NO self

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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:32 am

SamKR wrote:
whynotme wrote:
It is not logical to say there is no self based on examination. E.g I looked for my cell phone, I looked in the bedroom, the bathroom, kitchen.. I looked for it in all of my rooms and I didn't find it, then I came to a conclusion my cell phone doesn't exist, it is illogical. It is right to just say, there is no cell phone in bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, but it is wrong to say there is no cell phone (at all).


"Cell phone" is just a concept referring to an aggregate of various parts which are in turn aggregates, and so on.
Similar to "chariot" mentioned in Milindapanha. http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Anatta


Thanks, I knew it, I read Milindapanha, it is quite good

@ tiltbillings, thanks, I agreed with most of your post. But here is what I understood:

To say correctly, we can say that there is an unconditioned thing, because it is a fact (which already stated by the Buddha). So we can say correctly, there is self, both has the same meaning. They have nothing wrong with them. But to state there is no self, is totally wrong, which is why it is not found anywhere on the suttas.

The problem with there is self, is not it is wrong, but as you already pointed out, it is very hard to correctly understand and practice. If we say there is self, or there is an unconditioned thing, only very few understand them correctly, e.g at least sotapanna. Other may hold on a view with the self relates to five aggregates.

Yes, I am still inclined to existence and non existence, it is not much a problem for me because I am not a saint yet, even lower level saints are still inclined to existence and non existence. But for the sake of the discussion or for the sake of a statement, pretend that I am an arahant, then I can say there is self, like I can say there is unconditioned thing, perfectly. Meanwhile the statement, there is no self, is wrong, no matter who said it. And is a much more serious problem then mine.

Even when you stated there is no self with an implicit meaning, in five aggregates, then the danger of misunderstanding is very high, similar to the case of misunderstanding there is self and think it is a self in five aggregate. That why the Buddha had never stated that there is no self, and keep silent on the matter of an arahant after death, and keep silent when was being asked directly to it.

If you can say there is no self then we could easily say, after death, nothing is left for an arahant, quite frankly? So, we should not state that there is no self, shouln'd we? OK, from now I will use an arahant does not exist after death to counter the view there is no self. No need to use the complicated self.

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Re: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:47 am

whynotme wrote:
To say correctly, we can say that there is an unconditioned thing, because it is a fact (which already stated by the Buddha).
No, there is not. And no, he did not.
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: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:13 am

whynotme wrote:
The problem with there is self, is not it is wrong, but as you already pointed out, it is very hard to correctly understand and practice. If we say there is self, or there is an unconditioned thing, only very few understand them correctly, e.g at least sotapanna. Other may hold on a view with the self relates to five aggregates.
The Buddha was quite clear. Any sense of self we might have -- and we do have a profound sense of self -- it is grounded in the khandhas. You might also want to look at

    "You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair." MN 22.
Even when you stated there is no self with an implicit meaning, in five aggregates, then the danger of misunderstanding is very high,
Not if one understands paticcasamupadda.

That why the Buddha had never stated that there is no self, and keep silent on the matter of an arahant after death, and keep silent when was being asked directly to it.
You might do well to look at the actual texts where the Buddha kept silent in response to the question of the existence of a self. Context is everything.

If you can say there is no self then we could easily say, after death, nothing is left for an arahant, quite frankly? So, we should not state that there is no self, shouln'd we?
Again, your questions are grounded in the assumptions of being and non-being, a way of looking at thigs the Buddha rejected.

OK, from now I will use an arahant does not exist after death to counter the view there is no self. No need to use the complicated self.
If I am understanding you correctly, you would be wrong to say that "an arahant does not exist after death."

These two suttas would warrant careful study and consideration:

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

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
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: NO self

Postby whynotme » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
whynotme wrote:
To say correctly, we can say that there is an unconditioned thing, because it is a fact (which already stated by the Buddha).
No, there is not. And no, he did not.

I can quote it in my language, but I am not familiar with English source. It is in khuddaka sutta, did you read all the suttas?
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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
whynotme wrote:
The problem with there is self, is not it is wrong, but as you already pointed out, it is very hard to correctly understand and practice. If we say there is self, or there is an unconditioned thing, only very few understand them correctly, e.g at least sotapanna. Other may hold on a view with the self relates to five aggregates.
The Buddha was quite clear. Any sense of self we might have -- and we do have a profound sense of self -- it is grounded in the khandhas. You might also want to look at

    "You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair." MN 22.

So, at first I thought you agree with me that the Buddha already stated there is unconditioned, uncreated thing. If you don't agree with it then we must restart from that point. I will try to disentangle the misunderstanding.

OK, I agree that we should not build self theory, especially there is no self theory. There is self and there is no self, are wrong views. Can we agree on this point?
That why the Buddha had never stated that there is no self, and keep silent on the matter of an arahant after death, and keep silent when was being asked directly to it.
You might do well to look at the actual texts where the Buddha kept silent in response to the question of the existence of a self. Context is everything.

I agree that to understand some suttas, we need context. But we must use it carefully, or we will manipulate the Buddha's words to fit our own theory. Can I hear your explanation on that occasion's context? What is the reason the Buddha kept silent?

And no matter what the context, the Buddha had never stated that there is no self, do you agree with this?
If you can say there is no self then we could easily say, after death, nothing is left for an arahant, quite frankly? So, we should not state that there is no self, shouln'd we?
Again, your questions are grounded in the assumptions of being and non-being, a way of looking at thigs the Buddha rejected.

OK, from now I will use an arahant does not exist after death to counter the view there is no self. No need to use the complicated self.
If I am understanding you correctly, you would be wrong to say that "an arahant does not exist after death."

These two suttas would warrant careful study and consideration:

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

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

OK, I saw your point.

Let me ask you, does dhammawheel forum exist?

Regards
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Re: NO self

Postby polarbuddha101 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:53 pm

When one sees the origination of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:31 pm

whynotme wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
whynotme wrote:
The problem with there is self, is not it is wrong, but as you already pointed out, it is very hard to correctly understand and practice. If we say there is self, or there is an unconditioned thing, only very few understand them correctly, e.g at least sotapanna. Other may hold on a view with the self relates to five aggregates.
The Buddha was quite clear. Any sense of self we might have -- and we do have a profound sense of self -- it is grounded in the khandhas. You might also want to look at

    "You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair." MN 22.

So, at first I thought you agree with me that the Buddha already stated there is unconditioned, uncreated thing. If you don't agree with it then we must restart from that point. I will try to disentangle the misunderstanding.
I have no misunderstanding. This has already been addressed here at great length: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10569 If you wish to pursue this question, best do it in that thread, not in this thread.

Let me ask you, does dhammawheel forum exist?
It has no inherent existence.
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: NO self

Postby whynotme » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:18 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:When one sees the origination of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one.

:namaste:

So, is there dhamma wheel forum?

And if you don't mind, does suffering exist?

Regards
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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:I have no misunderstanding. This has already been addressed here at great length: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10569 If you wish to pursue this question, best do it in that thread, not in this thread.

Thanks for the link, I am investigating it

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Re: NO self

Postby zazang » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:15 am

no-self has to be directly experienced in all aggregates in the light of Dependent origination which means
that things arise *impersonally and conditionally*...the aggregates which make up a conventional self
are as impersonal as the wave in a sea or a rock.
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Re: NO self

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:18 am

zazang wrote:no-self has to be directly experienced in all aggregates in the light of Dependent origination which means
that things arise *impersonally and conditionally*...the aggregates which make up a conventional self
are as impersonal as the wave in a sea or a rock.
Even so, you still might say: "My back hurts; I think I will sit down for awhile."
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: NO self

Postby sunyavadin » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:29 am

To say that 'nothing is self' is not to say 'there is no self'.


From the Ananda Sutta:

[T]he wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness].


(Ananda Sutta, SN 44.10; trs Thanissaro, Access to Insight.)

The gist is that atta is neither something that can be described as ‘existing’, or as ‘non-existing’ - in other words, to hold either view is to err. It is significant that in this passage, the question ‘then is there no self?’ is expressed as follows: “Kiṃ pana, bho gotama, natthattā”ti? Here, natthattā is the noun form and is one of the only occurrences of this form in the Pali texts. Virtually every other instances of the term is given adjectively, as anattā, and nearly always in relation to ‘those things which are not the self’. In other words, on the one occasion when the Buddha was directly asked ‘whether or not there is atta’, he did not respond either negatively or positively. This is a significant point in understanding the meaning of ‘the Middle Way’.

The idea of 'an eternal self' that is criticized as 'eternalism' is as follows:

The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, set firmly as a post. And though these beings rush around, circulate, pass away and re-arise, but this remains eternally. (DN1.1.32)


But this does not mean that 'there is no self', for that would imply that there can be no fruition of kamma, and would be the opposite error of nihilism.
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Re: NO self

Postby MidGe » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:33 am

No analogy is perfect but the idea of the wave as a metaphor for self seems to resonates! :)

In a wave the water particles are not moving forward with the wave, they do a little circle in place and that is it. Does a wave exists? It might, just like a self, but no more. :)

http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/lsps07_int_waves/
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Re: NO self

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:38 am

whynotme wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:When one sees the origination of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one.

:namaste:

So, is there dhamma wheel forum?

And if you don't mind, does suffering exist?

Regards


as long as you don't interpret it too literally then yes. there is not some thing though called forum, there are electrical pulses beaming into a computer, the computer interprets the electrical impulses in a particular way and an image flashes on your screen. If you went looking for DHAMMAWHEEL you wouldn't find it, it's not anywhere in particular. It's a mirage

does suffering exist. As an abstraction yes, as an idea yes. remember that suffering only exists in relation to a first person ontology, it's totally subjective, rocks don't suffer, people do. More to the point, suffering is an abstract concept that refers to the way people sometimes have feelings they deem unpleasant and through wrong comprehension become averse to those feelings. Suffering does not exist apart from the way people relate to feelings of pain, pleasure and neither pleasure nor pain.

So in one sense, dhammawheel forum and suffering both exist, but the way to see both of these things is to avoid extremes of existence and non-existence. It's hard to wrap your mind around conceptually because the mind tends to abtract things, even the term mind is an abstraction, there isn't some entity called mind or my mind or your mind, it's just a term to be conveniently used without reifying the concept. Alas, at some point all words break down.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: NO self

Postby danieLion » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:34 am

robertk wrote:Some more on "there is no self" .
It must be admitted hat someone could say " there is no self", and be having some sort of anilhilationist view such as the philosopher Hume, some scientists and materialism in general.

Thus more detail is needed to clarify, more about the vinnana sota, nama-rupa , conditionality, and dependent origination.

Hume thought self is merely a bundle of perceptions and was sceptical about knowledge in general but was not (an outright) annihilationist.
Where does Nietzsche's notion of self-overcoming fit into this?
Where does Korzybski's "is of identity" interpretation of Wittgenstein fit into this?
Where do William James' "stream of thought" and "self-consciousness" analyses fit into this?
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Re: NO self

Postby sunyavadin » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:32 am

Generally speaking, and at a very high level, 'nihilism' is the tendency of materialism and anti-religious thinkers (including Nietszche, but many others.) It is the view that this life is the only life, and that at the break-up of the body, there are no further consequences for the being.

'Eternalism' is the opposite view, and is the view of very many religious thinkers, who believe in a literal 'eternal life' in the sense of a perpetually-existing personality or separate being.

Nihilism and eternalism are characterised as the two wrong or extreme views.

Actually I think nihilism is more of a problem, as it is a strong underlying tendency in modern society. And as it is very easy to wrongly identify the Buddhist view of emptiness (sunnata) with nothingness, nihilism is a tendency into which many Buddhists are likely to stray, in my view. And as nihilism is the natural viewpoint for secular thinkers, it is very easy to adopt it.
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Re: NO self

Postby danieLion » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:59 am

sunyavadin wrote:Generally speaking, and at a very high level, 'nihilism' is the tendency of materialism and anti-religious thinkers (including Nietszche, but many others.).
Huh? Nietzsche was against nihilism.
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Re: NO self

Postby whynotme » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:15 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
whynotme wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:When one sees the origination of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of dhamma wheel forum as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to dhamma wheel forum does not occur to one.

:namaste:

So, is there dhamma wheel forum?

And if you don't mind, does suffering exist?

Regards


as long as you don't interpret it too literally then yes. there is not some thing though called forum, there are electrical pulses beaming into a computer, the computer interprets the electrical impulses in a particular way and an image flashes on your screen. If you went looking for DHAMMAWHEEL you wouldn't find it, it's not anywhere in particular. It's a mirage

does suffering exist. As an abstraction yes, as an idea yes. remember that suffering only exists in relation to a first person ontology, it's totally subjective, rocks don't suffer, people do. More to the point, suffering is an abstract concept that refers to the way people sometimes have feelings they deem unpleasant and through wrong comprehension become averse to those feelings. Suffering does not exist apart from the way people relate to feelings of pain, pleasure and neither pleasure nor pain.

So in one sense, dhammawheel forum and suffering both exist, but the way to see both of these things is to avoid extremes of existence and non-existence. It's hard to wrap your mind around conceptually because the mind tends to abtract things, even the term mind is an abstraction, there isn't some entity called mind or my mind or your mind, it's just a term to be conveniently used without reifying the concept. Alas, at some point all words break down.

:namaste:

Well, I knew it too, I just want to know what you think about it. And it seems you can't make a clear point. There are two kind of existence when something is refer to, does it exist?

1 Convenient existence, which means relating to time: e.g Roman empire existed in the past, it doesn't exist in the present, it will not exist in the future. I remember there is sutta the Budda talked about this, for the wise one, which existed in the past is considered existed in the past, but not in the present, or in the future and so on.. In this case, if the question is, does the dinosaur exist? Then the answer is the dinosaur existed in the past, but not in the present, nor in the future. If the answer is the dinosaur is not considered exist, and is not considered non exist, then people would consider you have mental problem. So don't quote the sutta like this is the only truth, all others are wrong.

2 Absolute existence, which means when something is refered to as exists, it is permanent and has a self. In this sense, nothing is considered exist because everything will not exist. This is the context of the sutta above.

Not that I don't know about existence, but I saw your double standard when you applied the existence to the suttas, because I saw the Buddha used both of these kinds of existence in many different suttas. In order to understand suttas, we should consider what existence is applied in the specific suttas.

When someone asked does the arahant exist after death, remember the context. It is not the question about the absolute existence, but it is about the existence relates to time, because it has adverb after death.

Why didn't he ask does an arahant exist in the present, before the death? Because he knows the answer, it doesn't need to be asked, as the simple answer is yes, arahant exists before death. Or if he merely asked does the arahant exist, then you can feel free to apply the sutta above of the negative duality of the existence. But no, he only asked about the existence of the arahant after death, which was a convenient question in the convenient way, it meant the existence in according to time.

Think like this, if it was the question about the absolute existence, then the Buddha could easily explain to him like the sutta above. But he was the wise one, and he knew this it not that case, and if the Buddha explain to that man like that I would laugh hard at his wisdom. This case was about the existence relates to time, and so he kept silent. And you applied the sutta above to explain his silence is just a way to bend the sutta to your view.

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Re: NO self

Postby SamKR » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:21 am

From the practical point of view, understanding any "thing" to be "not self" or "no self" is much more useful than leaving a scope for possibility of "true self".

If we have a view that there is a possibility of "true self" (to be realized at a higher level of our Dhamma-practice), then whenever we perceive any permanent-bliss like state we may regard it as "true self" and so we may get stuck with that experience (thinking it to be nibbana), and stop further development. (Contemplation of "not self" alone is not sufficient, it should be supported by understanding of impermanence and others: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html.)

But if we regard everything (any experience whatsoever, permanent or impermanent, Dukkha or sukha, even if it is nibbana) as "not self" or "no self" then there will be lesser possibility of being stuck in any particular experience (for example, the so called "non-dual" experience). If we have really realized nibbana then there's no harm in considering it as "not-self", but if we haven't then understanding that particular experience as "not-self" will help to develop further to realization of nibbana.

So, having the view about "no self" is a right view and it's a right strategy (no-self strategy) since it leads to the elimination of Dukkha. But any view that hints that "there is possibility of 'true self'" is terribly inclined towards wrong view since it may hinder the process of elimination of Dukkha or the realization of nibbana itself.
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Re: NO self

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:03 am

"Existence is a very slippery notion."
-Bhikkhu Bodhi (somwhere on one of his MN lectures--in the last third of them--during Q&A).
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