Author Topic: Is self real?  (Read 729 times)

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #15 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 #16 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.

Offline francis

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 09:26:57 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.

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

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2017, 08:33:39 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.

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?

Decisions would fall under Mental Formation, dontcha think?

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2017, 09:59:02 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.

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?

 Because it is not a passive act like experience. We act or create something from nothing. In another word, it is self-caused.

Offline francis

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2017, 01:20:21 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.

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?

Decisions would fall under Mental Formation, dontcha think?

HI IdleChater,

Yes I agree, or perhaps with the fifth aggregate consciousness.

"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline francis

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2017, 01:22:38 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.

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?

 Because it is not a passive act like experience. We act or create something from nothing. In another word, it is self-caused.

Hi bahman,

Yes, but there is no self to cause it.

I have provided a more comprehensive explanation in the “Wanting and self” thread (by bahman).
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2017, 10:04:59 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.

Hi bahman,

Why do think there needs to be a sixth aggregate — Decision?

 Because it is not a passive act like experience. We act or create something from nothing. In another word, it is self-caused.

Hi bahman,

Yes, but there is no self to cause it.

I have provided a more comprehensive explanation in the “Wanting and self” thread (by bahman).

 You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Offline francis

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2017, 04:49:27 am »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.


Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

It all goes back to survival instincts tempered with our upbringing, society, conditioning, education, language, perceptions, values etc. Buddhism explains this as dependent origination.

See note 24 The Kaccayanagotta Sutta. ‘It may seem contradictory to our way of thinking about ourselves and our actions to have in this list voluntary mental activity preceding consciousness. I, for example, usually think that "I" am consciously directing "my" mental activity. Should we not say that consciousness precedes mental activity? Actual experiments conducted by modern psychologists and neurophysiologists show otherwise.’

In particular, Footnote to the 2003 Reith Lectures by Professor Michael E. McIntyre FRS, University of Cambridge. Where it is explained how the brain actively fits internal models to data from the outside world.

Not convinced? This type of information about decision making is also used in Neuromarketing. ‘Human decision-making is both a conscious and non-conscious process in the brain (Glanert, 2012). Human brains process over 90% of information non-consciously, below controlled awareness; this information has a large influence in the decision-making process.’
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2017, 07:50:00 am »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.


Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 


 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?

It all goes back to survival instincts tempered with our upbringing, society, conditioning, education, language, perceptions, values etc. Buddhism explains this as dependent origination.

See note 24 The Kaccayanagotta Sutta. ‘It may seem contradictory to our way of thinking about ourselves and our actions to have in this list voluntary mental activity preceding consciousness. I, for example, usually think that "I" am consciously directing "my" mental activity. Should we not say that consciousness precedes mental activity? Actual experiments conducted by modern psychologists and neurophysiologists show otherwise.’

In particular, Footnote to the 2003 Reith Lectures by Professor Michael E. McIntyre FRS, University of Cambridge. Where it is explained how the brain actively fits internal models to data from the outside world.

Not convinced? This type of information about decision making is also used in Neuromarketing. ‘Human decision-making is both a conscious and non-conscious process in the brain (Glanert, 2012). Human brains process over 90% of information non-consciously, below controlled awareness; this information has a large influence in the decision-making process.’


 Thank you for the references. I will look at them later.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2017, 10:38:18 am »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?


Simply because of karma.  It begihs with ignorance, which leads to mental dispositions, which generates karmic imprinting and and that leads to consciousness.

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2017, 11:26:18 am »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?


Simply because of karma.  It begihs with ignorance, which leads to mental dispositions, which generates karmic imprinting and and that leads to consciousness.

 I don't understand what you are saying. I thought that consciousness is fundamental in Buddhism. Could you please elaborate?

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2017, 12:02:00 pm »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?


Simply because of karma.  It begihs with ignorance, which leads to mental dispositions, which generates karmic imprinting and and that leads to consciousness.

 I don't understand what you are saying. I thought that consciousness is fundamental in Buddhism. Could you please elaborate?

I know.  It's not exactly "beginner stuff". 

Look at the 12 links of dependant origination.

It begins with ignorance of the 4 Noble Truths.  That ignorance leads to action, which results in karma.  This leads to consciuousness.

Because consciousness is not self-arisen, it can't be viewed as "real".  It is merely the product of previous causes and conditions.

Read about dependant origination.

Offline bahman

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2017, 12:30:23 pm »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?


Simply because of karma.  It begihs with ignorance, which leads to mental dispositions, which generates karmic imprinting and and that leads to consciousness.

 I don't understand what you are saying. I thought that consciousness is fundamental in Buddhism. Could you please elaborate?

I know.  It's not exactly "beginner stuff". 

Look at the 12 links of dependant origination.

It begins with ignorance of the 4 Noble Truths.  That ignorance leads to action, which results in karma.  This leads to consciuousness.

Because consciousness is not self-arisen, it can't be viewed as "real".  It is merely the product of previous causes and conditions.

Read about dependant origination.

 I use to think that it starts with curiosity, the fabric of universe is intelligible. Curiosity leads to act. Ignorance is a force again curiosity causes suffering.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Is self real?
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2017, 12:48:25 pm »
You need a self if you really believe that you cause a decision. Otherwise decision is an illusion.

Hi bahman,

Decision is an illusion.

We think we make decisions, but in reality our decisions are already made for us in our brain before we realise we have made the decision. 

 Why we are conscious anything at all? What happen for cycle of Karma (we are not responsible for our acts anymore)?


Simply because of karma.  It begihs with ignorance, which leads to mental dispositions, which generates karmic imprinting and and that leads to consciousness.

 I don't understand what you are saying. I thought that consciousness is fundamental in Buddhism. Could you please elaborate?

I know.  It's not exactly "beginner stuff". 

Look at the 12 links of dependant origination.

It begins with ignorance of the 4 Noble Truths.  That ignorance leads to action, which results in karma.  This leads to consciuousness.

Because consciousness is not self-arisen, it can't be viewed as "real".  It is merely the product of previous causes and conditions.

Read about dependant origination.

 I use to think that it starts with curiosity, the fabric of universe is intelligible. Curiosity leads to act. Ignorance is a force again curiosity causes suffering.

Think whatever you like, I guess, but that's not a Buddhist teaching. 

 


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