Author Topic: Hindu Anatta  (Read 7467 times)

Flipasso

Hindu Anatta
« on: February 14, 2009, 10:12:36 PM »
The seeker is he who is in search of himself.
Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality.
To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not.
Discover all that you are not -- body, feelings thoughts, time, space, this or that -- nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.
The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realise that you are the limitless being.
-- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

This is a kind of a description of the practice of Self-Inquiry, a hindu "meditation" that consists on asking the question "Who Am I?" constantly.
They say that one who endures in this will realize that he is not anything, i.e., he is not body, not thoughts, not feelings, not space, not this, not that... By this practice he will finally find the "I" thought, the only thing that he really is.. Everything... Brahman!!

This is kind of the opposite, but at the same time, the same as Vipassana, realizing that you actually don't exist, you'll finaly realize that what exists??
Nothingness?? - That is probably what the hindu's call the "I" thought.

Thoughts?? (other than "I")  :D

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 09:41:50 AM »
You are right that it is sort of the opposite. Indeed Buddhism was a reaction in no small part to the injustices and untruths held within the Brahmanic religion that was the precursor to the Hindu religion.

It is opposite because of this:

Quote
Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain.

The "I am" is the fundamental lie according to Buddhism. It is not certain at all, it is a fictional character built from experience.

Other areas in which Buddhism was in opposition to vedic/Brahmanic thought include reincarnation. The Brahmin take was that if you were lower caste and breaking rocks for a living in this life then you would come back again and again and do the same thing. Buddhist teachings are completely contrary to this. This is why Buddhism discusses "rebirth" rather than "reincarnation" because Hindu/Brahmanic thought includes the basic precept of "I am" - Atman, the soul, incarnated on earth seeking union with God, and bound forever to reincarnate.

Whilst the Buddha discovered the truth is NOT("I am"), hence the Buddhist doctrine of "Anatman" or NO-soul and hence no search for identification with "God", but the attempt to discover who you really are by letting go progressively of all the identifications with self and other objects of mind and conditioned experience.

In the Dhamma,

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

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 06:44:26 PM »
My point is...

Whilst the Buddha discovered the truth is NOT("I am"), hence the Buddhist doctrine of "Anatman" or NO-soul and hence no search for identification with "God", but the attempt to discover who you really are by letting go progressively of all the identifications with self and other objects of mind and conditioned experience.

What the Buddha called nothing - anatta, nirvana - may be the same reality that the hindu's call something - atman, brahman, and moksha.

I think it's just a matter of terminology and methodology, but the end goals are exactly the same.
In Hindu Advaita practice one discovers that he's not anything but himself which is all, and in buddhism one discovers that he is not anything and so lyes in the unconditioned state.

I've been reading a bit about the Mahayana school, the concept of Dharmakaya and there seems to be a bit of entity in emptiness...
Even Thich Nhat Hanh says that the no-self is kind of not being and not not-being..

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: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 05:00:17 AM »
There is absolute clarity of mind in emptiness. I'm not sure what you mean by "entity in emptiness". Emptiness (Shunyata) is not a state of bland nothingness, it's crisp, awake and bright and clear.

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

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2009, 12:57:47 PM »
Hello

Over the course of a year I have read the complete book "I AM THAT" by Nisargadatta.
I took so long because I believe that 99% of the time he is speaking about the same technique
to enlightened being... although he does use many different ways to explain it.

Everytime I read, I read one to three pages... at most I read a whole chapter at a time.
And I would meditate upon his words.


I also believe that the kind of enlightenment Nisargadatta teaches,
is 90% to perhaps 100% the same as Vipassana enlightenment.
The biggest difference is without a doubt a different terminology that is used
to describe the same thing.




I absolutely love how Nisargadatta explains meditation,
even though I believe his instructions can be confusing because he switches
between different ways to describe the same thing...

So at times it would seem like he is saying something different,
but in fact he is not. I think this possibility for confusion on the part of the "student" is perhaps
the biggest downside to learning meditation from Nisargadatta.



When Nisargadatta says to focus on the "I AM" he means to investigate it,
see how it works... in order to see that you are not it.

In the quote in the original post he basically says...
that the "I AM" is real in the experience of the unenlightened student, (a.k.a. the person who is unaware of his true nature)
so the student must focus on the "I AM", and try to find out that he is not what he believes
he is...in order to realize what he REALLY is.

What one REALLY is (according to Nisargadatta) can not be said with words,
it can only be said by using words in a negative manner. "i am not this, not that"



Quote from: Nisargadatta
Look at yourself steadily - it is enough. The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
The "I am" is the door. Stay at it until it opens. As a matter of fact, it is open, only you are not at it.
You are waiting at the non-existing painted doors, which will never open. (442)

Nisargadatta explains that it is of highest importance to be conscious of "I AM",
and to give all awareness to the thoughts and feelings.

Thought and feeling actually ARE the "I AM"... it is the body consciousness,
it is important to focus the close relationship between thought/feeling and "I AM".

When bringing awareness into thought/feeling we get more INSIGHT into the nature of it,
and also into the nature of the "I AM".
The fact we perceive something means that we are not what we perceive... thus we are NOT the "i am".

Then what are REALLY?

Quote from: Nisargadatta
I am the light that makes Consciousness possible, pure Awareness, the non-dual Self,
the Supreme Reality, the Absolute, the Beingness of being, the Awareness of consciousness.

Who are you? Don't go by formulas. The answer is not in words. The nearest you can say in words is: I am
what makes perception possible, the life beyond the experiencer and his experience. (330)

bringing awareness into thought and feeling eliminates craving and aversion,
therefor by bring awareness into the "I AM" and seeing that we are not the "I AM"
leads to the realization that we are.....

"Pure Awareness",
"The Surpreme Reality",
"True Self",
"No Self",
"TAO",
"That which can not be named"




the only difference that i know about  between vipassana and nisargadatta,
is that nisargadatta doesn't talk about doing body scans.

i'm not sure how important body scans are,
and i don't know if nisargadatta teaching lack important instructions which can be found in vipassana.

i've always suspected that the "SELF INQUIRY" technique as taught by nisargadatta is all that is required to "Enlightened Being"
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 02:14:13 PM by humanoid »

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: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2009, 07:19:11 PM »
Most Vipassana teachers do not teach bodyscans.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2009, 09:00:22 PM »
Most Vipassana teachers do not teach bodyscans.
God  >:(
I know even less than I thought I knew.

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 12:01:06 AM »
If you could inform me about the practice of this self inquiry by Nisargadatta I would apreciate it.
I know nothing about Nisargadatta, I just quoted the text from another forum, because I liked it..

We could establish a paralelism(spl?) between Vipassana and Self-Inquiry, but I'm also a begginer in meditation!!
Having been reading for a long time I only re-started my practice a week ago!!

I just posted, because there seems to me that (almost) all religions have reference to the same absolute.
Nirvana for Buddhists will be the same as the Moksha for Hindus and Heaven to Christians.
It's all the same ultimate reality.

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2009, 06:35:57 PM »
I already sent you a private message to ask if you could help me see the differences between
vipassana and nisargadatta, but apparently you haven't been deep enough into nisargadatta so that
you can give a real comparison yourself.

Well the technique of Nisargadatta is hard to explain.
As far as I know, his technique is to...

Bring awareness into mind and body and learn to see that you are not the mind or the body,
but instead that you are awareness itself... as I already mentioned in my previous post.




The book "I AM THAT" is over 800 pages and it consists of conversations he had
with seekers who came visit him in his little appartment in Bombay, India.

They ask him all kinds of questions and he gives them the best answers he can.
He gives advice on how to live... (similar to the 8th fold path, but not a strict set of rules like 8th fold path)
He says not that life is suffering... but he says that there can be no lasting happiness found in the world,
because "Pain is always the background of pleasure".



I know there are a lot of so called "enlightened teachers"... you can buy them by the dozen so to speak.
I believe this man did really live by what he preached though,
I love to read the original ways he creates to explains his views
and I have personally found the technique of SELF INQUIRY to be quite enlightening...

although I do keep my awareness on the breath continuously,
as a way to keep myself awake... and i try to let this awareness "extend"
into all angles and layers of mind, body and beyond(?)...

which I guess is similar to the vipassana way of "letting feelings come and go, without grasping or pushing away".




though i wonder if there are valuable points not mentioned in Nisargadatta's book,
which can be found in systems such as Vipassana, Tai Chi, Physical Yoga, Etc.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 06:50:53 PM by humanoid »

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 10:37:18 PM »
I already read your PM, but thought it would be more appropriate to answer here in the forum.
In Vipassana on contemplates impernance, unsatisfactoriness and selflessness in Kaya (body/breath), Vedana (feelings/sensations), Chitta (mind) and Dhamma (mind objects).

Although I practice like Bhante Gunaratana explains, and it is to observe breath and whatever pull's you away from the breath.

There are several teachings from the Buddha on meditation, I think the main ones for Vipassana meditation are the Anapanasati Sutta and the Maha Satipatthana Sutta.

There are also several teachers of the different kinds of buddhist meditation and several traditions of teachers of buddhist meditation.
Bhante G. is a "stand-alone" teacher, I believe...
There is the Mahasi Tradition.
the Thai Forest Tradition,
etc..

I believe Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong work with an aspect that you probably didn't explore as much in meditation which is energy, prana or Qi.

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2009, 01:36:18 AM »
humanoid:

I believe Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is a teacher of Jnana Yoga (Gnana/Gnani/Jnani) a school of Yoga that is mostly practiced by Advaita Vedanta hindu's.
I believe in the Advaita "cosmology" it makes sense to me.
There are also a lot of concepts that I find better explaine in Hinduism than in Buddhism, such as Karma (especially karma yoga) and Sanskara's.
There are other famous teachers of Jnana Yoga - Ramana Maharshi and Advaita Vedanta - Adi Sankaracharya.

If don't know this already give it a search to find a basis for your studies!!
BTW - I'm reading I Am That, and find it very interesting! I am also experimenting with that kind of meditation, I believe it's called Atma Vichara - Self Enquiry. It makes a lot of sense and was a very powerfull experience.

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 10:13:52 PM »
humanoid:

I believe Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is a teacher of Jnana Yoga (Gnana/Gnani/Jnani) a school of Yoga that is mostly practiced by Advaita Vedanta hindu's.
I believe in the Advaita "cosmology" it makes sense to me.
There are also a lot of concepts that I find better explaine in Hinduism than in Buddhism, such as Karma (especially karma yoga) and Sanskara's.
There are other famous teachers of Jnana Yoga - Ramana Maharshi and Advaita Vedanta - Adi Sankaracharya.

If don't know this already give it a search to find a basis for your studies!!
BTW - I'm reading I Am That, and find it very interesting! I am also experimenting with that kind of meditation, I believe it's called Atma Vichara - Self Enquiry. It makes a lot of sense and was a very powerfull experience.
yes well,
having read only "i am that" for well over a year was interesting
and helpful to me for sure.

one thing that i didn't really get until just 2 weeks ago was the importance
of becoming aware of the awareness all over the body. i've been doing it for two weeks now
and it has helped me so much. whenever i lose the body awareness i return to the breath, and then expand to feel the whole body awareness again.



in the book "I AM THAT" a lot of useful stuff is mentioned,
and nisargadatta himself says that ATTENTION is of utmost importance,
yet this advice never really HIT me.

i tried to do the "not this not that meditation" without knowing the importance of feeling the full body awareness,
and it sort of worked a little... but it was much harder than now that i have learned to pay attention to this.

so even though in "I AM THAT" nisargadatta mentions the importance of total body awareness, and total awareness of absolutely everything...
i somehow still managed to ignore/not understand this.

i think the chaotic way in which I AM THAT is written is partly the reason why.
but also probably my own stupidity  :P

-------------------------

when i stumbled upon vipassana, unlike nisargadatta's I AM THAT, the technique was explained very clearly from the beginning.
watch the breath, expand to have the whole body awareness and meet sensations without craving or aversion/

it's just this little part in bold that i didn't get!!!
i still like nisargadatta. i think the guy was pretty enlightened
and he explains his stuff in a really neat way. i just wish i would have understould
the breath/body awareness sooner.

now that i do, i am much more able to practice the kind of meditation of nisargadatta taught,
because basically... i don't believe there's really a difference between "jnana yoga" and "vipassana"  ;)


since 2 weeks ago when starting to pay attention to the breath,
i also changed my breathing from breathing through the chest with often creating gaps between breaths...
to breath deeply through the belly without making gaps between breaths. i think this has helped me a lot as well.

so now i do belly breathing continuously, and belly breathing only. my body and mind is much more energized than before.


----------------------------------------------

i wouldn't advise people in Vipassana to get into Nisargadatta A.S.A.P. because i don't suspect
there is any information missing in Vipassana which can be found in the book "I AM THAT".

yet people into vipassana might find the terminology and the hindu concepts
interesting and perhaps helpful to understand ourselves and this universe a bit more... but maybe not.




at the moment,
vipassana to me seems more practical in terminology... especially for "newbies" to meditation...
and i personally feel like there's more to learn from vipassana than from the book I AM THAT,

because it seems in vipassana some stuff has been explained in more detail than in the book I AM THAT.
on the other hand, maybe it's just as easy to get stuck in the Vipassana approach than the Self-Enquiry approach,
so maybe one is not better than the other


(a lot of words for little content in this post, i know    ;) )
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 11:31:22 PM by humanoid »

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 11:16:32 PM »
I think there is a slight difference between Vipassana and Atma Vichara but mostly in terms of terminology, i.e., they aim at the same goal, but use different words and ways to explain it.
In Vipassana the aim is Vipassana, complete cessation of suffering by understanding anicca, anatta and dukkha.
In Atma Vichara, if I understand right, the aim is Self-Realization, by experiencing the I-Amness.

This in my thought, is basically the same, though through different paths!

In Vipassana, one realizes nothing realy exists and when one realizes this one becomes the nothingness.
In Atma Vichara one realizes only the witnesser exists and when one realizes this one knows all else, including the I-thought, is false.
My first experience with Atma Vichara showed me that it is very simple and very quick to realize enlightenment. The reading and practicing made me feel that it is something very accessible and that in no-time (even if it takes for ever) I will realize it.
After all we're already there, we just don't know yet!! ;)

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 11:28:31 PM »
I think there is a slight difference between Vipassana and Atma Vichara but mostly in terms of terminology, i.e., they aim at the same goal, but use different words and ways to explain it.
In Vipassana the aim is Vipassana, complete cessation of suffering by understanding anicca, anatta and dukkha.
In Atma Vichara, if I understand right, the aim is Self-Realization, by experiencing the I-Amness.

This in my thought, is basically the same, though through different paths!

In Vipassana, one realizes nothing realy exists and when one realizes this one becomes the nothingness.
In Atma Vichara one realizes only the witnesser exists and when one realizes this one knows all else, including the I-thought, is false.
My first experience with Atma Vichara showed me that it is very simple and very quick to realize enlightenment. The reading and practicing made me feel that it is something very accessible and that in no-time (even if it takes for ever) I will realize it.
After all we're already there, we just don't know yet!! ;)
i think the experience of the "i-amness" is no different than the experience of "no-self";
i think it's basically awareness spread throughout the whole body and mind...

like a pure light at the center of our being which enlightens everything in all directions...



i feel like i must stop speaking now because i really don't know all that much.
a lot of the stuff i say are things that i suspect to be true... so maybe they are not true at all.  ;)

thoughts.......
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 12:57:54 AM by humanoid »

humanoid

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2009, 11:53:30 PM »
Hello everyone, there is something new I would like to share.
I have come across the following sentences in the book "I AM THAT" by Nisargadatta,
and they highlight some of the similarities (and perhaps differences as well) with Vipassana.

Quote
Questioner:  In meditation, who meditates, the person or the witness?
Nisargadatta: Meditation  is  a  deliberate  attempt  to  pierce  into  the  higher   
states  of  consciousness  and  finally  go  beyond  it.  The  art  of   
meditation is the art of shifting the focus of attention to ever sub-
tler levels, without losing one’s grip on the levels left behind. In a   
way  it  is  like  having  death  under  control. One  begins with  the   
lowest  levels: social circumstances, customs and habits; physi-
cal surroundings, the posture and the breathing of the body; the   
senses, their sensations and perceptions; the mind, its thoughts   
and  feelings;  until  the  entire  mechanism  of  personality  is   
grasped  and  firmly  held.  The  final  stage  of  meditation  is   
reached  when  the  sense  of  identity  goes  beyond  the  ‘I   
am-so-and-so’,  beyond  ‘so-I-am’,  beyond  ‘I-am-the-witness-
only’,  beyond  ‘there-is’,  beyond  all  ideas  into  the  imper-
sonally  personal  pure  being.  But  you must  be  energetic  when   
you take to meditation. It is definitely not a part-time occupation.
Limit your  interests and activities  to what  is needed  for you and   
your dependents’ barest needs. Save all your energies and time   
for breaking the wall your mind had built around you. Believe me,   
you will not regret.

Flipasso

Re: Hindu Anatta
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2009, 03:33:31 PM »
I am That. Is the first book I'm reading by an Advaita Guru.

Nop... that's a lie, I read a bit of a book by Ramana Maharishi, but I didn't understand what he meant by "I-thought".

This book is a bit strange in the way he emphasises(spl?) the world is but a dream.
I may understand that the world is but a dream compared to the absolute.

I advise all "theistic" buddhists to investigate a bit more into Advaita Vedanta, because for me it is nothing but Buddhism with a god. Although they often say that god is not real.

 

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