Author Topic: Anatta  (Read 6921 times)

Luscious

Anatta
« on: March 30, 2015, 07:05:33 AM »
I dont understand what the big deal is about no-self. Everything i read talks about how we cannot be the thoughts, we cannot be the emotions because they are impermanent. We cannot be the the body because it is not in our control, teeth decay, hair falls out, it breathes by itself etc etc. 
I dont see how the body being impermanent means it cannot be self.  Theres no written law that declares that any self must be permanent. What is wrong with the idea that perhaps self is an impermanent body and mind that happen in one lifetime and then are gone.  I have no problem with that.   I dont see my self as permanent in any way.  Sure sometimes I might cling to things as though I want them to last but of course deep down I know they will not and that feels scary because as a human I cannot contemplate non existence and so I feel grief and try to keep things close like a child who doesn't want to lose its toy.   
There is so much written on this subject and apparently the Buddhas teachings are hinged on it but I really dont see why its such a biggy.  I dont think I know of a single person who thinks that anything is going to last forever so why does everything I read keep reiterating that "we think there is a permanent self" ??  I do not.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 07:12:24 AM by Luscious »

Goofaholix

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Re: Anatta
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 07:24:32 AM »
Impermanence is one characteristic, not self is another, they are related but not necessarily in a causal way. 

For a start you might notice I typed not self, not no self.

The teaching doesn't necessarily ask us to believe there is no self rather to observe all conditioned phenomena as they arise and pass away, see the not self nature of those conditioned phenomena.  What you and I habitually think of as self is not a fixed entity, but a collection of changing processes, which of those processes is the self?  Can you isolate it?  Can it exist without the others? Is it independent of it's environment?  It's not a thing.  It's not findable.

Rather it's a concept pointing to a collection of conditioned processes and characteristics that also share the characteristic of impermanence.


Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 09:12:19 AM »
Impermanence is one characteristic, not self is another, they are related but not necessarily in a causal way. 

For a start you might notice I typed not self, not no self.

The teaching doesn't necessarily ask us to believe there is no self rather to observe all conditioned phenomena as they arise and pass away, see the not self nature of those conditioned phenomena.  What you and I habitually think of as self is not a fixed entity, but a collection of changing processes, which of those processes is the self?  Can you isolate it?  Can it exist without the others? Is it independent of it's environment?  It's not a thing.  It's not findable.

Rather it's a concept pointing to a collection of conditioned processes and characteristics that also share the characteristic of impermanence.

Yes I can isolate it.  The mind and the body.  I dont see why the mind and body can not be the self.

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Anatta
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 10:42:39 AM »
I do not see the big deal either. In his time, the Buddha had discussions with leaders of other schools and sects. The Buddha had a specific philosophy, and pointed out what the difference was with other philosophies. There was for instance the concept of Atman, an eternal soul. In Buddha's view, there was / is no Atman. In his view, there was no Atman that could become one with Brahman. For some, that was a very radical view.
(I suppose it would be comparable to telling a Christian, that there is no soul.)

There are moments that I feel supported by the concept that there is no self: moments, on the cushion, that I go through experiences that I cannot connect to the individual that I am used to. Then it helps, to just name what is going on as sensing, thinking, certain emotions, etcetera. At such a moment, I do not ask myself who I am. It would be a confusing question. At such a moment, I feel supported by the saying that there is no self. I just stick with what is going on.

You see the paradox, that even then I speak of "I" and of "my" skills of navigating through the stream.

Middleway

  • Member
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Anatta
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 01:40:25 PM »
I dont understand what the big deal is about no-self.
Yes I can isolate it.  The mind and the body.  I dont see why the mind and body can not be the self.

Do you suffer? Is suffering a big deal for you? Do you want to end your suffering? The numero uno reason Buddha said the cause of suffering is that we think that we are the body and mind.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Alex

  • Member
Re: Anatta
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 01:56:54 PM »
I do not see the big deal either.

Me three ;)

Anatta refers to a characteristic of all phenomena, and can be experienced on different levels, our understanding deepening as we progress on the path. It is not merely cognitive understanding...

Quardamon says it nicely: there are moments when he experiences something and at such times the concept of anatta seems to offer a way to represent in words aspects of that experience…

Anatta for me suggested that ‘things experienced’ are not self, but are based upon conditions that arise and disappear. These experiences are thus universal, not based upon a self with some kind of essence.

Another 'click' for me came in relation to substance abuse. When I first started to see my suffering, there was a strong aversion to being a self that has a problem with addiction and thus a strong desire not to be a self that has a problem with addiction. This caused additional suffering, often contributing to the unhealthy behaviour.
It was freeing to experience/realize there is no such self that has or hasn’t got a problem with addiction, that there is simply conditioned arising of craving, aversion, coping, clinging, letting go, using, not using, etc. It is the implication of an assumed self that makes it more difficult to let go of what we assume to be part of self and thus creates additional suffering. I don't know if this makes any sense?   ::)

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: Anatta
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 06:24:03 PM »
The concept doesn't just relate to continuity it also relates to the notion of a separate self. We are neither impermanent or separate which is in contrast to quite a lot of societal psyche.

Goofaholix

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Re: Anatta
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 08:06:55 PM »
Yes I can isolate it.  The mind and the body.  I dont see why the mind and body can not be the self.

Which part of the mind?  Which party of the body?

If somebody has a leg amputated is the self split?  is the self diminished?  If somebody loses their memory is the self lost? is the self diminished?

Both the mind and the body are composed of a large number of processes and component parts, some we can continue to live without, some we can't.

We are also not as distinct and separate from our environment as it may appear, the body is continuously drawing in air from the surrounding environment, air that probably previous was part of someone else's body, someone else's self by your definition.  The same is true of food, and energy.  If air or food that was once part of your self is now part of my self have our selves merged?

Putting all that aside though one of the main points of the teaching is about not attaching or identifying with things/characteristics we normally identify with.  If I identify with my self as being a shy person for example I'm locked into that pattern, if instead I see changing processes I have a degree freedom to choose non habitual responses in various circumstances when appropriate. 


Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 11:03:18 PM »
Yes I can isolate it.  The mind and the body.  I dont see why the mind and body can not be the self.

Which part of the mind?  Which party of the body?
Why does it have to be a particular part? It can just be the mind and the body period.

If somebody has a leg amputated is the self split?  is the self diminished?  If somebody loses their memory is the self lost? is the self diminished?
No the self is not diminished. The self has lost a leg or the self has lost its memory.


We are also not as distinct and separate from our environment as it may appear, the body is continuously drawing in air from the surrounding environment, air that probably previous was part of someone else's body, someone else's self by your definition.  The same is true of food, and energy.  If air or food that was once part of your self is now part of my self have our selves merged?
Air and food werent a part of me they were used by me and processed by my body. If you then use them you are doing the same thing that's all. I don't see how this means in anyway that we have "merged"

Putting all that aside though one of the main points of the teaching is about not attaching or identifying with things/characteristics we normally identify with.  If I identify with my self as being a shy person for example I'm locked into that pattern, if instead I see changing processes I have a degree freedom to choose non habitual responses in various circumstances when appropriate.
I agree that identifying with thoughts, views, beliefs etc is limiting and can lead to suffering but identifying with the body and mind I don't see the same way. Yes they are both impermanent but it's all I have for my 1 lifetime. Nobody can offer me any better solution about who I am. All buddhism ever says is who I am not and then leaves me in suspense and feeling frustrated. It actually seems to cause more suffering not less.
If you think about it, it's kind of cruel to tell people youre not this , you're  not that and you can suffer less if you realise who you are but I can't tell you, you just have to sit there for a long time and find out for yourself. Oh and by the way you may find out but then again you might not and don't try too hard because if you try too hard you won't get there. Ps. you may have been here for many lifetimes and you may be here for many more but you'll never know that for sure because you can't remember so you must have blind faith just like christians do in heaven.   
It leaves me asking myself why am I doing this. I have sat here everyday for 3 years and I see no inkling that my body and mind is not me.   I'm tired of being told who I'm not. Tell me who I am for a change instead. And please don't give me the usual mystical line about how it's something that cannot be told I must experience it directly because clearly I'm not.

The gist of the control argument is this. There is no evidence of a self since nothing with which we are acquainted is immutable, and nothing with which we are acquainted is something over which we have complete control.

But this raises an obvious question: Isn't the standard for selfhood being set unattainably high?  The argument is tantamount to saying that if I am not God or a god, then I am not a self.  Arguably, God to be God must be impassible; but must a self to be a self be impassible?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 11:30:08 PM by Luscious »

Goofaholix

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Re: Anatta
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2015, 11:53:06 PM »
Why does it have to be a particular part? It can just be the mind and the body period.
No the self is not diminished. The self has lost a leg or the self has lost its memory.

Then how many body parts can we chop off before you'd say the body ceases to be self?  How many mental faculties would need to cease to operate before you'd consider it ceases to be self?
 
How is it that the body parts that were chopped off ceased to be self? How is it that the mental faculties that ceased to operate ceased to be self?

Air and food werent a part of me they were used by me and processed by my body. If you then use them you are doing the same thing that's all. I don't see how this means in anyway that we have "merged"

They were used by you as building blocks of your cells, they became part of your body, though like everything else this is impermanent.

I agree that identifying with thoughts, views, beliefs etc is limiting and can lead to suffering but identifying with the body and mind I don't see the same way. Yes they are both impermanent but it's all I have for my 1 lifetime. Nobody can offer me any better solution about who I am. All buddhism ever says is who I am not and then leaves me in suspense and feeling frustrated. It actually seems to cause more suffering not less.

I'm sorry this teaching is causing you frustration but I think you're approaching it the wrong way.  The teaching of not self is not about ontology, it's not about answering questions about who and what you are look to science for that.

It's about view, it's about how you relate to your experience and whether you identify with what we as humans habitually think of as self.  When we can experience objectively all the thoughts and emotions that we have little control over then that reduces dukkha, when we can experience the body aging and malfunctioning that we can't control then that reduces dukkha.  When we see the separation between us and others as being psychological rather than real that reduces dukkha.

You might want to check out these articles from Ajahn Thanissaro on how to approach this http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accesstoinsight.org%2Flib%2Fauthors%2Fthanissaro%2Fnotselfstrategy.pdf&ei=LNMZVZ-xCaXZmAXUoIHYDA&usg=AFQjCNGfnt_mo5wkydC3vngg8E7swEQTPQ&bvm=bv.89381419,d.dGY


[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notself2.html]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notself2.html
[/url]

Middleway

  • Member
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Anatta
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 01:13:51 AM »
I have sat here everyday for 3 years and I see no inkling that my body and mind is not me.   I'm tired of being told who I'm not. Tell me who I am for a change instead. And please don't give me the usual mystical line about how it's something that cannot be told I must experience it directly because clearly I'm not.

You are the universe! You have evolved over 13.7 billion years and have grown billions of sense organs and reproductive organs and making love to yourself. There you have it. No mysticism. It's a fact!
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2015, 01:48:19 AM »
Why does it have to be a particular part? It can just be the mind and the body period.
No the self is not diminished. The self has lost a leg or the self has lost its memory.

Then how many body parts can we chop off before you'd say the body ceases to be self?  How many mental faculties would need to cease to operate before you'd consider it ceases to be self?
 
How is it that the body parts that were chopped off ceased to be self? How is it that the mental faculties that ceased to operate ceased to be self?
You can keep chopping them off until you're dead and then the body is no longer self, its rotting meat.  Mental faculties  are the same. As long as there is at least one operating then its still a self.  Once they cease completely then they dont exist.

Air and food werent a part of me they were used by me and processed by my body. If you then use them you are doing the same thing that's all. I don't see how this means in anyway that we have "merged"

They were used by you as building blocks of your cells, they became part of your body, though like everything else this is impermanent.
Yes they became part of my cells but the same food and air did not become part of your cells. Its food and air that I didn't use.
I understand at the level of quantum physics everything is made of the same thing, atoms, ions, quarks or what have you but still some elements are forming together to make my self and others to make yours. So ultimately if we look at form through quantum physics everything is energy vibrating at different rates to create the illusion of solidity but from where I am standing I cannot se to the quantum level, I can only read about. Even scientists can't see it, they can only hypothesise.

I agree that identifying with thoughts, views, beliefs etc is limiting and can lead to suffering but identifying with the body and mind I don't see the same way. Yes they are both impermanent but it's all I have for my 1 lifetime. Nobody can offer me any better solution about who I am. All buddhism ever says is who I am not and then leaves me in suspense and feeling frustrated. It actually seems to cause more suffering not less.

I'm sorry this teaching is causing you frustration but I think you're approaching it the wrong way.  The teaching of not self is not about ontology, it's not about answering questions about who and what you are look to science for that.

It's about view, it's about how you relate to your experience and whether you identify with what we as humans habitually think of as self.  When we can experience objectively all the thoughts and emotions that we have little control over then that reduces dukkha, when we can experience the body aging and malfunctioning that we can't control then that reduces dukkha.  When we see the separation between us and others as being psychological rather than real that reduces dukkha.

You might want to check out these articles from Ajahn Thanissaro on how to approach this http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.accesstoinsight.org%2Flib%2Fauthors%2Fthanissaro%2Fnotselfstrategy.pdf&ei=LNMZVZ-xCaXZmAXUoIHYDA&usg=AFQjCNGfnt_mo5wkydC3vngg8E7swEQTPQ&bvm=bv.89381419,d.dGY


[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notself2.html]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notself2.html
[/url]

But how does experiencing the body ageing and malfunctioning reduce dukkha?  You mean by accepting its inevitability?  I suppose yes that may reduce dukkha but when the time comes and pain is present Im not sure if its within my capability to not suffer. If there is pain its my natural inclination to wince and want it to go away.
Thanks for the links I will have a look although maybe I need a rest as Im a bit buddhismed out at the moment.  :)

Goofaholix

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Re: Anatta
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 01:58:45 AM »
But how does experiencing the body ageing and malfunctioning reduce dukkha?  You mean by accepting its inevitability? 

Not identifying with the body as "my self" as it ages through this process mitigates the dukkha that this process causes, just as not identifying with the mind as "my self" mitigates the dukkha of the repetitive useless thoughts and emotions that arise.

Self is a concept, you can choose to ringfence all body and mind processes under that concept but it doesn't change anything other than your view, Buddhist practice seeks to promote a different view.

Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2015, 02:34:42 AM »
But how does experiencing the body ageing and malfunctioning reduce dukkha?  You mean by accepting its inevitability? 

Not identifying with the body as "my self" as it ages through this process mitigates the dukkha that this process causes, just as not identifying with the mind as "my self" mitigates the dukkha of the repetitive useless thoughts and emotions that arise.

Self is a concept, you can choose to ringfence all body and mind processes under that concept but it doesn't change anything other than your view, Buddhist practice seeks to promote a different view.

Its a lot easier to not identify with thoughts and emotions though as they arise and pass moment to moment like clouds whereas the body is a solid thing and the only one I have for my entire life. Yes its changing but its not disappearing until it dies so not really sure how I can not identify with it. I understand as an intellectual concept that maybe thats possible but I dont know how to put it into practice.

Goofaholix

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Theravada / Insight Meditation
Re: Anatta
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2015, 02:55:44 AM »
Its a lot easier to not identify with thoughts and emotions though as they arise and pass moment to moment like clouds whereas the body is a solid thing and the only one I have for my entire life. Yes its changing but its not disappearing until it dies so not really sure how I can not identify with it. I understand as an intellectual concept that maybe thats possible but I dont know how to put it into practice.

This is why most vipassana techniques emphasise observing change in the body as a starting point.

Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2015, 04:34:00 AM »
Its a lot easier to not identify with thoughts and emotions though as they arise and pass moment to moment like clouds whereas the body is a solid thing and the only one I have for my entire life. Yes its changing but its not disappearing until it dies so not really sure how I can not identify with it. I understand as an intellectual concept that maybe thats possible but I dont know how to put it into practice.

This is why most vipassana techniques emphasise observing change in the body as a starting point.
Ok well Im starting an insight meditation course next week maybe that will make things clearer for me.  I really do not want to go to a goenka vipassana retreat. They come across as too cultish.   I actually went to one a long time ago and I left after 3 days because I hated it so much.  I couldn't stand the sound of his chanting. It was like nails on a blackboard.  I couldn't understand his talking either because his accent was very strong.

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Member
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Anatta
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 01:46:45 PM »
Interesting discussion. And I think Goofaholix has put in lots of valid points as well as pointers to help experientially (and not intellectually) understand what is indicated by Anatta.

Quote
Yes its changing but its not disappearing until it dies so not really sure how I can not identify with it
But again, can you check right now who is this "I" who can not identify with the body? Where is this I located? Can you find this "I" in this moment? Don't look into memories. If you do not look into memory, can you find the "I" in THIS moment? I am not asking a conceptual or intellectual answer. Check with only direct experience as your tool.

Quote
I understand as an intellectual concept that maybe thats possible but I dont know how to put it into practice.
Right, but I think you can see that understanding Anatta intellectually does not do you any good. That is why I have put some more pointers above to help you get a sense of what Anatta indicates. As Goofaholix has rightly pointed out, Anatta becomes evident only when your meditative practice ripens to advanced stages. If you do not want to accept Anatta, that is fine. Buddha does not want anyone accepting any concepts intellectually just because He or the scriptures say so.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: Anatta
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2015, 06:12:56 PM »
Experiencing it is rather crucial in realizing just how subjective and false our comprehension of existence is. Humans automatically derive the illusion of self from instinct presumably for reasons of survival and as an integral part of how their mind functions so its deeply linked into how we define what's "real". Quite difficult to intellectualize as you say.

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Anatta
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2015, 08:37:29 PM »
Lucious, It seems to me, that you threw a ball in the forum and now you can see how the members here react to it. For some, the matter of anatta is a serious matter. For yourself (and me) it is not a big deal. So - it gives me the impression that you are testing us. In this case I would say: It is your perfect right to do so. As you say:
All Buddhism ever says is who I am not and then leaves me in suspense and feeling frustrated. It actually seems to cause more suffering not less.

From all that you wrote on the forum, that is true.
    . . .    Hmm - Interesting, that you did this for three years on a stretch.

I wonder what the connection is to this:
I struggle a lot with conflicting desires. Its like having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

I mean: If you throw in something that is not meaningful for you, than probably what you get out is also not meaningful for you. So, then it would be an action from the devil-shoulder. As I said, maybe it is meaningful for you to test whether we will jump up in defence of Buddhist concepts, in stead of really listening to you. In that case, it would be an action from the angel-shoulder. You would learn how safe or unsafe you are here. (Sometimes, people are crushed to save concepts. It happens.)

If you want to get a reaction that is meaningful for you, then it is appropriate to put in an action that is meaningful for you. And to watch and guard the process.
I fact - I suppose - you threw in something like: "Teachers cannot be trusted". Anyway, I am of the opinion that teachers have their own agendas. And a teacher that does not know your situation cannot change his agenda to your needs - also not if he wanted to.

I've been meditating for average of 1-1.5 hours a day for  2-3 years.     . . .    Unless I can experience the things that all the buddhist texts etc are teaching then it all seems pointless.   I do not want to spend so much time of my life continuing this road hoping that one day I will experience the deep stillness that is always talked about by monks etc. 
Yes, a lot of teachers promise those things. Greater promises do not necessarily indicate a better teacher.
    . . .    It could of course be, that you got things out of your practice that you did not mention. Like gasteria who only in one of her first post mentioned that.    . . .    That would make understandable why you stick to it.
 
Again, talking about the fact that what you get out also depends on what you put in:
Sorry to be rude, but did you tell the organisers of the retreat that you are about to do, that you are on antidepressants? If the teacher is uncomfortable with that situation, he might not be able to teach you properly. Teaching can be a subtle thing.

I wish you all the best.

Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 08:47:01 PM »
Interesting discussion. And I think Goofaholix has put in lots of valid points as well as pointers to help experientially (and not intellectually) understand what is indicated by Anatta.

Quote
Yes its changing but its not disappearing until it dies so not really sure how I can not identify with it
But again, can you check right now who is this "I" who can not identify with the body? Where is this I located? Can you find this "I" in this moment? Don't look into memories. If you do not look into memory, can you find the "I" in THIS moment? I am not asking a conceptual or intellectual answer. Check with only direct experience as your tool.

Quote
I understand as an intellectual concept that maybe thats possible but I dont know how to put it into practice.
Right, but I think you can see that understanding Anatta intellectually does not do you any good. That is why I have put some more pointers above to help you get a sense of what Anatta indicates. As Goofaholix has rightly pointed out, Anatta becomes evident only when your meditative practice ripens to advanced stages. If you do not want to accept Anatta, that is fine. Buddha does not want anyone accepting any concepts intellectually just because He or the scriptures say so.
Everything that I have read says that buddha said anything that is impermanent cannot be self but nowhere is this explained why.  It presumes that we believe that there is a permanent self to begin with but this is not true for everybody. It may be true for christians and various other religious people who believe in a soul but for me I know that nothing about me is permanent and that I will not exist one day. My body is impermanent , my mind is impermanent. Why can't my self be impermanent and therefore my body and mind are my self?  This line that is thrown about so often about buddha doent want anyone just accepting concepts etc may be true but then he also has not offered and real concrete evidence or way to see that what he says is true. It's just this cryptic ancient riddle that you may or may not solve if you spend a large portion of your life meditating. It's like a carrot dangling on a stick. It's really not that much different than the promise of heaven that christians fall for. Nirvana, heaven, not self or soul. None of it has been proven by anyone.  You may tell me it's true but you can offer no real proof beyond Buddhas words.

Luscious

Re: Anatta
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 08:54:02 PM »
Lucious, It seems to me, that you threw a ball in the forum and now you can see how the members here react to it. For some, the matter of anatta is a serious matter. For yourself (and me) it is not a big deal. So - it gives me the impression that you are testing us. In this case I would say: It is your perfect right to do so. As you say:
All Buddhism ever says is who I am not and then leaves me in suspense and feeling frustrated. It actually seems to cause more suffering not less.

From all that you wrote on the forum, that is true.
    . . .    Hmm - Interesting, that you did this for three years on a stretch.

I wonder what the connection is to this:
I struggle a lot with conflicting desires. Its like having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

I mean: If you throw in something that is not meaningful for you, than probably what you get out is also not meaningful for you. So, then it would be an action from the devil-shoulder. As I said, maybe it is meaningful for you to test whether we will jump up in defence of Buddhist concepts, in stead of really listening to you. In that case, it would be an action from the angel-shoulder. You would learn how safe or unsafe you are here. (Sometimes, people are crushed to save concepts. It happens.)

If you want to get a reaction that is meaningful for you, then it is appropriate to put in an action that is meaningful for you. And to watch and guard the process.
I fact - I suppose - you threw in something like: "Teachers cannot be trusted". Anyway, I am of the opinion that teachers have their own agendas. And a teacher that does not know your situation cannot change his agenda to your needs - also not if he wanted to.

I've been meditating for average of 1-1.5 hours a day for  2-3 years.     . . .    Unless I can experience the things that all the buddhist texts etc are teaching then it all seems pointless.   I do not want to spend so much time of my life continuing this road hoping that one day I will experience the deep stillness that is always talked about by monks etc. 
Yes, a lot of teachers promise those things. Greater promises do not necessarily indicate a better teacher.
    . . .    It could of course be, that you got things out of your practice that you did not mention. Like gasteria who only in one of her first post mentioned that.    . . .    That would make understandable why you stick to it.
 
Again, talking about the fact that what you get out also depends on what you put in:
Sorry to be rude, but did you tell the organisers of the retreat that you are about to do, that you are on antidepressants? If the teacher is uncomfortable with that situation, he might not be able to teach you properly. Teaching can be a subtle thing.

I wish you all the best.
All I am going to say to you is don't quote me out of context from previous posts. Its bad form and against forum etiquette. Your opinion is therefore discounted.

Middleway

  • Member
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: Anatta
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2015, 03:40:47 AM »
But again, can you check right now who is this "I" who can not identify with the body? Where is this I located? Can you find this "I" in this moment? Don't look into memories. If you do not look into memory, can you find the "I" in THIS moment? I am not asking a conceptual or intellectual answer. Check with only direct experience as your tool.

Do you agree that feelings arise in us? Can you point to where that feeling is located in the body? Just because, we cannot locate it does not mean it does not arise within us. This "I" feeling is with us all the time. This "I" feeling starts when I wake up in the morning and stays with me until I fall into deep sleep.

Of course, "I" can be found in THIS moment. The ego-self arises when clinging arises. Where there is clinging, there is ego. Except for the stream winners and arahants, everyone has clinging to a certain degree (all the time). So, we do experience this illusory "I" from moment to moment to moment. This is my direct experience and not an intellectual answer. I experience "I" right now as I type these words. "I" am typing these words.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Member
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Anatta
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2015, 06:14:22 AM »
Quote
Why can't my self be impermanent and therefore my body and mind are my self?
Did anyone say that we have issues in what you believe, or not believe? You are free to believe whatever you choose to. All I am trying to do is to give you pointers to actually LOOK IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT if you can find something referred to as a self, without the support of what you have thought about or learned in the past, or your memories. You seem too attached to your views to even consider looking in the direction I and others are trying to point to.

Quote
This line that is thrown about so often about buddha doent want anyone just accepting concepts etc may be true but then he also has not offered and real concrete evidence or way to see that what he says is true.
You miss the point entirely. The Enlightened One suggested to only accept anything only when you find it true in your own direct experience. Intellectualizing or arguing on concepts, what you are doing now, is not the wholesome way to realizing the truth. If you have a wholesome meditative practice, then chances are that the truth about Anatta will dawn on you through your own practice, eventually. What "real, concrete evidence" do you expect that the Buddha should have given? There is no real, concrete evidence about Anatta that anyone can give us, even the Buddha himself, other than the insights we come upon through our own direct experience as we walk on His path.

I get a sense that this discussion is now going in circles, as the OP is not benefiting from any of the suggestions that others have provided in this thread. I request everyone to move on, please.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Member
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Anatta
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2015, 06:19:14 AM »
Quote
So, we do experience this illusory "I" from moment to moment to moment. This is my direct experience and not an intellectual answer. I experience "I" right now as I type these words. "I" am typing these words.
If you look closely, you won't find an "I". As you mentioned, the "I" is illusory, it does not exist even in this moment. I would suggest to keep checking in the present moment, without clinging to your own concepts, memories and all that you have learned.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Anatta
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2015, 06:35:58 AM »
I dont understand what the big deal is about no-self ....

Ask yourself this: "what is this 'I' that refers to itself thirteen times in my original post?" ... "Is there clinging in this 'I" that refers to itself thirteen times in my original post?". "Is this 'I' that refers to itself thirteen times in my original post real, or is it a construction born of what 'I' have been told of and experienced in life?". " What might be behind this 'I' that refers to itself thirteen times in my original post? ".

Quote
All I am going to say to you is don't quote me out of context from previous posts. Its bad form and against forum etiquette. Your opinion is therefore discounted.

Your "I" seems to be very sensitive to perceived criticism. Quardamon is not the type to manipulate words, and to dismiss his opinion in such a reactive way shows a vast amount of ego-clinging at work in your "I".
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 08:17:42 AM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
15 Replies
7484 Views
Last post March 25, 2009, 03:33:31 PM
by Flipasso
1 Replies
3814 Views
Last post April 06, 2009, 07:27:53 PM
by humanoid
0 Replies
1761 Views
Last post September 28, 2011, 07:15:12 PM
by Morning Dew
10 Replies
3642 Views
Last post February 10, 2015, 02:02:51 AM
by Goofaholix
5 Replies
2529 Views
Last post June 25, 2016, 12:14:13 PM
by stillpointdancer