Emptiness and the true self

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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withoutcolour
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by withoutcolour » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:46 am

I'm not sure if this is helpful or not, but I had an interesting insight into this recently... I was doing some vipassana on the three marks of existence, and was thinking about anatta... and later that day, "I" was feeling joyful and peaceful at work (go figure!), and rather than thinking "How nice, I feel great!" I thought, "There is a feeling of peacefulness", as in, the skandhas are coming together at this particular point in time, and *there exists* peacefulness and happiness, rather than *I am the owner* of those particular emotions.
Similarly, today I was a little irritated, and I acknowledged it as "There is anger" as opposed to "I am angry."
Because I did not put the label of an owner on it, it became far less powerful, and dissipated much faster than usual. Which is also a powerful way to penetrate impermanence (anicca) too. (and a great way to handle negative emotions as well!)
I know this is a little more subjective, but, hey, if it helps...

But as its written above, there is no true self, no permanent thing that is *you*, you are not the thinker, you are not your thoughts. These thoughts simply exist as a coming-together of the five aggregates (skandhas).

I've struggled with this concept for so long, but I've been meditating on it a lot, and it seems to be coming together a bit more lately. It's so hard to get rid of self because of the way we're raised, but we've got to keep emptying our jug until we can get rid of all concepts.

Best of luck, keep up the good work! :buddha1:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ
sabbe sattā sukhita hontu

Grindle's Grindis
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by Grindle's Grindis » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:42 pm

Maybe I'm wrong but to say explicitly that "there is no self" is a form of nihilism, which would fall into wrong view. As far as I know the Buddha didn't say that there is no self, but that there is no "self" in any "thing". No things belong to a self. Therefore nothing could be "me" or "mine". So the "pure citta", or the "enlightened mind" (for want of a better term) is not "something", but it's not "nothing", either. It's what remains after everything else has been seen through, dropped, shattered, exploded, however you want to say it's no longer causing you confusion. Like anatta, it's totally beyond intellectual comprehension. It is realized instantly, unexpectedly, in a flash of intuition, so they say. I hope you're blessed with a good teacher to help you find your way.

dolphin
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by dolphin » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:13 am

Hi

I recall for quite a while believing that "I" am empty or not real.

then one day, i actually felt the implcation of that deep in my gut. I felt disorientated at first and shaken deep inside. The reality of "me" acutally not being real as such felt a little scary.

Then the days went by and I found that there was still eating, sleeping, laughing, working and so on. And it mattered less and less to me.

Now, sensing the emptiness within and without seems like a blessing. For some time now, a subtle joy seems to emanate out of emptiness or the dwelling on it, whether in or out of meditation. I can't explain why.

Metta
dolphin

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tiltbillings
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by tiltbillings » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:57 am

Grindle's Grindis wrote:Maybe I'm wrong but to say explicitly that "there is no self" is a form of nihilism, which would fall into wrong view. As far as I know the Buddha didn't say that there is no self, but that there is no "self" in any "thing". No things belong to a self. Therefore nothing could be "me" or "mine". So the "pure citta", or the "enlightened mind" (for want of a better term) is not "something", but it's not "nothing", either. It's what remains after everything else has been seen through, dropped, shattered, exploded, however you want to say it's no longer causing you confusion. Like anatta, it's totally beyond intellectual comprehension. It is realized instantly, unexpectedly, in a flash of intuition, so they say. I hope you're blessed with a good teacher to help you find your way.
Interested in from where this point of view arises.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Nibbida
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by Nibbida » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:03 pm

Here's the most succint explanation I can give. All things (& and people) are empty of a separate, permanent, inherent existence. That is, nothing exists separately or permanently because of dependent origination (cause-and-effect) and impermanence (everything is in a constant state of change). In this sense, no thing called a "self" exists because there is no thing that is separate or permanent. "Self" is a concept, a frozen snapshot we superimpose on elements of experience. What we are is a changing, interdependent set of mental and physical processes (5 aggregates), rather than a thing. The "witness" is just another process that observes the other processes. When you have an experience of emptiness, all of those mental and physical processes are still there, but that's all. The illusion of a self behind all of it diminishes or disappears.

I find Thich Nhat Hanh's cloud in a book example helpful:

"If you are a poet, you will clearly see that there is a cloud
floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no
water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees you
cannot make this paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of
this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud.... The paper is
made of all the non-paper elements to the extent that if we return
the non-paper elements to their sources ... the paper is empty.
Empty of what? Empty of a separate self.... Empty, in this sense,
means that the paper is full of everything, the entire cosmos."


(Being Peace, 1987: 45-46)

PeterB
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Re: Emptiness and the true self

Post by PeterB » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Returntospirit wrote:Paññāsikhara, I agree with you. This subject might be best directed to Hinduism but my understanding of the 7 stages of consciousness (just in case you don't know what I'm talking about here is a link http://www.psycanics.com/modules.php?na ... cle&sid=45" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) is that Buddha attained the 7th stage. But do we not need to go through all the stages in order to access the highest (enlightenment) ? I am stuck in stage 4, Self awareness, how do I move beyond that into Samadhi and the higher stages?
This is warmed over Westernized Hindu stuff that nothing really to do with Buddhism in general and certainly nothing to do with the Theravada.
I was reminded of being in a bookshop with a friend who paused in front of a book on the Vedanta called " I Am That ", pointed to it and said " I Am That, and a bag of chips ! ". Its possible that one would need to be a Brit to find this funny. :lol:

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