How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

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Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:31 am

alfa wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:19 am
cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:10 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:07 pm
but I'd be interested to know how you go about realising the "impersonal" aspect of thoughts, practically speaking.
The intention
to see thoughts as impersonal
is enough
How are thoughts impersonal? :?
They are not 'yours'. The habit of identification with them as a sign that there is a central agent that they belong to is revealed as false.

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cappuccino
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:36 am

alfa wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:19 am
How are thoughts impersonal?
having no personality
neither eternal identity, nor annihilation

Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:37 am

archaic wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:00 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:15 am
archaic wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:20 am


Sorry, I don't mean to be contentious, but I am just unclear if you were quoting me to agree or disagree with what I said? Did you think I was saying "root out the self"? Because I don't think I said that.

I was however referring to guiding oneself gradually through insight towards the realization of no self... Anatta.

Anatta, being one of the three marks of existence of all beings.

As we guide ourselves to comprehend non-self, impermanence, and the reality of suffering, we begin to free ourselves.
You did say 'the goal of rooting out the 'you' or the 'self', likely needs to come from multiple angles...........'
I was referring this goal back to what the Buddha actually taught about seeing things the way they are which is not the same as 'rooting out' anything or establishing a 'self'.

When you practice satipatthana (mindfulness practice), you are not instructed to root out anything. You are instructed to be mindful of 4 areas, body, feeling, mind, and mind objects, the 4 foundations. You are not instructed to do anything about or to them in the satipatthana sutta. Insight rises because of the right conditions. You don't have to force or control your experience towards anything. I think it's important to get the foundation of this solidly in place, then insight(wisdom) can lead to its natural conclusion.
If both the path and the practice are awareness of reality, and the reality is one of non self, then I don't see how anything I said violates this. I think what you are pointing out is a case of semantics because you feel that I was advocating an active process of discovering non-self, whereas you feel it should be a passive process?

If this is an important distinction for you, I'm not sure what you think of:
"teaching on anatta aims to completely remove all these identifications and the corresponding attachments to a sense of self"
-Satipatthana The Direct Path to Realization, Analayo, pg. 210.

In my mind, a sense of self is a defilement of the mind, and efforts to destroy defilements of the mind are part of the path. If one can eliminate desire/craving for existence of self, one eliminates suffering.

"Give up the aggregates, for none of the is truly your own" is a quote by Buddha which I believe also pertains to the active process of giving up the illusion of self.

Anyways I don't think this is going anywhere, I was trying to provide what insight I could to the OP but getting pulled into an intellectual debate on semantics has no attraction to me, I'd rather meditate. I mean no ill will when I say that this kind of stuff is why I don't post very often.

Much Metta to you
Perhaps it's semantics, perhaps not. I don't subscribe to 'destroying', 'eliminating' defilements like desire/craving/becoming/ being. I do subscribe to nibbida, the disenchantment, viraga, the dispassion, towards all phenomena, experience which leads to release from all this. If my point is either not agreed to or subscribed to, that's okay. But, that is sort of where I'm at. Btw, I didn't think you meant any ill will so not to worry.

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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:34 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:31 am
They are not 'yours'. The habit of identification with them as a sign that there is a central agent that they belong to is revealed as false.
OK, but this seems like an intellectual understanding. How does one actually observe this non-ownership, practically speaking?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:40 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:34 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:31 am
They are not 'yours'. The habit of identification with them as a sign that there is a central agent that they belong to is revealed as false.
OK, but this seems like an intellectual understanding. How does one actually observe this non-ownership, practically speaking?
In your practice of mindfulness, the insight rises that these are only thoughts, only feelings. That there is no one really behind the door. That ownership is not different than the thoughts and feelings. An unmistakable conviction takes place. You just know it.

mal4mac
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by mal4mac » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:40 pm
In your practice of mindfulness, the insight rises that these are only thoughts, only feelings. That there is no one really behind the door. That ownership is not different than the thoughts and feelings. An unmistakable conviction takes place. You just know it.
How do you know this is a correct insight? How can you know there isn't someone "behind the door"? That is, how can you be certain that any "insight" you get isn't false? You may think you are certain there is no one "behind the door", but you might be wrong. There are many cases of Christians "having the insight" that there is a God, when they are "born again" they have an "unmistakable conviction" that God is with them. Buddhists, denyying the existence of God, would have to to say they have a false insight, and their "unmistakable" conviction is mistaken.

I think the key is to just to carry on with your mindfulness exercises and not bother yourself with questions like, "Is there a self or not?" As with other Buddhist imponderables (karma, rebirth...) there is no final determination you can make... unless you become a fully enlightened one... if there is such a thing...
- Mal

Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:57 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:00 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:40 pm
In your practice of mindfulness, the insight rises that these are only thoughts, only feelings. That there is no one really behind the door. That ownership is not different than the thoughts and feelings. An unmistakable conviction takes place. You just know it.
How do you know this is a correct insight? How can you know there isn't someone "behind the door"? That is, how can you be certain that any "insight" you get isn't false? You may think you are certain there is no one "behind the door", but you might be wrong. There are many cases of Christians "having the insight" that there is a God, when they are "born again" they have an "unmistakable conviction" that God is with them. Buddhists, denyying the existence of God, would have to to say they have a false insight, and their "unmistakable" conviction is mistaken.

I think the key is to just to carry on with your mindfulness exercises and not bother yourself with questions like, "Is there a self or not?" As with other Buddhist imponderables (karma, rebirth...) there is no final determination you can make... unless you become a fully enlightened one... if there is such a thing...
I don't pose this question to myself because it is quite obvious to me that there is no one there apart from these thoughts. It also happens to be in line with the Dhamma. This insight took place way before I was privy to the Buddhist teachings. You don't have to be a Buddhist to know this. In fact, neuro-scientists and researchers have come to the same conclusion. The sense of self is fabricated. Christians also deny that self exists. If a Christian has an experience that god is with them, I have no problem with that. God in the true sense maybe other than what you think it is. Many interpretations exist. Some are poetic. It reminds me of the famous quote of Meister Eckart, 'the Kingdom of Heaven is only for the thoroughly dead.'

Carrying on with one's practice is essential, but not-self is not imponderable, it is essential, too, if you practice satipatthana. Sotapanna, stream enterer, is about this realization. It is not full enlightenment, but there is a change. Certain fetters disappear. Are you familiar with this?

mal4mac
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by mal4mac » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:42 pm

Vacchagotta the wanderer asked the Buddha, ""Do I have a self?" The Buddha remained silent; trying to answer this question leads to confusion and destroys peace of mind. Thanissaro says “there is no self” is a fake Buddhist quote, a statement never made or implied in the suttas. Thanissaro suggests a not-self strategy, not trying to see “no self” directly. On identifying with something stressful, remind yourself that it’s not part of yourself. This helps you let go of it, and stops bad thoughts proliferating.

http://www.tricycle.com/what-buddha-nev ... re-no-self

Attempted answers like “I have no self” induce a “thicket of views, a writhing of views, a contortion of views” that hinder awakening (Majjhima Nikaya 2). The Buddha warned us not to enter these debates (Sutta Nipata 4.8).

On identifying with anything stressful and inconstant, remind yourself that it’s not-self, i.e., not worth considering as part of yourself. (SN 22.59). This helps you let go of it. Do this thoroughly and it can lead to awakening. (MN 135).

Some selfing is useful: developing a self that’s heedful and responsible, confident in managing the practice (Anguttara Nikaya 4.159). Apply the perception of not-self to anything that would pull you astray. Finally, apply that perception to the path itself. On the path, regard even the deathless as not-self (AN 9.36).

For more, see The Not-self Strategy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... rategy.pdf
- Mal

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acinteyyo
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by acinteyyo » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:07 pm
one_awakening wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:36 am
I don't think it's something that you want to "root out". It comes back to mindfulness. Simply observe the rising and passing away of thoughts. If you can maintain the continuity of mindfulness, then the true nature of thoughts will reveal themselves. Then you will come to the realization that they are simply impersonal processes that rise and pass away.
I can observe the transience and conditionality of thoughts, but I'd be interested to know how you go about realising the "impersonal" aspect of thoughts, practically speaking.
Hi Spiny Norman and all,
I hope you guys don't mind that I chime in here to share some ideas, because I have been very silent for some time...
As it happens I am working on seeing the "impersonal" aspects of thoughts too lately and practically speaking I am doing so by observing the sense doors and their respective objects in general giving special attention to the their impersonal aspect, that is being not-self, by realizing that I have no power, no control over the sense doors nor their respective objects.

The personal aspect of thoughts, (this applies to any of the other senses) comes from the idea of a person or personality which originates from the notion of "having control". This notion of "being in charge" in some way in turn originates from clinging to the sense sphere and/or their objects, appropriating them, making them mine and forming the idea of me. The conglomeration of this process forms the person or personality.

So practically speaking and from my personal point of view I see thoughts and ideas being objects of the mind not arising in a void but in a very specific setting, which is the mind or the mind-sphere. Thoughts don't arise "in me" or "in my brain" nor do I have the thoughts. They are known always from a certain point of view, which is consciousness, you could also say discovered by consciousness. This certain point of view also arises along with its own content and changes in accordance with it. By observing this impermanent "specific setting" in which thoughts come and go I see that no matter what or how I wish that this "specific setting" may stay as it is or changes according to my actual liking it does not obey, I cannot control conscious experience. Instead I constantly notice that the conscious experience of the mind forms and is formed by its content and vice versa. Focusing on the content of the mind I also noticed that I have no direct control of the mind-objects arising and passing away either. Somehow I've got the impression that this was easier to realize right from the beginning.

The more I realize that I am not in charge, that I have no control, the more the process of dependent origination (here I'm not speaking of the 12-links but more of formations forming formations) becomes apparent and the notion of personality begins to fade away, because if it was me that is thinking my thoughts than I should have at least some kind of control over this process and I, my personality, should be there permanently to some extent in order to still be identifiable as my self within this process as a whole, but within this all there is nothing to be found that complies with the requirements for being my self and so the whole thing disintegrates furthermore and reveals its impersonality bit by bit.

For me it's not like there is no me anymore it's more like that what I used to experience as myself becomes "perforated" or "fragmented" and presents itself not as a complete whole unit anymore but as a net of entangled heaps of particular impersonal phenomena.

Well, I hope you guys can get the gist of this...

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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bodom
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by bodom » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:14 pm

Thank you acinteyyo. It's nice to see you posting again after awhile. I always very much enjoy your thoughts.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

mal4mac
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:37 am

Maybe you should be associating with some thoughts. Like: "I must pursue the Dhamma". At least until you can throw the raft away, if that time ever comes. How do you know it's a river and not an endless sea?
- Mal

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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:45 am

acinteyyo wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:51 pm
The more I realize that I am not in charge, that I have no control, the more the process of dependent origination (here I'm not speaking of the 12-links but more of formations forming formations) becomes apparent and the notion of personality begins to fade away, because if it was me that is thinking my thoughts than I should have at least some kind of control over this process and I, my personality, should be there permanently to some extent in order to still be identifiable as my self within this process as a whole, but within this all there is nothing to be found that complies with the requirements for being my self and so the whole thing disintegrates furthermore and reveals its impersonality bit by bit.
That's interesting, and the ( lack of ) control aspect is useful to consider, particularly at the mind-base. But what about the application of Right Effort Right Intention and Right Concentration, choosing to develop more skillful states of mind? And what about the view that mindfulness ( paying attention to all this stuff ) is also something we choose to do, an activity, a practice?

I work regularly with the sense bases, and have the sense of perpetual change and continual movement. But I also have the sense of a stillness "beneath" all the movement.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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acinteyyo
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:46 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:45 am
That's interesting, and the ( lack of ) control aspect is useful to consider, particularly at the mind-base. But what about the application of Right Effort Right Intention and Right Concentration, choosing to develop more skillful states of mind? And what about the view that mindfulness ( paying attention to all this stuff ) is also something we choose to do, an activity, a practice?
It seems to me that one can either choose to occupy oneself with states of mind, with thoughts, ideas, cravings, feelings and all that stuff that arises and ceases or not, one can choose to engage in those things, take them up, follow them, proliferate or not, provided that there is enough mindfulness to notice that a choice can be made or that a choice has been made, but apparently one cannot choose whether or not a certain state of mind, a thought, desires and so on come into existence or already there that they may vanish instantly.
This reminds me of a Schopenhauer-quote: "Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills."

Right Effort, Right Intention and Right Concentration are skills to be developed. They aren't developed by mere will. I cannot simply decide to have Right Effort and Right Intention, but by constantly choosing wholesome conditions over unwholesome conditions (in order to know what is what there must be Right View at least to some extent) these skills eventually progress and improve, come to perfection, while others diminish. I believe that's why it is called a noble path.

So for me I guess it comes down to choosing wisely from the manifold things that come up, where to put ones attention to, because there when consciousness lands and gets a firm footing, from there things continue to go their ways.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by alfa » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:31 am
alfa wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:19 am
cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:10 pm


The intention
to see thoughts as impersonal
is enough
How are thoughts impersonal? :?
They are not 'yours'. The habit of identification with them as a sign that there is a central agent that they belong to is revealed as false.
I get that. I am just saying the thoughts keep pounding your head, even after you acknowledge that there is no one behind the door.

Saengnapha
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Re: How to stop associating yourself with your thoughts?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:15 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:31 am
alfa wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:19 am


How are thoughts impersonal? :?
They are not 'yours'. The habit of identification with them as a sign that there is a central agent that they belong to is revealed as false.
I get that. I am just saying the thoughts keep pounding your head, even after you acknowledge that there is no one behind the door.
Yes, the thoughts don't magically disappear, but the belief in them, the fixation on them, loosens when wisdom arises. Wisdom arises when certain conditions are present. This is a result of a combination of understanding the Dhamma intellectually, and the practice of Right Concentration.

“One begins with a conceptual understanding of the Dhamma and an intention to achieve the goal, the first two path factors. Then, out of faith, one accepts the moral discipline regulating speech, action, and livelihood. With virtue as a basis one energetically applies the mind to cultivating the four foundations of mindfulness. As mindfulness matures it issues in deepened concentration, and the concentrated mind, by investigation, arrives at wisdom, a penetrative understanding of the principles originally grasped only conceptually.”

Excerpt From: Nanamoli, Bhikkhu. “The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.”

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