Author Topic: Is self real?  (Read 1612 times)

Offline bahman

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Is self real?
« on: April 21, 2017, 09:59:52 am »
 We can without doubt say that we experience. Our experiences are however local and personal. How personal and local experience is possible without a self?

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 03:14:26 pm »
We can without doubt say that we experience. Our experiences are however local and personal. How personal and local experience is possible without a self?

Who is this body? Why am I I? What is this location as self?

This is the arising of name-&-form, keep asking yourself this question when you're stuck. You will either comprehend or abandon this cyclic questioning eventually.

Who am I?

What does it mean to have name-&-form?

What is the self?

What does it mean to experience consciousness in this body, but not someone else's body?

You can sit and meditate on this cyclic reasoning. You will either abandon the suffering of questioning it, or comprehend it.

 So to the best of your knowledge, no one found an answer to these questions?

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 03:14:17 am »
I think the whole point of Buddhism is that someone found the answers...
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 12:18:41 pm »
I think the whole point of Buddhism is that someone found the answers...

 How could Buddha reach to state of Nirvana if He doesn't know the basic truth? : Self is real.

Offline francis

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 11:56:45 pm »
Hi bahman,

The Buddha taught no-self (anatta), and that that what we consider as a  ‘self’ or ‘I’ is comprised of nothing more than the five aggregates (skandhas) — form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

There is no ‘self’ of ‘I’ to be found in any of the aggregates, rather it’s the aggregates working seamlessly together, that create the illusion of a ‘self’ or ‘I’. 

For a good explanation of how it works see The Five Aggregates.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 02:36:45 am by francis »
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 03:09:52 am »
I think that if 'no self' is tricky to understand, then it's OK to see the Buddha as showing us a different way of seeing ourselves, rather than denying a self. If we understand how to weaken the bonds of current attachment to self, then we are moving in the right direction anyway. Eventually we see the truth of ourselves for ourselves, and there is no longer a problem.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 11:08:38 am »
Hi bahman,

The Buddha taught no-self (anatta), and that that what we consider as a  ‘self’ or ‘I’ is comprised of nothing more than the five aggregates (skandhas) — form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

There is no ‘self’ of ‘I’ to be found in any of the aggregates, rather it’s the aggregates working seamlessly together, that create the illusion of a ‘self’ or ‘I’. 

For a good explanation of how it works see The Five Aggregates.

 I think there are Six Aggregates the last one would be Decision.

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 11:10:33 am »
I think that if 'no self' is tricky to understand, then it's OK to see the Buddha as showing us a different way of seeing ourselves, rather than denying a self. If we understand how to weaken the bonds of current attachment to self, then we are moving in the right direction anyway. Eventually we see the truth of ourselves for ourselves, and there is no longer a problem.

 I think I experience that. It is like when you realize that experience is just an event in absence of any observer. What do you think?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 11:52:44 am »
Quote
bahman:  "How personal and local experience is possible without a self?"

Buddha did not teach that there was no self, only that there was no permanent self, no soul, no essence which migrates from one  lifetime to the next.  Some traditions "believe" that there is an effect which migrates from the recently deceased self to a next location, choosing a fetus in the womb to occupy, but there is not way to verify or validate this for ourselves.

Buddha did teach that there is a "mundane" self, which answers your question as to what experiences.  This mundane self has arisen, taken form, been born, and is lving the life that it was given as an ever changing process of events:  singamy (sperm with egg), fetus, neonate, born child (birth / rebirth), aging, disease, death, and rebirth....adintinitum until this being attains unbinding and release from the samsaric cycle.  This is what I learned from Thervavadan Buddhist Teachings.

As a Secular Buddhist and a follower of modern medical science I have personally observed my own birth, aging and disease...and I am fairly confident that I will die.  I have no information and no confidence in rebirth, nor unbinding and release, however, if I ever do,  I will notify everyone on this board immediately.   :wink1:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 12:10:14 pm »
I think I experience that. It is like when you realize that experience is just an event in absence of any observer. What do you think?

So once you observe, you can enter and make decisions?

 Enter where?

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 12:17:26 pm »
Quote
bahman:  "How personal and local experience is possible without a self?"

Buddha did not teach that there was no self, only that there was no permanent self, no soul, no essence which migrates from one  lifetime to the next.  Some traditions "believe" that there is an effect which migrates from the recently deceased self to a next location, choosing a fetus in the womb to occupy, but there is not way to verify or validate this for ourselves.

Buddha did teach that there is a "mundane" self, which answers your question as to what experiences.  This mundane self has arisen, taken form, been born, and is lving the life that it was given as an ever changing process of events:  singamy (sperm with egg), fetus, neonate, born child (birth / rebirth), aging, disease, death, and rebirth....adintinitum until this being attains unbinding and release from the samsaric cycle.  This is what I learned from Thervavadan Buddhist Teachings.

As a Secular Buddhist and a follower of modern medical science I have personally observed my own birth, aging and disease...and I am fairly confident that I will die.  I have no information and no confidence in rebirth, nor unbinding and release, however, if I ever do,  I will notify everyone on this board immediately.   :wink1:

 I am confused. What would rebirth mean if there is no self?

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 02:24:50 pm »
Quote
bahman:  "How personal and local experience is possible without a self?"

Buddha did not teach that there was no self, only that there was no permanent self, no soul, no essence which migrates from one  lifetime to the next.  Some traditions "believe" that there is an effect which migrates from the recently deceased self to a next location, choosing a fetus in the womb to occupy, but there is not way to verify or validate this for ourselves.

Of course there is, Ron.  We die.  In the meantime, faith.

Offline Pixie

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 05:29:25 pm »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 05:47:06 pm »
I am confused. What would rebirth mean if there is no self?

As I understand, there exists some confusion between the ancient Vedic concept of Reincarnation, which involves a permanent soul or self, and the Buddhist concept of Rebirth which appears to be a modified version of the ancient Vedic concept, in the sense that what is reborn are only the tendencies of character and behaviour which have been influenced by our behaviour in this current life, and which is not an identity of self.

A modern analogy can be found in the science of epigenetics.
Until recently it was assumed that inheritable genes are not modified by one's behaviour in this life. However, science is gradually discovering that this might not be the case. The process is known as 'Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance'.

What we eat, the air we breathe, the emotions we feel, might influence our genes and those of our descendants?
The mystical, mumbo jumbo aspect of this process implies there is some spirit that encapsulates these tendencies, and which departs from the body on death, and hovers around until it is attracted to a new birth in process, like a bee is attracted to a flower, and then injects the tendencies of character into the 'potential' new child at the moment of conception.

It's a charming story, but those ancient people who offered this explanation were not aware of the science of genetics. As we make progress in our general understanding of such issues, we should modify our concepts of those ancient ideas, even though they were brilliant at the time. We should not cling on to outmoded ideas. I believe this is also consistent with Buddhist teachings.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 07:00:03 pm »
Quote
bahman:  " I am confused. What would rebirth mean if there is no self?"

The analogy which is given is that of a candle flame passing from the wick of one candle to the wick of another candle.  Think of the flame as a process, which is what it really is, the process of combustion with the candle wax providing the fuel, the air providing the oxygen, perhaps a lit match and then the lit candle flame initially providing the heat, and the wick providing a path for the melted wax to travel  from the solid wax to the flame.  Since wax burning in oxygen is an exothermic reaction, the flame burns until the fuel (was) runs out, or the candle wick is snuffed.

This is the way I look at it:  "While we are doing our thing (during our process of living) we communicate, we observe, we act, and every action causes an effect, which affects something or someone else."  When we procreate, our acts result in new lives, which we affect while we care for and raise them.  I can still recall the lessons my parents passed on to me with their actions, examples, and words.  They taught me how to behave, how to get along with others, in many ways how to think, how to solve problems that come up in everyday life.

In this way, even after we die, the effects we have had on other people and places lives on in them.

As Idle Chater stated in his post, we can only know this for sure by dying, or by turning into our parents as we get older and recall what they taught us.   :teehee:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 05:56:40 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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