Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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No_Mind
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Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by No_Mind » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:44 am

Buddhism says there is no self but an illusion of self. Why is this illusion necessary, what purpose does it serve? We are made of Five Aggregates - Form, Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation, Consciousness. They come together to form illusory self.

Why is this illusion necessary? At end of the process the illusion is either dying and aggregates are dissolving or the person reaches Nibbana and is free from self view. But in the mean time (few lifetimes) why is the illusion of self needed at all?

Why this prison of aggregates?

:anjali:
Last edited by No_Mind on Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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barcsimalsi
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by barcsimalsi » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:47 am

I don't recall any sutta saying it's necessary. The self-view is conditioned to be fabricated as long as there's ignorance.

SarathW
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by SarathW » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:02 am

look at your house.
I ask you whether there is a house.
You would say "Yes"
I would say "No"
I ask "can you demolish this house". You would say no. (Because you can't demolish if there is a permanent unchanging entity)
I would say "You can demolish it" (Because I know the house is made from bricks, timber and tiles. There is no house independent of the materials)
==================

In this case you haven't comprehend Anatta.
Nirvana is understanding this simple truth.

:)

PS: You have to understand this through experience. It is not the book knowledge.
Last edited by SarathW on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mkoll
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Mkoll » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:03 am

No_Mind wrote:Buddhism says there is no self but an illusion of self.
Buddhism says not to create a thicket of views about self.
MN 2 wrote:"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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No_Mind
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by No_Mind » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:20 am

Mkoll, Sarath, Barcsimalsi my question is different. Why do five aggregates create a false self, illusory self. Why are we not born enlightened. Why is this filtration needed.

Why a prison we have to break out of. Why are we not born awakened? In any part of Buddhism does it expand on "why is there samsara". I will like to study it.

:anjali:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by SarathW » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:29 am

No_Mind wrote:Mkoll, Sarath, Barcsimalsi my question is different. Why do five aggregates create a false self, illusory self. Why are we not born enlightened. Why is this filtration needed.

Why a prison we have to break out of. Why are we not born awakened? In any part of Buddhism does it expand on "why is there samsara". I will like to study it.

:anjali:
This question is not answered by Buddha.
So I am not going to answer it.
Sorry.

PS: You did not understand Mkoll's post.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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No_Mind
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by No_Mind » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:38 am

Why would a man have to travel through life is a question answered by most religions by using God's will. It is a very important question after all - why do I have to be born, live, suffer, die.

In fact "What is the meaning of life? " is the most important existential question. Why at all this world and the living and dying and all that happens in between. What purpose does it serve.

Buddha must have answered it. Perhaps Culaavuso would know.

:anjali:

P.S Sarath MN2 is after a man is born. I am asking why at all born with a illusory self. Why is he not born a Buddha.
Last edited by No_Mind on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Reductor
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Reductor » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:40 am

Why do even simple organisms multiply? Why did I have kids? How was that even possible?

How does this question even relate? Are you confused? Am I? ;)

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No_Mind
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by No_Mind » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:42 am

Reductor wrote:Why do even simple organisms multiply? Why did I have kids? How was that even possible?

How does this question even relate? Are you confused? Am I? ;)
Why is everyone born inside a web of Avidya is a fair question to ask.
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Mkoll
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Mkoll » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:44 am

Why does one ask these questions?

Now that's something to think about.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by SarathW » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:47 am

Buddha showed us how the house was built (by ignorance) and how to destroy it by taking out the materials off (nutriments)
Further you digging to these question further you go down with it.
It is like a person who is digging the whole in order to get out of it.
Last edited by SarathW on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Reductor
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Reductor » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:49 am

No_Mind wrote:Why would a man have to travel through life is a question answered by most religions by using God's will. It is a very important question after all - why do I have to be born, live, suffer, die.

In fact "What is the meaning of life? " is the most important existential question. Why at all this world and the living and dying and all that happens in between. What purpose does it serve.

Buddha must have answered it. Perhaps Culaavuso would know.

:anjali:

P.S Sarath MN2 is after a man is born. I am asking why at all born with a illusory self. Why is he not born a Buddha.
Most answers to these questions seem like bunk, No_Mind. Haven't you had your fill of that already?

If the universe had different fundamental constants it wouldn't exist. People say this proves God exists - after all, who set the constants in this way. I say that a dead universe wouldn't have given rise to someone to even have the question - if the universe accidentally happened we suppose it must be intentional because that's how we think. If the universe was still born, we'd not be here - but the still born universe would still have been an accident.

Likewise with the sense of self: it might be an accident which gives rise to guys like you and me to ask the question. Had the sense of self never happened, we'd not be talking - yet still the lack of self would only be accidental, too. You fancy that it mustn't be accidental, because that's how you think. I think it probably was accidental, as that's how I think.

But what does it matter, if you're often miserable? Would it be better misery if you thought God made it happen, or worse, or the same?

:rolleye:
Last edited by Reductor on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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No_Mind
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by No_Mind » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:50 am

Mkoll wrote:Why does one ask these questions?

Now that's something to think about.
Without going into long discussion you Mkoll are born in samsara. And being part of samsara what MN2 described happened. But why ?

Is there any Buddhist equivalent to fall of man and forbidden fruit.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:52 am

This question comes under the type of question that should not be asked.
"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.
The fact remains that we suffer due to craving and ignorance. Our most important task is to remove the defilements through observing morality, developing concentration, and cultivating wisdom. Study and practice will lead to realisation. If we can destroy the illusion of self, then we won't need to ask, “Why am I here?” “Where did I come from?” “Where am I going?” “What is the purpose of life?”
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Re: Why An Illusory Self Is Needed

Post by Goofaholix » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:15 am

No_Mind wrote:Mkoll, Sarath, Barcsimalsi my question is different. Why do five aggregates create a false self, illusory self. Why is this filtration needed.
Self is not an illusion it's a fabrication, there is a difference. I don't think the Buddha ever talked in terms of illusion, that came later with Mahayana.

That's a better question though. On one level we need it, there's no way we could relate to each other without some means of differentiating and labeling each other.

It becomes a problem I think when we believe the fabrication is solid and real and when the five aggregates creates a self as a "self preservation" strategy, it's much like the instinctual "self preservation" strategies we see in the animal kingdom, it's about survival of the fittest, procreation, defense from predators, or from self destructive habits. So I guess we could say the motivation comes from our reptilian brain.
No_Mind wrote:Why are we not born enlightened?

Why a prison we have to break out of. Why are we not born awakened?
Probably for the same reason we aren't all born with a Phd level of understanding and intelligence, nor with all our motor skills, nor can we even control our bowels properly.
No_Mind wrote:In any part of Buddhism does it expand on "why is there samsara". I will like to study it.
The Buddha wasn't big on answering why, he was more interested in what to do. If you know why will that make samsara any different? or will that lead to another why, then another why and so on? Sounds like samsara.
Last edited by Goofaholix on Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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