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Oneness, Satsang and keeping Quiet

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve nearly finished reading H. W. L. Poonja’s book of Satsang meetings, and it has been a real help, in order to bring together some of the ideas around oneness. I often wondered if we make our own world, how is it then possible that there are other people in it? Do they also all have their own worlds, and how do they communicate? Of course, the answer is that these other people are also us, there is only one world, one Self. As Ram Dass once said, “it is best to treat everyone you meet as God in drag”, or even ‘yourself in drag’.

The whole idea of oneness is something I have not experienced for myself, and it’s not something you find in Buddhist teachings, but I have been reluctant to dismiss it because it keeps coming back in people’s experiences with psychedelics and you see it in various Indian religions around the word Aum. My intuition tells me it is closer to the truth than other explanations, it is a concept that fits a large number of spiritual master’s teachings.

The whole idea of Satsang seems very true to me, that people come to visit the wise and be guided by them, without a formal association as between master and disciple. It feels more like the original calling of the Buddha as a teacher, rather than what Buddhism has ended up with, laypeople and monks. So Poonja came to a hall in his village of Lucknow in order to give Satsang, and he very often told people not to practice but to just keep Quiet, that a second’s true inner silence would be enough to transform them.

There is a lot of crossover between Poonja’s Advaita and Buddhism. Ideas of suffering, letting go, the problem of craving and desire are all in common. There are also a few notable differences, such as Poonja’s de-emphasis of practice and the different views of Self. It feels more free, less rule bound than Buddhism, there is no Sangha, there are no precepts.

コチシカ

Comments

  • It feels more free, less rule bound than Buddhism, there is no Sangha, there are no precepts.

    The unified self connected to The Free, The One, The Un-Matrix is a bound to freedom or a step in the right unwrapping.
    Most of us are playing with that wrapping ... because there is no-present.

    To put it another way.
    When we have Sat and Sang, we are Sungha.

    Crush the Three Jewels ... and diamond dust blows in the wind .... 💗🙏🏽🌈

    Keromeコチシカ
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited September 28

    Yeah, it’s not Buddhism, as such, but it is Good Stuff. It is a different path to becoming.

    The thing that fascinates me is that in this satsang book are described many peoples questions to a spiritual teacher, they are like mini-sutras from a teacher of today. One should be lucky to be able to ask such a question once in a lifetime, and to read the whole book is an unexpected joy.

    It does make me wonder, if there was such a thing as a modern-day Buddha, an awakened one for this day and age, what would he say?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 29

    Satsang is difficult when we are unable to discern. We have to remember the deluded offer Satsang and it is as useless and counter productive as them. We get what we deserve and are ready for.

    Fortunately those who are able to open or prod us into the right way for us are also about, not requiring formal interaction.

    We are noisy creatures. When stilled, we are not swayed by noise, reputation and ultimately able to find sansang everywhere ...

    “You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth - inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important.”
    Ajahn Chah

    meanwhile ... any free zoom or other Satsang or online meditation recommendations?

    Shoshin1
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Kabir used to complain that he was surrounded by fools when no-one came to his satsang meetings. And that was more than three centuries ago.

    コチシカ
  • コチシカコチシカ Berlin, Germany Veteran

    The New Buddhist Satsang? OCT 2020? :+1:

    I'm thinking already of a few headliners...

    :+1:

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Oneness or non-seperation.
    Satsang or to associate with authentic people.
    Keeping quiet or yeah...

    How is it that these are not taught in Buddhism?

  • コチシカコチシカ Berlin, Germany Veteran

    I think that Satsang / associate with authentic people could be related to the Eightfold Path (Right association?).

    Oneness or non-separation the deliverance or realisation of samsara / nirvana co-existente and co-dependence?

    Keeping quiet.... meditation?

    :)

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    Oneness or non-seperation.
    Satsang or to associate with authentic people.
    Keeping quiet or yeah...

    How is it that these are not taught in Buddhism?

    They are of course taught, but in different forms and with different emphasis. Instead of oneness the Buddha teaches not-self, instead of satsang there are dhamma talks. As I said there are a lot of similarities.

    But I very much appreciate the way in which Papaji taught, the openness of his satsangs to any who would come. The stories of him inducing experiences in people are also very marked, it’s something that seems to happen with gurus.

    Davidlobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..
    Which doesn’t really help. Because there are those who are helped by the idea of Oneness to be more compassionate, more awakened beings.
    More in fact like Buddhism says they should strive to be..
    There is the Buddhist idea of skillful means. Sometimes skillful means have to be smuggled past the Dharma police..🤫

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited October 3

    @Choephal said:
    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..

    Can't the interconnectedness of all things be comparable to "oneness"?

    Not to be a pain but I would be interested in those citations because in the Lokayatika Sutta I don't think Buddha denies it, he explains that it is a view he avoids by coming at it from the middle. He then goes on to explain causality and the interconnectedness of all things (DO).

    Edit to add that I had to cut some out because I still have a ways to go as far as attachment to views goes.

  • What comes after Oneness ?

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    What comes after Oneness ?

    A call to action.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    What comes after Oneness ?

    We empty the Onenity. In this sense we are connected by separation. Emptiness is form and all that ... We can not be separated from Being but also the sense of being something is a connection. Can we be independent of thoughts, experience, senses etc?

    In time ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    What comes after Oneness ?

    After the brief experience of oneness comes the realisation that other people are the same as us. TNH said it beautifully in his poem Call me by my true names. Papaji sometimes cites the well-known metaphor where the wave is aware that it is a wave, but has lost sight that it is also always the ocean. That we as human beings arise as a wave on the ocean of consciousness, and we get caught up in waveness, until death reminds us of the passing of the wave and the returning to the ocean.

    But if another human being is the same as me, he carries my nature, then it is likely that in his circumstances I would do the same as him. So any imagined slight or grievance you carry makes no sense, you are argueing against your own nature.

    lobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    @Choephal said:
    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..
    Which doesn’t really help. Because there are those who are helped by the idea of Oneness to be more compassionate, more awakened beings.
    More in fact like Buddhism says they should strive to be..
    There is the Buddhist idea of skillful means. Sometimes skillful means have to be smuggled past the Dharma police..🤫

    Yes I was a tad over enthusiastic when I said I could provide citations.🤭
    It’s actually very hard to prove a negative. The Buddha did not talk about Oneness. In fact that concept is relatively modern. Even the ancient Vedantins did not talk of oneness..what they said was that reality is advaita. ..”not two”. Which is not quite the same thing. What Buddhism says is that all things interpenetrate all other things and have no lasting separate existence. Everything is defined by everything else and is in a state of constant flux. It is useful for some people to think of this in terms of Oneness. Others see it in terms of things arising in Emptiness.
    It may be simply that language is of limited use here. It has to be lived.

    コチシカDavidlobsterShoshin1
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Choephal said:

    @Choephal said:
    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..
    Which doesn’t really help. Because there are those who are helped by the idea of Oneness to be more compassionate, more awakened beings.
    More in fact like Buddhism says they should strive to be..
    There is the Buddhist idea of skillful means. Sometimes skillful means have to be smuggled past the Dharma police..🤫

    Yes I was a tad over enthusiastic when I said I could provide citations.🤭
    It’s actually very hard to prove a negative. The Buddha did not talk about Oneness. In fact that concept is relatively modern. Even the ancient Vedantins did not talk of oneness..what they said was that reality is advaita. ..”not two”. Which is not quite the same thing. What Buddhism says is that all things interpenetrate all other things and have no lasting separate existence. Everything is defined by everything else and is in a state of constant flux. It is useful for some people to think of this in terms of Oneness. Others see it in terms of things arising in Emptiness.
    It may be simply that language is of limited use here. It has to be lived.

    I'm not too big on the word "oneness" either as it implies the qualities related to being "one" which implies a finished border and an outside to the "one". Interconnectivity and causality imply no borders allowing for change and emptiness.
    I get what you mean about language. Words can only get us to the door, not inside.

    Choephal
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    After I posted I remembered an amusing incident which occurred when the Dalai Lama was visiting Australia. A journalist thought that the D.L. would appreciate a joke;
    Q What did the Buddhist say to the hotdog vendor?
    A. “ Make me one with everything!”.
    The D.L. greeted this with blank incomprehension.
    Not because he doesn’t have a sense of humour, he famously does. And not because he didn’t understand the words..his English is pretty good, but because in the Madhyamika school that Tibetan Buddhism is part of the idea of Oneness or non oneness simply does not compute.

    DavidKerome
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited October 7

    @David said:

    @Choephal said:
    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..

    Can't the interconnectedness of all things be comparable to "oneness"?

    Not to be a pain but I would be interested in those citations because in the Lokayatika Sutta I don't think Buddha denies it, he explains that it is a view he avoids by coming at it from the middle. He then goes on to explain causality and the interconnectedness of all things (DO).

    Edit to add that I had to cut some out because I still have a ways to go as far as attachment to views goes.

    Upon further inspection, this whole post is suspect.

    It's like I sometimes post in a knee jerk reaction here. I must be a little attached not only to views but how this forum percieves me.

    Fascinating.

    Sorry about the off topic, I'm trying to take my training to the next level.

    marcitko
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I'm trying to take my training to the next level.

    Each of us knows deep down our bad and virtuous qualities. When we decide to break our loops ... inspiring. Each of us knows we can and will change for the betterment/next level ...

    Bravo @David <3

    marcitko
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    @David said:

    @David said:

    @Choephal said:
    I could say ...and provide citations..that not only is the idea of Oneness not taught in Buddhism it is actively denied..

    Can't the interconnectedness of all things be comparable to "oneness"?

    Not to be a pain but I would be interested in those citations because in the Lokayatika Sutta I don't think Buddha denies it, he explains that it is a view he avoids by coming at it from the middle. He then goes on to explain causality and the interconnectedness of all things (DO).

    Edit to add that I had to cut some out because I still have a ways to go as far as attachment to views goes.

    Upon further inspection, this whole post is suspect.

    It's like I sometimes post in a knee jerk reaction here. I must be a little attached not only to views but how this forum percieves me.

    Fascinating.

    Sorry about the off topic, I'm trying to take my training to the next level.

    We’re all in this together...🙏🏻

    lobsterDavidmarcitko
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Choephal said:
    We’re all in this together...🙏🏻

    I knew it ... the inner meaning of plain clothes sangha, good company, satsangha [sic], fellowship, interdependence, etc.

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Explorer

    Aye..😶

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve just finished reading a second book of Papaji’s Satsang meetings, called Wake Up and Roar. It was from an earlier time, when Papaji was not yet well known, in the late 1980’s. I’ve picked up a lot of small gems of knowledge from it.

    One of the things that really spoke to me was a long story at the back of the book which describes a meeting between a Christian and Papaji on the mountain of Arunachala in 1953. During the discussion Papaji said that once you had reached a certain stage, it didn’t matter any more whether you were Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or some other faith. That the Truth is the Truth. And that that is also why Advaita was not a religion, because it was concerned with the Truth.

    I don’t know what it is about these books, but they draw me, they move my heart to sing. It removes a certain heaviness of the heart which was growing on me.

    コチシカlobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited October 12

    From The Secret of Arunachala by Abhishiktananda, a Catholic priest who spent many years in India, on meeting Papaji there. Some of Papaji’s contribution to the dialogue...

    You call yourself a Christian, but that is meaningless at the stage you have reached. Look here, listen to this — it is I who am the Christian, and you who are the Hindu. For anyone who has seen the Real, there is neither Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. There is only the Atman, and nothing can either bind or limit or qualify the Atman.

    As soon as advaita is presented as a religion, it ceases to be advaita. The Truth has no ‘Church’. The Truth is the Truth, and it cannot be passed on to others by anyone at all. The Truth does not need anyone’s help for its propagation. The Truth shines with its own light. He who claims to possess the truth, or says he has received it or can pass it on, is either a fool or a charlatan.

    marcitkolobsterコチシカ
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    Personally, "oneness" does make more sense to me than "no-self." To use the wave metaphor, it makes sense to describe a wave as "one with the ocean" but it makes no sense to describe the wave as an "illusion." Same goes for the self.

  • When you say wave is it real?

    Or is it just as easily a wave goodbye?

    Similarly a self makes no sense unless you ascribe it to permanent attribution or being ...
    https://buddhismguide.org/a-sense-of-self/

    🖖🏼

    how
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    “Many religious saints have been talking about advaita, oneness, but if you look at their renunciate practices they are still very much two. It seems to be just talk. Life on the other hand is one.”

    — Osho

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @lobster said:
    When you say wave is it real?

    Or is it just as easily a wave goodbye?

    Similarly a self makes no sense unless you ascribe it to permanent attribution or being ...
    https://buddhismguide.org/a-sense-of-self/

    🖖🏼

    When I say wave, yes, the wave is real...

  • 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

    @Sam8 said:

    @lobster said:
    When you say wave is it real?

    Or is it just as easily a wave goodbye?

    Similarly a self makes no sense unless you ascribe it to permanent attribution or being ...
    https://buddhismguide.org/a-sense-of-self/

    🖖🏼

    When I say wave, yes, the wave is real...

    Not for long, it isn't... Ephemeral, transient, where there was a wave, now there is a dip... then there is a wave . Is it the same wave, or a different one?

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @federica said:

    @Sam8 said:

    @lobster said:
    When you say wave is it real?

    Or is it just as easily a wave goodbye?

    Similarly a self makes no sense unless you ascribe it to permanent attribution or being ...
    https://buddhismguide.org/a-sense-of-self/

    🖖🏼

    When I say wave, yes, the wave is real...

    Not for long, it isn't... Ephemeral, transient, where there was a wave, now there is a dip... then there is a wave . Is it the same wave, or a different one?

    No, not for long indeed... but it still existed. Is the second wave the same or different- I don't know, but still, it existed.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 9

    @Sam8 said:
    Personally, "oneness" does make more sense to me than "no-self." To use the wave metaphor, it makes sense to describe a wave as "one with the ocean" but it makes no sense to describe the wave as an "illusion." Same goes for the self.

    No-self and oneness point to the same reality. Thich Nhat Hanh uses "interbeing" because it isn't that the wave does not exist, it is that the wave does not exist without everything else. The illusion comes in when we think the wave is separate from the rest or exists on its own accord instead of arising and falling due to changing conditions.

    lobster
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 9

    "Thich Nhat Hanh uses "interbeing" because it isn't that the wave does not exist, it is that the wave does not exist without everything else. The illusion comes in when we think the wave is separate from the rest or exists on its own accord instead of arising and falling due to changing conditions."

    Agreed.

    "No-self and oneness point to the same reality."

    That's what I disagree with, with all due respect. It may just be a matter of terminology, but I just don't think that "no-self" can be a synonym for "oneness" or "interbeing" or "interdependence" and so forth. Those three terms still suggest the self exists, while "no-self" seems to quite clearly mean that it does not. To return to the wave metaphor, it's like people have noticed that the wave is not separate from the ocean, and for some reason have decided to describe it as "no-wave." This just strikes me as very strange, to say the least.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 10

    It may just be a matter of terminology,

    Isn't it always.

    For example in New Wave Dharma aka Tantra, we conjure up an idealisations god form. We visualise and pray to it. Until it splashes into our being as if it is an actual wave formation and then ... with a click of our fingers we dismiss it.

    It was always nothing.
    https://atiling.org/deity-practice/

    ... talking of nothing, wondering how to find we do not have a self?
    http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @lobster

    "...wondering how to find we do not have a self?"

    Not really... I already know how I'm "supposed" to find that I have "no-self," I just respectfully disagree with it, for the reasons I've explained.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 10

    hmmm.
    I know its dangerous territory to get between an owner and their pet but...
    what need is there to search for or name the self when
    as long as one really stops putting out food and water for it, playing with it or providing it with shelter, no self remains to be found or claimed?

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @how

    "I know its dangerous territory to get between an owner and their pet but...
    what need is there to search for or name the self when
    as long as one really stops putting out food and water for it, playing with it or providing it with shelter, no self remains to be found or claimed?"

    Fascinating that you would consider me to be the "owner" of my self as my "pet," as surely "I" and my "self" are one and the same... the way you talk about the "self" is almost as if it is a separate metaphysical entity alien from ourselves- let me emphasize, our selves- I can't even... I am the one putting or not putting out the food, water and shelter for my self... there, I just did it, I "found" myself.

    On the flip side, I feel I feel like it _would _be logically consistent to turn your metaphor around on you and suggest that you are the "owner" of your belief in no-self as your "pet" and that it's "dangerous territory" to get between you two...

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 10

    @Sam8 said:
    "Thich Nhat Hanh uses "interbeing" because it isn't that the wave does not exist, it is that the wave does not exist without everything else. The illusion comes in when we think the wave is separate from the rest or exists on its own accord instead of arising and falling due to changing conditions."

    Agreed.

    "No-self and oneness point to the same reality."

    That's what I disagree with, with all due respect. It may just be a matter of terminology, but I just don't think that "no-self" can be a synonym for "oneness" or "interbeing" or "interdependence" and so forth. Those three terms still suggest the self exists, while "no-self" seems to quite clearly mean that it does not. To return to the wave metaphor, it's like people have noticed that the wave is not separate from the ocean, and for some reason have decided to describe it as "no-wave." This just strikes me as very strange, to say the least.

    Disagreeing doesn't imply a lack of respect, no worries at all.

    May I ask what you mean by "self"?

    I mean, I may not identify as a thing but I am here. The illusion is being separate, not being.

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 10

    @David

    Yes the illusion is being separate, not being, but my issue with the term "no-self" is that it implies that the illusion is being itself. And that's how I'd define the self, by the way- conscious being. My consciousness is not the same as your consciousness and vice versa, therefore my consciousness is distinct as me and yours as you.

    The reason I'm so fascinated by this whole self/no-self debate is because I find the self to be literally the one thing in the entire universe that cannot possibly be an illusion. In the universe of possibilities, everyone and everything else could be an illusion - e.g. you could be living in the Matrix - but you cannot doubt that YOU exist as this doubt is itself 100% proof that you, in fact, exist (this line of thought is not original to me, of course, it goes back to Descartes).

  • I find the self to be literally the one thing in the entire universe that cannot possibly be an illusion

    As long as you think so. After all you still exist when asleep. So according to Descartes logic, I don't think but I am

    So in dharma we look for this one non illusion and find it is nothing but dependent origination
    https://www.dependentorigination.org/

    ... which can not possibly be true ... because I know I am real ... Right? mmm ... Maybe if I dream myself asleep, I can dream myself awake and be sure ... 🤪

    zzzz ...

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 11

    Sorry, double post

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 11

    Make that a triple post, what the..?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 11

    @Sam8 said:
    @David

    Yes the illusion is being separate, not being, but my issue with the term "no-self" is that it implies that the illusion is being itself. And that's how I'd define the self, by the way- conscious being. My consciousness is not the same as your consciousness and vice versa, therefore my consciousness is distinct as me and yours as you.

    The term "self" in Buddhism really creates more confusion than it alleviates. Especially when paired with the idea that to be empty is to be non-existent. We get a bunch of people thinking that enlightenment means knowing we aren't really here. To me, that makes no sense at all but it's just words.

    The reason we can exist at all is because we are empty of self. The conventional self is real (give yourself a pinch if you question that) but it is empty of self. Self means independance and permanence so to be empty of self is really to be full of potential.

    The reason I'm so fascinated by this whole self/no-self debate is because I find the self to be literally the one thing in the entire universe that cannot possibly be an illusion.

    I want to agree with you but it's the way you have it worded as if the self can be found in any thing to the exclusion of the rest.

    I see the conventional self as an illusory tool. Now, an illusion is something that is misrepresented by the senses like thinking a rope on the ground is a snake. It doesn't mean the rope isn't there but that it is misrepresented by limited perception. The illusory tool that is the conventional self is misrepresented by the senses attributed to the conventional self.

    In the universe of possibilities, everyone and everything else could be an illusion - e.g. you could be living in the Matrix - but you cannot doubt that YOU exist as this doubt is itself 100% proof that you, in fact, exist (this line of thought is not original to me, of course, it goes back to Descartes).

    I do get where you're coming from and believe me, some people here have gotten quite annoyed with me in the past for going after what seems to me as promotion of nihilism.

    That being said, my conventional self depends on conditions and the 5 remembrances help keep me grounded here. I depend on conditions and yes, we are each a unique aspect of the same process so we are not really separate entities. No thing is a separate self entity because of emptiness and dependant origination or interbeing. We are literally in this together.

    As Thich Nhat Hanh says, no-self is true self.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 11

    Imagine if the rope thought it had to subdue the snake into submission rather than knowing the snake was never really there in the first place.

    The rope is the conventional self and the snake is the ego or the perception of being separate.

    Sorry, it's too late to edit, Haha.

  • When it comes to Anatta I think no permanently abiding self better describes the psycho-physical phenomenon we call self ...

    It's not so much that we have a self, it's that we do selfing...The self has no inherent unconditional, absolute existence apart from the network of causes it arises from, in and as..

    ~Rick Hanson~ (Author of Buddha's Brain" )

    lobster
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 11

    @David @Shoshin @lobster

    Thank you for your comments. We seem to agree on the substance, just not on definitions (so we may have just been talking at cross-purposes to each other). You all seem to be defining "self" as something that must be separate, independent and permanent, and upon finding that it is not, you conclude there is "no-self." Whereas I'm more likely to conclude that it's just your initial definition of self that needs modifying.

    Why? Utility. To make sense of moral responsibility, political freedom, personal relationships, and to simply function coherently in the world, we need some word to make sense of the fact that I am not you and you are not me, and in whatever sense that is true, I'd call that "self."

    P.S.- I know that the way you define "self" is the way Buddha defined it when he talked about "no-self," but that was because he was responding to the Hindu idea of "atman," prevalent in the culture of his time, where they defined the "self" in that way- but who said that we in the present day have to go with the Hindu "atman" definition?

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited November 17

    @Sam8 said:
    @David @Shoshin @lobster

    Thank you for your comments. We seem to agree on the substance, just not on definitions (so we may have just been talking at cross-purposes to each other). You all seem to be defining "self" as something that must be separate, independent and permanent, and upon finding that it is not, you conclude there is "no-self." Whereas I'm more likely to conclude that it's just your initial definition of self that needs modifying.

    Why? Utility. To make sense of moral responsibility, political freedom, personal relationships, and to simply function coherently in the world, we need some word to make sense of the fact that I am not you and you are not me, and in whatever sense that is true, I'd call that "self."

    P.S.- I know that the way you define "self" is the way Buddha defined it when he talked about "no-self," but that was because he was responding to the Hindu idea of "atman," prevalent in the culture of his time, where they defined the "self" in that way- but who said that we in the present day have to go with the Hindu "atman" definition?

    I know what you mean, I really do. If you find an old thread where we all talk about "nothing" or even a new one coming up, you will see that I have a tendancy to cling to the meaning of words to the detriment of their very usefulness. This could have been my own position at one time. Words are imperfect means. They are useful in pointing the way but words will never be truth.

    Getting hung up on the words themselves often leads to missing their meaning and losing the lesson.

    Keromelobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    [words] are useful in pointing the way but words will never be truth.

    This is a recurring theme I have heard from many teachers. Words are like fingers pointing to the moon. And it is a tricky process, getting from words to an internal structure of concepts that could be called ‘understanding’.

    Getting hung up on the words themselves often leads to missing their meaning and losing the lesson.

    A very insightful reason why it is so, for sure. Usually when people ask for clarification of a word, that means they have already missed the truth that the words were pointing to.

    lobsterDavid
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Kerome, in regards to my own aversion to the term "nothing", I've learned to view the lessons that use it as if it is a movie dealing with a tricky moral dilemma. Like a nice bit of sci-fi that uses illogical time travel... I have to suspend my disbelief and in a sense empty my cup of how I think it would work if I am to get the moral of the story.

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