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The "I"

BunksBunks Australia Veteran

So I was meditating on dependent arising and the emptiness (lack of inherent existence) of the I this morning and I wondered if the I we percieve as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

Interested to hear what others think.

Shoshin
«1345

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited August 2016

    (Oh Goodness, you've unleashed the Kraken.. you wait until Shoshin sees this....Speech-marks everywhere!!)

    **I always considered it a Perception. Is a perception thought/feeling combined? **

    the paradox inherent to the question might also come not from the two option, but from the "I" and the implicit assumption of an existence of the self.

    "the Self is an illusion" is an interesting tenet in Buddhist philosophy - the realisation of which is known as Śūnyatā

    When leaving aside the assumption of a self, then the question spins around and bites its own tail like an M.C. Escher painting, because it may not be the same "we" that perceive, and is. Or indeed there might not be one at all.

    To pitch in further with the buddhist angle, in this framework, it would be that we perceive our thoughts and feelings, and that a lot of suffering comes from the fact we identify with them.

    An interesting way to approach this for instance is to consider that when a thought or feeling arises (notice the terminology - it's not generated by a self, it arises), we perceive it - it's no coincidence it's called a "feeling". Emotions will manifest as physical sensations.

    It's interesting to consider those like any sensory phenomenon, instead of assuming that they are us. If I feel a pain in my calf, I would assess it, if needed act on it, I wouldn't think that this is, somehow, a deliberate manifestation of my being.

    Same if I hear a sound - it's just a sensory phenomenon. Once we think of emotions and thoughts as sensory input, and treat them as we would "external" sensations, life become much easier.

    If, conversely, we take the opposite view, then we end up defining ourselves as our thoughts and feelings, which might be problematic once it becomes apparent the self that feels the thoughts and feelings might not actually be in full control of them.

    Constructing a sense of identity based on the ideas we subscribe to can bring about a host of problems. I'd expend further, but this answer is already getting long. My views on the matter are in Is fear at the heart invoking anger when ever opposing ideas are shared?

    So in conclusion - yes, it's an open ended question, there is no right or wrong answer - however which you chose to believe might have a bearing on your relationship to reality. On the one hand, you can choose to live in the felt presence of experience, on the other, you can choose to strengthen your ego.

    Filched unashamedly, from Here.

    BunksTravellerlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    So I was meditating on dependent arising and the emptiness (lack of inherent existence) of the I this morning and I wondered if the I we percieve as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    Interested to hear what others think.

    Like a moth to a flame "I" venture to attempt to answer such an intriguing question :wink:

    It's as if the"I" appears when the mind becomes charmed by its own thoughts....which is quite often, so it would seem......Think snake charmer.....

    "I" am just a "thought" who thinks "I" am "thinking" "I" am just a thought"

    Try becoming "I" without thought's involvement....

    TravellerupekkalobsterBunks
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    (Oh Goodness, you've unleashed the Kraken.. you wait until Shoshin sees this....Speech-marks everywhere!!)

    PMSL

    Shoshin
  • @Bunks said:
    I wondered if the I we perceive as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    Look for it. Try the exercise @Shoshin suggests. Try looking for this 'real self', 'true being', independent soul, persona, ultimate being etc.

    The 'solid self' is a figment of all that arises.

    Try becoming "I" without thought's involvement....

    That is why the dharma teaches we are empty/not having existence independent of the involvement of body sensations, emotional attachment and the meandering arisings of a monkey mind. It is very well expressed in @federica link.

    The difference between knowing something and knowing how to experience and what to do about it, is the difference between psychology and dharma.

    person
  • ZeroZero Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    ...a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    I think they're the same process.

    Steve_B
  • Liberation Unleashed will take you through the process of realising the nature of self as empty of inherent existence.
    It is not the end of the path but an important Buddhist realisation for those of us timid, affronted, attached to personal ignorance etc.

    Once we are free of our fanciful constructions we may build ones of our own choosing (going off the deep end/insanity not recommended) or make skilful use of the negative and positive shell remains ...

    We also start to reside increasingly in the 'emptiness' so beloved of zenniths and cushion hugging meditators. 'I think therefore I am deluded' as Descartes never said ...

    BunksKerome
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I'm wondering if that sense of self, or a strong inclination to it, is actually something we are born with, a survival mechanism, and not just something we condition into ourselves. Is it actually hard-wired in, and can be overcome only by a laborious installation of the right "software" ? That would explain, perhaps, some of the difficulty of overcoming it. Granted that our thoughts, feelings, social conditioning and so on greatly reinforce the tendency, but do they actually cause it to arise ?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    I'm wondering if that sense of self, or a strong inclination to it, is actually something we are born with, a survival mechanism, and not just something we condition into ourselves. Is it actually hard-wired in, and can be overcome only by a laborious installation of the right "software" ? That would explain, perhaps, some of the difficulty of overcoming it. Granted that our thoughts, feelings, social conditioning and so on greatly reinforce the tendency, but do they actually cause it to arise ?

    Good question - I also wonder if the younger someone is introduced to the idea of this emptiness the easier it is for them to realise i.e. they haven't been as stuck for as long believing they're separate.

    I guess if you believe in rebirth then it don't really matter...... ;)

  • @Fosdick said:
    I'm wondering if that sense of self, or a strong inclination to it, is actually something we are born with, a survival mechanism, and not just something we condition into ourselves. Is it actually hard-wired in, and can be overcome only by a laborious installation of the right "software" ? That would explain, perhaps, some of the difficulty of overcoming it. Granted that our thoughts, feelings, social conditioning and so on greatly reinforce the tendency, but do they actually cause it to arise ?

    I think you're right, survival instinct is a strong evolutionary drive, and not easily abandoned.

    lobsterBunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    I'm wondering if that sense of self, or a strong inclination to it, is actually something we are born with, a survival mechanism, and not just something we condition into ourselves. Is it actually hard-wired in, and can be overcome only by a laborious installation of the right "software" ? That would explain, perhaps, some of the difficulty of overcoming it. Granted that our thoughts, feelings, social conditioning and so on greatly reinforce the tendency, but do they actually cause it to arise ?

    I suspect this isn't the case, from what I remember of my childhood my sense of self went through several evolutions from being nearly non-existent when very young to getting stronger in more social situations. Perhaps thoughts, feelings and social conditioning don't cause it to arise but I suspect they lend what is a vague inclination to start with a lot of later definition.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Bunks said:
    So I was meditating on dependent arising and the emptiness (lack of inherent existence) of the I this morning and I wondered if the I we percieve as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    Interested to hear what others think.

    It's an assumption really, the assumption that there is somebody who owns all the thoughts and feelings. "I think, therefore I think I am".

    Though some people claim we have a "True Self"! Perhaps it is hiding the quantum foam. :p

  • @lobster said:> Liberation Unleashed will take you through the process of realising the nature of self as empty of inherent existence.

    Why are still recommending that strange place? You said it was a waste of time, correctly in my view.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    Why are still recommending that strange place? You said it was a waste of time, correctly in my view.

    Not quite what was said.

    For those wishing to have experiential confirmation of how the self is non existing without something to cling to, their process is very useful. A good starting point.

    Sadly they were unable to cope with me, even though I am already fully aware of having 'no independent self' ... They saw my answers as a waste of my and their time because I had no requirement for their process. I iz trouble! :p

    ... In fact it was useful in ways they may not have been aware of ... B)

    Bunks
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @lobster said:> Sadly they were unable to cope with me, even though I am already fully aware of having 'no independent self' ... They saw my answers as a waste of my and their time because I had no requirement for their process. I iz trouble! :p

    Yes, it was a fascinating read. You were simply not giving them the answers they wanted, naughty lobster! Though the idea that you can get an insight into anatta by thinking about it seems a bit odd to me. Contemplation is useful, but it needs to be combined with discernment, and that requires the close observation of experience.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Liberation Unleashed will take you through the process of realising the nature of self as empty of inherent existence.
    It is not the end of the path but an important Buddhist realisation for those of us timid, affronted, attached to personal ignorance etc.

    Thanks @lobster, this looks very intriguing. I'm going through the app first, it's certainly triggering a few things!

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Who will tie your shoes?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Sometimes I think "I" am created by other people.

    When I am alone "I" tend to go away but as soon as I began to engage with my wife, kids, work colleagues, friends "I" appear again.....

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Bunks said:
    Sometimes I think "I" am created by other people.

    When I am alone "I" tend to go away but as soon as I began to engage with my wife, kids, work colleagues, friends "I" appear again.....

    @Bunks "I" think you are on the right track with this line of enquiry, ie, through meditation...stick with it....

    Our clinging and grasping mind often works overtime, especially when it comes to the subject of 'Anatta' ... It's like this sense of self that becomes aware of it's fleeting existence wants to have its cake and eat it too that is, it wants to have this awareness that it does not exist as a permanent entity yet at the same time it's afraid of not being the permanent entity it thinks it still is... Go figure :)

    "To know the 'self' is to lose the 'self' and to lose the 'self' is to know the 'self' !" ... and therein lies the paradox called 'self' ,,,,

    A quote from one of Rick Hanson's books
    "It's not so much that we have a self, it's that we do self-ing...
    The self has no inherent, unconditional, absolute existence apart from the network of causes it arises from, in, and as !"

    WalkerlobsterBunksperson
  • @Bunks said:
    So I was meditating on dependent arising and the emptiness (lack of inherent existence) of the I this morning and I wondered if the I we percieve as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    Interested to hear what others think.

    You are what you perceive yourself to be - a man, Caucasian, American, Buddhist, a lawyer, father/brother/son. A thought, feeling(I am angry), a form(human), a soul!

    "You" are merely a reflection of what you and others see. That "you" is subject to change.
    What some call the "true self" which appears unchanging is merely the state of knowing(verb) that can never be directly seen. It is unchanging because it is actually not a "thing"(noun).

    For example, the eye can never see itself! What it sees are only images on the retina including its own reflection from a mirror or photo.

    Existing independently? Never.

    TravellerShoshinlobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @pegembara said:> You are what you perceive yourself to be - a man, Caucasian, American, Buddhist, a lawyer, father/brother/son. A thought, feeling(I am angry), a form(human), a soul!

    An' does this happly even to cockney chimney sweeps? Gawd! :p

    I shall 'ave words wiv Mary abart this....

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @pegembara said: You are what you perceive yourself to be - a man, Caucasian, American, Buddhist, a lawyer, father/brother/son. A thought, feeling(I am angry), a form(human), a soul!

    This is innaccurate. Others perceive this. we do not inherently manifest these qualities as 'solid'. These are labels other people stick on us. You are not a father/brother/son to people you are not related to.
    Therefore, these labels apply only when given by specific others.
    We follow accordingly; but I feel no different between when I am a mother, and when I am a Retail Sales Assistant. I am still 'me'.

    "You" are merely a reflection of what you and others see. That "you" is subject to change.

    EVERYTHING is subject to change. We move and adapt with and to Change, accordingly...

    As for the remainder, yup....

  • @federica said:> We follow accordingly; but I feel no different between when I am a mother, and when I am a Retail Sales Assistant. I am still 'me'.

    I'm not sure, it can sometimes feel like playing a succession of different roles, according to the needs of the situation.

    pegembara
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes.... But I don't feel like I'm adopting a different identity...Just demonstrating different facets; and several characteristics manifest equally in each "role"... My wacky sense of humour, my trustworthiness, my honesty.... They do not differ from time to time....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @federica said:
    Yes.... But I don't feel like I'm adopting a different identity...Just demonstrating different facets; and several characteristics manifest equally in each "role"... My wacky sense of humour, my trustworthiness, my honesty.... They do not differ from time to time....

    So consistent personality traits? I guess we're back to the apple analogy again, is there an essence of apple "beneath" it's characteristics, like roundness, hardness and redness?
    I don't think there is, in which case we are just the sum of our personality traits, and those will change over time.

    lobsterShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yeah....? Basically what I said, in part.....

  • That Mary Poppins wasn't much 'elp, she said "true self" was like a spoonful of sugar to 'elp the medicine go darn, gawd knows what she means by that. Anyway, she 'as flown orf to tell anovver greedy banker 'ow to be a good dad, bless 'er cotton socks ( but watch art for them bleedin' drones, Mary ).

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    If nobody is around and a brick falls on your foot in the woods is there still pain?

    ShoshinKerome
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    Sometimes I think "I" am created by other people.

    When I am alone "I" tend to go away but as soon as I began to engage with my wife, kids, work colleagues, friends "I" appear again.....

    Maybe............ the "I"'s have it.

    runs away

    It was BEGGING for me to say it, honest :grin:

    SpinyNormanSteve_Bsilverlobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @federica said:

    @pegembara said: You are what you perceive yourself to be - a man, Caucasian, American, Buddhist, a lawyer, father/brother/son. A thought, feeling(I am angry), a form(human), a soul!

    This is innaccurate. Others perceive this. we do not inherently manifest these qualities as 'solid'. These are labels other people stick on us. You are not a father/brother/son to people you are not related to.
    Therefore, these labels apply only when given by specific others.

    The opposite perspective is that labels conceived and applied by others are irrelevant. Maybe even unrecognized. In that perspective, the only labels we need to believe and adhere to are the ones we create and apply to ourselves.

    Both perspectives have elements of validity; neither is empirically inaccurate.

    federica
  • We exist as both a thought and an entity. The way we perceive our entity is questionable. It comes down to how much of our practice and wisdom we have to make the best choices. If ignorance keeps winning, we will be heading down that same path once again over and over.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    Cause and effect functions, we feel pain, but the world of objects has no solidity in it. In fact cause and effect only function because things are empty. If they weren't there could be no interaction.

    BunkslobsterShoshin
  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @federica said:
    Yes.... But I don't feel like I'm adopting a different identity...Just demonstrating different facets; and several characteristics manifest equally in each "role"... My wacky sense of humour, my trustworthiness, my honesty.... They do not differ from time to time....

    So consistent personality traits? I guess we're back to the apple analogy again, is there an essence of apple "beneath" it's characteristics, like roundness, hardness and redness?
    I don't think there is, in which case we are just the sum of our personality traits, and those will change over time.

    There are no persons - only personalities.

    “Modes” are a new concept that lets us understand how and why we actually are diverse people at various times. A mode orchestrates our entire way of being: how we perceive and interpret the world, how we react – our thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions.

    http://www.danielgoleman.info/its-modes-not-traits/

  • @Bunks said:
    So I was meditating on dependent arising and the emptiness (lack of inherent existence) of the I this morning and I wondered if the I we percieve as being solid and existing independently is a thought, a feeling or perhaps both?

    Through study we can contemplate and digest the theory that non-self is a condition/experience independent of the flitting nature of consciousness. 'I' depends on a continuous stream of gibbering nonsense, sense impressions, memories, emotions etc to generate a laughable construction we call 'I'. Real enough to cause dukkha, sure enough ...

    ... Though the idea that you can get an insight into anatta by thinking about it seems a bit odd to me. Contemplation is useful, but it needs to be combined with discernment, and that requires the close observation of experience.

    Exactly.
    Cue cushion. Watch mine 'mind'. Boom.

    'What a ride.' Harley Quinn

    Nothing there ...

    This message sponsored by Liberation Unleashed
    for no reason ...

  • @person said: A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    Yes, and of course the Heart Sutra describes the emptiness of the aggregates, which is our subjective experience.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @person said: A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    Yes, and of course the Heart Sutra describes the emptiness of the aggregates, which is our subjective experience.

    Yes, I wasn't trying to sneak in a True Self. You rightly point out that the mind and the mental aggregates that make it up are a collection and also void.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

    Can you point to the mind?

    I am using a brain and access memories... I do use this body but I only own my actions.

    To say there is no "I" really makes no sense to me. We can say I am not a thing but a process but that is a far cry from saying there is no "I" at all.

    Who would be making the claim?

    Why have compassion for a bunch of illusions?

    A "self" may have to be eternal to qualify as a "self" but I am temporal and assure you I am still me.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

    Can you point to the mind?

    I am using a brain and access memories... I do use this body but I only own my actions.

    To say there is no "I" really makes no sense to me. We can say I am not a thing but a process but that is a far cry from saying there is no "I" at all.

    Who would be making the claim?

    Why have compassion for a bunch of illusions?

    A "self" may have to be eternal to qualify as a "self" but I am temporal and assure you I am still me.

    This is why they bring in the idea of two truths. There is a conventional self that is the product of many causes and conditions, that feels, thinks and changes. But when you try to isolate a separate, distinct entity apart from its components, qualities, properties, that self isn't there. So there is a "you" but there isn't a "You", if you get my meaning, something between a concrete self and no self at all.

    Shoshinlobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

    Can you point to the mind?

    I am using a brain and access memories... I do use this body but I only own my actions.

    To say there is no "I" really makes no sense to me. We can say I am not a thing but a process but that is a far cry from saying there is no "I" at all.

    Who would be making the claim?

    Why have compassion for a bunch of illusions?

    A "self" may have to be eternal to qualify as a "self" but I am temporal and assure you I am still me.

    This is why they bring in the idea of two truths. There is a conventional self that is the product of many causes and conditions, that feels, thinks and changes. But when you try to isolate a separate, distinct entity apart from its components, qualities, properties, that self isn't there. So there is a "you" but there isn't a "You", if you get my meaning, something between a concrete self and no self at all.

    Ok, I got your meaning, thanks for clarifying. It almost sounded as if you were only catering to one of the Two.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

    Can you point to the mind?

    I am using a brain and access memories... I do use this body but I only own my actions.

    To say there is no "I" really makes no sense to me. We can say I am not a thing but a process but that is a far cry from saying there is no "I" at all.

    Who would be making the claim?

    Why have compassion for a bunch of illusions?

    A "self" may have to be eternal to qualify as a "self" but I am temporal and assure you I am still me.

    This is why they bring in the idea of two truths. There is a conventional self that is the product of many causes and conditions, that feels, thinks and changes. But when you try to isolate a separate, distinct entity apart from its components, qualities, properties, that self isn't there. So there is a "you" but there isn't a "You", if you get my meaning, something between a concrete self and no self at all.

    Ok, I got your meaning, thanks for clarifying. It almost sounded as if you were only catering to one of the Two.

    The problem is we think the conventional self is an ultimate self, so our focus in seeing through that ignorance should be more on negating the false "I" rather than confirming the conventional "I".

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    I've linked this TED talk about self several times recently.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you?language=en

    I like the example he uses about water. Water is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. When these parts come together a molecule of water is created, there isn't some independently existing thing called water out there that acquires and owns these parts.

    The self is the same way, the "I" is made up of our memories, emotions, thoughts, body, etc. There isn't some independently existing thing called a self that acquires and owns the parts.

    A recent conversation I had helped me remember that the Madhyamika philosophy of Buddhism actually takes this level of no-self a step further and says that the conventional, created "I" doesn't even really exist as a collection. It only becomes a distinct thing because a mind places a mental label or "imputation" on the collection of parts.

    I can agree but what is the difference between a mind and an "I"?

    According to me, I'm more of a mind than a collection of parts but I require a collection of parts for the vehicle to work.

    The Middle Way works on so many levels but for some it's either eternal or it doesn't exist at all.

    A mind is one of the parts that make up a conventional "I". We normally think I have a mind, I have memories, I have a body. There isn't a separate "I" that owns these things though.

    Can you point to the mind?

    I am using a brain and access memories... I do use this body but I only own my actions.

    To say there is no "I" really makes no sense to me. We can say I am not a thing but a process but that is a far cry from saying there is no "I" at all.

    Who would be making the claim?

    Why have compassion for a bunch of illusions?

    A "self" may have to be eternal to qualify as a "self" but I am temporal and assure you I am still me.

    This is why they bring in the idea of two truths. There is a conventional self that is the product of many causes and conditions, that feels, thinks and changes. But when you try to isolate a separate, distinct entity apart from its components, qualities, properties, that self isn't there. So there is a "you" but there isn't a "You", if you get my meaning, something between a concrete self and no self at all.

    Ok, I got your meaning, thanks for clarifying. It almost sounded as if you were only catering to one of the Two.

    The problem is we think the conventional self is an ultimate self, so our focus in seeing through that ignorance should be more on negating the false "I" rather than confirming the conventional "I".

    It shouldn't be about either but a confirmation of DO.

    Confirming or negating an "I" either conventional or otherwise is a waste of time and can lead to more confusion than it clears up.

    I know I do not think the conventional self is an ultimate self but confirming or denying my existence never helped me see that.

  • Conventions serve a purpose, but we act far from anything of the nature sometimes. I think its our natural way of reminding ourselves that conventions change and are not forever. It is our natural way of coping.

  • @person said:> The problem is we think the conventional self is an ultimate self, so our focus in seeing through that ignorance should be more on negating the false "I" rather than confirming the conventional "I".

    Yes, skillful means I think, a way of loosening up a deeply-held assumption, that of an essence beneath the characteristics. We are really just a changing set of conditions.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:
    I know I do not think the conventional self is an ultimate self but confirming or denying my existence never helped me see that.

    The ignorance that confuses the conventional self with an ultimate self is deeper than an idea or belief. Its more like an optical illusion:

    We can learn squares A and B are the exact same shade but when we look at it we still perceive them to be different.

    So the goal isn't to just understand that phenomena are empty, it is to deeply see the world in a way that everything appears empty to us.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @person said:

    @David said:
    I know I do not think the conventional self is an ultimate self but confirming or denying my existence never helped me see that.

    The ignorance that confuses the conventional self with an ultimate self is deeper than an idea or belief. Its more like an optical illusion

    Well yeah. An illusory tool. When we see it as such we don't try to throw it away, we use it skillfully.

    So the goal isn't to just understand that phenomena are empty, it is to deeply see the world in a way that everything appears empty to us.

    I see it the same way pretty much. For me, Buddhism is more about living in accordance with the truth. Finding out the truth is the easy part!

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @David said:

    @person said:
    So the goal isn't to just understand that phenomena are empty, it is to deeply see the world in a way that everything appears empty to us.

    I see it the same way pretty much. For me, Buddhism is more about living in accordance with the truth. Finding out the truth is the easy part!

    Frankly, I'm not so sure we are seeing things the same way. The way I understand the truth is that it is the hard part. I see intellectual knowledge as being the easy part and truth as being hard. For example its easy to understand that everything always changes, but seeing the truth of it so that we don't grasp at things or intrinsically view things as solid is hard. To me taking that learning and turning it into something lived is the essence of the Dharma.

    lobsterSpinyNorman
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited August 2016

    That's what I said, yes.

    Knowing is easy. Living accordingly is hard.

    Bunks
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @David said:> Knowing is easy. Living accordingly is hard.

    I would say exactly the opposite is true, the difficult bit is developing real insight. That's the whole point of the Four Noble Truths, insight into conditionality leads to the cessation of grasping, and therefore to the cessation suffering.

    Bunks
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @person said: I see intellectual knowledge as being the easy part and truth as being hard. For example its easy to understand that everything always changes, but seeing the truth of it so that we don't grasp at things or intrinsically view things as solid is hard.

    Absolutely. Intellectual understanding is only the first stage of the process.

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