self

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Re: self

Postby Shonin » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:57 pm

Well said, I agree. It's clear from the suttas that the Buddha did teach a rational or 'intellectual' aspect to Non-self - as a way of abandoning unhelpful beliefs and tendencies. This is not merely philosphising or thinking for it's own sake, but challenging beliefs which are actually knots of attachment - thus it is directed at the way we experience life.
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Re: self

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:04 pm

The Buddha did not teach self or non self at all. At a number of points in the Suttas he says that he doesnt.
He taught anatta. Which is not a thing, to be experienced. It is to be realised. And it is one mark of sentient existence together with Dukkha and Anicca. Anatta is not a stand alone goal of any kind. It is what is.
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Re: self

Postby dhamma_spoon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:21 pm

PeterB wrote:The Buddha did not teach self or non self at all. At a number of points in the Suttas he says that he doesnt.
He taught anatta. Which is not a thing, to be experienced. It is to be realised. And it is one mark of sentient existence together with Dukkha and Anicca. Anatta is not a stand alone goal of any kind. It is what is.


Hi, PeterB -

The following extreme views, 'Is there a self? Is there no self? Who am I? Where did I come from? What will I become?', are caused by attachment, not by detachment (i.e. non-clinging).

When you dislike someone, there is a mentally-fabricated "self" that is the object of hatred. Same can be said in the case of love.
The right view that avoids extremes does not attach; thus with right view one has no fear, no worry, no love, no hate. And he understands non-self (anatta).

Dhamma_spoon :stirthepot:
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Re: self

Postby 5heaps » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:25 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?

the word self tends to mean 'person' in english (puggala in pali). buddhism accepts persons but says they are free of any quality of atta. atta tends to refer to the idea that things have their own fixed, unchanging essence which makes them what they are. it can of course go into much more detail.

in other words, what makes you you is that there's an unchanging fixed essence in you. Lord Buddha said thats absolutely not true, thats not what makes up you, and further, only someone who is fundamentally deluded will grasp to and believe in such an appearance (ie. everybody).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: self

Postby jajas » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:35 am

thank you all.
:namaste:
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Re: self

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:41 am

an interesting thought (maybe)

most religions and people are quite easily able to see the body as not self, it's this thing that changes over time, and we have very little control over it. however most people will take the mind to be the self thinking "ahh the mind, the mind i can control". i cant remember which sutta it is in however, but the Buddha actually says it would be more wise to see the body as the self than the mind as the self (even though both ideas are wrong), since the body is seemingly solid, changes slowly, seems like a stable thing unlike the mind which is constantly changing from one thing to the next leaving us with pretty much no control over it, one second we're sad, the next bored, someone drives by and splashes us with mud and now were mad etc. did we control this? did we say "hey i think it's time to be depressed, i haven't felt like crap in awhile"? most of us will say no. this is an aspect of not self and if we're paying attention pretty easy to spot, however most of the time we are just carried along mad sad happy horny depressed grumpy whatever just circling around thinking we're in control.
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Re: self

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:01 pm

Hi, all -

I hope my thought below does not sound too sarcastic to you.

A weight-loss ad reads : 'How to stop eating, once and for all?"
It doesn't make sense to educate an overweight person : 'Who eats? There is no one eating.'
How would such empty "no-self" philosophy help a fat person who wants to reduce badly?
No, it wouldn't. :cookoo:
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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:20 pm

dhamma_spoon wrote:Hi, all -

I hope my thought below does not sound too sarcastic to you.

A weight-loss ad reads : 'How to stop eating, once and for all?"
It doesn't make sense to educate an overweight person : 'Who eats? There is no one eating.'
How would such empty "no-self" philosophy help a fat person who wants to reduce badly?
No, it wouldn't. :cookoo:


Not sarcasitic.

When I spoke with my sister about some relationship trouble, I wanted to say something about Not-self. But of course she isn't Buddhist, she's christian, which would make such a statement pretty unsettling to her.
What I did say was that, if she defined herself by what was past, that she'd poison the present and preclude any possibilities for herself to be happy in the future.

That's my way of talking about not self without saying 'not self'.
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 dhamma_spoon » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:35 pm

thereductor wrote:When I spoke with my sister about some relationship trouble, I wanted to say something about Not-self. But of course she isn't Buddhist, she's christian, which would make such a statement pretty unsettling to her.
What I did say was that, if she defined herself by what was past, that she'd poison the present and preclude any possibilities for herself to be happy in the future.

That's my way of talking about not self without saying 'not self'.


Hi, thereductor -

That's no doubt a wise tactic to teach the truth about life to anyone. Yes, clinging to whatever that happened clearly is a delusion (ignorance) and it does not help anyone to solve a problem here and now; as you said the past is gone and the future has not yet arisen. So in the same token, the fat guy urgently needs to examine his habits and devise a plan to solve the overweight problem here and now. If the action is right right now, then the future will take care of itself.
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Re: self

Postby chandrafabian » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:24 am

thereductor wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:Hi, all -

I hope my thought below does not sound too sarcastic to you.

A weight-loss ad reads : 'How to stop eating, once and for all?"
It doesn't make sense to educate an overweight person : 'Who eats? There is no one eating.'
How would such empty "no-self" philosophy help a fat person who wants to reduce badly?
No, it wouldn't. :cookoo:


Not sarcasitic.

When I spoke with my sister about some relationship trouble, I wanted to say something about Not-self. But of course she isn't Buddhist, she's christian, which would make such a statement pretty unsettling to her.
What I did say was that, if she defined herself by what was past, that she'd poison the present and preclude any possibilities for herself to be happy in the future.

That's my way of talking about not self without saying 'not self'.


Dear The Reductor,
I believe this is exactly the reason why The Buddha silence when asked by Vacchagotta if atta exist? Because He knew Vacchagotta not ready to accept individual essence/personal entity he believed exist, were actually not exist.

Mettacittena,
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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:54 am

dhamma_spoon wrote:So in the same token, the fat guy urgently needs to examine his habits and devise a plan to solve the overweight problem here and now. If the action is right right now, then the future will take care of itself.


Yes, they need to recognize that nothing is truly set in stone. Rather they must see that change happens with cause.

More practicable advice might be suggested based on "The Bucket" sutta. This one has an interesting note.
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 Reductor » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:19 am

chandrafabian wrote:I believe this is exactly the reason why The Buddha silence when asked by Vacchagotta if atta exist? Because He knew Vacchagotta not ready to accept individual essence/personal entity he believed exist, were actually not exist.


Yes, I think that the Buddha remained silent to prevent confusing Vaccha with concepts he was not yet ready to accept. Consider the end of the SN 44.10:

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"


It suggest to me the Buddha understood how strongly Vaccha was clinging to the idea of self and so he was careful not to create in him an annihilationist view. But later we see that a change comes over Vaccha where by he can understand and accept the teachings of anatta (SN 44.11).

"Vaccha, whatever cause, whatever reason there would be for describing him as 'possessed of form' or 'formless' or 'percipient' or 'non-percipient' or 'neither percipient nor non-percipient': If that cause, that reason, were to cease totally everywhere, totally in every way without remainder, then describing him by what means would one describe him as 'possessed of form' or 'formless' or 'percipient' or 'non-percipient' or 'neither percipient nor non-percipient'?"

"How long has it been since you went forth, Master Kaccana?"

"Not long, my friend. Three years."

"Whoever has gained just this much in this much time has gained a great deal, my friend — to say nothing of the things he has thus gone beyond."


Interesting also is how anatta seems to be defined here `if that cause... were to cease ... by what means would one describe him...`

It is all pretty interesting.
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 Shonin » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:39 am

thereductor wrote:Yes, I think that the Buddha remained silent to prevent confusing Vaccha with concepts he was not yet ready to accept. Consider the end of the SN 44.10:

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"


It suggest to me the Buddha understood how strongly Vaccha was clinging to the idea of self and so he was careful not to create in him an annihilationist view. But later we see that a change comes over Vaccha where by he can understand and accept the teachings of anatta (SN 44.11).


Also interesting is that Vacchagotta asked his question 'Is there a self or not?' in absolute (ie. ontological, metaphysical, abstract) terms, whereas, to my knowledge Buddha always taught Non-self in relation to the Kandhas (ie. in existential, experiential, phenomenological terms). This might seems like a small difference but it is the difference between forming a belief about that which is beyond experience and making a direct observation about the nature of experience, which is what the Buddha was all about.
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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:22 am

Shonin wrote:
Also interesting is that Vacchagotta asked his question 'Is there a self or not?' in absolute (ie. ontological, metaphysical, abstract) terms, whereas, to my knowledge Buddha always taught Non-self in relation to the Kandhas (ie. in existential, experiential, phenomenological terms). This might seems like a small difference but it is the difference between forming a belief about that which is beyond experience and making a direct observation about the nature of experience, which is what the Buddha was all about.


I agree. In the very recent past I was thinking about ontological issues verses the teachings of the Buddha. It occurred to me that certain ontological conclusions could be drawn from what the Buddha taught, but that by doing so we depart from the directly experiential. So, while an ontological supposition could be true, if its truth cannot be directly experienced in the same manor as the five aggregates described by the Blessed one, then how do we 'know' that its true, and what worth could it possibly have to this endeavor of ours?

I've EDITED the above, so maybe you need to read it again.
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 PeterB » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:09 am

A vital question imo thereductor.
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Re: self

Postby 5heaps » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:02 pm

thereductor wrote:It occurred to me that certain ontological conclusions could be drawn from what the Buddha taught, but that by doing so we depart from the directly experiential.

can you give an example of what you had in mind
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Re: self

Postby oxen » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:42 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?


Maha-satipatthana Sutta: The Great Frames of Reference answers your question directly.

I think its fair to summarize an answer to your question from that sutta thus: regard your body as a body and your mind as a mind. They do exist in a sense, briefly, and being mindful of them and what they're doing will bring you greater awareness about the nature of reality and break the link to craving (both attraction and aversion) which we normally ride after feeling or thinking something.
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Re: self

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:51 am

Nice, pithy, practical advice Oxen!

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Re: self

Postby Reductor » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:27 am

5heaps wrote:
thereductor wrote:It occurred to me that certain ontological conclusions could be drawn from what the Buddha taught, but that by doing so we depart from the directly experiential.

can you give an example of what you had in mind


Pardon, this is run off from another response to this question. I put it here because I don't want it there, being that it is of a different topic.

It seems fairly common for people to view nama as 'immaterial' in the sense of 'spiritual'; apart in some manor from the material universe. Which is great news for reincarnation talk but dangerous as it can also lead to eternalist thinking and a misunderstanding of conditionality (after all, if it isn't the same as the material universe, then why would it behave by the same laws).

I had a disussion about this in a thread some time ago, and it was suggested that 'immaterial' beings in the Buddhist cosmology were indeed without material. Seemingly they were being viewed as spiritual beings whereas people, animals, and other evident life forms have a corporeal 'material' aspect lacking in the other. But of course the Buddha had never been so specific as to describe in totality the immaterial beings in these other spheres. He didn't lay out a separate DO sequence, nor a different aggregate scheme.

So, why the conclusion that beings in other realms are so significantly different then ourselves? More over, what does it matter? To me it merely undermines the interconnected nature of nama-rupa that Buddha was talking about.

And I wouldn't think that to be a good thing.
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 5heaps » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:57 am

thereductor wrote:It seems fairly common for people to view nama as 'immaterial' in the sense of 'spiritual'; apart in some manor from the material universe. Which is great news for reincarnation talk but dangerous as it can also lead to eternalist thinking and a misunderstanding of conditionality (after all, if it isn't the same as the material universe, then why would it behave by the same laws).

i doubt i need to tell you but apart from the factor of production/conditioning there is no "same law" to nama at all. for example there is no discernable physical characteristic to first person experience at all. correlating experience to physical change(s) is meaningful i suppose but its just in its infancy. materialism has been in fashion in the physcal sciences for like 400 years and its still as stupid as it was back then, its just that now we're really good at troubleshooting the body and collecting data.

they hope to explain the mind under the framework of materialism and so "good luck to them", but we'll be lucky if the species survives that long with all of the mental problems and mental rigidity such idol worship promotes. an introductory explanation on why materialism is commonly a type of idol worship:

B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. on science, buddhism, skepticism and meditation | Part 1
B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. on science, buddhism, skepticism and meditation | Part 2
(even mentions the "form realm" in a scientific context)

But of course the Buddha had never been so specific as to describe in totality the immaterial beings in these other spheres. He didn't lay out a separate DO sequence, nor a different aggregate scheme.

its as you said, why would a new DO and thorough explanation matter to us. what does matter is the future and so knowing the effects of actions is important, which is why very general lists of types of places and people were given. Buddha said that humans can only see other humans and some animals, the others we cant see under normal conditions. it is not then asked of us to believe or accept the others without a good reason.

apart from the people keeping a very healthy and pure type of faith with an exceptional and rare teacher, it is normally only the skeptical and unbias people who arrive at realization, not many others.
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