'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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discussionbuddhist
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by discussionbuddhist » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:47 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:12 pm
discussionbuddhist wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:40 pm
Move to a realization of no-self? Isn't that ucchedavada?
So according to you the teaching of anatman nihilistic?

You better go inform the Buddha then.

I guess we are down to Three Dharma Seals then?

I thought the Buddha was silent when asked if there is "No Self"
Ananda Sutta

I'm not saying at all anatman is nihilistic. Some translations I read say that anatman/anatta is 'Not Self' as opposed to 'No Self'. In fact, doesn't the Mahaparinirvana say:

"Those Charvaks (nihilists) who espouse a no-Soul doctrine quickly for
Hell are bound"--- [Taisho T .374, trans. Dr. Kosho Yamamoto. .
Published 1973 Karibunko press Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra] verse
1802

(Yamamoto uses the English word Soul for Atman in his translation)

cappuccino
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by cappuccino » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:01 pm

the teaching is to regard everything as not your self

different than regarding yourself as having no self

smcj
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by smcj » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:14 am

Nothing immutable about yourself. Your present identity is only a temporary configuration of your energies.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Grigoris
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:16 am

smcj wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:14 am
Nothing immutable about yourself. Your present identity is only a temporary configuration of your energies.
^^^This^^^.

I think the term anatman is not properly translated when it talks about no/not self. I think the term atman is closer to the term "soul", than "self". But when when it comes to reflection upon the five skandha then, for those of us from western Abrahamic and materialist/scientific backgrounds, it is quite obvious it is talking about a core identity of types, with the closest equivalent term being self or soul.
"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

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Grigoris
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:20 am

discussionbuddhist wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:47 pm
I thought the Buddha was silent when asked if there is "No Self"
Probably because he got tired of answering the same question over-and-over and expected better from Ananda. The Sutta does not describe Buddha's expression when he remained silent, I imagine it was a bit like this:


dawg.jpg
dawg.jpg (27.78 KiB) Viewed 1182 times
"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

discussionbuddhist
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by discussionbuddhist » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:49 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:20 am
discussionbuddhist wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:47 pm
I thought the Buddha was silent when asked if there is "No Self"
Probably because he got tired of answering the same question over-and-over and expected better from Ananda. The Sutta does not describe Buddha's expression when he remained silent, I imagine it was a bit like this:



dawg.jpg
It was actually Vachagotta that asked the Buddha if there is/isn't Atta. The Buddha actually told Ananda his reasons for being silent.

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Grigoris
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:01 pm

discussionbuddhist wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:49 pm
It was actually Vachagotta that asked the Buddha if there is/isn't Atta. The Buddha actually told Ananda his reasons for being silent.
I was just being silly (don't know if you noticed).
"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

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Grigoris
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:06 pm

But really, the answer to the question is given in a number of teachings. The Daruka-khandha Sutta: The Log, for example.
"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

discussionbuddhist
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by discussionbuddhist » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:26 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:01 pm
discussionbuddhist wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:49 pm
It was actually Vachagotta that asked the Buddha if there is/isn't Atta. The Buddha actually told Ananda his reasons for being silent.
I was just being silly (don't know if you noticed).
No I did, and saw the dog pic. But thought you meant Vacchagotta instead of Ananda.

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tomschwarz
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by tomschwarz » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:58 pm

steveb1 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:18 am
(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

....
Wow really great work communicating and digging into the logic of your experience in the context of Buddhism. All the respect to you....

So the answer is super complex. ...lets set the stage.... this is hard, so start with your super intellect steveb. In a nutshell, the answer complies with all of your thoughts. So first please take a moment to recall and accept everything you felt and understood and rejected and accepted when you wrote that OP.

...ok so from there.... first stop, buddhahood.... you wrote, and good on you:
is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format";
This is something that anyone with the slightest ability to think for theselves will consider when diving into the four noble truths: the fourth truth, the truth of the path, is two way. Daa. Of course it is two way. And i can go straight to hell (am human now). That fact alone is proof that the path to enlightenment also serves as the path to hell.

So maybe that is enough. What do i really know about the actual origin of the first link of dependent origination? Everything, because its all here in my mind. And you know everything also. So my advice is pratyyeka buddha path, focus on prooving and disproving all ideas that you and others have.

Well, i will say one more thing...
If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself?
You know the answer to this.... ..... not only are you a real human being (as opposed to an illusion, see second of two truths), inside your mind/brain still lives the sensitive child that you once were. And you can make an #$% of yourself and hurt that childs feelings, or you can share lovng kindness (based in part on compassion).
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

Bundokji
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by Bundokji » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:31 pm

"Not self" is descriptive, not prescriptive, hence its open to interpretations, and the way you interpret it, says nothing about it, but more about the quality of your mind. This is why Kamma works!
Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
If you interpret it as: "why bother" would that lead to the end of your suffering? The choice is yours. You can always try :smile:

steveb1
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by steveb1 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:10 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:58 pm
steveb1 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:18 am
(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

....
Wow really great work communicating and digging into the logic of your experience in the context of Buddhism. All the respect to you....

So the answer is super complex. ...lets set the stage.... this is hard, so start with your super intellect steveb. In a nutshell, the answer complies with all of your thoughts. So first please take a moment to recall and accept everything you felt and understood and rejected and accepted when you wrote that OP.

...ok so from there.... first stop, buddhahood.... you wrote, and good on you:
is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format";
This is something that anyone with the slightest ability to think for theselves will consider when diving into the four noble truths: the fourth truth, the truth of the path, is two way. Daa. Of course it is two way. And i can go straight to hell (am human now). That fact alone is proof that the path to enlightenment also serves as the path to hell.

So maybe that is enough. What do i really know about the actual origin of the first link of dependent origination? Everything, because its all here in my mind. And you know everything also. So my advice is pratyyeka buddha path, focus on prooving and disproving all ideas that you and others have.

Well, i will say one more thing...
If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself?
You know the answer to this.... ..... not only are you a real human being (as opposed to an illusion, see second of two truths), inside your mind/brain still lives the sensitive child that you once were. And you can make an #$% of yourself and hurt that childs feelings, or you can share lovng kindness (based in part on compassion).
Thanks for your sensitive comments. Yeah, I do experience myself as a human being, the Buddha addressed human beings, not phantasms. Something new for me to think about.

steveb1
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by steveb1 » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:11 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:31 pm
"Not self" is descriptive, not prescriptive, hence its open to interpretations, and the way you interpret it, says nothing about it, but more about the quality of your mind. This is why Kamma works!
Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
If you interpret it as: "why bother" would that lead to the end of your suffering? The choice is yours. You can always try :smile:
Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I'll always keep trying.
:)

stevie
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by stevie » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:07 am

steveb1 wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:18 am
(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

I only have a lay person's grasp of Theravada, but from what I've read, Shakyamuni taught that there is no soul or individual personal entity to begin with; and even much less of a one regarding rebirth.
That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

3) Ditto re: "my" rebirth:

First, that rebirth won't be me or "of" me. Rather, it will be the emergence of just one more mere cipher, a carrier of my ripples (karmic burden), but it won't be me, so why bother?

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern? Why should he or she enjoy the fruits of my store of merit or suffer my karmic debt? I owe this future "person" nothing.
If I am no-self, so too will my rebirth pattern be no-self, just another pointless gust of empty wind.
I could see expending effort toward an "auspicious rebirth" of MYSELF as a human being who will benefit from my previous lifetimes of merit and Dharma-knowledge. But that's exactly what Shakyamuni denied. There can be NO rebirth of "ME" ... and thus a meritorious Dharma-led life NOW furnishes me with NOTHING later on.
So, again - why bother? What's the point?

If hatred or compassion is merely a game between two or more ciphers, no-selves, then what's the point? What's in it (Buddhistic self-denial, learning the Dharma, facilitating a "good" rebirth) if Anatta is the central fact of our (illusory) lives?

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?
I have found this nice post looking for something that appears to be relevant for everyday life. Most of your questions have been mine too at some time in the past when I have met this or that doctrine of established budddhist traditions in the context of this prominent 'anatta' doctrine or doctrine of the 'emptiness of persons' that appeared as if dominating all of buddhism.

Most of your questions start with 'Why should I ...?' and let me make this clear: I am not saying that you should. From my perspective everybody is able to learn what is good for her/him and decide accordingly. However what I am saying is that you obviously do bother. Why would you have written this post if you didn't bother?

So there seems to be that discrepancy between the concept 'I am a mere illusion' and conditioned experience that makes you bother. (I am assuming here that conditioned experience is prior to full-fledged conceptuality). I do bother too, so I know that discrepancy. Maybe it's because the concept 'I am a mere illusion' is merely a thought not corresponding to my conditioned experience which is kind of 'deeper' or deeply engrained?

I think that that is relevant for 'Dharma in Everyday Life': to work with one's conditioned experience and not to reject it on the basis of mere thoughts. Also, in case I am a mere illusion why should I have thoughts that aren't illusionary, too? If my conditioned experience is illusory isn't my conceptuality necessarily a product of that conditioned experience and thus illusory, too?
So 'to work with my conditioned experience' seems to imply 1. to accept my conditioned experience it as it is since it is impossible for me to escape from it - at least not by means of conceptuality which is its product -; 2. not to practice in opposition to my conditioned experience and - last but not least - 3. to keep up and to integrate awareness of the illusionary in the context of all this.

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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by steveb1 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am

Thanks much for replying to my post, and for your kind words. You've come up with workable tactics, especially like those three that come at the end of your post.

Since I wrote my comments I experienced a conversion to Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism. For reasons not entirely clear even to me, the problems that drove me to post seem to have receded.

I can only offer this. The conversion experience consisted of what in Shin is called the reception of Shinjin. Shinjin means "perfect faith". Never before have I had an adamantine faith. I hasten to add that this is not my accomplishment or my attainment.

On the contrary, Shin holds that in this current age of Dharma decline, we ought to rely solely on the Buddha's (Amida/Amitayus/Amitabha) providential grace. Thus I do not boast of achieving my perfect faith, because I didn't do it - the Buddha gave it to me as a sheer, unearned gift - a transcendental gift which Shin likes to call "the raft from the Other Shore".

Since conversion, my mind has been free of the kind of concern that my post expressed. Shin views Enlightenment, Bodhi and Buddhahood not as something we attain via self-effort in this life, but rather as a state that we enter immediately upon death, through Amida's Other Power. Our state in the Buddha's "Pure Land" is nothing less than the blossoming of our Buddha Nature which had lain dormant during our earthly life. Most important for the Mahayanist, when we become a Buddha in the Pure Land, our original aspiration toward Buddhahood will have been perfectly met.

So I no longer spend time speculating and/or worrying about my relationship with samsara, the Buddha and the Dharma. Shin seems to have simplified everything for me. Because of that, I offer an apology if this current post falls far short of the questions I originally asked, and which you perhaps wanted to pursue in more detail. I do thank you for your kind words and for replying to my question. I'm happy to talk about Shin but only if it is a subject that would interest you.

Blessings. Be well!

muni
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by muni » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:37 pm

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"
"Others are more important than oneself". This is not to take literary! It is a method to be freed of suffering. His Holiness The Dalai Lama said " care about others, for they are with more, you are only one. This to break through suffering selfcenteredness. Again this is not literary meant, is meditation, which then flows in daily life.

Open your heart for all and you lose what causes suffering.

The Four Nobles Truths offer clarity here about.

:namaste:
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

stevie
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by stevie » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:24 pm

steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
...
Since conversion, my mind has been free of the kind of concern that my post expressed....

So I no longer spend time speculating and/or worrying about my relationship with samsara, the Buddha and the Dharma. Shin seems to have simplified everything for me.
Reading this I rejoice over the buddhist diversity which ensures that every individual can find what corresponds to its needs and inclinations. :twothumbsup:
steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
Thanks much for replying to my post, and for your kind words ...
... Because of that, I offer an apology if this current post falls far short of the questions I originally asked, and which you perhaps wanted to pursue in more detail. ...
No problem. your post has been a great inspiration and I enjoyed responding to it and sorting some of my (illusory) thoughts. So I have to thank you.

steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
Blessings. Be well!
The same to you!

steveb1
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by steveb1 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:39 pm

muni wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:37 pm
2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"
"Others are more important than oneself". This is not to take literary! It is a method to be freed of suffering. His Holiness The Dalai Lama said " care about others, for they are with more, you are only one. This to break through suffering selfcenteredness. Again this is not literary meant, is meditation, which then flows in daily life.

Open your heart for all and you lose what causes suffering.

The Four Nobles Truths offer clarity here about.

:namaste:
Thanks. Yes, it is easy to take the teachings of any religion too literally. And I agree that an open heart leads more to compassionate action than does a closed heart.

steveb1
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by steveb1 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:40 pm

stevie wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:24 pm
steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
...
Since conversion, my mind has been free of the kind of concern that my post expressed....

So I no longer spend time speculating and/or worrying about my relationship with samsara, the Buddha and the Dharma. Shin seems to have simplified everything for me.
Reading this I rejoice over the buddhist diversity which ensures that every individual can find what corresponds to its needs and inclinations. :twothumbsup:
steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
Thanks much for replying to my post, and for your kind words ...
... Because of that, I offer an apology if this current post falls far short of the questions I originally asked, and which you perhaps wanted to pursue in more detail. ...
No problem. your post has been a great inspiration and I enjoyed responding to it and sorting some of my (illusory) thoughts. So I have to thank you.

steveb1 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 am
Blessings. Be well!
The same to you!
Thanks! Nice talking with you.

:)

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:03 am

You practice dharma for other beings.
You practice for people who aren't even here yet.
There is no self in Buddhism. No Soul.
But there is karma, and all of your karma will someday ripen
and manifest as another life,
as a totally different being who also has no intrinsic existence,
but who thinks they do, which will lead them to all sorts of suffering.
So, practice dharma for that person.
Who knows...maybe they will remember you!
.
.
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Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

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