norman wrote:For me right now 'to be' means to be detected by my senses - here and now, and with some confidence that comes from the memory of repetition and 'triangulation' (more than one sense, corroboration by other people, part of a cause-and-effect sequence etc). In that sense this 'self' that is me is - right here, right now: it can suffer and feel joy etc. Much further than this I would rather not speculate as it would just build a mountain of words. It (the self, 'me') seems just like the rest of nature - it comes to be, lasts a while / changes, disappears. I don't really want to 'feel' less - to sort of duck out of the range of experiences being alive offers, or to manipulate those feelings. To be able to see them appear and disappear does seem to of itself produce a sort of calm and happiness that is not dependant on external things - and to take away some of the fear which comes from having to defend that little 'self', and perhaps reduces the need to exploit others in that defense.
Congratulations, Norman. You are tremendously ahead of the game if, by the insight you express here, you are able to live according to those parameters. If so, you have penetrated the essence of the Dhamma.
norman wrote:I like the sutta mentioned above as it suggests a method of development which (in my view) is designed to increase awareness without using rational argument to 'win' a point and persuade.
If you enjoyed that sutta (the Satipatthana Sutta
), I have another for you that will definitely test the insight you have gained. It is called the Bahiya Sutta
in the volume called the Udana
from the Khuddaka Nikaya, which contains (depending on whose definition you adhere to for the volumes contained in this Pitaka) 15 or 18 shorter volumes of discourses. I won't spoil it for you. Read through it and see if you don't understand it instantly.
It is unfortunate that this online version doesn't contain a very helpful footnote that can be found in the physical published version (which book I happen to have) by John Ireland to the following passage:
"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering." *
The footnote follows: *
This is a difficult passage. An explanation of it derived from the Comy. would be something like this: "In the seen is merely what is seen" without adding one's own views, opinions, concepts, personal likes and dislikes, etc.: that is, just seeing what is there as it actually is. "You will not be with what," bound by that view, by attraction or repulsion, etc. "You will not be in that" situation of being deluded and led astray by views and emotions. "You will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two": neither in this world nor another world. This means the experience of Nibbana or enlightenment, which is a stepping out of the mundane world.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV