Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom

Is Wri Right?

Yes!
6
50%
No!
3
25%
No, and allow me to explain why.
3
25%
 
Total votes: 12

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Wri
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Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:53 am

Hello all,

I may have reached an insight, but I want to hear your opinions on it's validity before I meditate on it further.

At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.

So far, this view hasn't affected my mind very much. It certainly makes life more interesting now that it's in my awareness more and clearer than before. I still feel compassion as well, that all beings are experiencing life and should be protected and free from suffering, and that experience is an important part of life.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I understanding non-self correctly or have I gone full bonkers?
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:16 am

Wri wrote:Hello all,

I may have reached an insight, but I want to hear your opinions on it's validity before I meditate on it further.

At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.

So far, this view hasn't affected my mind very much. It certainly makes life more interesting now that it's in my awareness more and clearer than before. I still feel compassion as well, that all beings are experiencing life and should be protected and free from suffering, and that experience is an important part of life.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I understanding non-self correctly or have I gone full bonkers?
It is a start, but don't grasp onto this. The danger of that is solidifying this as conceptual structure that could very easily get in the way of seeing the conditioned flow of rise and fall.
>> 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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Wri
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Wri wrote:Hello all,

I may have reached an insight, but I want to hear your opinions on it's validity before I meditate on it further.

At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.

So far, this view hasn't affected my mind very much. It certainly makes life more interesting now that it's in my awareness more and clearer than before. I still feel compassion as well, that all beings are experiencing life and should be protected and free from suffering, and that experience is an important part of life.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I understanding non-self correctly or have I gone full bonkers?
It is a start, but don't grasp onto this. The danger of that is solidifying this as conceptual structure that could very easily get in the way of seeing the conditioned flow of rise and fall.
I understand; and at any rate, holding on to this version of non-self as a solid structure would defeat the purpose of the view itself. Impermanence is also a mark of existence like non-self. They are connected :)

Could you expand on what you mean that this is a start? Is there a more complex or deeper version of this concept that you understand? A couple years ago I was in a deep meditation, maybe a jhana because some have assured me it was, but I had zero feeling of self and saw very clearly the arising and passing of impermanent parts, arising from seemingly nowhere. They just existed, it was just the experience. Is it like this? Or are you referring that I need to develop my attitude towards the view itself to a more mature point?
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by SarathW » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:12 am

It is important to note the difference between elimination of self view (by Sotapanna) and the elimination of self identity (by Arahants)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Mkoll
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:13 am

I dunno if you've understood anatta correctly. And no matter how you described it, unless you described it poorly, that would be my answer. What I can say is that it sounds like your practice is strong. And as tilt mentioned, be wary of clinging to conditioned things.

Your post brought to mind a talk by Ajahn Chah, found here. Hope it's helpful.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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tiltbillings
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:24 am

Wri wrote:
Could you expand on what you mean that this is a start? Is there a more complex or deeper version of this concept that you understand? A couple years ago I was in a deep meditation, maybe a jhana because some have assured me it was, but I had zero feeling of self and saw very clearly the arising and passing of impermanent parts, arising from seemingly nowhere. They just existed, it was just the experience. Is it like this? Or are you referring that I need to develop my attitude towards the view itself to a more mature point?
It is a start in as much as the insight unfolds the experience becomes more fluid, less particular. No doubt you were in a deep meditation. Jhana can, indeed, suppress the sense of self, but watching the conditioned nature of the sense of self as it manifests in the rise and fall of the flow of experience of the mind/body process as it is attended to mindfully, without comment, can be a deeply revealing experience, depriving the sense of self its opaque sense of being. In a very real sense, you cannot force the practice. It unfolds as we cultivate those qualities that give rise to insight. I am not sure how helpful this is, but I would say that you have a good start.

Also, keep in mind that I am coming from a very particular style of practice that is outlined in this thread and several of the threads linked in the thread just linked here.
>> 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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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:25 am

Wri wrote:Hello all,

I may have reached an insight, but I want to hear your opinions on it's validity before I meditate on it further.

At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.

So far, this view hasn't affected my mind very much. It certainly makes life more interesting now that it's in my awareness more and clearer than before. I still feel compassion as well, that all beings are experiencing life and should be protected and free from suffering, and that experience is an important part of life.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I understanding non-self correctly or have I gone full bonkers?
If that was not an intelectual understanding, but an insight arising due to persistent meditation, you should continue to deepen that perception of anatta. You may be on the verge of a very important insight.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Zom » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:10 pm

At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.
Generally yes, the idea is correct. However keep in mind, that there is no craving apart from the mind .) To check yourself you can answer the questions listed in many suttas about what can one take as a self. If there is still something which you consider to be ever-present-no-matter-what, this means that your anatta understanding is not yet complete.

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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:20 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Wri wrote:
Could you expand on what you mean that this is a start? Is there a more complex or deeper version of this concept that you understand? A couple years ago I was in a deep meditation, maybe a jhana because some have assured me it was, but I had zero feeling of self and saw very clearly the arising and passing of impermanent parts, arising from seemingly nowhere. They just existed, it was just the experience. Is it like this? Or are you referring that I need to develop my attitude towards the view itself to a more mature point?
It is a start in as much as the insight unfolds the experience becomes more fluid, less particular. No doubt you were in a deep meditation. Jhana can, indeed, suppress the sense of self, but watching the conditioned nature of the sense of self as it manifests in the rise and fall of the flow of experience of the mind/body process as it is attended to mindfully, without comment, can be a deeply revealing experience, depriving the sense of self its opaque sense of being. In a very real sense, you cannot force the practice. It unfolds as we cultivate those qualities that give rise to insight. I am not sure how helpful this is, but I would say that you have a good start.

Also, keep in mind that I am coming from a very particular style of practice that is outlined in this thread and several of the threads linked in the thread just linked here.
That is helpful, thank you. Wisdom can evolve in particular stages. I remember after that meditation I wrote down a lot of the insights and experiences and reading them again some months later, it was really hard to wrap my mind around things being like that. The mind is conditioned to see things a certain way, and it takes diligent training to see things the other way as a base state. As one develops an idea, one discovers the ideas that it is connected to on deeper "levels." The insights cannot be forced but only discovered by right practice. Thanks again; it helps me feel more confident in the Path.
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Wri
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:26 pm

Mkoll wrote:I dunno if you've understood anatta correctly. And no matter how you described it, unless you described it poorly, that would be my answer. What I can say is that it sounds like your practice is strong. And as tilt mentioned, be wary of clinging to conditioned things.

Your post brought to mind a talk by Ajahn Chah, found here. Hope it's helpful.
What is your understanding of anatta? Perhaps it will help me figure it out :) Thanks! I am not particularly invested in finding "the truth" to hold on to, but the answer that helps the reduction of suffering/clinging.
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Wri
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:36 pm

Zom wrote:
At this stage in my practice, non-self might be more clear to me than before. As I see it, everything is just a collection of impermanent parts interacting together. There is no "person" or inherent entity in there, just parts interacting. What makes these parts come together to form something living as opposed to a rock for example, is the force of craving, which is conditioned and when the aggregates separate at death, this craving goes on to bring more aggregates together in certain ways based on it's kamma. Consciousness, thoughts, awareness, etc, are all just parts of this grand, moving, mosaic we call life. Nothing has an inherent existence since each part is connected to, affects, and depends on the other parts.
Generally yes, the idea is correct. However keep in mind, that there is no craving apart from the mind .) To check yourself you can answer the questions listed in many suttas about what can one take as a self. If there is still something which you consider to be ever-present-no-matter-what, this means that your anatta understanding is not yet complete.
I have (based on my own self-analysis) concluded that all things that a person can be aware of, such as awareness itself, consciousness, material, feelings, thoughts, etc, are non-self in that they are conditioned and impermanent. What I seem to be intellectually stuck on, is how certain atoms come together in an attempt to survive, but others do not, such as those in a rock which simply come together. This force ("clinging, craving") separates living from the non-living. However, I do not see this force as something that a person can look at and see directly at least not with an unenlightened mind. I wouldn't say it's permanent either because this force would be extinguished upon parinibbana. At any rate, it can hardly be said to be an inherent self because it can easily be created by other causes and conditions. I can't figure this out directly...it must come naturally through deep meditative insight..or quantum physics :P If it doesn't reduce suffering, then it's not worth pursuing...the Buddha did advise not to spend too long on questions you can't answer.

So yes, I agree my understanding is incomplete, but it seems based on your response and a few others, I am off to a good start here. I think I am gaining the assurance that pursuing this insight and it's connected insights will lead to a reduction in suffering as opposed to more delusion.
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:21 pm

Wri wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I dunno if you've understood anatta correctly. And no matter how you described it, unless you described it poorly, that would be my answer. What I can say is that it sounds like your practice is strong. And as tilt mentioned, be wary of clinging to conditioned things.

Your post brought to mind a talk by Ajahn Chah, found here. Hope it's helpful.
What is your understanding of anatta? Perhaps it will help me figure it out :) Thanks! I am not particularly invested in finding "the truth" to hold on to, but the answer that helps the reduction of suffering/clinging.
I'd probably describe it much as you have. That doesn't mean I understand it in the sense that I was using the word: with liberating insight rather than intellectually. Sorry, I should have made that clear.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Wri
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Wri » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:39 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Wri wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I dunno if you've understood anatta correctly. And no matter how you described it, unless you described it poorly, that would be my answer. What I can say is that it sounds like your practice is strong. And as tilt mentioned, be wary of clinging to conditioned things.

Your post brought to mind a talk by Ajahn Chah, found here. Hope it's helpful.
What is your understanding of anatta? Perhaps it will help me figure it out :) Thanks! I am not particularly invested in finding "the truth" to hold on to, but the answer that helps the reduction of suffering/clinging.
I'd probably describe it much as you have. That doesn't mean I understand it in the sense that I was using the word: with liberating insight rather than intellectually. Sorry, I should have made that clear.
Ah, I see. In my early practice, it seems I would get those flashes of "spontaneous" insight which would bring joy, rapture, etc. every time I sat down to meditate. I think I have most of those that my mind is able to handle so far. I think if I meditated more, I would get more of those liberating insights. Much of my understanding comes from observing and passive intellectualizing, as in, I don't sit down and try to solve things like a puzzle; I just see how things are working together by observation rather than trying to make them work together. In this case, I read anatta described with the word "inherent" and so it brightened my understanding of non-self through the "inherent" lens.
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Mkoll
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:32 pm

Wri wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
Wri wrote:What is your understanding of anatta? Perhaps it will help me figure it out :) Thanks! I am not particularly invested in finding "the truth" to hold on to, but the answer that helps the reduction of suffering/clinging.
I'd probably describe it much as you have. That doesn't mean I understand it in the sense that I was using the word: with liberating insight rather than intellectually. Sorry, I should have made that clear.
Ah, I see. In my early practice, it seems I would get those flashes of "spontaneous" insight which would bring joy, rapture, etc. every time I sat down to meditate. I think I have most of those that my mind is able to handle so far. I think if I meditated more, I would get more of those liberating insights. Much of my understanding comes from observing and passive intellectualizing, as in, I don't sit down and try to solve things like a puzzle; I just see how things are working together by observation rather than trying to make them work together. In this case, I read anatta described with the word "inherent" and so it brightened my understanding of non-self through the "inherent" lens.
One more clarification: by "liberating insight" I mean that literally, i.e. the insight that leads directly to liberation.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Bundokji
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Re: Have I understood Non-Self correctly?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:47 pm

I can't be sure, but the "i got it" feeling can be the beginning of grasping.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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