote:
chandrafabian wrote:In everyday life puthujana assumes feeling, consciousness etc is belong to an entity within, feeling etc is just part of this entity. After we learn The Buddha's teachings we understand feeling, consciousness etc is only part of mind (nama) and it devoid of entity. But this understanding is shallow, because the understanding is just conceptual (ditthi).

It needs practice to see directly this anatta to know and develop deep unshakeable true understanding .


With the emphasise on practice. Discussion at best can only provide an impetus to practice. The time if any for metaphysical discussion is in order to verify or clarify experience. This is best done with a teacher.
No amount of trying to convince ourselves or others of the truth of Anatta will ever avail anything. Its a just a socially sanctioned way of postponing practice.
Ironically in this context...... its a way of clinging to self..
We need only a rough hewn idea of Anatta. And a meditation teacher. Practice will do the rest.
Real authentic practice under the supervision of a Vipassana teacher will in half a day begin to resolve both our queries and our as yet unasked questions.

According to the Visuddhimagga, we shouldn't postpone practice, we should practice sila and samadhi straight away, but we must also understand these things like the sense bases and aggregates intellectually, and should reflect on them. The Buddha taught them for a reason. Not only do they help to develop wisdom, but they can also help your sila and samadhi because when you have a lot of hindrances, you can reflect on what they really are-- that they are just nama and rupa, not a self, and so on. You can reflect on them and see that the world is void. And they can help to develop wisdom. They are the "soil" and "trunk".

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