Is the self a defensive, illusory structure, constructed in response to an awareness of the omnipresence of affliction?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Kim OHara
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Re: Is the self a defensive, illusory structure, constructed in response to an awareness of the omnipresence of afflicti

Post by Kim OHara » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:32 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:23 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:58 pm
Psychology (as a profession, which is where this thread started) is all about one person helping another to "adjust" to society and be happy in it
But isn't it downright bizarre how psychologists don't actually help people to do that? Well, that is, they can help people who already implicitly see fitting in as the greatest good and the highest goal in a person's life. But what I'd like to see is a justification for why this view should be adopted as the highest one.
If anything, psychology is like the modern incarnation of the Holy Inquisition -- assuming the same kind of authority over people's minds and lives, with the same kind of social influence and power over an individual's life. Psychologists don't burn people at the stakes, but they do lock people up in mental hospitals or issue documents that make it impossible for a person to get a job.
The ideal outcome of Psychology is a conformist person contentedly immersed in consumerist society; the ideal outcome of Buddhism is a person completely free of any need to conform to society or even engage with it, although willing (bodhisattva / arahant ideal) to work tirelessly to reduce the suffering of those still stuck in it.
So what's the ideal outcome of "Buddhist psychology" ?
"Buddhist psychology", like so many other things that have the word "Buddhist" in them, has little or nothing to do with Buddhism, other than Buddhism being awfully fashionable and sellable lately.

Thanks for the discussion, Retro and Kim.
:twothumbsup:
At last - someone who understands me! :smile:
binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:23 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:58 pm
Psychology (as a profession, which is where this thread started) is all about one person helping another to "adjust" to society and be happy in it
But isn't it downright bizarre how psychologists don't actually help people to do that? Well, that is, they can help people who already implicitly see fitting in as the greatest good and the highest goal in a person's life. But what I'd like to see is a justification for why this view should be adopted as the highest one.
If anything, psychology is like the modern incarnation of the Holy Inquisition -- assuming the same kind of authority over people's minds and lives, with the same kind of social influence and power over an individual's life. Psychologists don't burn people at the stakes, but they do lock people up in mental hospitals or issue documents that make it impossible for a person to get a job.
As a matter of interest: Ven. Nanavira wrote an interesting short piece on conformity, In & out:
/.../ So finally we have what I think was taught by the Buddha and probably by nobody else—the fourth stage, which is arana. Here we think: there are those two doors marked IN and OUT; it makes not the slightest difference to me which I use to go in and out by; but if it is noticed that I don’t seem to think it is a matter of any importance, those who do think it is a matter of importance will make trouble for me; but this would be a disturbance, and would hinder my work; so, then, other things being equal, I shall go in by the door marked IN, and out by the door marked OUT, and I shall pass unnoticed and untroubled. And so I think that the Buddha has so arranged matters in the Vinaya that the Sangha is a highly respectable body of men who are losing or have lost all interest in respectability. It is at the beginning that the respectability of the Sangha is irksome, and some who are still A.Y.M. do not join it on this account (which is a good thing), and prefer to breathe fire and slaughter at the Establishment as Hindu ascetics and other odd things. But I find my present situation quite fascinating at times, and could almost wish to appear even more respectable than I do. I sometimes repeat to myself, with all the earnestness of which I am capable, cela m’est tellement égal.5 Try it yourself. It is a potent phrase if uttered with enough esprit de sérieux.6
I'm not sure though that it is possible to translate this approach into embracing the norms of psychology as a whole in one's life, ie. to think, feel, speak, and do the way psychologists say is "normal".
The way I read it, Ven Nanavira is advocating superficial compliance with the norms of society, i.e. "respectability", purely as a matter of convenience, while claiming and expanding our inner freedom. That is, to "speak and do" conventionally while not thinking and feeling conventionally.
I can say with some authority that it's a perfectly valid way of dealing with the world since it's more or less what I have been practising for the last ten years. Most of the time it really doesn't matter which door we use, which clothes we wear, how fast we drive, etc. But when there is a need for action which isn't conventional, this habitual attitude frees us to act without any feeling of being constrained by society. Going on a pilgrimage? Sure. Helping one of society's outcasts? Of course. Civil disobedience? Naturally.

:namaste:
KIm

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Is the self a defensive, illusory structure, constructed in response to an awareness of the omnipresence of afflicti

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:53 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:22 am
Greetings.


A Buddhist psychologist says:

Buddhist psychology offers an analysis of the self as a defensive,
illusory structure, constructed in response to an awareness of the
omnipresence of affliction. By creating the delusion of a permanent
self, humans isolate themselves from one another, and from
experience, in a field of perceptual distortions and repeating
behavioural patterns, or karmic tendencies.

http://buddhistpsychology.typepad.com/files/poland.pdf
Is there any canonical support for this view?


Thank you.
Sounds more like Neon Genesis Evangelion (I'm thinking specifically of "AT Fields") than Buddhadharma!

In Neon Genesis, 'beings' are 'held apart' by 'AT Fields' ('Absolute Terror Fields') which represent the horror of loss of individuality. These AT Fields are psychic 'shields' that prevent me from being you (for instance), or you from being me.

The 'Human Instrumentality Project' complies to an ideology that views the suppression of humanities AT Fields as the next evolutionary step in humanity: collective consciousness.

What this project accomplishes, in the show, by accident, is the total destruction of all (or most) sentience.

Either way, not a lot like Buddhadharma.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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