Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

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skandha
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by skandha »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:14 am
Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:11 am
skandha wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:20 am
Yes, "(3) I am not the owner of my actions" does make sense. You are not the owner of your actions because it too is dependent on conditions. Your choices, your supposedly "free will" is very much dependent and falls within the domain of this mass of conditional aggregates, which is not "you". This mass of conditional aggregates comes first, this "you" is merely a conventional subset of it. Though you are not the owner of your actions, unfortunately there is still the liability to suffering if craving arises. Fortunately there is the escape to suffering if craving ceases.

You are not the owner of your actions but you are liable to it's effects, unfair isn't it?
If, as you say, "You are not the owner of your actions because it too is dependent on conditions", then why is "I am the owner of my actions" recommended by the Buddha as skillful right-view?
You are correct, the user skandha has gone too far onto the non-existence side/scale/spectrum.

There is a sutta where a monk does the same, and the Buddha calls him a fool and that he has "overstepped the teacher's teaching".
Action is on the level of intention (cetana) which comes under sankhara. I don't say that sankhara is non existent, it is part of the group of cetasika realities. It is the 'I' that it as an imputed convention, not sankharas. You don't own sankharas in the sense that it is non self and is subjected to conditions, impermanence. If you own it then how is that you have no control over it's arising, cessation and persistence. Though you have no control of it, it is your responsibility to take up the suffering or not, on account of it.
Form is like a lump of foam, Feeling like a water bubble; Perception is like a mirage, Volitions like a plantain trunk, and consciousness like an illusion
- SN 22.95
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confusedlayman
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by confusedlayman »

its only ridiculous thoughts that creates the world of illusion.. when u say this body is me, it is because of thought that u enter that world where body is me preset is present... its hard to say but easy to know if u investigate with dedication

when the thought goes puff off

those who dont come to buddhism are lost
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
coconut
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by coconut »

skandha wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:44 pm
coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:14 am
Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:11 am

If, as you say, "You are not the owner of your actions because it too is dependent on conditions", then why is "I am the owner of my actions" recommended by the Buddha as skillful right-view?
You are correct, the user skandha has gone too far onto the non-existence side/scale/spectrum.

There is a sutta where a monk does the same, and the Buddha calls him a fool and that he has "overstepped the teacher's teaching".
Action is on the level of intention (cetana) which comes under sankhara. I don't say that sankhara is non existent, it is part of the group of cetasika realities. It is the 'I' that it as an imputed convention, not sankharas. You don't own sankharas in the sense that it is non self and is subjected to conditions, impermanence. If you own it then how is that you have no control over it's arising, cessation and persistence. Though you have no control of it, it is your responsibility to take up the suffering or not, on account of it.
If that were the case then the Buddha would not say this

"And, yes, I think whatever thought I want to think, and don't think any thought I don't want to think. I will any resolve I want to will, and don't will any resolve I don't want to will. I have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.
- Vassakara Sutta

You very much have control over your intention.
skandha
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by skandha »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:36 pm
"And, yes, I think whatever thought I want to think, and don't think any thought I don't want to think. I will any resolve I want to will, and don't will any resolve I don't want to will. I have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.
- Vassakara Sutta

You very much have control over your intention.
Not to the extent that you can own intention as a self or I. Not to the extent of going outside the domain of conditionality, impermanence. Only to the extent that you have the choice of suffering or freedom from suffering.
Form is like a lump of foam, Feeling like a water bubble; Perception is like a mirage, Volitions like a plantain trunk, and consciousness like an illusion
- SN 22.95
coconut
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by coconut »

skandha wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:55 pm
coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:36 pm
"And, yes, I think whatever thought I want to think, and don't think any thought I don't want to think. I will any resolve I want to will, and don't will any resolve I don't want to will. I have attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.
- Vassakara Sutta

You very much have control over your intention.
Not to the extent that you can own intention as a self or I. Not to the extent of going outside the domain of conditionality, impermanence. Only to the extent that you have the choice of suffering or freedom from suffering.
"There are these five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained. Which five?

"'I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.' This is the first fact that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.

"'I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.' ...

"'I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.' ...

"'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.' ...

"'I am the owner of my actions,[1] heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.' .
..
"Now, based on what line of reasoning should one often reflect... that 'I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'? There are beings who conduct themselves in a bad way in body... in speech... and in mind. But when they often reflect on that fact, that bad conduct in body, speech, and mind will either be entirely abandoned or grow weaker...


There is no ego or identity, but you still own your actions, and you are the one that will feel the effect and consequences of those actions. Suffering still exists regardless of your view of an identity or not.

"Now, a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one subject to aging, who has not gone beyond aging. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed.

"Further, a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one subject to illness, who has not gone beyond illness.'... 'I am not the only one subject to death, who has not gone beyond death.'... 'I am not the only one who will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.'...

"A disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one who is owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator; who — whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their actions, heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed."
In short, you are responsible for your own suffering, no one else is responsible for your own actions, and furthermore you cannot discard and dismiss your responsibility to a nihilistic deterministic wrong view.
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cappuccino
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by cappuccino »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:31 pm There is no ego
Buddhism teaches not self


rather than no ego
DaniloSS
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by DaniloSS »

Ven. Thanissaro already answered your question in the essay First Things First
Maranasati
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by Maranasati »

skandha wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:08 pm Sutta reference that equates the aggregates to 'I', a conventional being,
“Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word ‘chariot’ is used,
So, when the aggregates exist,
There is the convention ‘a being.

SN 5.10
This sutta equates the aggregates with "the convention 'a being'", not with the convention of "I". I've seen only this sutta SN 1.25 which deals with the convention of "I", and it does not equate it with "the aggregates", but rather, simply as "no more than expressions":
“When a mendicant is perfected, proficient,
with defilements ended, bearing the final body:
would they say, ‘I speak’,
or even ‘they speak to me’?”

“When a mendicant is perfected, proficient,
with defilements ended, bearing the final body:
they would say, ‘I speak’,
and also ‘they speak to me’.
Skillful, understanding the world’s conventions,
they’d use these terms as no more than expressions.”
I think the conventional use "I" is a more subtle matter, and cannot in all instances be reduced to "the aggregates". Because, essentially, "the aggregates" is an object, phenomena, while "I" is (grammatically) a subject, not an object. Hence the conventional use of "I" is broader. For instance, only a subject can (in principle, or logically) stand in ownership relations with something else. An object cannot (in principle) stand in ownership relations with something else. Hence, it does not make logical sense to substitute "I" with "the aggregates" in the sentence: "I am the owner of my actions".
coconut
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by coconut »

Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:25 pm
skandha wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:08 pm Sutta reference that equates the aggregates to 'I', a conventional being,
“Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word ‘chariot’ is used,
So, when the aggregates exist,
There is the convention ‘a being.

SN 5.10
This sutta equates the aggregates with "the convention 'a being'", not with the convention of "I". I've seen only this sutta SN 1.25 which deals with the convention of "I", and it does not equate it with "the aggregates", but rather, simply as "no more than expressions":
“When a mendicant is perfected, proficient,
with defilements ended, bearing the final body:
would they say, ‘I speak’,
or even ‘they speak to me’?”

“When a mendicant is perfected, proficient,
with defilements ended, bearing the final body:
they would say, ‘I speak’,
and also ‘they speak to me’.
Skillful, understanding the world’s conventions,
they’d use these terms as no more than expressions.”
I think the conventional use "I" is a more subtle matter, and cannot in all instances be reduced to "the aggregates". Because, essentially, "the aggregates" is an object, phenomena, while "I" is (grammatically) a subject, not an object. Hence the conventional use of "I" is broader. For instance, only a subject can (in principle, or logically) stand in ownership relations with something else. An object cannot (in principle) stand in ownership relations with something else. Hence, it does not make logical or grammatical sense to substitute "I" with "the aggregates" in the sentence: "I am the owner of my actions".
Imho, I recommend reading Ven Varado's explanations in his glossary, https://pali-glossary.github.io/content ... natt%C4%81
coconut
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by coconut »

cappuccino wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:15 pm
coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:31 pm There is no ego
Buddhism teaches not self


rather than no ego

Clad in robes, I live the religious life without a home, with shaven head, with ego completely extinguished.

saṅghāṭivāsī agaho carāmi nivuttakeso abhinibbutatto.

— Sn.v.456

Having heard my word, train yourself in the quenching of the ego.

Ito sutvāna nigghosaṃ sikkhe nibbānamattano.

— Sn.v.1062

Those who roam the world who are truly liberated [from individual existence], liberated from the perception of existence, spiritually perfected, with egos restrained.

Ye ve asattā vicaranti loke akiñcanā kevalino yatattā.

— Sn.v.490
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cappuccino
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by cappuccino »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:41 pm Clad in robes, I live the religious life without a home, with shaven head, with ego completely extinguished.

saṅghāṭivāsī agaho carāmi nivuttakeso abhinibbutatto.

— Sn.v.456
ego is Latin, meaning I


the translation is such


but the teaching may be otherwise
skandha
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by skandha »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:31 pm
There is no ego or identity, but you still own your actions, and you are the one that will feel the effect and consequences of those actions. Suffering still exists regardless of your view of an identity or not.
I agree with the above. In my first post on this topic I supported the notion of I am the owner of my actions based on the context of responsibility of action and it's effects. In later posts when the context of a self identity of an 'I' being the owner is brought in, I then also supported the statement that 'I am not the owner'. It all depends on the context and perspective.
Form is like a lump of foam, Feeling like a water bubble; Perception is like a mirage, Volitions like a plantain trunk, and consciousness like an illusion
- SN 22.95
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DooDoot
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by DooDoot »

Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:51 am it is true to say: 1) "This nama-rupa (mind-body) is the owner of its actions."
Yes the above is true.
Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:51 amWe know that it is skillful to say: 2) "This nama-rupa (mind-body) is not mine, not I."
No. The above is unnecessary. Not-self is implicit in the view of 'nama-rupa'. Once the view of nama-rupa (mind-body) is established, there is no need to reflect it is not-self, as though the mind is attempting to free itself of self-view.
Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:51 amThen why is it not therefore skillful to say: 3) "I am not the owner of my actions."
Why? Because the idea of "I" has been re-introduced. The above is "annhilationism", which is to believe a self exists that is not a self; similar to the wrong views of the befuddled Vacchagotta in SN 44.10.

Also, once the view of nama-rupa is established, the potential range of actions (kamma) shrinks greatly (since most actions are born from self-view).
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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pegembara
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by pegembara »

Maranasati wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:51 am
If, as you say, it is true to say: 1) "This nama-rupa (mind-body) is the owner of its actions."
We know that it is skillful to say: 2) "This nama-rupa (mind-body) is not mine, not I."
Then why is it not therefore skillful to say: 3) "I am not the owner of my actions."

[ A is the owner of B ] + [ A is not C ] => [ C is not the owner of B ]

3) Seems to follow logically from 1) and 2), as a combination of a true and a skillful statement, yet it is unskillful. What is the mistake in the above reasoning?
To perform actions, you need a body either "yours" or someone else's ie. you influence that person to act.
If the body is "yours", then you would surely reap the effects of your actions.
If you influence another to commit a criminal act, it is again "your" body or mind that suffers the consequences.

You will never be free as long as you somehow claim ownership over "your" body and/or mind. No amount of intellectual reasoning or discussion is going to change this fact for you - "You" are the "owner/heir" of "your" actions simply because "you" are present.

"You" are still present despite declaring things as not me, not mine and not myself.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Clarification of not-self and 'the doer'

Post by chownah »

I think that there might be some progress to be had by considering cause and effect.
I think that most people view the self as being the cause...
It might be helpful to view the self as being an effect of ignorance....that is to say that our imagined self arises because of ignorance about the nature of the onward flow of phenomena....
chownah
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