Degrees of self?

This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 12:39 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 12:39 AM

Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
If a person is slighted (ie. insulted, abused, whatever). He feels "2 inches tall". He feels like he is "nothing". Is his self lessened by this process?

If a person is praised or attended to, and feels "ten feet tall and bullet proof", has his sense of self been increased in the process?

Or is it that the degree of self remains the same, just that one situation is pleasurable and the other isn't?
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 6:42 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 6:42 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for all the replies.

Next question i had was this:

Does being in love increase the sense of self or diminish it?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago at 6/20/13 9:56 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/20/13 9:56 AM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
C C C:
Thanks for all the replies.

Haha that one made me chuckle =).
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago at 6/20/13 8:14 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/20/13 8:14 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
CCC, may I ask what your current views on practice and enlightenment are? Or what your practice(s) are? I'm curios to know where you're coming from, what experiences you've had, and what draws you to this community. I remember reading that you were getting some sort of problem when trying to do meditation, vipassana maybe?
Adam , modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:12 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:12 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I would say that the 'degree of self' remains the same. It seems more a matter of how caught up you are in defining yourself rather than the particular way you are defining yourself.

As for being in love, I don't know really, I guess it depends on the way you are loving in any moment. Friendliness and caring seem to diminish how concrete your self-definition is, whereas other things that fall under the category of being in love probably give you more fuel for defining who you are.
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:20 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:20 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Adam. I think these are very important questions. Would like to hear from others.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:28 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 7:28 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 1652 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I agree with the "caught" up part or clinging. I would add that how long you obsess over past situations (because all situations eventually become past ones) is the key. If you can compare how much less time you obsess over these events as you get older should be a sign of progress.
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 10:32 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/19/13 10:32 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Well, you could feel good or bad about current events in the world, but those feelings don't say anything about the "self", they're just feelings that arise. You could get hit hard on the head, unenlightened, and say, damn, that hurt a lot, or you could get hit hard on the head, enlightened, and say, damn, that still hurt a lot! There are sensations of pain and pleasure that come and go, but there isn't any place for those things to stick. There isn't any ego to build, not saying that everyone is enlightened, but the whole point is that there never was a self, only thoughts about self that go unchallenged, so we believe them. But thoughts are not being experienced by any entity, they're just arising and vanishing on their own. We might believe all, or none, of our thoughts, but in any case, they arise and pass, caused by another thing that also arises and passes.

So, my answer is like Adam's... your sense of self is entirely dependent on how much you believe the thoughts and feelings that come. You have 5 senses and thoughts/feelings going constantly, that's enough stuff to build a convincing sense of self at any time, it's just a matter of doing enough practice in watching the field of awareness so the point comes when you clearly see that there isn't any self or point of reference in the whole field, and bam, suddenly there is a permanent shift where you automatically don't believe in the content of experience, don't believe it to be a self separate from the field. My argument against your idea of "you are already enlightened so practice is pointless" is this... the self has never existed and never will, so it's true that there's no ego to remove, but there is definitely a constant tendency (a background process) of inferring a self from the senses and believing stories related to that self, and that tendency is so terribly annoying, useless, no fun, and masochistic. The point of going through practice is so you can see the truth clearly enough that you permanently stop the process from happening. You might have some luck with temporarily subduing the things within yourself that seem unskillful or useless or whatever, but actually attaining to 1st path and above makes a permanent change to the process (the point of the fetter model, that you actually stop tendencies from even being able to arise). Forgive me if your views have since changed and I'm getting you wrong on your view.

Who knows who made this sandcastle? Who knows, but we can see it's true essence is just sand, and stop worrying when the waves come and knock them down. Then some forces come and say, hey, this could be a sandcastle, and turns the sand into a sandcastle. Then it inevitably gets knocked down by the waves. The point is to stop building and maintaining castles in the sand and let forms, pleasant or unpleasant, appear and disappear. Sandcastles are just sand, no matter how you feel about them, and the "ego" is just the tendency to believe in a sandcastle separate from sand, caring to shape and preserve the sandcastles of life, even though they're constantly arising and passing away into sand. It's painful when we invest in a sandcastle and it gets washed away (suffering arising from lack of comprehension of no-self and impermanence). But then, after you see sand for what it is, you're free to experience the limitless possibilities of sandcastle crafting, always aware that all is just sand (impermanence, not-self), without any one sandcastle of reference that you feel you need to build or maintain.

(Sandcastle-builder, you have been seen, this sandcastle shall never be rebuilt!) ;)
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Ian And, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 11:13 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/20/13 12:27 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
My lord, C C C. All these interminable questions. By asking such questions, you are no different than the majority who come here wanting the world handed to them on a golden platter without having done any of the work.

When are you going to stop asking silly questions and start looking inside? Or are you afraid of what you might find there?

C C C:
If a person is slighted (ie. insulted, abused, whatever). He feels "2 inches tall". He feels like he is "nothing". Is his self lessened by this process?

For instance, notice how you have worded the third sentence here. Why don't you try investigating the arising of vedana within yourself (this "feeling like he is nothing") and see if you can find an answer there? Must everyone else do the work for you!

Also, you might try contemplating any of the following:

A wise man once spoke:

"Be like a mirror. Allow no evil to pass through you. Reflect it back to its source."

"Be like still water: you look into it and see yourself."

"The heart of a wise man is tranquil and still. Thus it is the mirror of heaven and earth."

"Bind yourself to nothing. Seek harmony with all. Then you will be truly free."

"A man who knows how to live has no place for death to enter."

This last might be altered to the following with regard to the question asked:

"A man who knows himself and how to live has no place for his ego to enter."

Try contemplating that sometime and see what you come up with.

C C C:

If a person is praised or attended to, and feels "ten feet tall and bullet proof", has his sense of self been increased in the process?

Or is it that the degree of self remains the same, . . .

Do you know why you received no answers to these questions?

No? Not even a clue?

Well, then, I'll spell it out for you.

No one but oneself knows the answers to these questions. To ask them of others is to denigrate oneself, and to display for the whole world to see one's inherent shortcoming: one's own ignorance!

Even Mind Over Matter has this figured out, and he is your junior in terms of practice and chronological age. Are you going to let him get away with that! He explained it exquisitely in the following passage:

"There isn't any ego to build, not saying that everyone is enlightened, but the whole point is that there never was a self, only thoughts about self that go unchallenged, so we believe them. But thoughts are not being experienced by any entity, they're just arising and vanishing on their own. We might believe all, or none, of our thoughts, but in any case, they arise and pass, caused by another thing that also arises and passes."
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Sweet Nothing, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 1:54 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 1:44 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 164 Join Date: 4/21/13 Recent Posts
C C C:
If a person is slighted (ie. insulted, abused, whatever). He feels "2 inches tall". He feels like he is "nothing". Is his self lessened by this process?

If a person is praised or attended to, and feels "ten feet tall and bullet proof", has his sense of self been increased in the process?

Or is it that the degree of self remains the same, just that one situation is pleasurable and the other isn't?


When slighted, It is the ego that feels like nothing because the ego gauges itself/self worth based on how other egos feel about it. Awareness is unchanging.

Again, vice versa. Indeed, one situation is pleasing/desirable and the other isn't.

Does being in love increase the sense of self or diminish it?


It depends on what kind of love you're referring to. Generally, it is the ego that falls in and falls out of love.
Very rarely does it happen that the two ego's fall in so deeply that they forget themselves, even if temporarily so.
If it is pure love, then the sense of self is definitely diminished. If it's driven by lust, then the sense of self (ego) is enhanced. It also multiplies the sankharas of lust which ultimately piles more stuff to deal with.
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 9:21 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 9:21 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
-- Ian, why that reply?

-- Thank you SN. Feels true.

-- MOE, I remind myself that I literally cannot escape to any place better than *here and now*. I reign in the desire to be some place better (like enlightenment), and I reign in the urge to escape how things are now. And if the moment takes me, I do some self-enquiry.
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Mind over easy, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 11:49 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/22/13 11:49 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
C C C:

-- MOE, I remind myself that I literally cannot escape to any place better than *here and now*. I reign in the desire to be some place better (like enlightenment), and I reign in the urge to escape how things are now. And if the moment takes me, I do some self-enquiry.


Well, that's optimistic! emoticon

But... do you eat food you think is tasty? Do you save money? Have a 401k or retirement plan? Do you make friends and go see movies or use entertainment? Do you invest time into learning hobbies? You probably do tons of stuff to make the future better, to ensure you'll be more well off, or to do things that make you feel good in general. So... what is the difference between saying, "tonight, I'll get 9 hours of sleep so tomorrow I am well for the day's work" and "tonight, I'll get path so that tomorrow and many days after, I'll feel well off"? I suppose there is the possibility that you're always feeling great and you never have mental tendencies that cause you any stress, but I honestly doubt that, of almost everyone. But what's the difference between getting a good night's rest to ensure you feel at the max the next day, and attaining to path to ensure that some useless stuff the mind does is gone forever?
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/13 9:42 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/13 9:42 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:


But what's the difference between getting a good night's rest to ensure you feel at the max the next day, and attaining to path to ensure that some useless stuff the mind does is gone forever?


I do things to make the future better, but I call that action as opposed to mental striving. If I want a nice meal I perform a few small actions to make that happen, but I let go of the mental 'reaching'. Just action on its own; not a lot of actions, just a few small ones. If the few small actions are frustrated, I just let that happen. But by letting go of desire and just having the actions, things seem to flow.

Ian you sound like a confused and bitter old man. Dharma hasn't done much for you.
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Ian And, modified 8 Years ago at 6/26/13 4:20 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/26/13 4:20 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
@ C C C

You've just confirmed my hypothesis, thank you. Denial and delusion can be a deadly combination. Good luck with handling that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo
You Can't Handle the Truth

Sweet Nothing:
. . .but there's no need to be so harsh.


Harsh? I was treating him with kid gloves.

If you think that was harsh, you don't know what harsh is.

C C C:

Ian you sound like a confused and bitter old man. Dharma hasn't done much for you.


Considering that you've just confirmed that your perception is not to be trusted and comes into question, I consider this comment further confirmation of that fact. Thank you.

No, I just have a little problem with memory from time to time. Otherwise, my mind and perception are as sound, clear, and sharp as ever.

I use words to reach out over the Internet to grab people and shake them to their senses. Sometimes they respond when they recognize and own their truth, other times they don't when they're so far gone that only the delusion is real. That's just how it goes.

You can insult me all you want, but it won't change the fact of your condition and mental dis-ease, which you have just now confirmed for the whole forum. You really do need to seek some help. It is unfortunate, though, that with your current attitude of non self-reflection, it doesn't seem that you will ever escape your self deluded state. And that is sad, indeed.
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/26/13 9:06 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/26/13 8:45 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
edit:

Ian, I can't help thinking that your barrage of insults is a manoeuver to achieve some end. What are you trying to say? Was I harsh with you on some occasion? Did I say something to another member which you found offensive? If so, a direct approach would be better.
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Ian And, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/13 12:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/13 12:05 AM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
C C C:
-- Ian, why that reply?

The older I become, the less tolerant I am of people who cannot see what is staring them straight in the face. Sometimes the best way to handle that situation is to startle them into recognition.

Or:

There could be any one of many reasons. Take your pick:

Because it's the truth. Yet, you seem to deny it by asking questions. "No one but oneself knows the answers to these questions. To ask them of others is to denigrate oneself, and to display for the whole world to see one's inherent shortcoming: one's own ignorance!"

Hair of the dog. Can you really be that are clueless.

The best way to get a person to confront their ego is to attack it. Over, and over, and over, and over, again and again and again and again. Until they get it. Get it?

I don't recall off hand, but haven't you posted about doing drugs? If so, you might start looking there for answers as to why you aren't able to see things with insight. If your brain has been fried on drugs, there isn't much of anything that any of us can help you with. You've already chosen your path and lost.

In the latter instance, the best you can do is to stay off the drugs and meditate and hope that you can regain a semblance of the mind you used to have (or maybe wait till the next lifetime to pursue the Dhamma). If you've shorted out your instrument, you've just shot yourself in the foot. Game over.

If all the above is not part of the problem, then there's something you haven't told us about yourself that you're hiding or are ignorant of. If that's the case and you are unable to pin it down in order to convey it to us, then you are on your own. There's only so much that can be done to help a person using the Internet. And it seems you've about reached that limit. If that's the case, best to seek out professional help and proceed from there.
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Sweet Nothing, modified 8 Years ago at 6/24/13 2:14 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/24/13 2:14 AM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 164 Join Date: 4/21/13 Recent Posts
Ian And:

I don't recall off hand, but haven't you posted about doing drugs? If so, you might start looking there for answers as to why you aren't able to see things with insight. If your brain has been fried on drugs, there isn't much of anything that any of us can help you with. You've already chosen your path and lost.

In the latter instance, the best you can do is to stay off the drugs and meditate and hope that you can regain a semblance of the mind you used to have (or maybe wait till the next lifetime to pursue the Dhamma). If you've shorted out your instrument, you've just shot yourself in the foot. Game over.

If all the above is not part of the problem, then there's something you haven't told us about yourself that you're hiding or are ignorant of. If that's the case and you are unable to pin it down in order to convey it to us, then you are on your own. There's only so much that can be done to help a person using the Internet. And it seems you've about reached that limit. If that's the case, best to seek out professional help and proceed from there.


Hi Ian.

In my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, I feel that drugs present an illusion of insight and create deep rooted sankharas of craving. The mind always presents us with agreeable excuses to indulge in unwholesome acts we're not supposed to. At the time it seems right to the doer, and this is precisely what someone dealing with the issue needs to understand, in order to break free. All intoxicants/drugs/alcohol dull the mind and combine into unwholesome patterns that prevent us from reducing delusion, and sometimes it takes more than a lifetime to realize this.

From a book I read : A heart blown open, Denis Kelly was a heavy user/manufacturer of LSD and also used countless other drugs/pills including heroin. During the counterculture movement drugs were accepted as a tool to expand consciousness. At times he took over 100 times the normal dose of LSD in search for spiritual realization. After many years of his hippie lifestyle he realized that there's no substitute to sober insights that are gained from meditation. Overall he spent over 30 years in Zen to get to a relatively unconditioned state and today he's a Zen Roshi/Master.

I'm saying this because I feel that no matter how fried one's brain is, one always has the choice to do what needs to be done. The only drawback is that it will take much longer to eradicate the related sankharas, and the constant cravings will have to be overcome with insight. The question is whether one is willing to make that choice. Being sober might feel like shit in the beginning, but it's the only way forward. The best way is to sow the seeds of Dharma now, and nurture them to the best of one's ability. Waiting for next life is a huge gamble.

I find that lot of people have a lax attitude towards the no intoxicants precept but there's no need to be so harsh.
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Bailey , modified 8 Years ago at 6/27/13 6:21 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/27/13 6:21 PM

RE: Degrees of self?

Posts: 267 Join Date: 7/14/11 Recent Posts
CC knows this but for the rest, we have various levels of ego which allow us (our mind/body energetic system) to manipulate ourselves and the things around us to fulfill our needs. We have layers of ego which perform many different functions, all the way from analyzing a problem, to being able to move, to be monitor conversations to allow us to be funny.

As we go along the path we give up deeper and deeper levels of ego. Like going from a computer network, to a computer, to software, to hardware, to binary. This can be scary because we are literally giving up control. What allows us to do this is to see that no ego or control was required in the first place, to see that our mind/body system works perfect (and even better) entirely on its own.

I bring this up because we needed to quantify exactly what you meant by sense of self. To answer your question.. Idk, I'm sure it can go both ways.. but is there a general correlation, probably.

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