Author Topic: No self  (Read 7413 times)

Green Tara

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No self
« on: January 27, 2008, 09:21:40 PM »
Can anyone recommend a book or a website that explains Anatta - in plain English - please.
 :)
TARA
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: No self
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 11:57:53 PM »
Hi Tara, I think Larry Rosenburg explains it brilliantly in his book Breath by Breath.  The book is about Vipassana meditation in general, and talks about No Self.  He has a really down to earth style that I find easy to understand, its a bit like having a friend to explain it all to you.

Green Tara

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Re: No self
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2008, 08:59:45 AM »
Thank you Paul,
 I thought you might have one on your bookshelf.
This book has been recommended now few times for different things I will get it.
I found the concept of no self quite hard to grasp. I understand it intellectually and it makes sense but I don’t really feel it and find it difficult to apply.
Do you understand it?

"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: No self
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2008, 10:14:08 AM »
Yes.  Sometimes more strongly than others though as it is quite recent.  Its like learning to ride a bike, you're wobbly at first and fall off a lot.  When I was 12 one day I was running to the playing field where my sister was playing.  I was so excited that I crossed the main road without looking, and ran into a car that was doing about 40 mph that sent me flying a few metres into the air.  I was OK and by pure luck I was only slightly injured.  I had all but forgotten this until facing no-self in meditation, then it came back - as I was flying through the air I thought I was dead, and my body felt like an empty shell that I had no control over, really like a doll that had been thrown out of the bedroom window.  I was deeply frightened by this at the time, it was a truly shocking feeling.  I realise now that at that moment I had known no-self, and it had been locked in my sub-conscious for thirty-odd years, only to come out later in life.  Walking meditation demonstrated no-self very clearly - you soon realise that no-one is controlling the walking and it is happening by itself.  Having said all that though, the delusion of self comes back sometimes, but is less strong than before apart from things that concern the family. 

I think you'll realise no-self soon Tara!  You could even complate over who or what exactly is trying to know no-self anyway, try as hard as you can to identify/put your finger on exactly what this thing is, and if you do find it follow it for as long as you can.  Can you really, honestly find what this thing is?

With metta!

'Paul'  ;D

pamojjam

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Re: No self
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2008, 12:16:27 PM »
Hi everyone,

here one little Dhamma talk about non-self by Ajahn Brahm:

'non-self'

kind regards..

Green Tara

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Re: No self
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2008, 12:41:43 PM »
Thank you Pamojjam,
I like Ajahn Brahm.
I was puzzled by the idea of Anatta, because I thought I fully understood the other two: Annica and Dukkha. Reading Ajahn Brahm's lecture, it is obvious that ( I?! ) didn’t understand them.

"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

pamojjam

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Re: No self
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2008, 12:55:24 PM »
Please take your time. Insight into anatta at different levels comes by continues practice.. and reading about it only can give maps.

kind regards..

Stefan

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Re: No self
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2008, 01:33:45 PM »
(...) and reading about it only can give maps.

how very true!  :) Metta, Stefan
anicca

pamojjam

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Re: No self
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2008, 03:04:48 PM »
(...) and reading about it only can give maps.

how very true!  :) Metta, Stefan

However, without maps in a foreign territory not even knowing where it should lead to - getting lost is very likely!

kind regards..
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 03:05:39 PM by pamojjam »

Paul

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Re: No self
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 03:21:09 PM »
I find no-self such a strange territory! Sometimes I feel like I'm there, then something happens that shows me I'm not as there as I thought I was.  I try to just go back to the breath, even off the cushion, because when I think about this concept I get lost.

pamojjam

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Re: No self
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2008, 03:32:45 PM »
... because when I think about this concept I get lost.
if it would be otherwise, well..

Usually a basic outline is still beneficial, because nothing as tiring as thinking 'I' have to make it.

Stefan

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Re: No self
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2008, 10:13:54 PM »
(...) and reading about it only can give maps.
how very true!  :) Metta, Stefan
However, without maps in a foreign territory not even knowing where it should lead to - getting lost is very likely!

Yes, of course. But I'm somebody who tried to go hiking on a map ...  :P
anicca

vuacorona

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Re: No self
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 08:27:28 PM »
Practicing Vipassana will give you the experience of anicca, and anatta.


pamojjam

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Re: No self
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 10:17:45 PM »

Hi vuacorona,

Practicing Vipassana will give you the experience of anicca, and anatta.

Hopefully. I always been shocked if I heard of old timers - though quite rare - telling they would come back to Vipassana courses 'cos there they can experience that their eternal soul is different from their impermanent body!?!

That's why maps are necessary too:

Quote
Majjhima Nikaya 43, excerpt:

'Friend, how many conditions are there for the arising of right view? - 'Friend, there are two conditions for the arising of right view:
the voice of another
and wise attention.

These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.

- 'Friend, by how many factors is right view assisted when it has deliverance of mind for its fruit, deliverance of mind for its fruit and benefit, when it has deliverance by wisdom for its fruit, deliverance by wisdom for its fruit and benefit?

- 'Friend, right view is assisted by five factors when it has deliverance of mind for its fruit, deliverance of mind for its fruit and benefit, when it has deliverance by wisdom for its fruit, deliverance by wisdom for its fruit and benefit.
Here, friend, right view is assisted by
virtue,
learning,
discussion,
serenity,
and insight.

Right view assisted by these five factors has deliverance of mind for its fruit, deliverance of mind for its fruit and benefit; it has deliverance by wisdom for its fruit, deliverance by wisdom for its fruit and benefit.'



kind regards..

Matthew

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Re: No self
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 01:20:09 PM »
I find no-self such a strange territory! Sometimes I feel like I'm there, then something happens that shows me I'm not as there as I thought I was.  I try to just go back to the breath, even off the cushion, because when I think about this concept I get lost.

Yes. There is no you doing the thinking. Of course you get lost. A basic understanding of the concept followed by repeated progressive experience of no-self through meditation is the only way not to get lost. If you try to work with these ideas on the conceptual level only you are using the "measuring mind" of ego to do the thinking. - i.e. you are using something that is merely a habit and a lie (your ego - or ongoing sense of self as a separate entity in time) to try and  see  through the habit and the lie.

The only way to understand these teachings is to get a basic grasp, then practice a lot and realise this reality experiencially and progressively.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Andrew

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Re: No self
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 10:13:29 AM »
Although I'm not meant to be reading or posting (by my own decision!), I thought I would check in and revive this topic as I finally can put together my experience now with some theory I've held for a while. Hey, I can break my own rules if I want to!

For me, the concept of 'no self' is a misnomer. There is a self of sorts, it however is both unknowable and impermanent. It is unknowable as it arises from the incomprehensible 'ground of being'  interacting with the 'realm of karma'. If you look for it, it dissolves immediately. Both of these concepts, 'karma and being' are as indeterminate and unknowable as each other! It is impermanent as it only lasts a 'life time' and is experienced one life 'at a time'. It is best described as 'no essential permanent self'. You are born and you die.

From a philosophical point of view, Spinoza is the source of my best definition. Massively paraphrased, it goes something like this;

If one take the terms 'Eternal' and 'Infinite' and thinks about them long enough, it can be 'understood' that both are outside our comprehension. We use them like we know, but the reality is we don't! However, if we pretend that we have some clue what they mean, it would be fair to say the following;

1) there can only be One 'eternal and infinite' thing.

2) 'we'- our sense of self, isn't it!

Proof for point one goes like this. It I have a jug that holds only 1 litre of water, then holding 2 litres in that jug is absurd. So is goes that, if we imagine we have an 'eternal and infinite' container, then it can contain only one 'eternal and infinite' thing. There cannot be two 'eternal & infinite' things; there is only One by definition. So it is that Islam gets it right when it says "God is One, and God is alone". However, like ALL religions, the list of things that it gets 'right' is pretty short!.

The proof for point 2 becomes easy, and to quote Buddha 'everything that has a beginning has an end'. The truth behind reincarnation is that it is not literally a 'self' passing from life to life, but rather a logical flow of events i.e. karma.  Experiencing past lives is like walking out of one movie at the cinema and into another one and seeing the sequel or prequel of the first, the connection is that they are both playing in next door cinemas; there is no 'eternal personal 'you/me/I' self' playing all the parts and sitting in all the seats! Some eternal & infinite thing has been doing this, but it isn't 'you'! Our task, if we choose it, it to experience the 'thing' that has been doing all of this.

 At best we could imagine that there is a self of sorts that began many life times ago, and will finish in many life times. However, that is no different than saying you only get one life ultimately, it really just playing with numbers to argue the point. If it began, it will end.

My experience of this is simple, I closed my eyes the other day and sat. I breathed and thought "if there is an end to 'me' then why strive?" I laughed softly as I sensed the peace that tells me what I have thought is true. I could feel the suffering fall away as I relaxed about 'getting somewhere' and 'being someone'. Identifying with 'that which has always been free and will always be free' -nirvana- (by any other name -smells the same!) is the way out, but once  you realize that,  the need to get out dissolves anyway!.

So for me now, finally, I can say I do this 'meditation thing' because I want to, I'm not compelled to take this path other that it is an adventure I want to take -this getting to know nirvana stuff!... Just something to do really!!

There is volumes written on the subject, but I think what ever one pieces together reading, should play out in sitting. For me the other day, it did.

love

andy

ps If i was to go back over this post 10 billion times correcting logical flaws and making it water tight, it would still leak like a sieve!, The point is, imagining 'living forever' is a pointless thing to do. What is going on here is already doing just that; 'living forever', making it-by definition- the only thing that can!. Letting go of our imaginary self, opens us up to what is really going on and that is TRULY WONDERFUL!!!

I'm still not a buddhist though; rather I'm a "getting-to-know-that-thing-that-is-really-going-on-ist'!!!

getting it done

Andrew

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Re: No self
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 11:39:14 AM »
back to my cave now.....for a little more 'not self' time... ;D
getting it done