befriend wrote:there is no self, so there is nothing to call me or mine, not sight no feeling no thought, none of those things belong to us there is no thinker. but what about when we stub our toe and there is pain is there self then?
yes and no. there is a fabricated self that is a combination of many factors. when we meditate and become very concentrated we see this. in normal consciousness we stub our toe, feel angry and so on. with a concentrated mind either from jhana or just good daily mindfulness, we stub our toe, see the painful feeling as a separate thing, then we feel the anger, also totally separate, then we see our consciousness of this situation, also totally separate and changing as well.
it all comes down to that "thinker" which in some traditions is seen as evidence for the self. however in buddhism we see that the "thinker" is constantly changing from one moment to the next and anything that is in that much flux cannot be thought of as "self". self as an idea is more like a mountain. solid, rarely changing at all. snow and plants may change but the mountain remains roughly the same. our mind, the "thinker" is more like the sky. clouds, rain, twilight, night, stars, moon, morning, sun, clear blue, clouds, twilight, comets, stars, clouds, and so on and so on. constant change. there is no single constant that can really be called "self". in fact the sky is more "self" than our consciousnesses as it at least is always there more or less. when we sleep or die our consciousness totally changes into something else temporarily whereas even with all the change the sky is always up there being made of air and vapor 24/7.
EDIT: a perfect example is to try and think about your mind state when you first wake up compared to after you have been up for six or seven hours. totally different conscoiusness. the only thing that ties them together is memory which is totally fabricated and not always reliable. it's almost a lie, your mind tells you your consciousness is a continuous thread but it's a trick. when you really look at memories they are little stories and images your mind creates and unless you have an eidetic memory they are not even complete usually! seen as not self as well it can be nothing more than the ability to navigate life skillfully but without attachment.