Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Post by gavesako » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:13 pm

This collection of teachings might be useful here:

Realizing Cessation
by Ajahn Maha Boowa

2.3 The defilement that forms the essence of the cycle (vaṭṭa) – which in Pali is termed ‘avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ,’ ‘With unawareness as condition, there occur mental formations’: This is the seed of becoming and birth, buried here in this mind. ... So now, is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. Even if the mind is going to be smashed and destroyed along with everythign else, let’s at least know with our practice. Strike on down! Ultimately, everything counterfeit gets smashed, while the nature of pure truth, of supreme truth – the pure mind – doesn’t die and isn’t destroyed. See? So now whether you call it inconstant, stressful, and not-self or not, at least make the mind pure, and it will gain release from all conventional realities. Inconstancy, stress, and not-self lie within the realm of convention (sammuti). Once the mind has gained release from these things, there’s nothing more that can be said – even though we are completely aware. So what is there now to doubt? This is release from the prison, from the cycle that imprisons living beings, and us in particular – our mind in particular, now extricated right there. Freed right there. ... This is thus called the timeless (akâlika) heart, the timeless Dhamma, freed from time. It’s a pure nature, always fully awake (buddho) like that. ... Even though we may have never said that we’ve given our life to defilement, that’s what we’ve done for an infinitely long time, to the point where we can’t count the times. Even in the single lifetime of an individual, we can’t count the times. Take the realm of the present that’s visible to us and work back to infinity: It’s all come from the avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ embedded here in the heart for countless lifetimes. Nothing else in the cosmos has caused us to experience becoming and birth, and to carry the mass of all sufferings, other than this avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ. ... Birth and death, birth and death without ceasing: What is the cause? The Buddha has taught us, beginning with avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ, saṅkhâra-paccayâ viññâṇaṃ – ‘With unawareness as condition, there are formations. With formations as condition, there is consciousness.’ These are the causes. They’re buried in the mind, which is why they cause us to take birth without ceasing. As soon as we destroy avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ, what happens? Avijjâyatveva asesa-virâga-nirodhâ saṅkhâra-nirodho – ‘All that is needed is for unawareness to be completely disbanded from the heart, then nirodho hoti – everything else is disbanded.’ What do you say to that? Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hoti – ‘All that is needed is for unawareness to be utterly disbanded, and everything – the entire mass of suffering and stress – is disbanded.’ And that which knows that unawareness is disbanded, that’s the pure one. How can that pure one disband or be annihilated? It’s an utter truth. (Things As They Are, p. 57-62.)

2.4 The land of victory, when all the defilements fall back in defeat: You don’t have to ask about it. You’ll know it on your own through the Dhamma immediately apparent to every person who practises to that point. The Buddha didn’t lay any exclusive claims on it, but bestowed it as the wealth of every person who practises in dignity in the midst of this world of inconstancy, stress, and not-self. When the khandhas no longer carry on, we will attain full anupâdisesa-nibbâna with nothing more to worry about. ... As for the genuine Dhamma of results in the principles of nature, that’s something to be known exclusively in the heart of the person who practises. This Dhamma can’t really be described correctly in line with its truth. We can only talk around it. And particularly with release: This can’t be correctly described at all, because it’s beyond all conventions and speculations. It can’t be described. Even though we may know it with our full heart, we can’t describe it. Like describing the flavour and fullness that come from eating: Even though eating is something in the realm of conventional reality that can be described, and though we all have savoured the flavour and eaten our fill, still we can’t describe these things at all in line with their truth. The Dhamma that can’t be described: That’s the genuine Dhamma. It doesn’t have the word ‘vanishes’ or ‘disappears’ – simply that the world can’t reach in to know it and touch it. As for annihilating this Dhamma, it can’t be annihilated. When we practise in line with the tactics given by each of the Buddhas, we can touch it and become aware of it. The heart becomes an awareness of the Dhamma, a right and fitting vessel for the Dhamma – and there is no vessel more appropriate for receiving each level of the Dhamma than the heart. When it enters into the Dhamma in full measure, the heart becomes one with the Dhamma. The heart is the Dhamma. The Dhamma is the heart. Oneness. There is nothing but oneness, not becoming two with anything else. ... If we get weak or discouraged, we should reflect on the cemeteries of birth and death that will burn us forever: Is there anything good about them? The struggle involved in the effort of the practice, even though it involves hardship, is a means of cutting back on our becoming and birth. More than that, it completely eliminates becoming and birth, which are a massive heap of stress, from the heart, so that we can freely pass by and gain release. There are none of the various sorts of defilement – even the most subtle – infiltrating or coercing such a heart. This is what it means to be free in every way, above the world of rebirth – which is a conventional reality (sammuti) – through the power of our persistent endeavour. (Things As They Are, p. 97-103.)

2.5 This is the investigation of the mind. This level, when we have reached it, is where things are severed completely from becoming and birth in the mind, severed completely from all unawareness and craving. ‘Avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ’ – ‘With unawareness as condition, there occur thought-formations' – is completely severed and becomes ‘avijjâyatveva asesa-virâga-nirodhâ saṅkhâra-nirodho, saṅkhâra-nirodhâ viññâṇa-nirodho...' -- ‘Simply with the disbanding of unawareness, with no remaining passion, thought-formations disband. With the disbanding of thought-formations, cognizance disbands....' all the way to ‘this is the disbanding of this entire mass of stress.' When unawareness has disbanded, the formations that are the cause of stress disband and keep disbanding, just as the Buddha said, while the formations that continue as part of the khandhas become formations pure and simple, and aren't a cause of stress. The cognizance (viññâṇa) that appears in the heart is cognizance pure and simple, and not cognizance as a cause of stress. ‘Viññâṇa-paccayâ nâmarûpaṃ, nâmarûpa-paccayâ saḷâyatanaṃ, saḷâyatana-paccayâ phasso' -- whatever is a physical or mental phenomenon, a sense medium, or a sensory contact is simply its own simple nature. It can't provoke the mind that has finished its task to the point of ‘evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hoti' -- ‘This is the disbanding of this entire mass of stress.' The words, ‘evametassa kevalassa' -- ‘all things mentioned here' -- have absolutely disbanded. This is called disbanding in full measure. When we disband defilement, craving, and unawareness, when we disband the world of rebirth, where do we disband it if not in the mind, which is the essence of the world of rebirth, the essence of unawareness, the essence of birth, ageing, illness, and death. The seeds of birth, ageing, illness, and death -- namely, passion and craving, with unawareness as their ringleader -- lie only here in the mind. When they are completely scattered from the mind, there is simply ‘nirodho hoti' -- ‘This is the disbanding....' (Things As They Are, p. 145-6.)

2.6 We now take this atomic mindfulness and discernment and shoot it into the central point of conventional reality, the point that causes living beings to founder in the wheel of the cycle (vaṭṭa) so that they can't find their way out, don't know the way out, don't know the ways of birth, don't know who has been born as what, where they have died, what burdens of suffering and stress they have carried. Mindfulness and discernment go crashing down into that point until it is scattered to pieces. And so now how can we not know what it is that has caused us to take birth and die? There is only defilement that is the important seed causing us to take birth and die, causing us to suffer pain and stress. ... When it has been made to collapse within the heart, what is the heart like now? How does the outer space of the Dhamma differ from the outer space of the world? Now we know clearly. The outer space of this purified mind: Is it annihilation? The outer space of the world isn't annihilation. If it were annihilation, they wouldn't call it outer space. It's a nature that exists in line with the principles of its nature as outer space. The outer space of the mind released from all forms of gravitational pull, i.e., conventional reality: What is it like? Even though we've never known it before, when we come to know it, we won't have any doubts. ... We won't have to search for witnesses to confirm it, the way we do with conventions in general. It's sandiṭṭhiko -- immediately apparent -- and only this fits perfectly with our heart and that outer space mind. This is what we referred to at the beginning when we talked about the outer space of the world and the outer space of the mind. The outer space of the mind -- the mind of nibbâna -- is like that. Just where is it annihilated? Who experiences the outer space of the mind? If it were annihilation, who could experience it? As for where it will or won't be reborn, we already know that there's no way for it to be reborn. We know this clearly. We've removed every defilement or conventional reality that would lead to rebirth. Conventional reality is the same thing as defilement. All things -- no matter how subtle -- that have been dangers to the heart for such a long time have been completely destroyed. All that remains is the pure outer space of the mind: the mind that is pure. You can call it outer space, you can call it anything at all, because the world has its conventions, so we have to make differentiations to use in line with the conventions of the world so as not to conflict. When we reach the level of the outer space mind, how does it feel for the mind to have been coerced, oppressed, and subject to the pull of all things base and vile, full of stress and great sufferings for aeons and aeons? We don't have to reflect on how many lifetimes it's been. We can take the principle of the present as our evidence. Now the mind is released. We've seen how much suffering there has been and now we've abandoned it once and for all. We've absolutely destroyed its seeds, beginning with ‘avijjâ-paccayâ saṅkhârâ' -- ‘With unawareness as condition there occur mental formations.' All that remains is ‘avijjâyatveva asesa-virâga-nirodhâ saṅkhâra-nirodho' -- ‘Simply with the disbanding of unawareness, with no remaining passion, thought-formations disband.' That's the outer space of the mind. The mind released from all gravitational forces: Even though it's still alive and directing the khandhas, there's nothing to bar its thoughts, its vision, its knowledge. There's nothing to obstruct it, nothing to make it worried or relieved, nothing to make it brave, nothing to make it afraid. It is simply its own nature by itself, always independent in that way. ... This is the place -- if we speak in terms of place -- where we run out of doubts about everything of every sort. We oversee the khandhas, which are simply conventions of the world, just as all the Noble Disciples do while they are still living. As for the mind, it has gained release and remains released in that way. As we have said, even though it remains in the midst of the world of conventions, this nature is its own nature, and those other things are their own affairs. Each is a separate reality that doesn't mingle, join, or have an effect on the others. When we say release from the world, this is what we mean. ... As for nirodha, the cessation of stress: When defilement is disbanded, from where will any more suffering or stress arise? When defilement and stress are disbanded for good, that's the outer space of the mind. As for the Noble Truths, they're activities, or our workplace. The result that comes from these four Noble Truths is something else entirely. As I've always been telling you: What is it that knows that stress and the cause of stress disband? When the path has performed its duties to the full and has completely wiped out the cause of stress, then nirodha -- the cessation of stress -- appears in full measure, after which it disbands as well, because it too is a conventional reality. As for the one who knows that the cause of stress has disbanded by being eradicated through the path so as to give rise to the cessation of stress: The one who knows this is the pure one -- the outer space of the mind -- and that's the end of the matter. (Things As They Are, p. 174-80.)

2.7 The word ‘kammaṭṭhâna’ has been well known among Buddhists for a long time and the accepted meaning is: ‘the place of work (or basis of work).’ But the ‘work’ here is a very important work and means the work of demolishing the world of becoming (bhava), demolishing (future) births, kilesas, taṇhâ, and the removal and destruction of all avijjâ from our hearts. All this is in order that we may be free from dukkha. In other words, free from birth, old age, pain and death, for these are the bridges that link us to the round of saṃsâra (vaṭṭa), which is never easy for any beings to go beyond, free. (Paṭipadâ, p. 13.)

2.8 In seeing dukkha, he will see it within himself every time it arises in him – and also, in overcoming dukkha he will know how he has overcome it in himself by the power of his samâdhi, sati and paññâ. As for the dukkha connected with life and death and what he will become in future lives, however many they may be that he will have to face up to, he is not concerned or anxious. Because the nature of all of them is collected within his experience in the khandhas which are before him right now and which have been taken in and known by this one heart which is at present training and correcting itself. (Paṭipadâ, p. 368.)
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Post by Dan74 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:40 am

Perhaps it is no accident than in India where there was an established concept of atman, the Buddha taught anatta, and in China where there was only a concept of Tao, the True Self/ Buddha-nature etc took off?


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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Post by Moth » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:16 pm

Sorry for necroing this thread.

The Buddha says,
"Sabbe sankhara dukkha
Sabbe sankhara anicca
Sabbe dhamma anatta"

Why is sankhara replaced with dhamma in the final line? I believe it is done so to include Nibbana in the category of not-self.
May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering." onclick=";return false;

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Re: Maha Boowa and the "True Self"

Post by moyshekapoyre » Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:07 am

Silly debate.
Self. No self. There is no difference!

The only way you can distinguish self from no self is by having more than one self. Otherwise you cannot define self.

As Ajahn Mun said to Mae Chee Kaew, you are not enlightened until there remains NO CENTER. I think this concept of No Center is far more meaningful than no self.

I never knew anything about Buddhism, but even as a child I had dreams of this no center that were totally inexplicable to me let alone anyone else.. Since then I have come to know it more intimately, and I will continue to do so until the center never reappears.

We are fantastically lucky to live in such a reality--or at least to have the opportunity to realize it!!! <3

Watch the center, and know it is just ignorance. It will disintegrate if you don't take it seriously. Laugh at it! Silly center! You are just a cosmic joke!

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