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Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization

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Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/15/09 4:35 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Dan Bartlett 7/15/09 9:04 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/15/09 9:23 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 7:39 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Jackson Wilshire 7/16/09 7:55 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Daniel M. Ingram 7/16/09 8:58 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/16/09 9:16 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 9:23 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 11:40 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/16/09 1:55 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 5:48 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 8:40 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/16/09 8:44 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/16/09 8:47 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/16/09 9:28 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/17/09 4:44 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Gozen M L 7/17/09 6:09 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 8:24 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Dan Bartlett 7/17/09 10:37 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 11:53 AM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Jackson Wilshire 7/17/09 12:19 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 12:24 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 3:27 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 4:49 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization triple think 7/17/09 8:51 PM
RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization Wet Paint 7/17/09 10:42 PM
Author: BradyE
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

What appeals to me about the practicing the Buddhist tradition is the prospect of self actualization, or self realization. This is what I take enlightenment to be.
However, what is potentially frightening, or otherwise dissuasive, is the pervasive idea within the Buddhist tradition that enlightenment in fact comes from self annihilation.

Anyone care to explain this contradiction?
If enlightenment is not self realization, then what is it?
Why would anyone want to embrace self annihilation, anyway?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/15/09 9:04 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi Brady,

Self-realisation is exciting isn't it?

I'm not sure where you heard that "enlightenment in fact comes from self annihilation." This isn't my understanding of Buddhism, and I don't think it's accurate at all.

If there were a self floating around to be annihilated, then duality would be "true" so to speak. But as Buddhism as many other spiritual traditions tell us, "reality" is non-dual - free from subject-object duality. It is just that we do not realise this. Enlightenment is the sudden or gradual realisation of things as they actually are, free from the illusions of separation and solidity.

So Buddhism talks about the *illusion* we hold, of having a separate fixed self, along with the separate fixed nature of anything. When we meditate we can approach this misperception conundrum in various ways. My favourite is through investigating the Three Characteristics of impermance, suffering and no-self. Investigation of these qualities systematically drowns out the illusions of solidity and separateness, gradually giving rise to realisation of things "as they are": enlightenment.

For more on the Three Charateristics, meditation and enlightenment see Daniel's free book available @ http://www.interactivebuddha.com/

Helpful?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/15/09 9:23 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

You can take this questions to all depths by applying a dual interpretation of non dual. In the simplist sense if someone realises a mirage was a mirage, did the water disappear?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 7:39 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: geraldt

Ajahn Brahm explains in his book "Mindfulness, bliss and beyond" that after his death, nothing remains of an arhant (parinibbana). Does it mean that the purpose of the path is to be annihilated?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 7:55 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi geraldt,

The cultural context of the Buddha's teaching of parinibbana would make it appear as quite comforting in his day. People (including the Buddha) generally believed that they were stuck in the round of birth and death, and that to be reborn over and over again was to remain in suffering. Cessation, then, is the ultimate freedom. It takes one out of the round of birth and death, which ends their suffering forever.

Whether we believe this mythology/meta-narrative now is a different question entirely. I don't think many of us are meditating in order to free ourselves from the round of birth and death. I imagine we all have our own, somewhat unique understanding of what the purpose of the path is. What's yours?

~Jackson

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 8:58 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
never was a self in the sense that the sensations are seen as they are, which is causal, transient, and self-manifest, so no problem, and the rest goes on largely as before

paranibbana is a paradox created by the false sense that there was a continuous, permanent entity in all this to begin with, which there wasn't ever, but the paradox is not real, as its premises are false

if a candle was used to light a second candle, and the first candle extinguished, what was transmitted? are they the same flame? no, so again, no problem, and you may proceed with the experiment if you wish without fear on that front

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 9:16 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Sure.

Get a bowl of water and a spoon. Set it down and stare at the still water. That is an analogy for the universe, such as it is.

Now stir the water around until it is swirling real good and then pull the spoon out.

That is your so called self, made up from cyclic being and becoming, such as it is.

For this reason, neither self actualization or self realization nor self annihilation is possible in anything but a superficial or illusory way. The actual options, such as they, are "yours" or rather, belong to that whirlpool of agitated universe stuff, such as it is. You can either add or subtract spin, of whatever sort for whatever reasons. As you will. Best to see as much of it as possible for what it is, that helps a lot with your choices in life.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 9:23 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

So, what I am getting out off all of this is that basically, I shouldn't worry about self at all, because I never really existed anyway. Am I right?

That's a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
Why do you think that is (a bitter pill to swallow)?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 11:40 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

My thinking is yes, the water disappeared (provided I had no nagging doubts about it being water in the first place). It's a matter of perspective, right? If I really believed it was water, then came to discover it to be a mirage, then from my perspective (and really, what else is there), the water disappeared.

Maybe this begs the question, "do I really think there is water"? Or, to break the metaphor, "do I really think there is a self"?
My answer is that, yes, clearly there is a self, it just doesn't understand its own scope. And yes, feelings, thoughts, and to use one of Daniel's favorite words, "sensations" arise and pass away, but the "me" that is perceiving all of this is always present.
So is there any water? My feeling is, of course there is water, and just because there are waves, and light reflections, and fishes that come and go, doesn't mean that the water isn't there.

Also, do you mind clarifying what you mean by, "You can take this questions to all depths by applying a dual interpretation of non dual"?

Cheers. emoticon

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 1:55 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
It's a matter of view point, or lack thereof. In Dharma/Dhamma terms, there is no locatable point that is stable and that is the rub. You can make up a 'self' at any time out of whatever, buttons, old bits of string, the feeling of ice cream rolling down your throat. If you stick with it, it comes and goes, the one exception being, in Dharma terms, nibbana. Parinibbana is being stuck on that, but there is just so much else going on these days!...

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 5:48 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

I'm still not convinced. I'm suspicious all of this is a case of, to borrow grandfather Siddhartha's analogy, building a raft to cross a stream, which will be of no use once the stream has been crossed.

You say I can make up a new "self" at any time, out of whatever. But that isn't self--it's just things, ideas, sensations.
Who is the one "making the self"?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 8:40 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: bboyYen

Actually I'm confused too. But I hear the the Buddha rejected the idea that "there is no self".

If you think about it, the idea "there is no self" makes absolutely no sense. I think the Buddha also equates a view of "no self" or non being with uccheda ditthi or annhilationist view or the view that you cease to exist after death.

The idea with the fetters of sakkaya ditthi, doubt, silabbata paramasa are (in my opinion). Mean this: it's not that you believe that no self exist, you just stop thinking about self in entirety.

Sort of like, the whole issue is just something not to be dealt with. So stop thinking about self. As soon as you stop thinking about self, doubt disappears, as the self issue would be a huge source of doubt. And with stopping thinking about self you stop grasping at precepts thinking "this precept is mine, I kept it, or, I made this vow" or whatever.

I don't know I'm confused, before I ranted that since you cannot identify a self in the five aggregates, you shouldn't say this is self, and this is not self (if you did not define it in the first place?). But then I realized to define it anyways you would need some kind of pre-existing notion.

So then I thought you just stop dealing or thinking about self all together. Kind of like what is said about it being a "thicket of views". And then I had another realization which I just forgot.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 8:44 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I suggest you look into it directly. Everything else is simply talk. I'm not a believer of other people, I've looked. The 'thing' that looks is another 'thing'. Simple as that.

As a sidebar, Daniel didn't set this place up with protracted philosophical arguments in mind. He intends for us to be discussing practical aspects of meditative practice. So try to wrap this up, ok?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 8:47 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
He rejected the question and all, yes all of the answers. Basically he said it was irrelevant, which it is, when you look into it. He spoke, at length about the conditions that emerge from other conditions (the Mahayana teachings on the other hand suggest that all the conditions emerge from non-conditionality which may be the case but this is, in any case, not particularly relevant so long as conditionality and thereby causality is in any sense efficacious), how they relate and how one condition is the cause for another or, in other words, about causality. He objectified the whole works. Thus, no subjective element, whatsoever.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/16/09 9:28 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

Look, I didn't think we were having an argument, per se, but...

regardless of Daniel's intentions, this site is fraught with philosophical debate.
Is it really so terrible that forum contain both things?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 4:44 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Well, if one has actually 'done the work' as Daniel, and for that matter most all of us here would suggest, there wouldn't be any need at all for 'what if' type banter, which this certainly appears to be. Personally, I think there is too much 'maybe talk' in Dharma bboards and in that sense this place is better than most. The questions you're asking sound like you have yet to do this work. I'm not arguing that this is what you'll find if you do the work, I know it's what you'll find. You may then go on to describe this or that about it a little differently. That isn't usually caused by anyone's desire for arguments, it's typically caused by this or that form of obscuring ignorance of this or that process on one persons or many peoples parts.

The term 'true self' has been coming up lately, here and there, and imho that isn't dharma and so it has caused some argumentation to break out, true, but we aren't 'arguing' about self in the conventional sense that people argue about themselves so probably that should be reviewed very carefully by everyone involved as opposed to becoming a subject of debate.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 6:09 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi BradyE,
I suggest that you follow what Nathan recommends.

There are many fine books about the Buddhist path, but unless you undertake the practices given by the Buddha, the meaning of those books remains shrouded. The Buddha Way is the way the Buddha practiced; he was no mere philosopher.

Have you spent time with a Buddhist teacher? Gone on retreat? Joined a sangha?

Please let us know. This group has many fine folks on it with a collective knowledge base that is truly remarkable.

Regards,
Gozen

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 8:24 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

Nope, I have done none of these things.

Is this kind "don't ask too many questions" attitude common in Buddhism?

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 10:37 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
There are thousands of books, articles and teachers around, as well as many deep and informative threads already available on the DhO. Questions are fine, but answers come through practice. This forum is primarily practice orientated, so when you've hit the cushion we'd be happy to assist you with any issues that arise.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 11:53 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

That's all well and good, but I'm not married to Buddhism quite yet, and I want to know what I'm getting to before I decide to immerse myself in the doctrine; I am as of now uninitiated, and I have some preliminary questions, which will hopefully help me decide if Buddhism, is right for me. I was unaware that having discussions about the theology of Buddhism was prohibited on this site, from threads that I have been reading it seemed otherwise.

For me, the whole point of prospectively embracing Buddhism is for self discovery--and I'm not willing to devote my time to a practice that insists that I don't even exist. That's anathema to my goals.

I'm sorry to burden you all with what perhaps seems to you as a tedious matter of philosophy, but for me it is crucial.

It's only after people have offered me answers and I've responded to those answers that I've been greeted with this "shut up and meditate" kind of response; it seems like because I haven't accepted the stock responses at face value, and pretended that they've made sense to me, that I'm being reprimanded for stirring the pot, and frankly, it makes me think that you're afraid I'm going to break your faith by asking too many questions.

Maybe I've come to the wrong forum for the kinds of questions I have, but I'm here now, and I'm asking you to make your best case for Buddhism, because I'm interested and I think it could be helpful.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 12:19 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Hi BradyE,

I think you may be misunderstanding what is meant by "no-self," and I am in no way putting you down for it. Your question is quite valid.

One thing that might be helpful to say is that when many Buddhists talk about no-self, they mean to say that there is no "separate" self. When one looks directly at their experience in meditation, this becomes quite clear. It's not that you don't exist at all. Rather, it's that you don't exist as a separate, isolated entity/agent. Getting enlightened doesn't wipe out your personality, or turn you in to a zombie, or anything weird like that.

The reason we insist so heavily on answering questions through practice is because many of us have found this to be the best way to answer them. If you ask me, "What does chocolate taste like?" it would be better for me to tell you to go buy a bar at the corner store than to spend hours describing the taste. No matter what I say, you'll never taste chocolate by my explanation. The nature of your no-self question is just like this.

Why not try it out? A little meditation never hurt anyone (I don't think). You don't have to be a Buddhist to find a quiet room, sit in a sustainable posture, and watch your breath. In fact, you don't ever have to call yourself a Buddhist if you don't want to.

I hope this helps. I wish you the best of luck on your search for truth.
~Jackson

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 12:24 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: telecaster

This is my opinion, and it is shared by many buddhists but not all. (actually I don't identify myself as a buddhist, so far I just take advantage of the spiritual technology)

You exist -- kind of.

You just don't exist in the way you MAY have thought so far in your life. You are NOT an unchanging separate permanent thing.

I remember the first time I really encountered buddhism. It was from reading "what the buddha taught" by, I'm prettiy sure, Walpola Rahula. This great and simple book explained that the Buddha stated that there is no permanent self or soul, but, there is, rather, a collection of "skandas" which create the illusion of permanence:
The skandas are:
Form
Sensation
Perception
Mental formations
Consciousness
This particular forum is mostly people who are already convinced that the buddha's core teachings are what they want to embrace and practice in order to get liberated and enlightened and it's a place to share and teach and discuss that process. So that is what it is for.

I hate the idea of you feeling unwelcome, but I can see why you might feel that way.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 3:27 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: garyrh

What benefit is to derived by throwing yourself into or out of a whole set of beliefs? This is assuming of course you could find a consistent set of beliefs within Budhism. In fact Budhist practice has a premise don't take anything for granted. Maybe somethings are wrong and somethings are right. Maybe the self is not annilated maybe it is. I have spent much time thinking about the very question you posed and can confidently tell you, that with theory you will only ever arrive at a superfical answer. You may of course have to spend more time finding this out for yourself. The point many are making, in the hope of making it easier for you, is that you can know for yourself. I love theory ( I may even outstrip you emoticon ), but its got nothing on actually knowing. Evaluate theorectically all you wish, and some of us will listen including me; but if you hit the cushion ( a phrase meaning - just do it ) and ask for practical guidence, because the members know this can get you somewhere, and even truly give you peace, they will be fighting to direct you.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 4:49 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: BradyE

Thanks for your responses.

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 8:51 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
My friend, that is the perfect attitude. That is exactly where I began. Now prove the Buddha wrong using your own mind and body as a laboratory for analysis. This would be the fastest way I think any of us knows of, it worked in record time for me. Make an exhaustive search for your 'self'.

Oh yeah, and don't ever believe anything that isn't irrefutable in your own experience of that body and mind.

That's all I've got.

take care
nathan

RE: Annihilation of Self vs. Self Actualization
Answer
7/17/09 10:42 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: geraldt

I guess for me the purpose of the path is the end of suffering.
Can we imagine that in the end we will merge with what A.Wallace calls "primordial consciousness"?