The doer/observer

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

The doer/observer

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:43 pm

I was just wondering whether or not once a person becomes the observer, they are still in control of where their life is going. When I make a decision, and follow through I choose the course of my life, but only when I let the doer take control, if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:07 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:once a person becomes the observer


...what?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby SarathW » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:31 am

Hi Corey
It appears to me that you have to understand the concept of Anatta, the most important of Buddhist teaching which separate it from all other religions. This does not mean to say that Buddhist reject other religions. There is no doer or observe in Buddhist teaching. Once you fully comprehend this without any doubt and eliminate ignorance you will attain Nirvana. Please read the following book. I read this book more than ten times to just to get a glimpse of this teaching. Please start reading from chapter 15 which will answer your question.
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:49 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:I was just wondering whether or not once a person becomes the observer, they are still in control of where their life is going. When I make a decision, and follow through I choose the course of my life, but only when I let the doer take control, if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?


There is no observer - just a process of observation.
And no, you won't just sit around aimlessly. You'll live an informed life and not one which is dominated blind habitual reaction, craving and ignorance.
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: The doer/observer

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:53 am

Doing is a process, it does.

Observing is a process, it observes.

Becoming is a process, it becomes.

There is no you that "becomes" any of these processes.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:12 am

Goofaholix wrote:Doing is a process, it does.

Observing is a process, it observes.

Becoming is a process, it becomes.

There is no you that "becomes" any of these processes.


Just as a clarification, the 'it' in 'it' observes isn't anything, it is the same it in the phrase: it is raining

It is raining= there is rain

it observes= there is observing
"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: The doer/observer

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:11 am

My apologies, I'm reading a book called Brahm Meditation. There is some referencing to the doer and knower/observer in it, that got me confused.

"To understand this process, I
will now introduce the two halves of the mind: the knower
and the doer."

Is Brahm Meditation not a proper teaching of Buddhism? I'm kind of lost with it.
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:35 am

Well, I fail to recall a relevant Sutta, but living instruction involves a broad range of referents and tools of various and varying usefulness.

For my part, I wonder where the description goes, as I'm unfamiliar with it. What is "this process"?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby santa100 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:57 am

From Ajahn Brahm's Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond:

Dullness in meditation is the result of a tired mind, usually one that
has been overworking. Fighting that dullness makes you even more
exhausted. Resting allows the energy to return to the mind. To understand this process, I will now introduce the two halves of the mind: the
knower and the doer.The knower is the passive half of the mind that simply receives information. The doer is the active half that responds with
evaluating,thinking,and controlling.The knower and the doer share the
same source of mental energy. Thus, when you are doing a lot, when
you have a busy lifestyle and are struggling to get on, the doer consumes
most of your mental energy, leaving only a pittance for the knower.
When the knower is starved of mental energy you experience dullness


So basically Ven. Brahm used the expression within a specific context, dullness in meditation, also known as sloth and torpor, a "popular" hindrance among the Five Hindrances. The link below has helpful info. about the Five Hindrances and could be used as complementary reading along with Ajahn's book. It might help clarifying things for you..

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el026.html
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:31 am

Here's a link where Ajhan Brahm explains some of this in more detail:
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn ... ANATTA.htm
'The knower' is usually called consciousness or citta (mind), which is what knows. That knowing is often seen to be the ultimate 'self'. ...

And I think that "the doer" is referring sankhara:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... kh%C4%81ra
II sankhāra also means sometimes 'intentional effort', e.g. in the formula of the roads to power iddhi-pāda, in sasankhāra and asankhāra-parinibbāyī see: anāgāmī, and in the Abhidhamma terms asankhārika and sasankhārika-citta i.e. without effort = spontaneously, and with effort = prompted.

:anjali:
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:45 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:it observes= there is observing


Good clarification, in many ways self view is caused by the language we use.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby Yana » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:55 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:I was just wondering whether or not once a person becomes the observer, they are still in control of where their life is going. When I make a decision, and follow through I choose the course of my life, but only when I let the doer take control, if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?


Hi CoreyNiles92,

There is no person.No observer or doer.There is only observing and doing.
This existence is like one big Verb..eating,sitting,walking,thinking,wanting,hating,etc.. :smile:

because there is suffering there is wanting to be free from suffering....everything is in the PRESENT TENSE..which is why it ends with an -ing. All your memories from the past,thoughts and plans in the future they are all in the PRESENT.Your are not actually traveling back in time or the future your experiencing them NOW in your Mind.

There is no person.All there is in an Action which contributes to the Process!and Everything is a Process Conditioned by the Process Before It.Skillfull actions is what you need to do in the present moment not sit aimlessly and observe. :anjali:
Life is preparing for Death
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby Mr Man » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:12 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:I was just wondering whether or not once a person becomes the observer, they are still in control of where their life is going. When I make a decision, and follow through I choose the course of my life, but only when I let the doer take control, if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?
I think the course of your life would be more determined by what is appropriate to circumstance + ripening of past actions.
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby SarathW » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:56 am

The attachd link may further help to clarify this question:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby ground » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:07 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:... if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?

No. "I" always has aims, maybe fluctuating and momentary but there are always impulses to do this or that which are affirmed. :sage:
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby cbonanno » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:14 pm

Yana wrote:
CoreyNiles92 wrote:I was just wondering whether or not once a person becomes the observer, they are still in control of where their life is going. When I make a decision, and follow through I choose the course of my life, but only when I let the doer take control, if I were the observer wouldn't I just sit there aimlessly?


Hi CoreyNiles92,

There is no person.No observer or doer.There is only observing and doing.
This existence is like one big Verb..eating,sitting,walking,thinking,wanting,hating,etc.. :smile:

There is no person.


This goes against the Buddha's teaching and is considered an extreme view.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tself.html
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Re: The doer/observer

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:14 pm

Hi Cbon
Good link. Anatta is such difficult subject to understand. Safest think is to point to a link. So I will give you another good link. :)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el202.html
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