To be somebody, or to be nobody

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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tomschwarz
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To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by tomschwarz » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:38 pm

Hello friends,

His holiness the Dalai Lama, over the past several years, has said, at seemingly every teaching, that he is no one special. He is a monk. Furthermore, that if he considers himself to be someone special, e.g. The Dalai Lama, he feels lonely. So he is trying to share his experience, that he finds happiness in not being special, but rather focusing on the similarities within humanity in hopes that others will too pick this up, and too be happy. Of course, I agree.

So lets discuss this. Do you need to be somebody? Is that the same thing as making something of yourself? Is it OK to be a "nobody". Is a "nobody" a looser in your mind? Is a "somebody" a winner? How do you make something of yourself?

What I noticed in a recent teaching from his holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, is that of the approx 1500 people there, you could see in some of their faces, that they were OK with being a nobody, meaning no thoughts, not standing out, dying/being mortal, being forgotten (inevitable), and others try to find their position as individuals, try to be somebody that they see of themselves, try to be smart, see the world from a brittle world view that they construct in their mind, and push the world through like potato through a masher, and so on.

So as Buddhists, do we ever need to be "somebody"? Surely we must accept and practice and manifest being nobody also. E.g. Samata, no conceptual thought. Very healthy. Path of seeing, non-conceptual realization of emptiness, wonderful. And being able to die and die well, that is a true a nobody (?).

So lets say that you think one should transcend both being somebody and being nobody, how do you actually counter the respective negative tendencies in your mind that would otherwise make you want to be somebody? want to be nobody? Like fear of failure and fear of rejection (and fear of death) can make you want to be recognized, to be loved, famous, and so on ("somebody"). Or you may have the desire to die, to be one with the universe, manifest emptiness alone, and be a true nobody... My eggs are in the "nobody" basket. So lets hear from the "somebody" side...?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

Way-Fun
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Way-Fun » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:48 pm

Loneliness, humiliation, resentment, and fear reveal the liability of being somebody, but you have to be somebody, sometimes, to respond appropriately to the situation at hand. Just don't hang your hat. It means treating frames of reference in terms of situational relevancy. When I meet my mother I am Mom-Way-Fun. When I meet my brother I am Ben-Way-Fun. Walking the dog I am Dog-Way-Fun. Picking up dog shit I am Dog-Way-Not-Fun. When it's time to die I am Die-Way-fun. What is it to be no one? Somebody sometimes; a new mind for every thought.

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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Jesse » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:17 pm

Being "Somebody" is simply the natural way we perceive. We do not have to make an effort to get rid of 'yourself', as the self is already empty from the beginning. It's just a matter of seeing it.

When it arises (It co-arises with all perceptions (dharmas).)

It requires no effort, other than your normal practice, because once you see it... you can't unsee it. It's not something to stress about, or actively try to rid yourself of.

It's more like, as you go about your daily life, sometimes you'll catch a glimpse; and personally, when I do, I just smile, and continue on with my day.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

madhusudan
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by madhusudan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:50 pm

I'm with you on being a nobody. It was always my greatest aspiration to be a hidden yogi, totally invisible to anyone's perception. Just a totally nondescript average joe.

But, I can see the value for someone else in achieving somebody status for the purposes of attracting and guiding beings who have that karma propensity.

Since sentient beings are diverse, compassion manifests in many different ways.

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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:59 pm

my teacher told me i was famous..... to him :jumping:
The Universe flowing through my veins...stars falling from my eyes......rocks rolling in my head...lemon juice dripping down my chin....

https://drunklotus.blog

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tomschwarz
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:05 am

Jesse wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:17 pm
Being "Somebody" is simply the natural way we perceive. We do not have to make an effort to get rid of 'yourself', as the self is already empty from the beginning. It's just a matter of seeing it.
This gets back to the discussion of, "is there anything to do?" The answer is yes, the 4rth noble truth lays out very well what we must do and what we must not do. For example, we must loose self centered perspective, no? We have to rid kurselves of the three poisons, no? All of that takes effort no?

Here is the point. I think this is too dogmatic, as in believing in something to the point of not feeling it. Because when you say "just" as in "it is just is matter of seeing" you are discounting the experience, which is a struggle, very much to be a nobody, to accept way-fun death. You know why? Because it is not way fun, first noble truth. It is not the truth of happiness.

So while all that you said is correct, it is also incorrect because it is dogmatic/ seeks to simplify to fit the desire for a perfect world. Which i can also relate to.
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

muni
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by muni » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:20 am

Hi nobody,
Being a loser and being a winner is both somebody, or? This forum is a source of insights and opens the opportunity to see what is grasping to the independent solid reality. Caught by "independent I thought" for example, in an outer reality on itself which is at the same time separate from us. Me-other. Then there is a puppet lost in following thoughts, with that puppet is there then identification. Check, somebody present, check suffering present. Check! Alarm bell?

When there is no any separation then delusion falls away, then there is peace.

But “I thought” cannot erase separation since “I thought” seems to be the separation maker.
We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.


These words: check , check, check mind /look, look, look inside, are so important.
Distraction and nondual awareness have no door in between. But already lost in distraction, very difficult!

In communication people use to have an introduction I am that and studied this and so I am..., but thinking this is, is...an apprehension, a thought I guess?
Are you a Lawyer, a Writer, a Lama, an African or perhaps a Janitor or a Mother? Which mask your nature is wearing?
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Jesse » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:05 am
Jesse wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:17 pm
Being "Somebody" is simply the natural way we perceive. We do not have to make an effort to get rid of 'yourself', as the self is already empty from the beginning. It's just a matter of seeing it.
This gets back to the discussion of, "is there anything to do?" The answer is yes, the 4rth noble truth lays out very well what we must do and what we must not do. For example, we must loose self centered perspective, no? We have to rid kurselves of the three poisons, no? All of that takes effort no?

Here is the point. I think this is too dogmatic, as in believing in something to the point of not feeling it. Because when you say "just" as in "it is just is matter of seeing" you are discounting the experience, which is a struggle, very much to be a nobody, to accept way-fun death. You know why? Because it is not way fun, first noble truth. It is not the truth of happiness.

So while all that you said is correct, it is also incorrect because it is dogmatic/ seeks to simplify to fit the desire for a perfect world. Which i can also relate to.
It requires no effort, other than your normal practice, because once you see it... you can't unsee it. It's not something to stress about, or actively try to rid yourself of.
What I mean here is that, you can not 'rid' yourself of selfhood, as it's simply another thing that co-arises; rather you simply gain wisdom, and armed with that wisdom you are no longer fooled. Though I'd say most of us will only see glimpses of that wisdom during this lifetime. Also the effort thing is a bit counter-intuitive; yes it requires effort--- but that effort also requires wisdom, the wisdom to give up, to let go, to stop trying, to stop seeking.

Trying to 'get rid of' the 'self' is a bit like trying to get rid of thoughts, by using thoughts.. It's just more clinging, and aversion.. then through wisdom you see the futility, the midguided nature of how you are going about it; you see the problem plain as day, and when you see it, you realize that all you had to do was just let go, and when you do... there is peace. Seeing how much suffering you were bringing to yourself through ignorance usually brings about a good laugh, and a smile.

that's all I meant. :)

:rolleye:
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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tomschwarz
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:33 pm

Jesse wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm
What I mean here is that, you can not 'rid' yourself of selfhood, as it's simply another thing that co-arises; rather you simply gain wisdom, and armed with that wisdom you are no longer fooled.
good point.
Jesse wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm
....
Also the effort thing is a bit counter-intuitive; yes it requires effort--- but that effort also requires wisdom
...
Trying to 'get rid of' the 'self' is a bit like trying to get rid of thoughts, by using thoughts..
exactly, but it works. in seated meditation, thoughts can come to mind, and you can say/think to yourself "thinking" and use that as a key point in time, that is familiar, where you let that thought disipate (e.g. as a trigger). that is a very simple, if not intuitive (?), and workable system for using thought to get rid of thoughts.

so ideas, wise ones too, are like wires with their current. often, it is too complex for us, and we have a "gag reflex" and seek to short circuit that complexity into a simplification (enter dogma and so on). so i would suggest that we accept on all levels that thought can be used to get rid of thought, effort can be used to achieve peace that is effortless, and so on.. ..but still is very useful the opposite: there is not love without being loving, there is no warmth without being warm, there is no peace without being peaceful, etc....

so all that is very interesting wisdom, but back to the topic, about your personal life jesse, are you ok with being a nobody? or do you think that you, or i, should make something of ourselves? if the latter, how do you balance that with mortality and the earths coming distruction (by red giant phase of sun)? my opinion is: emptiness and absolute love. and what that means, is that, as his holiness the dalai lama has said, self-centered behavior is a waste of time. in other words, there is value, and there is only value, in caring for other beings (basically). and so, actually, that absolute love and realization of interdependence (including result of the effort of getting rid of the three poisons) is real lasting stuff, even worth doing considering that all will (we will) die and be forgotten because, the liberation, or tansition is made to clear light, and compasionate mind itself (?) and if i can do that i will definately be a nobody. or ?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

Jesse
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Jesse » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:26 pm

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:33 pm
Jesse wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm
What I mean here is that, you can not 'rid' yourself of selfhood, as it's simply another thing that co-arises; rather you simply gain wisdom, and armed with that wisdom you are no longer fooled.
good point.
Jesse wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:41 pm
....
Also the effort thing is a bit counter-intuitive; yes it requires effort--- but that effort also requires wisdom
...
Trying to 'get rid of' the 'self' is a bit like trying to get rid of thoughts, by using thoughts..
exactly, but it works. in seated meditation, thoughts can come to mind, and you can say/think to yourself "thinking" and use that as a key point in time, that is familiar, where you let that thought disipate (e.g. as a trigger). that is a very simple, if not intuitive (?), and workable system for using thought to get rid of thoughts.

so ideas, wise ones too, are like wires with their current. often, it is too complex for us, and we have a "gag reflex" and seek to short circuit that complexity into a simplification (enter dogma and so on). so i would suggest that we accept on all levels that thought can be used to get rid of thought, effort can be used to achieve peace that is effortless, and so on.. ..but still is very useful the opposite: there is not love without being loving, there is no warmth without being warm, there is no peace without being peaceful, etc....

so all that is very interesting wisdom, but back to the topic, about your personal life jesse, are you ok with being a nobody? or do you think that you, or i, should make something of ourselves? if the latter, how do you balance that with mortality and the earths coming distruction (by red giant phase of sun)? my opinion is: emptiness and absolute love. and what that means, is that, as his holiness the dalai lama has said, self-centered behavior is a waste of time. in other words, there is value, and there is only value, in caring for other beings (basically). and so, actually, that absolute love and realization of interdependence (including result of the effort of getting rid of the three poisons) is real lasting stuff, even worth doing considering that all will (we will) die and be forgotten because, the liberation, or tansition is made to clear light, and compasionate mind itself (?) and if i can do that i will definately be a nobody. or ?

Do we have to distinquish between practice, and 'real life'? I mean, If I want to become a professional software developer for a large company, does my job define me? Does what I do define me? How are these things different than sitting on a meditation cushion? It's sort of the same thing as trying to find the self. If you meditate on it, and look very carefully; can you find this 'self'?

With mindfulness, wisdom, and practice under your belt, everyday life is practice right? At least that is the ideal.

Being 'nobody' is just another idea, a concept. Being somebody, or nobody; sounds like a hang-up to me; if you drop the entire notion of having to be something or nothing; the problem vanishes.

No big deal. Move on with life. :smile:

This is why Thich Nhat Hahn says: All views are wrong views.

PS: As for Mortality, I say: The number one cause of death is being born! So, keep it in mind; and let it guide your actions in a positive manner; but don't let it make you afraid.. Death is as natural as birth, we all simply have to face it. To face it, keep it in the forefront of your mind, and experience the fear it brings fully, and when you are ready, accept it.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Supramundane
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Supramundane » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:40 am

To die the death of a nameless faceless animal ---- i think this is what we fear most and what thousands of years of human culture have conspired to avoid and deny this basic reality.

i tell myself i am nothing but another amoeba floating around in this petri dish called earth, i will disappear with no trace back into the organic soup --- with even my poetic DW posts having been forgotten (lol) --- yet why does my heart race and the adrenaline pump when i am in danger? is it some animal instinct beyond my control?

i tell myself i cling to nothing; that i am not afraid to die; and yet, when death flits by me, why is it that i cannot keep my heart still? perhaps i am not as unattached as i think? or is it a part of me that i have no control over?

Wicked Yeshe
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Wicked Yeshe » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:27 am

A nobody ofcourse. I don't own a single thing that identifies me as a buddhist. Secret yogi indeed.

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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Grigoris » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:38 pm

Wicked Yeshe wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:27 am
A nobody ofcourse. I don't own a single thing that identifies me as a buddhist. Secret yogi indeed.
Well, you just identified yourself as a somebody: as a secret yogi.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Jesse
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Jesse » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:39 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:40 am
To die the death of a nameless faceless animal ---- i think this is what we fear most and what thousands of years of human culture have conspired to avoid and deny this basic reality.

i tell myself i am nothing but another amoeba floating around in this petri dish called earth, i will disappear with no trace back into the organic soup --- with even my poetic DW posts having been forgotten (lol) --- yet why does my heart race and the adrenaline pump when i am in danger? is it some animal instinct beyond my control?

i tell myself i cling to nothing; that i am not afraid to die; and yet, when death flits by me, why is it that i cannot keep my heart still? perhaps i am not as unattached as i think? or is it a part of me that i have no control over?
Because millions of years of evolution have molded the brain to fire off neurochemicals that prime your body to fight, or flee. It's a response meant to save your life, and when death comes the brain doesn't shut it off, (Until a bit later into the death process).

Meditation can be used to calm this response down, and eventually, subdue it. We are all afraid to die, the thing is not to be terrified of it, which means acceptance. Acceptance doesn't mean being suicidal, or not caring about dying. It simply means having accepted your own mortality.

There's an easy way to tell if you are detached, as thoughts run through your mind on a daily basis are you still caught up in them? Are you still caught up in the story?

There are a few levels of attachment. Attachment to physical things; as is typical of the path of renunciation. Then there's the real detachment, which is detachment from the source of suffering -- the thinking, seeking, craving, aversive mind. Even here, there are a few levels of letting go, starting with courser desires/clinging, and aversions, going all the way down to the most subtle ones that we hardly notice at all, and likely never will without decades of real meditation experience -- mega multi years in retreat etc...
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

Wicked Yeshe
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Wicked Yeshe » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:50 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:38 pm
Wicked Yeshe wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:27 am
A nobody ofcourse. I don't own a single thing that identifies me as a buddhist. Secret yogi indeed.
Well, you just identified yourself as a somebody: as a secret yogi.
Not only that. I do in fact own some buddhist calligraphy that i made myself and a copy of the heart sutra. Yikes! :rolling:

Jesse
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Jesse » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:36 pm

Wicked Yeshe wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:50 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:38 pm
Wicked Yeshe wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:27 am
A nobody ofcourse. I don't own a single thing that identifies me as a buddhist. Secret yogi indeed.
Well, you just identified yourself as a somebody: as a secret yogi.
Not only that. I do in fact own some buddhist calligraphy that i made myself and a copy of the heart sutra. Yikes! :rolling:
Are you good at calligraphy? I'd very much like an ohm mani Padme hum mantra done in calligraphy :)

For some reason that has become my go to mantra... Not even sure when it started.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

Wicked Yeshe
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Wicked Yeshe » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:01 pm

I only know how to write "mu" and "namu amida butsu". And it looks like a blind drunk on a chronic LSD trip has written it, but check with the thangka community. They will sort you out.

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Supramundane
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Re: To be somebody, or to be nobody

Post by Supramundane » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:42 am

Jesse wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:39 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:40 am


There are a few levels of attachment. Attachment to physical things; as is typical of the path of renunciation. Then there's the real detachment, which is detachment from the source of suffering -- the thinking, seeking, craving, aversive mind. Even here, there are a few levels of letting go, starting with courser desires/clinging, and aversions, going all the way down to the most subtle ones that we hardly notice at all, and likely never will without decades of real meditation experience -- mega multi years in retreat etc...
yes this is exactly what i am seeking

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