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Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 6:07 AM
So, both actual freedom and Theravada (and advaita, and mahayana, and blahblahmanana) all seem to say the "self" is the cause of suffering - but none of them (the people practicing in their "camps") seem to think the others have truly eliminated the "self".  What's actually going on here?  Different levels of "self" remaining (maybe we're all actually onions)?  Obscure words used to define hard-to-describe concepts?  Maybe we all have 1000 "selves" to get rid of?

The suspicion I'm starting to develop is that if you just sit quietly for long periods of time, weird things happen to your brain that generally make you feel better.  No one can explain why this is, or what actually happens, so they develop wild theories to keep other people from thinking they've gone crazy (which they have, but in a good way, and you should try it too!)  Does this make me zen?  I think I must be zen, now...

P.s. Did "you" "guys" "enjoy" all the scare quotes in this post?  Did "you" note it, or ask who "it" "is", or "sit" and "watch" it "without judgment"?

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 10:47 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
So, both actual freedom and Theravada (and advaita, and mahayana, and blahblahmanana) all seem to say the "self" is the cause of suffering - [...]

Where did you get the idea that that is what the Theravada says? The Theravada says there is no self. So the problem is that you experience that there is a self in form, or a self in consciousness, etc., whereas in fact there isn't, and never was, and when you stop mistaking these things for self, then you are free.

In Actualism, there *is* a self, roughly broken up into the feeling-self with the ego-self on top of that, and after self-immolation there is no self (contrasted with previously in which there was), and then you are free.

Also the experience of actuality is that you are the actual body, or to be more specific the body being conscious, which I think would surely be regarded as delusory by any Theravadan since they would equate it to saying form is self or consciousness is self. Plus in actuality the world actually exists, and so do the things in it, and one can know this for sure - which is definitely regarded as delusory at least by Mahayana, if not also Theravada.

Further note that in Theravada, emotions are also not-self, there is no self in those emotions, so one can be free yet still experience emotions, albeit the experience of such will be different afterwards. Whereas in Actualism, 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me', and it is a delusion to consider emotions as not-me

So ya... different things. 

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 11:28 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman, you missed the scare quotes!

You pointed out the dogmatic differences, but how do you suppose these things are different in the experience of the phenomena?  Like, how could someone go from a not-self perspective in Theravada into the no-self of actual freedom?  It really just sounds like they found another layer.  It doesn't help for clarity if you compare mahayana stuff, like zen, to actual freedom practices.  They seem to be pointing to the same stuff - or am I just simplifying too much? (As if you could simplify zen...)

EDIT: I just noticed your name is the alphabet. ^^

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 6:51 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Beoman, you missed the scare quotes!

You pointed out the dogmatic differences, but how do you suppose these things are different in the experience of the phenomena?


Well, with a Theravadan system one is noticing that everything, including emotions, is not-self, not-me, so all those things end up seeming to happen on their own without a controller or something of the sort, and that is freedom. With actualism, I am noticing that my emotions *are* self, *are* me, and the freedom is when 'I' disappear (along with those emotions since they're the same thing) in a PCE. So you have two different experiences: whatever you'd call the Theravadan one (yes emotions, but they are perceived as not being you) on the one hand, and a PCE on the other.

Not Tao:
Like, how could someone go from a not-self perspective in Theravada into the no-self of actual freedom?


One would first realize that, as 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me' and one is currently experiencing those feelings as 'not-me', that one has conditioned oneself into experiencing life in a delusory manner. So one would first have to undo that conditioning, and then they'd go about putting the actualism method into practice, with the end result being actual freedom.

Not Tao:
It really just sounds like they found another layer.

They each perceive the other as delusory. I'm not sure how one could structure that into some sort of layer system and have it make sense.

Not Tao:
It doesn't help for clarity if you compare mahayana stuff, like zen, to actual freedom practices.  They seem to be pointing to the same stuff - or am I just simplifying too much? (As if you could simplify zen...)

I don't know, I just know that I hear about objects being empty of inherent existence mostly in the context of Mahayana vs. Theravada.

Not Tao:
EDIT: I just noticed your name is the alphabet. ^^

=D.

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 6:53 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Paweł K:
but does it really matter if 'self' actually exist or is only delusion? it is still main issue in both Theverada and AF! Like you say differently defined but does it really change anything?

... Yes. But I doubt that you will come to see it any other way.

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/10/14 11:02 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


Well, with a Theravadan system one is noticing that everything, including emotions, is not-self, not-me, so all those things end up seeming to happen on their own without a controller or something of the sort, and that is freedom. With actualism, I am noticing that my emotions *are* self, *are* me, and the freedom is when 'I' disappear (along with those emotions since they're the same thing) in a PCE. So you have two different experiences: whatever you'd call the Theravadan one (yes emotions, but they are perceived as not being you) on the one hand, and a PCE on the other.

Not Tao:
Like, how could someone go from a not-self perspective in Theravada into the no-self of actual freedom?


One would first realize that, as 'I' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me' and one is currently experiencing those feelings as 'not-me', that one has conditioned oneself into experiencing life in a delusory manner. So one would first have to undo that conditioning, and then they'd go about putting the actualism method into practice, with the end result being actual freedom.



Setting aside any thoughts about Buddhist doctrine, I am unclear how 'my' feelings can be 'me.' I may have "conditioned oneself into experiencing life in a delusory manner" but it seems clear to me that I have no control over my feelings, that they come and go randomly, don't last, that I observe them and thus they can't be me. Are these perceptions inaccurate or misleading, or am I interpreting them correctly? Do you or others who practice actualism not share them? How does one experience or perceive one's feelings to be oneself?

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/11/14 5:55 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
No-self and self does not exist without eachother. If there would be only no-self or self there wouldn't be possible such dilemma.

Meditate on stillness because within stillness there is movement. If enough of this movement is cultivated then you can separate pure energies from the dust and let go of the dust.

At some point we don't look at the hookers, then one night relationships not enough, then regular marriage is not enough, whats the point of building a family?
or
losing money, losing a car or a house, any breakup or divorce, losing people.
or 
university, no point achieveing high paid job, any job is enough, having no job is even better.

with self
lost, i am alive, more alive, i can get even more me, i can make decisions...


RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/11/14 11:47 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Setting aside any thoughts about Buddhist doctrine, I am unclear how 'my' feelings can be 'me.' I may have "conditioned oneself into experiencing life in a delusory manner" but it seems clear to me that [...]

Let's take a look!

J C:
I have no control over my feelings [...]

While feelings can certainly have a powerful momentum of their own, I have noticed that I do indeed have some influence over them. Sometimes I can't help getting upset or angry. But other times, I notice ok, I am being angry right now, this is human anger, this is not enjoyable nor helpful, any thinking I have will be clouded by this anger, so best to stop fueling "it"... and I manage to calm down. Or I take an easier approach and take a break to separate myself from the trigger, after which I calm down more easily, and then I can reflect on it and prevent it from going so far next time. So 'I' certainly have some control over 'my' feelings. If you find you have no control over your feelings you might want to do something about it.

J C:
[...] that they come and go randomly [...]

I don't know about randomly. There are usually really obvious triggers. Sometimes there are non-obvious triggers but that's what the investigation aspect is for. If you find you have no idea why your feelings come and go, you might want to investigate what triggers them. And I don't mean in a dependent-origination approach where this sensation triggered that sensation because of a) aversion or b) craving. That is not going to really help at all. I mean in a way which acknowledges that you are feeling emotions and that emotions aren't just a cluster of sensory inputs, e.g. 'I' am being angry right now, what is the anger about? What are the angry thoughts about? Why am 'I' invested in this anger? etc.

J C:
[...] don't last [...]

They don't, thankfully, that's true. 'I' don't last either, though.

J C:
[...] that I observe them and thus they can't be me.

This is a belief which you accepted at some point along your spiritual path. I know when I first heard this it made no sense, but eventually after a lot of meditating I found it to be true. However it is just a belief, not a fact. You can be conscious of being conscious. Thus you are simultaneously being conscious, while also being aware that you are conscious. That consciousness you are conscious of is indeed you, either the affective 'you' with regular consciousness, or the actual you in a PCE. This actual you part is intricately linked to the fact that you do actually exist, despite all the conditioning you've been doing to convince yourself otherwise. That you exist means you must die at some point, which nobody wants to really consider.

J C:
Do you or others who practice actualism not share them?

I'll speak only for myself but I am confident other actualists would have similar enough answers.

J C:
How does one experience or perceive one's feelings to be oneself?

It is a bit weird. Normally 'I' am dissociated anyway since 'I' think that 'I' *have* feelings, not that 'I' *am* those feelings. I'm not really sure how to answer this except that when there is a strong emotion 'I' consider the notion that 'I' am (or at least part of 'me' is) that feeling, as opposed to the feeling being something other than 'me', and I reflect on that. It helps bring insight and understanding into that particular part of 'me'.

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
5/11/14 5:29 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.

J C:
How does one experience or perceive one's feelings to be oneself?

It is a bit weird. Normally 'I' am dissociated anyway since 'I' think that 'I' *have* feelings, not that 'I' *am* those feelings. I'm not really sure how to answer this except that when there is a strong emotion 'I' consider the notion that 'I' am (or at least part of 'me' is) that feeling, as opposed to the feeling being something other than 'me', and I reflect on that. It helps bring insight and understanding into that particular part of 'me'.


This is where Vajrayana has helped me along with Goenka Vipassana practice of watching sensations. I can see the basic instincts in action when there is some change in sensation in some part of the body because of Goenka Vipassana and I can find out the cause of it because of Vajrayana.

Both make up for a very potent combination to which no other practice including Actualism can compare to.

RE: Enlightenmnet Self vs. AF Self
Answer
6/5/14 9:16 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
So, both actual freedom and Theravada (and advaita, and mahayana, and blahblahmanana) all seem to say the "self" is the cause of suffering - but none of them (the people practicing in their "camps") seem to think the others have truly eliminated the "self".  What's actually going on here?  Different levels of "self" remaining (maybe we're all actually onions)?  Obscure words used to define hard-to-describe concepts?  Maybe we all have 1000 "selves" to get rid of?

Reality is just a field of sensations unfolding.  If "I" look at a chair, it is easier to say "Hey, I'm looking at a chair," but in reality it's just a bunch of visual sensations that imply "eyes" and "chair."  I'm not sure if this makes sense to you.  This field of sensations has no center point, no Watcher, no Agent or anything like that, so there is no self that can possibly suffer.  But for some reason, people mistakenly solidify certain sensations into a separate, suffering "Self" or "Soul."  This is not actually true, it is an illusion.  But it occurs on a deep level and is quite convincing until one has attained the higher paths of enlightenment.  In this illusion, there is now an external world "out there" and a self "right here."  This illusion is the fundamental cause of suffering.  At the arahat level, this illusion is completely unraveled and reality is what it is: a dancing, flickering display of emptiness in which there can be no suffering.  Attain to EQ and you will get a peek at what this is like.
The suspicion I'm starting to develop is that if you just sit quietly for long periods of time, weird things happen to your brain that generally make you feel better.  No one can explain why this is, or what actually happens, so they develop wild theories to keep other people from thinking they've gone crazy (which they have, but in a good way, and you should try it too!)  Does this make me zen?  I think I must be zen, now...

Well, the brain certainly mediates consciousness, but the problem with a lot of Westerners is that they assume that the brain *generates* consciousness.  Please bear in mind that the brain is not a fundamental thing, there are only sensations that imply "brain."  It would be more accurate to say that consciousness generates the brain, but I digress.  Attain to fourth jhana and investigate the powers if you need confirmation that there are fields of consciousness far beyond the brain.

As for AF, I think I have made my position clear in the past.  Tagging Paths has an enormous positive effect on one's emotional state.  Negative emotions are more easily let go and replaced by positive ones such as lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.  AF aims to get rid of all of this for reasons that I cannot quite comprehend. 

If anyone is struggling with their emotions, I highly recommend practicing the sublime abodes.  There's also this thing called pyschotherapy.  It's been around much longer than AF and seems to have a better track record.