Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

How would you describe the Self ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

From another "thread"

The self is simply the sum of our protectiveness over this psycho/ physical being that translates as the human condition.
Learned behavior's that we have developed to bring some order to the chaos, some identity out of no thing and repeat so habitually that its momentum feel like normality.
The lattice frame that gives our karmic inertia its expression in this existence.
The walls of our sandbox. An imagined separation between self and other. The need to have it validated through tribal membership. The jailer and jail of our own creation. The very dream that the Buddha exhorted everyone to awaken from.

To have truly never met the wake of your own self is to have been graced unimaginably.

The above ^^ gives one of the clearest /precise definitions I've come across in a long while...thanks @how

And as for my non self...Hmm well.....

I'm just a vibrating bundle of energy flux held together by karmic glue
Not really knowing from one day to the next, what (this) "I" will be getting up to
For this psycho-physical phenomena called self, is not easy to pin down
One moment "I" am all prime & proper, the next moment I'm acting the clown
It's weird and yet wonderful finding out what this self is... or is not
The closer "I" get to discovery, the more "I" seem to be losing the plot (which I guess is a good thing ;) :) )

The subject of what is the self is an oldie but goodie, especially for those new to the somewhat weirdness of Buddhist philosophical thought surrounding the self...no matter how daunting the task, it's a topic we all must eventually face, if we are to progress/end suffering ....

Have you given it much thought ?

How would you describe the Self ?

lobsterhowDavidAlex

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I feel the self no matter how qualia delusional, how apparently real is as Buddhist experience finds - empty. Nothing. Non-existent.

    We may be interesting, stimulated, caught in karmic weaving BUT ...
    https://www.dependentorigination.org/emptyself/

    ShoshinAlex
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited June 21

    I generally try not to identify but once we let go of the conditioned way of seeing the self, I'd say it is a tool we use consisting of other tools we use to experience. It's all just information sharing or conditions coming together.

    No mud, no lotus, right?

    Without subjectivity there is no experience to the objective world and no way of knowing or awakening.

    If we weren't so horrible to ourself it wouldn't be half bad around here.

    AlexShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks for that @person 💗

    Seems to tally with many experiences that we may be familiar with ... very well put. So what arises from the Anatta?
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatta

    Real Self, Real Being, Compassion, Wisdom, Fun Time ... yep playfulness.

    You can sell your imaginary Hindu/Christian/Incarnating Soul to the imaginary devil for an empty tin of sardines (oops TMI) ... or you can bank on the dream Buddha, wonderful cosmic order or the spaghetti monster to save you ... no thank you dream catchers ...

    Reality.
    Don't leave your cushion without it ...
    o:)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    You could try and describe it through what you are not...

    ... I am not the world
    ... I am not the body
    ... I am not thought
    ... I am not my habits
    ... I am not the mind

    I am not when I sleep, and I am when I am awake.

    Alex
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    You could try and describe it through what you are not...

    ... I am not the world
    ... I am not the body
    ... I am not thought
    ... I am not my habits
    ... I am not the mind

    I am not when I sleep, and I am when I am awake.

    Not to be "that guy" but what about lucid dreaming?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited June 21

    @person said:

    Here, in an excerpt from John Burdett’s Bangkok Tattoo, Thai Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, who uses the insights of dharma to solve crimes, reflects on the nature of the Ego or Self. This is one of Joseph Goldstein’s favorite contemporary texts on anatta.

    You see, dear reader (speaking frankly, without any intention to offend), you are a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this amorphous morass of self-pity, vanity, and despair self is not only the height of hubris, it is also proof (if any were needed) that we are above all a delusional species. (We are in a trance from birth to death.) Prick the balloon, and what do you get? Emptiness. It’s not only us-this radical doctrine applies to the whole of the sentient world.

    https://burlingtonbuddhist.org/2017/01/29/are-we-meditating/

    I still don't understand why often people see that as a bad thing.

    Emptiness is why there is experience.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The Void Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    Here, in an excerpt from John Burdett’s Bangkok Tattoo, Thai Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, who uses the insights of dharma to solve crimes, reflects on the nature of the Ego or Self. This is one of Joseph Goldstein’s favorite contemporary texts on anatta.

    You see, dear reader (speaking frankly, without any intention to offend), you are a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this amorphous morass of self-pity, vanity, and despair self is not only the height of hubris, it is also proof (if any were needed) that we are above all a delusional species. (We are in a trance from birth to death.) Prick the balloon, and what do you get? Emptiness. It’s not only us-this radical doctrine applies to the whole of the sentient world.

    https://burlingtonbuddhist.org/2017/01/29/are-we-meditating/

    I still don't understand why often people see that as a bad thing.

    Emptiness is why there is experience.

    I think because we get caught up in it in a way that does us harm. Maybe its just our biology, humans have a negativity bias, negative experiences are "stickier" than positive ones.

    But you're right there is a positive aspect as well.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:

    Here, in an excerpt from John Burdett’s Bangkok Tattoo, Thai Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, who uses the insights of dharma to solve crimes, reflects on the nature of the Ego or Self. This is one of Joseph Goldstein’s favorite contemporary texts on anatta.

    You see, dear reader (speaking frankly, without any intention to offend), you are a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor. To name this amorphous morass of self-pity, vanity, and despair self is not only the height of hubris, it is also proof (if any were needed) that we are above all a delusional species. (We are in a trance from birth to death.) Prick the balloon, and what do you get? Emptiness. It’s not only us-this radical doctrine applies to the whole of the sentient world.

    https://burlingtonbuddhist.org/2017/01/29/are-we-meditating/

    I still don't understand why often people see that as a bad thing.

    Emptiness is why there is experience.

    I think because we get caught up in it in a way that does us harm. Maybe its just our biology, humans have a negativity bias, negative experiences are "stickier" than positive ones.

    But you're right there is a positive aspect as well.

    I think most of the negativity we made ourselves. I don't know but I feel all the us and "them" is just growing pains and that there is a global awakening of sorts happening right now. There is strife and fighting everywhere just as always but we can now see it from anywhere and Global Citizen movements are happening.

    I'm not sure when or how I got optimistic in the midst of all this pain and suffering but here I am.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Todays smell of Zen.

    You sit in formal meditation, eyes open but downcast in a soft focus. The soft visual input that you begin with shifts at some point over to an ever so slight blurring of focus. Miss that and it becomes a blank screen which instantly get utilized for an overlay of the minds fancy. Miss that and what comes next is whatever is most likely to provide the stimulation least likely for us to want to return to meditating mindfully. Welcome to your self's gateway drug of the moment that has just carried you off and away from simply being present. Our mindfulness is the relative newcomer to town and is up against a pro who has definitely had a lifetime of experience in easily turning nothing into something that can then effect your experience of everything.

    Our only avenues for experiencing existence is through our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body & mind.

    All of these sense gates can be the personal tools of the self when utilized to help maintain the story line of its own fiefdom. Here, my example of the slightest dampening of my visual data feed starts an escalating series of steps that end up supporting the propagation of its dream scape. The same potential occurs with all what we hear or don't hear, what we smell or don't smell, what we taste or don't taste, what we feel or don't feel, what we think or don't think......within each moment.

    For me, meditation is simply my attempts at allowing all of the arising, living & departing sense gate data, a free & unmolested passage past the habituated manipulations of the self.

    One way of describing the self to someone unsure about what it is, is by describing in meditation, that which deliberately tries to alter our data feed inputs to maintain its own dominance over what would otherwise be an unobstructed experience of reality as selflessness.

    Here each moment of meditation offers an ongoing lesson as to what the self is and how it can be found in its attempts at dominating our experience of existence.

    Here each moment of meditation offers another chance at no longer allowing it an unobstructed manipulation of what we do and do not experience of existence.

    Here self is just a teacher forever pointing out where selflessness is not.

    Shoshinlobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:

    @Kerome said:
    I am not when I sleep, and I am when I am awake.

    Not to be "that guy" but what about lucid dreaming?

    It is bit more complex... if I am not when I sleep, how come each time when I wake I arrive in the same body? Lucid dreaming is mixed state.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The Void Veteran

    I was doing a little reading on the Buddhist notion of conceit and found that it ties in pretty directly to our sense of self. How am I compared to others, am I better, am I worse, am I the same as? Just the simple act of comparing at all brings a more defined sense of self.

    Like what kind of a person am I? Am I a good person? Sets up a comparison to those who aren't good people. I don't think that means we can't be kind or caring or thoughtful, to me its saying we should try not to build an identity around it.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Identity, persona, current karmic arising, self, personality, character ... etc, etc, etc ...

    Junk.

    No-Self realised The Buddha. The same now as it ever was.

    So every time you describe, state being? ... Knots of would ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_proliferation

    More clues? <3

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited June 22

    The Self is what you are not. Any attempt to describe it proves that it isn't you any more than a description of say your child or significant other. The closest thing to describe is that it is a felt sense rather than a true reality.

    You are not that.

    Just like the question "Can you see your own eyes?" Nobody can see their own eyes. I can see your eyes but I can't see my eyes. I'm sitting right here, I've got two eyes and I can't see them. But you can see my eyes. But there's no need for me to see my eyes because 1 can see! It's ridiculous, isn't it? If I started saying "Why can't I see my own eyes?" you'd think "Ajahn Sumedho's really weird, isn't he!" Looking in a mirror you can see a reflection, but that's not your eyes, it's a reflection of your eyes. There's no way that I've been able to look and see my own eyes, but then it's not necessary to see your own eyes. It's not necessary to know who it is that knows-because there's knowing. And then you start creating views about who is it that knows, then you start the avijja paccaya sankhara and on through the whole thing again to despair and anguish.

    https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn_Sumedho_Question_Time.htm

    Ren_in_black
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It occurs to me... we are our accumulated habits and conditioned responses.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    How would you describe the Self ?

    Ultimately empty.......yet full of possibilities ....

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 29

    I remember some Disney animation where all the animals verbosely spoke, except the seagulls who only ever shouted out with varying inflections the same one word over and over again which also sometimes describes how I think my self might refer to itself and everything else.

    How would you describe the Self ?
    "Mine"
    "Mine" "Mine!" "mine" "Mine" "MINE"
    "Mine"
    Mine?

    Shoshinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 29

    @how said:
    I remember some Disney animation where all the animals verbosely spoke, except the seagulls who only ever shouted out with varying inflections the same one word over and over again which also sometimes describes how I think my self might refer to itself and everything else.

    How would you describe the Self ?
    "Mine"
    "Mine" "Mine!" "mine" "Mine" "MINE"
    "Mine"
    Mine?

    Hmm yes... a "mine" fool of gold.... AKA fool's gold ;) ....

    And the self is worth its weight in it....

    how
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    How would you describe the Self ?

    Ideally not thinking ...

  • GuiGui Veteran
    edited July 1

    @lobster said:

    How would you describe the Self ?

    Ideally not thinking ...

    Exactly. Or I might say - before thinking.

    Shoshinlobster
Sign In or Register to comment.