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Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 9:53 AM
What if one doesn't belief no matter what in no self? and beliefs there to be a self....

Will that person make any progress to 1st path to 4th path?

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 10:26 AM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
What if one doesn't belief no matter what in no self? and beliefs there to be a self....

Will that person make any progress to 1st path to 4th path?

What if one where to drop all beliefs, even for a moment?  What is left?

Psi

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 10:29 AM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
I think it's not a matter of believing or disbelieving. Belief will get you nowhere, I think the whole point of these practices is to experience truth yourself, so you don't have to belief but just Know.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 10:42 AM as a reply to Michał G..
Michał G.:
I think it's not a matter of believing or disbelieving. Belief will get you nowhere, I think the whole point of these practices is to experience truth yourself, so you don't have to belief but just Know.


That I get, but then again there are many advanced yogis out there with their own claims of attainment, but in regards of a self... and know there to be a self from their experience... but buddhism wants you to see there is no self, and when you see that there is no self, you progress, but those who practice and see a self, I guess they have their own claims of attainments as well

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 12:09 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
Michał G.:
I think it's not a matter of believing or disbelieving. Belief will get you nowhere, I think the whole point of these practices is to experience truth yourself, so you don't have to belief but just Know.


That I get, but then again there are many advanced yogis out there with their own claims of attainment, but in regards of a self... and know there to be a self from their experience... but buddhism wants you to see there is no self, and when you see that there is no self, you progress, but those who practice and see a self, I guess they have their own claims of attainments as well

I've been thinking about exactly same thing recently, so I am curious what others have to say. I understand it this way; there is this fundamental, ultimate 'something'/source of manifested (self?) but it is nothing understandable by speculation, logic or expressible by language and it is inconceivable unless experienced (thus, no self?). I've read that Buddha would not answer such questions and remain quiet. Maybe the reason he taught no-self is that you cannot create attachment to no-self but it is quite easy to create attachment to the idea of ever present self.

But I am just a blind mind playing with words about light and colors. By the way, play with this idea of no-self, what if there is absolutely nothing permament about your self? And how would this impact you if you dropped this belief of some permanent part of you?

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 12:14 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
lots of other traditions have advanced meditators , adepts and describe similar stages and attainments without having to lean on the "annata" principle.

the upanishads say that atman is as big as a thumb.  the christians posit a soul. you can put none of these things in your pocket but they are conventionally thought of and talked about as if they are things.  once one is far enough along to really get it, the language and concepts tend to fall apart before the need to describe them does.

dependent origination was an original contribution of gotama, as far as i understand it, and serves people who study these things a little better than the other theories.  i think that's because it points to a no-thing instead of a process which is a step further along on the chain of description than most dogmas go.  this satisfies we dharma bums and our logical fascinations but i think it would be a tough sell to theresa de avila etc.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 1:31 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
What if one doesn't belief no matter what in no self? and beliefs there to be a self....

Will that person make any progress to 1st path to 4th path?

My experience is that conceptual thought of this kind helped me cycle up and down the first three nanas for years, before I even knew about them.  But I didn't bust past the a&p until after some serious meditation.  My suspicion is that this type of pattern would have followed for the between 4 and 11, as well as within mid 11, before SE.  

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
11/30/15 6:56 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
What if one doesn't belief no matter what in no self? and beliefs there to be a self....

Will that person make any progress to 1st path to 4th path?
In the ebt's (early buddhist texts) you find no such belief required. What you find is a well reasoned and quite pragmatic argument for regarding phenomena as not self in order to distance oneself from the ups and downs inherent with clinging to such things as me or mine.

The notion of self that he uses refers to a self that is permanent and unchanging. Some tranlators I believe use the term soul to make this more clear. In any case he points out that these perceivable phenomena are all subject to change and beyond our control and so to treat them as if they were ours or us (unchanging) is stupid and just creates stress - Therefore, best to regard them as not self.

source: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.59
BTW, this sutta has been translated into many languages - just use the menu at top left and select 'languages' to see options.

The greater context of this teaching is that by treating these phenomena as not self trains the mind to step back and disengage from things and this process ultimately leads to liberation.

A more contemporary version of this teaching can be made using physicist tom campbell's description of physical reality as being like a computer simulation - he uses the example of the World of Warcraft. we experieince the world through our avatar but in reality the whole thing is just data - a simulation. we will never find the player of the game inside the game - nor can we find the server it is running on - these are outside the game and simply unimaginable. In order to break the trance of thinking we are our avatar, we need to regard our avatar and its world as not self.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/1/15 3:39 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
 source: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.59
BTW, this sutta has been translated into many languages - just use the menu at top left and select 'languages' to see options.

The greater context of this teaching is that by treating these phenomena as not self trains the mind to step back and disengage from things and this process ultimately leads to liberation.

A more contemporary version of this teaching can be made using physicist tom campbell's description of physical reality as being like a computer simulation - he uses the example of the World of Warcraft. we experieince the world through our avatar but in reality the whole thing is just data - a simulation. we will never find the player of the game inside the game - nor can we find the server it is running on - these are outside the game and simply unimaginable. In order to break the trance of thinking we are our avatar, we need to regard our avatar and its world as not self.

I love Buddha's work and Tom Campbell's work, but in the sutta given by you it is said by Buddha himself: "Consciousness is non self" and:
Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”—“Impermanent, venerable sir.”—“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?”—“Suffering, venerable sir.”—“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”—“No, venerable sir.”
So Buddha says consciousness is not permanent and to not identify with it, but Tom Campbell says that we are consciousness and 'the player' that we truly are is IUOC (Individuated unit of consciousness) and we never cease to be and incarnate in some shape or form (either in physical matter reality or non physical matter reality) because as a eternal part of the "system", why would we want to do that? Sit around and do nothing, when we can help others and helping others is helping yourself because all is interconnected.

I love Tom's work but from the books and videos I got this impression that he only practicec concentration and exploring Jhana like states, but he did not practice insight in any form. So I dunno. Just saying.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/1/15 5:07 AM as a reply to Michał G..
hi michal,
are you certain that the consiousness that the buddha is referencing is the same consiousness that tom is commenting on?  buddha famously berated different bikkus for positing a discreet conciousness that wanders from life to life but he does mention past lives.  he uses consiousness in the framework of the six senses as the bare knowing quality of the sense spheres.  so are these the same things (or non-things)?  which one is tom talking about?

when one experiences "other realms" who is it that is experienceing these realms or is the who part of the question relevant at all?

shinzen young, in his "science of enlightenment" series, talks about going deep and going wide, with going wide meaning exploring the many realms available while in jhanic states while going deep is a reference to a beeline to enlightenment.  the going wide, in his presentation is seen largely as a distraction if not an outright trap.  fascinating creatures, realms and beings of all types leading one nowhere.  there are lots of other cosmological treatments of the "between lives" hangout spaces such as described by dr. brian weiss and such new agey stuff. 

for my money the knowlege gained through wisdom / insight practices is really valuable whereas the other branch is open to lots of distractive wheel spinning.  just my thoughts though.

tom

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/1/15 2:17 PM as a reply to Michał G..
Michał G.:

I love Buddha's work and Tom Campbell's work, but in the sutta given by you it is said by Buddha himself: "Consciousness is non self" and:
Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”—“Impermanent, venerable sir.”—“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?”—“Suffering, venerable sir.”—“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”—“No, venerable sir.”
So Buddha says consciousness is not permanent and to not identify with it, but Tom Campbell says that we are consciousness and 'the player' that we truly are is IUOC (Individuated unit of consciousness) and we never cease to be and incarnate in some shape or form (either in physical matter reality or non physical matter reality) because as a eternal part of the "system", why would we want to do that? Sit around and do nothing, when we can help others and helping others is helping yourself because all is interconnected.

As Tom M. points out, the same term can be used to describe different things - so you have to seek out more detailed descriptions.

In the sutta I mentioned, the term consciousness is what is sometimes called 'established consciousness' - it is consciousness bound-up with some phenomena. One typically sees this as described as eye-consciousness, or ear-consciousness, etc - that is, consciousness, a sense organ, and an object all glued together by grasping - which is not how we usually think of consciousness now days. The same not self teaching is presented in different places from different angles which allows you to see more clearly what is being talked about.

For example (this is from SN 22.54):
Consciousness, ... while standing, might stand engaged with form; based upon form, established upon form, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion (similarly with feelings, perceptions, and volitional formations)

Consciousness, as a source of stress is always presented as being bound-up with one of these phenomena - so this again is 'established consciousness':

though someone might say: ‘Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from volitional formations, I will make known the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and rebirth, its growth, increase, and expansion’—that is impossible.

He is speaking here of a consciousness that comes and goes - in other words, it can change on you at any time and therefore should be treated as not self (which ties things back to the first sutta I mentioned).

Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has abandoned lust for the form element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. (similarly with feelings, perceptions, and volitional formations)

When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains Nibbāna.

Unestablished consciousness is the consciousness of the arahat - without it they would be like rocks. Various teachers use a variety of terms to describe these two types of consciousness. Adyashanti I believe uses consciousness (for established consciousness) and awareness (for unestablished consciousness).

Belief in a self or no self does not enter into the picture. As for Tom Campbell, I don't know if he is awakened or not but his analogy of the avatar in a simulation I thought was a good contemporary not self approach. Once you put consciousness (and here I am using the word in a very general sense) at the center (instead of physical reality) you have kind of a Copernican revolution that allows us to start exploring reality and consciousness in a new way -  peeling away layers of superfluous identity - perhaps Tom Campbell has more layers to peel away maybe not (he may be referring to unestablished consciousness).

Another contemporary not self teaching is Ajahn Chah's 'not sure' approach: No matter how sure the mind wants to be, just tell it, ''Not sure!'' Whenever the mind wants to grab on to something as a sure thing, just say, ''It's not sure, it's transient.''


RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/9/15 8:00 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:

A more contemporary version of this teaching can be made using physicist tom campbell's description of physical reality as being like a computer simulation - he uses the example of the World of Warcraft. we experieince the world through our avatar but in reality the whole thing is just data - a simulation. we will never find the player of the game inside the game - nor can we find the server it is running on - these are outside the game and simply unimaginable. In order to break the trance of thinking we are our avatar, we need to regard our avatar and its world as not self.


This is basically how I tend to think of it, at least for now.  I also do not believe in a permanent unchanging self.  Doesn't seem likely that there is something that NEVER changes, all things seem to change, evolve, etc. 
-Eva

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/9/15 8:05 PM as a reply to Michał G..
Michał G.:


I love Buddha's work and Tom Campbell's work, but in the sutta given by you it is said by Buddha himself: "Consciousness is non self" and:
There was another link a while back on a diff thread that had a number of quotes that Gautama seemed to flip flop a bit and that quotes could be pulled from him to support either view and that when pressed, he refused to say either way. There were also many quotes from Gautama where he said one should not get attached to either side or think about it too much.  Seems like both devotees of 'self' idea and devotees of 'not self' idea are both going against Gautama's recommendations.  ;-P
-Eva

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/9/15 8:58 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
Paweł K:
Belief in self is like belief in Santa. All grown up know it is not real (and really creepy!!!) but children still cling to the idea and find it fun.


This analogy would work better if people woke up and saw Santa (or what they believed was Santa) staring them in the face every morning, afternoon and night.   Comparing a child's fairy tale to perhaps one of the most difficult insights to obtain in this life may be a bit unfair to those who have yet to reach this insight.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/10/15 1:29 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:


This is basically how I tend to think of it, at least for now.  I also do not believe in a permanent unchanging self.  Doesn't seem likely that there is something that NEVER changes, all things seem to change, evolve, etc. 
-Eva
It seems that way. On the other hand, if something doesn't change can we be aware of it? And then there is awareness itself – something we are all aware of and yet something quite mysterious and unfathomable – it's not a thing in the sense of being perceivable and yet obviously I am aware. Can the knower ever know the knower? If there is a pure or true self how could it ever be aware of itself such that it can proclaim I do or do not exist? I think at that point we are at the end of the line– awareness can never know itself nor can it know a greater context in which it arises (if there is one) such that it can define itself as self or no self. To label something that is inherently unknowable seems questionable but then we also throw around terms like consciousness and god which are also a bit slippery.

There is also the sense of continuity – even Buddha knew what his name was from one day to the next or knew what he did the day before. If there are just sensations then what is the glue that holds them all together? It can't be a sensation because then what holds that together?

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/10/15 2:22 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:

There is also the sense of continuity – even Buddha knew what his name was from one day to the next or knew what he did the day before. If there are just sensations then what is the glue that holds them all together? It can't be a sensation because then what holds that together?

Isn't it the memories stored in the brain that allow us to string everything together, and put it into in context? I think of it the same way as a battery backup ROM.  As long as we have food for the brain (sugar, oxygen...), this state information stays around.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/10/15 8:28 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
What if one doesn't belief no matter what in no self? and beliefs there to be a self....

Will that person make any progress to 1st path to 4th path?
(I got to SE almost 5 years ago through noting practice and have been somewhat lazy since.)

Technically belief is not required. However, in order to get through the DN, I personally (and I don't believe I'm a huge exception) needed to trust that the Dhamma was true and that I was doing the practice correctly. While meditators who speak of the truth in terms of a self that exists may be just as close to the truth as those who speak of non-self, it is probably not helpful pre-SE to listen to everyone and try to either find the 'common denominator' in what they all say or (worse yet) pick and choose portions of their doctrines and piece them together to create your own customized version of what ultimate reality 'should' be like and then (consciously or subconsciously) try to force yourself to see confirmation of what sounded good in theory.

I remember back when my friend got what he called second path, he talked a lot about how "true self" and "no self" are really the same thing. I believe what he was referring to was (something akin to) the fundamental nature of reality that makes it so that the only way to ever experience anything is change. The existence of "things that do things" is something that our mind infers from ultimate reality. When a sensation of warmth exists and then disappears, the only thing that has truly happened is a change. You could say warmth existed and then ceased to exist, or you could say no coldness existed, but then coldness started to exist. In that sense, everything is the same as nothing, and true self is the same as no self. Neither the warmth nor the cold are solid entities. They are words we use to talk about the specific nature or quality of a part of the fluid process that is experience. In the same way neither the self nor the idea of nonself are ultimately real entities. They are words used to describe a universal quality of all existence/experience (if I understand them correctly).

What does self mean to me, and what does no-self mean to me? Growing up I believed that I (the self) was a body and part of the body could do something cool which we call mental activity. I realized how unsatisfactory the body was, so I focused more and more on the mind and started identifying with the mind more than the body. Then I started meditating. Suddenly I realized that thoughts are just like physical sense impressions, clearly not my true, innermost self. The true innermost self was the consciousness which made experience possible, "the knower" on the inside. I wondered what that knower really was. Eventually I realized the knower was a part of the natural world, the same as the outside. The distinction between the outside and the inside collapsed. There is nothing special about the knower. It's just like the known, a collection of events in causal relationships with other events. The realization that a special attribute or quality of the knower that seemed to make it "myself" (as opposed to all the "external" parts of the world) simply does not exist in reality, that is what nonself means to me.

Thank you for this question and giving me the opportunity to make myself feel good by hearing myself talk about something in which most people have no interest.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/15/15 1:46 PM as a reply to C P M.
C P M:
Chuck Kasmire:

There is also the sense of continuity – even Buddha knew what his name was from one day to the next or knew what he did the day before. If there are just sensations then what is the glue that holds them all together? It can't be a sensation because then what holds that together?

Isn't it the memories stored in the brain that allow us to string everything together, and put it into in context? I think of it the same way as a battery backup ROM.  As long as we have food for the brain (sugar, oxygen...), this state information stays around.

I don't know.

But that is another view, right? Taking experience and trying to label it and put it in a box. I am just saying that there is this experience - it's easy to point to. We don't need to put things in boxes - and doing so is like putting on blinders. This whole 'no self' teaching that has swept up modern Buddhism turns the original teaching on its head. What was a technique for releasing our tight hold on phenomena (including views) has morphed into yet another tightly held view that is almost required to be a good Buddhist.

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/15/15 4:51 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
This whole 'no self' teaching that has swept up modern Buddhism turns the original teaching on its head.

Amen! It's a subversion that got grafted onto and accepted into western buddhist folklore at some point, probably because someone was confused about nomenclature and used the term "no self" instead of "not self", thereby turning everything upside down.

Maybe it's up to us, now, to fix this error and explain the difference.

emoticon


RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/15/15 8:34 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Chuck Kasmire:

Taking experience and trying to label it and put it in a box. I am just saying that there is this experience - it's easy to point to. We don't need to put things in boxes - and doing so is like putting on blinders.
Not sure if it is likely that many can function without any boxes at all, but maybe likely that we can become increasingly aware of the boxes we are using and cling to them less and less over time.  Probably it's another one of those peeling the onion type processes..
-Eva

RE: Belief in No Self
Answer
12/18/15 4:59 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Chuck Kasmire:

Taking experience and trying to label it and put it in a box. I am just saying that there is this experience - it's easy to point to. We don't need to put things in boxes - and doing so is like putting on blinders.
Not sure if it is likely that many can function without any boxes at all, but maybe likely that we can become increasingly aware of the boxes we are using and cling to them less and less over time.  Probably it's another one of those peeling the onion type processes..
-Eva

Very much so I think. A peeling thing is not always an appealing thing...