Awareness and Self

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
Myotai
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:39 am

Awareness and Self

Postby Myotai » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:33 am

Hello,

I struggle to reconcile how there can be awareness without 'self'.

Who or what is it that experiences qualia for example. The constant inner narrative and experience though transient seems to appear to 'me'. No matter how many times I try to refute this there is still an 'I' that seems to acknowledge the experience or apprehend the sense experience.

Can someone help me understand my error in thinking p[lease?

Thanks,

M...

SarathW
Posts: 7446
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:27 pm

Buddha said it is not appropriate to take five aggregate as I, me and myself.
Qualia is the feeling and perception of the five aggregate hence that should not be considered I, me or myself.

As lay people we only can eliminate the self view.
Self view only be fully eliminated by Arahant.

This is not easy to understand unless you are mindful all the time.

Qualia reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 572
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: Somerville, MA, USA

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby Nicolas » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:01 pm

An empty movie theatre playing a film: the images appear on the screen, and the sound comes out the speakers, but no one is watching, and there is no projectionist either.

User avatar
Myotai
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby Myotai » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:08 pm

Nicolas wrote:An empty movie theatre playing a film: the images appear on the screen, and the sound comes out the speakers, but no one is watching, and there is no projectionist either.


But there is. Thats my point. There is someone that hears the tree fall in the middle of a woods... ;)

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2863
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:32 pm

Myotai wrote:But there is. Thats my point. There is someone that hears the tree fall in the middle of a woods... ;)


Of course there is a someone, but that someone is changing according to conditioning, not a fixed permanent essense (atta).

A computer can also be aware of what's happening inside it's environment, it doesn't think it's a self.
“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

dhammarelax
Posts: 1087
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:59 pm

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby dhammarelax » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:51 pm

Myotai wrote:Hello,

I struggle to reconcile how there can be awareness without 'self'.

Who or what is it that experiences qualia for example. The constant inner narrative and experience though transient seems to appear to 'me'. No matter how many times I try to refute this there is still an 'I' that seems to acknowledge the experience or apprehend the sense experience.

Can someone help me understand my error in thinking p[lease?

Thanks,

M...


Dont confuse no self with not self. All phenomena are not self.

Smile
Dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

SarathW
Posts: 7446
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:56 pm

[/quote]
An empty movie theatre playing a film: the images appear on the screen, and the sound comes out the speakers, but no one is watching, and there is no projectionist either.


A computer can also be aware of what's happening inside it's environment, it doesn't think it's a self.]



There is someone that hears the tree fall in the middle of a woods... ;)


Non of those analogies are correct.
Buddha reject both existence and non-existence.
He taught Dependent Origination.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SamKR
Posts: 962
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby SamKR » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:06 am

Myotai wrote:
Who or what is it that experiences qualia for example. The constant inner narrative and experience though transient seems to appear to 'me'. No matter how many times I try to refute this there is still an 'I' that seems to acknowledge the experience or apprehend the sense experience.

"If there are qualia there must be someone having those qualia". This statement is the belief that is held by almost all people in the world, and that is a very sticky belief, and it is the root ignorance, the cause of all suffering.

What if the following is happening?
* There is a flow of qualia or appearances - vividly and undoubtedly appearing without need of any thought.
* There arises a thought that says "these appearances appear to me". This thought itself appears as a part of that flow of appearances.
* With the strong belief on that thought, there appears the experience or feeling that "I am present, and I am experiencing the appearances". This experience itself appears as a part of the flow of experiences.

Thus based on the three points above there is only experience/awareness without the inherently existing self ("inherently existing self" is a non-existent referent of mere thoughts, and these thoughts themselves arise as part of the experience/awareness).

pegembara
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby pegembara » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:21 am

Myotai wrote:Hello,

I struggle to reconcile how there can be awareness without 'self'.

Who or what is it that experiences qualia for example. The constant inner narrative and experience though transient seems to appear to 'me'. No matter how many times I try to refute this there is still an 'I' that seems to acknowledge the experience or apprehend the sense experience.

Can someone help me understand my error in thinking p[lease?

Thanks,

M...



Turn it around and ask where is the "I" without the experiences.
Without thoughts, there is no thinker.
Without experiences, there is no experiencer.
They are dependently co-arisen phenomena.

A language problem. You "think" the "thinker" think thoughts but the thinker is not separate. Ergo there is no thinker(self). You mistake the thinker to be real and existing.

What is going on is merely seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, feeling, thinking arising and passing away moment to moment.

In many ways, friend, the Blessed One has said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'"


"If anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the eye are discerned. And when its arising & falling away are discerned, it would follow that 'My self arises & falls away.' That's why it wouldn't be tenable if anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self.' So the eye is not-self.



Because we fail to note these acts of consciousness, we tend to identify them with a person or individual. We tend to think that it is `I' who is imagining, thinking, planning, knowing (or perceiving). We think that there is a person who from childhood onwards has been living and thinking. Actually, no such person exists. There are instead only these continuing and successive acts of consciousness. That is why we have to note these acts of consciousness and know them for what they are. That is why we have to note each and every act of consciousness as it arises. When so noted, it tends to disappear. We then go back to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen.

http://www.tathagata.org/DhammaTalks/In ... ction.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2210
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby robertk » Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:32 am

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.12


“Venerable sir, who makes contact?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One replied. “I do not say, ‘One makes contact.’ If I should say, ‘One makes contact,’ in that case this would be a valid question: ‘Venerable sir, who makes contact?’ But I do not speak thus. Since I do not speak thus, if one should ask me, ‘Venerable sir, with what as condition does contact come to be?’ this would be a valid question. To this the valid answer is: ‘With the six sense bases as condition, contact comes to be; with contact as condition, feeling.’

User avatar
kverty
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:48 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby kverty » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:38 pm

I struggle with the same question, so when I meditate there is a sense of 'self' that becomes aware of that particular object, and thoughts like "why this awareness? How does it even become aware?" and "What is it that becomes aware?".

I resonate with the four noble truths and the three marks of all phenomena, but I can't seem to come around this. So this stream of awareness is always there but clouded by ignorance and delusion, craving and attachment? There's no "I" that becomes aware but simply the mind being purified from mental defilements?

This raises more questions, if this apparent 'citta' - which is devoid of any 'self' - is the result of past kamma how can volition exist and new kamma be produced? My apparent volition being totally determined by past kamma, any new kamma produced is the result of past kamma, any rebirth taking place is the result of past kamma.

JohnK
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby JohnK » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:38 pm

kverty wrote:...My apparent volition being totally determined by past kamma...

The teachings on kamma allow for volition that is not merely "apparent" -- others will likely provide the canonical references (as you said, it is the "self" that is merely apparent -- and it feels especially apparent (to me anyway) when I have volition: "If there is no self, who the heck is choosing to direct my attention to an object? It sure feels like me" -- the dhamma is subtle, ignorance is deep, and I've got lotsa dust in my eyes!) ;)
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

pegembara
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby pegembara » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:27 am

how there can be awareness without 'self'.


The same question keeps popping up.

To put it another way:

How can one see without the "eye"?
Seeing happens without the "eye" which is convenient fiction.

What is the "eye"?
Is it the "cornea", "lens", "iris", "retina", "optic nerve", "optic radiation", "optic pathways", "occipital cortex" or the chemical/electrical activities that allow seeing?

There is no "eye", a convenient label. Eye is concept, not reality. And yet seeing happens.
Ditto for mind or consciousness.

Image
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6172
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby Mkoll » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:57 am

kverty wrote:I struggle with the same question, so when I meditate there is a sense of 'self' that becomes aware of that particular object, and thoughts like "why this awareness? How does it even become aware?" and "What is it that becomes aware?".

I resonate with the four noble truths and the three marks of all phenomena, but I can't seem to come around this. So this stream of awareness is always there but clouded by ignorance and delusion, craving and attachment? There's no "I" that becomes aware but simply the mind being purified from mental defilements?

This raises more questions, if this apparent 'citta' - which is devoid of any 'self' - is the result of past kamma how can volition exist and new kamma be produced? My apparent volition being totally determined by past kamma, any new kamma produced is the result of past kamma, any rebirth taking place is the result of past kamma.

Contemplating the Sabbasava Sutta (MN 2) might be helpful for you. The most relevant part:

“What taints, bhikkhus, should be abandoned by seeing? Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person, who has no regard for noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for true men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, does not understand what things are fit for attention and what things are unfit for attention. Since that is so, he attends to those things unfit for attention and he does not attend to those things fit for attention.

“What are the things unfit for attention that he attends to? They are things such that when he attends to them, the unarisen taint of sensual desire arises in him and the arisen taint of sensual desire increases, the unarisen taint of being arises in him and the arisen taint of being increases, the unarisen taint of ignorance arises in him and the arisen taint of ignorance increases. These are the things unfit for attention that he attends to. And what are the things fit for attention that he does not attend to? They are things such that when he attends to them, the unarisen taint of sensual desire does not arise in him and the arisen taint of sensual desire is abandoned, the unarisen taint of being does not arise in him and the arisen taint of being is abandoned, the unarisen taint of ignorance does not arise in him and the arisen taint of ignorance is abandoned. These are the things fit for attention that he does not attend to. By attending to things unfit for attention and by not attending to things fit for attention, both unarisen taints arise in him and arisen taints increase.

“This is how he attends unwisely: ‘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 did I become 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 become in the future?’ Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the present thus: ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where will it go?’

“When he attends unwisely in this way, one of six views arises in him. The view ‘self exists for me’ arises in him as true and established; or the view ‘no self exists for me’ arises in him as true and established; or the view ‘I perceive self with self’ arises in him as true and established; or the view ‘I perceive not-self with self’ arises in him as true and established; or the view ‘I perceive self with not-self’ arises in him as true and established; or else he has some such view as this: ‘It is this self of mine that speaks and feels and experiences here and there the result of good and bad actions; but this self of mine is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and it will endure as long as eternity.’ This speculative view, bhikkhus, is called the thicket of views, the wilderness of views, the contortion of views, the vacillation of views, the fetter of views. Fettered by the fetter of views, the untaught ordinary person is not freed from birth, ageing, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair; he is not freed from suffering, I say.

“Bhikkhus, a well-taught noble disciple, who has regard for noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who has regard for true men and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, understands what things are fit for attention and what things are unfit for attention. Since that is so, he does not attend to those things unfit for attention and he attends to those things fit for attention.

“What are the things unfit for attention that he does not attend to? They are things such that when he attends to them, the unarisen taint of sensual desire arises in him…as §6…and the arisen taint of ignorance increases. These are the things unfit for attention that he does not attend to. And what are the things fit for attention that he attends to? They are things such that when he attends to them, the unarisen taint of sensual desire does not arise in him…as §6…and the arisen taint of ignorance is abandoned. These are the things fit for attention that he attends to. By not attending to things unfit for attention and by attending to things fit for attention, unarisen taints do not arise in him and arisen taints are abandoned.

“He attends wisely: ‘This is suffering’; he attends wisely: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; he attends wisely: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; he attends wisely: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ When he attends wisely in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: personality view, doubt, and adherence to rules and observances. These are called the taints that should be abandoned by seeing.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
kverty
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:48 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby kverty » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:29 am

I bow in deepest respect and gratitude for your answers, they really struck me as sensible and worth contemplating!

theY
Posts: 228
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Awareness and Self

Postby theY » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:55 am

Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/2016/09/tipitaka-memorization-is-rule-of-monks.html


Return to “Abhidhamma”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dhamma follower and 2 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine