Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Non Self

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Non Self

    Recently a Dhamma friend of mine posed the question whether scientists seeing through modern equipment that there is nothing in an atom....would understand nonself (that there is no one within us--just energies)?

    I do not think just seeing this through a microscope is helpful to understand anatta.

  • #2
    Dear Indira,

    Ajahn Brahmali is away for a few weeks. I am a Junior Bhikkhu but will try to answer your question.

    As I understand it, the only way to completely eradicate self view is to become a Sotapanna - one who has attained the first stage of enlightenment. Until this is reached one can only have a partial understanding of anatta (non-self). To get to this point one practices the 8-fold path, morality, mental development and the accumulation of wisdom. A scientist may see the emptiness of the atoms of which we are comprised, but without the 8-fold path he will never truly realize anatta.

    Hope this helps!

    Bhante J.R.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you Bhante for taking time to reply. I understand we need to see through within ourselves that there is no one within us.... that there is no one doing, no one "willing" (as Ajahn Brahm explains). This is possible only through the practices of 8-fold path culminating in deep meditation stages.

      Realizing Anatta is the major hurdle in attaining Sotapanna...the other two factor--understanding the unsatisfactory nature of samsara and impermanence is more visible to an inquiring mind. May all beings be well and happy!

      Comment


      • #4
        Dear Indira,

        This is an interesting question, which I occasionally have pondered myself. It seems that physicists and psychologists sometimes make the assertion that there is no soul or self to be found, and that all we ever observe are ever-changing phenomena. Have they penetrated non-self? I think the answer is both yes and no. Because they are incapable of finding a "self", they must arrive at the conclusion that there is no such thing. But for them it is just an intellectual understanding, and even while they hold this intellectual understanding they all along perceive the existence of a self. In other words, they are not aware of their own mis-perception and incapable of seeing that this mis-perception is at odds with their own finding that there is no self. What I am pointing to is that the perception of a self is a very deep-seated thing, so deep-seated in fact that we are not normally even aware that we have this perception. For this reason, an intellectual understanding can never be enough, and only through profound insight can this truth (from a Buddhist point of view) be uncovered.

        I hope this is helpful.

        With metta,
        Ajahn Brahmali

        Comment


        • #5
          Indira,
          I read a book once entitled: "How to See Yourself as You Really Are" by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
          I admit I still have questions about non-self and have come to see the difference between no-self and non-self, a discernment that the Buddha himself made I believe. While I still have questions, one of the more "enlightening" moments I have had in my practice was contemplating what I had read in this book while driving home from work one night. I am sure I posted about it in the old forums. I realized there was no "Jerrod" per se and that was a big step for my (how ironic) practice. I am sure that this book is printed in many many languages. I have it printed in English and think it could help you along your path. Pick up a copy, or, if you'd like the one I have I would be happy to send it to you.

          With metta,
          The 5 aggreagates known as Jerrod LOL : )

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you Ajahn Brahmali, I found this very helpful indeed.
            Metta
            Rachel.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello Bhante. I understand how our views of our "self" are just a perception. Was wondering... Are we then just consciousness?
              Blessings.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jerrod Lopes View Post
                Indira,
                I read a book once entitled: "How to See Yourself as You Really Are" by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
                I admit I still have questions about non-self and have come to see the difference between no-self and non-self, a discernment that the Buddha himself made I believe. While I still have questions, one of the more "enlightening" moments I have had in my practice was contemplating what I had read in this book while driving home from work one night. I am sure I posted about it in the old forums. I realized there was no "Jerrod" per se and that was a big step for my (how ironic) practice. I am sure that this book is printed in many many languages. I have it printed in English and think it could help you along your path. Pick up a copy, or, if you'd like the one I have I would be happy to send it to you.

                With metta,
                The 5 aggreagates known as Jerrod LOL : )
                Thank you Jerrod. I was off the computer spending a lovely time in the hills of Sri Lanka at a meditation retreat conducted by Ajahn Brahm.

                I have a friend who have had the same experience... while she was doing walking meditation, for a moment she felt that there is "no one".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ajahn Brahmali View Post
                  Dear Indira,

                  For this reason, an intellectual understanding can never be enough, and only through profound insight can this truth (from a Buddhist point of view) be uncovered.

                  I hope this is helpful.

                  With metta,
                  Ajahn Brahmali
                  Many merits to you Ajahn for the reply. During the recently held retreat Ajahn Brahm wonderfully explained how we could get insights into non-self (when you emerge from Jhana). Still you need to experience it through yourself to know that Indira is only a "concept"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "It seems that physicists and psychologists sometimes make the assertion that there is no soul or self to be found, and that all we ever observe are ever-changing phenomena. Have they penetrated non-self?"

                    -- The physicists and psychologists have probably realized that there's no everlasting "soul", but they might not have realized (without understanding the Buddha's teachings) that their five aggregates are actually anatta, I suppose; then they take their body and mind activities as self.

                    Metta to all,

                    Yuan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dear Melissa,

                      I seem to have missed your post until now; sorry about that.

                      We are no more consciousness than we are any of the other aspects of mind or body. Consciousness, when seen for what it really is, is an ever-changing stream. What we are is a continuously changing process. What we are not is some sort of permanent entity.

                      With metta.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ajahn Brahmali View Post
                        We are no more consciousness than we are any of the other aspects of mind or body. Consciousness, when seen for what it really is, is an ever-changing stream. What we are is a continuously changing process. What we are not is some sort of permanent entity.
                        Dear Ajahn Brahmali,

                        I wonder if you mean that the "continuously changing process" (the five aggregates) is actually anatta? I recently read the Khemaka Sutta [SN 22.89 http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 9-piya.pdf]. After reading this sutta, I understand more why the Buddha seemed to have changed his focus from the early teaching of anicca/dukkha/anatta (focused on anatta based upon logical inference as taught in his first sermon to his first five disciples) to the seemingly later focus on direct contemplation of anicca (e.g. also in Anapanassati sutta and etc.), to remain "the middle way".

                        As Ven. Khemaka explained in the Khemaka Sutta :

                        "I do not say ‘I am’ form, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from form.
                        I do not say ‘I am’ feelings, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from feelings.
                        I do not say ‘I am’ perception, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from perception.
                        I do not say ‘I am’ formations, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from formations.
                        I do not say ‘I am’ consciousness, nor do I say ‘I am’ apart from consciousness.

                        How can we interpret his statements and "the middle way"?

                        By the way, thanks a lot for taking so much time to help our Dhamma practice, despite being so busy. I greatly appreciate your kindness and generosity.

                        Metta to all,

                        Yuan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dear Yuan,

                          I wonder if you mean that the "continuously changing process" (the five aggregates) is actually anatta?
                          Yes, it is anattā, but please keep in mind that anattā simply means a lack of a permanent entity.

                          ... the Buddha seemed to have changed his focus from the early teaching of anicca/dukkha/anatta (focused on anatta based upon logical inference as taught in his first sermon to his first five disciples) ...
                          There may be an element of "logical inference", but it is based on direct experience. The purpose of this focus on anattā is just to lead others to the same direct experience.

                          ... to the seemingly later focus on direct contemplation of anicca (e.g. also in Anapanassati sutta and etc.), to remain "the middle way".
                          I don't think the teaching of anattā, when properly understood, can be said to deviate from the middle way. Just remember that anattā only concerns the absence of anything permanent. The problem is that whether we want to or not, we do take some aspect of the khandhas as permanent. We are not even aware that we are doing this, and this is a big part of the problem. You may think that you fully agree with the Buddha that all aspects of personality are impermanent, but you are still deluded in your understanding of yourself.

                          How can we interpret his statements and "the middle way"?
                          The Khemaka Sutta, too, is simply a denial that there is a permanent self. In other words, there is no "I am" within or apart from the five khandhas, in the sense that nothing permanent can be found.

                          With metta.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ajahn Brahmali View Post
                            Dear Melissa,

                            I seem to have missed your post until now; sorry about that.

                            We are no more consciousness than we are any of the other aspects of mind or body. Consciousness, when seen for what it really is, is an ever-changing stream. What we are is a continuously changing process. What we are not is some sort of permanent entity.

                            With metta.


                            Thank you Ajahn Brahmali

                            Now I have a better understanding!
                            Blessings
                            Melissa Hayes.

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X

                            Debug Information