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cmbaye2007
07 Dec 11, 00:54
First off I do not think there is a right answer or a wrong answer, also I am not fishing for a certain answer, just want some peoples views on the subjects.

1) NON-Self. This confuses me some what. I mean I know I see the world through my mind and base it on my experiences right? I also think that every thing changes even me, my mind, thoughts and “soul” if you will. Just like energy cannot be destroyed it can only be transformed, I think that’s the same with the “soul”. Ideas, beliefs?

2) How to stop craving for things. How to do daily things to fallow the third noble truth. I have trouble with this one because I always want things, whither it be friends or something in my personal life like craving to read more or to be able to lift heaver weights at the gym. Or material like cars, I have a odd running shoe addiction lots of running shoes but I can only run in one pair, clothes or parts for my car.

3) Finally I have a question on relationships. Not so much the relationship part but the attachment part, attachment causes suffering, I don't think I have been in a healthy relationship ever but I don’t know how to be with someone Romantic and not be attached. I have read that the Buddha said friends are something like the whole of holy life, but also that someone said that if one has a friend in their spiritual practice then fallow them to the end, if not that's okay too. Honestly I'm happiest when alone, far away from others. But at times I would like to be close to someone again, but in my last romantic relationship I kept thinking that it was causing me to suffer because I was attached to someone. Ideas?

I have plenty more questions, I just can form them into short questions very well. Sorry if they drag on.

Esho
07 Dec 11, 02:40
Hello cmbaye,

One thing is for sure. You are getting right into the core of what the Buddha taught and that is a good news.

I will do my best try here:

The Non Self issue can be understood through meditation and the development of Right View as the forerunner of the eightfold noble path.

The view that has to be developed goes through the careful experience of "This is not mine", "this is not my self" and "this I am not".

To reflect about the illusion of ownership is a good meditation/contemplation object to be started with.

Once we have realized the illusion of ownership we can feel a relieve of a burden that makes life easier and happier.

We start to understand that the desire of possession of whatever is about craving and it is the main source of unsatisfactoriness because the nature of all things -including ideas- is impermanent and incapable of bringing us permanent happiness.

When we start to experience the quenching of craving, where there is no real need to have or posses anything at all, then it comes the realization about the pain that attachements have brought -and still bring- to our life, because of that ilusion of ownership...

We do not own anything at all. Letting go is the way of the peaceful and developed mind.

Anyway, hope that somebody can give us here, a better understanding...

;)

Esho
07 Dec 11, 02:43
cmbaye,

For sure this lecture that can bring you a better introduction into the issue:

Everything That Arises Passes Away by Ajahn Sumedho (http://www.amaravati.org/documents/the_way_it_is/03eta.html)

Kind wishes,

;D

Aloka
07 Dec 11, 03:58
An understanding of the impermanence of self, others and of phenomena in general can help to minimise clinging/attachment.

This short essay "Investigation"might be helpful towards understanding this, as well as 'not-self' - anatta

excerpt:


" In our meditation, once we begin to realise the limitations, the unsatisfactoriness, the changing nature of all sensory experience, we also begin to realise it is not me or mine, it is 'anatta', not-self.

So, realising this, we begin to free ourselves from identification with the sensory conditions. Now this is done not through aversion to them, but through understanding them as they are. It is a truth to be realised, not a belief. 'Anatta' is not a Buddhist belief but an actual realisation. Now if you don't spend any time in your life trying to investigate and understand it, you will probably live your whole life on the assumption that you are your body. Even though you might at some moment think, 'Oh, I am not the body', you read some kind of inspired poetry or some new philosophical angle. You might think it is a good idea that one isn't the body, but you haven't really realised that. Even though some people, intellectuals and so forth, will say, 'We are not the body, the body is not self', that is easy to say, but to really know that is something else.

Through this practice of meditation, through the investigation and understanding of the way things are, we begin to free ourselves from attachment. When we no longer expect or demand, then of course we don't feel the resulting despair and sorrow and grief when we don't get what we want. So this is the goal -- 'Nibbana', or realisation of non-grasping of any phenomena that have a beginning and an ending. When we let go of this insidious and habitual attachment to what is born and dies, we begin to realise the Deathless.

Some people just live their lives reacting to life because they have been conditioned to do so, like Pavlovian dogs. If you are not awakened to the way things are, then you really are merely a conditioned intelligent creature rather than a conditioned stupid dog. You may look down on Pavlov's dogs that salivate when the bell rings, but notice how we do very similar things. This is because with sensory experience it is all conditioning, it is not a person, it is no 'soul' or 'personal essence'.

These bodies, feelings, memories and thoughts are perceptions conditioned into the mind through pain, through having been born as a human being, being born into the families we have, and the class, race, nationality; dependent on whether we have a male or female body, attractive or unattractive, and so forth. All these are just the conditions that are not ours, not me, not mine. These conditions, they follow the laws of nature, the natural laws.

We cannot say, 'I don't want my body to get old' -- well, we can say that, but no matter how insistent we are, the body still gets old. We cannot expect the body to never feel pain or get ill or always have perfect vision and hearing. We hope, don't we? 'I hope I will always be healthy, I will never become an invalid and I will always have good eyesight, never become blind; have good ears so I will never be one of those old people that others have to yell at; and that I will never get senile and always have control of my faculties 'til I die at ninety-five, fully alert, bright, cheerful, and die just in my sleep without any pain.'

That is how we would all like it. Some of us might hold up for a long time and die in an idyllic way, tomorrow all our eyeballs might fall out. It is unlikely, but it could happen! However, the burden of life diminishes considerably when we reflect on the limitations of our life. Then we know what we can achieve, what we can learn from life. So much human misery comes out of expecting a lot and never quite being able to get everything one has hoped for.

So in our meditation and insightful understanding of the way things are, we see that beauty, refinement, pleasure are impermanent conditions -- as well as pain, misery and ugliness. If you really understand that, then you can enjoy and endure whatever happens to you. Actually, much of the lesson in life is learning to endure what we don't like in ourselves and in the world around us; being able to be patient and kindly, and not make a scene over the imperfections in the sensory experience.

We can adapt and endure and accept the changing characteristics of the sensory birth and death cycle by letting go and no longer attaching to it. When we free ourselves from identity with it, we experience our true nature, which is bright, clear, knowing; but is not a personal thing anymore, it is not 'me' or 'mine' -- there is no attainment or attachment to it. We can only attach to that which is not ourself!

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Venerable_Ajahn_Sumedho:_Investigation





:hands:

Trilaksana
07 Dec 11, 06:19
Non-self is usually understood through impermanence and the interconnected nature of all things. You are constantly changing so there is not a consistent you/self. You are also completely dependent on the world around you and could never exist without everything else. In Buddhism it's taught that everything has the nature of non-self. That's my understanding of it at least. I'm fairly new to Buddhism.

tariki
07 Dec 11, 07:37
cmbaye, yes, I think the "non-self" idea is confusing, and still confuses me if I think about it and come to definitive conclusions. Some argue that the better term is "not-self", which seems to point to the idea that the "self" we hold so dear is not so much to be "got rid of" as understood, or seen through. (Its when I ask myself just "who" will be "seeing through it" that my own confusion can begin........) I think though that recognising the "false" self can be some sort of handle on opening to insight. Watching the games it plays and perhaps not taking them so seriously, even being gentle with it, being accepting and smiling at its tricks. Some one once spoke of "spiritual materialism", and part of this is thinking of having a "spiritual self" that grows and gains in insight, that accumulates knowledge and understanding, gradually refining itself and making itself a suitable candidate for "liberation". All nonsense of course. So it does seem to me that we should be a bit more laid back, get to know ourselves - just try not to take our "self" too seriously.

Ajahn Chan has said........Do not worry about enlightenment. When growing a tree, you plant it, water it, fertilize it, keep the bugs away; and if these things are done properly, the tree will naturally grow. How quickly it grows, however, is something you cannot control. (From "A Still Forest Pool")

So, at least for me, its more about "keeping the bugs away", and what is "real" takes care of itself, even if it is not a self at all.

D.T.Suzuki has said that we do not empty ourselves, but realise that we are empty from the beginning, which is another thing entirely.

Aloka
07 Dec 11, 08:10
(From "A Still Forest Pool")



Link to 'A Still Forest Pool' by Ajahn Chah

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn_Chah_A_Still_Forest_Pool.htm


Please could everyone give URL links for any quotes used in posts, so that others may access them for reference and study purposes if required (also because of potential copyright issues)

.

cmbaye2007
07 Dec 11, 09:04
Non-self is usually understood through impermanence and the interconnected nature of all things. You are constantly changing so there is not a consistent you/self. You are also completely dependent on the world around you and could never exist without everything else. In Buddhism it's taught that everything has the nature of non-self. That's my understanding of it at least. I'm fairly new to Buddhism.

i 100% agree with you. my high school teacher came in one day and said as he was riding his bike across the bridge that connects louisville to indy and for the first time he noticed he was not crossing the same river he did yesterday. the water is always different, the mud under the water is different. its a totally different river then the day before. im pretty sure he also realized the same is true for everything, everything changes just like the "self". but my problem is, is it still not a river, a body of moving water. the "self" changes from the start but it still had a start right? like if you put up a wall you start from the bottom and work your way up, the soul starts at the beginning and transforms, but its still apart of everything right.

i can see the self as being one with everything, but not so much non existent. if that make sense.

Aloka
07 Dec 11, 09:30
the soul starts at the beginning and transforms, but its still apart of everything right.



Hi cmbaye,

Buddhists don't believe in a permanently existing 'soul'.


i can see the self as being one with everything, but not so much non existent. if that make sense.

The 'self' is constantly changing and therefore impermanent and not a fixed unchanging entity. An example being the 'me' when I was a teenager isn't the same as the 'me' of today either mentally or physically....and so on. In fact I can change my opinions from one day to the next, and also if I was depressed yesterday I might be really happy today !

cmbaye2007
08 Dec 11, 02:03
right, im not trying to say i think there is a permanently existing soul. what im trying to get at is what reincarnates? thats one of the things i never understood well.

i think you are saying that the "permanent self" does not exist because it always changes, i agree with this. the thing which i am or am not is what is causing me confusion ha.

daverupa
08 Dec 11, 02:31
right, im not trying to say i think there is a permanently existing soul. what im trying to get at is what reincarnates? thats one of the things i never understood well.

i think you are saying that the "permanent self" does not exist because it always changes, i agree with this. the thing which i am or am not is what is causing me confusion ha.

Sabbasava Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html) (MN 2)


"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

...

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices.

Trilaksana
08 Dec 11, 03:25
i 100% agree with you. my high school teacher came in one day and said as he was riding his bike across the bridge that connects louisville to indy and for the first time he noticed he was not crossing the same river he did yesterday. the water is always different, the mud under the water is different. its a totally different river then the day before. im pretty sure he also realized the same is true for everything, everything changes just like the "self". but my problem is, is it still not a river, a body of moving water. the "self" changes from the start but it still had a start right? like if you put up a wall you start from the bottom and work your way up, the soul starts at the beginning and transforms, but its still apart of everything right.

i can see the self as being one with everything, but not so much non existent. if that make sense.

The part I put in bold is very interesting. From a Buddhist perspective, particularly a Zen perspective, the river wouldn't have a "start" in the purest sense. I don't fully understand this myself but I hope I can offer some insight. Before the river was there it existed in a different form. Maybe in rain clouds and before that it was in a different form you could trace it back forever we can't find the start we can't find the end. If there was a beginning of the universe then from a scientific perspective the matter that is that river existed from the beginning just in different forms. The same is true of everything. Where does it begin?

Esho
08 Dec 11, 03:48
MODERATORS NOTE:

*---For further posting, please keep in mind that the Beginners Forum needs clear concepts for the benefit of newcomers to Buddhism, rather than being a platform for debating between our members.

---*

Yuan
08 Dec 11, 03:55
i 100% agree with you. my high school teacher came in one day and said as he was riding his bike across the bridge that connects louisville to indy and for the first time he noticed he was not crossing the same river he did yesterday. the water is always different, the mud under the water is different. its a totally different river then the day before. im pretty sure he also realized the same is true for everything, everything changes just like the "self". but my problem is, is it still not a river, a body of moving water. the "self" changes from the start but it still had a start right? like if you put up a wall you start from the bottom and work your way up, the soul starts at the beginning and transforms, but its still apart of everything right.


Let us say that you are drawing a circle and then you kept drawing right on top of it, over and over, say thousands of times. Does it really matter where the start is? Buddha refused to answer the question of origin as well, because the point is moot.

Another way to look at this is this: Let's us assume that your pen's first point of the circle is RED. But your pen changes colors randomly. So as you draw your circle, the first circle would have rainbow color effect. The second circle, on top of the first, would muddy the color of the circle, it will get dark and brown. Do this a few more times, you will have a completely black circle. And your circle will remain black no matter how many more times you draw. The only way out is to draw another dot outside of the circle and stop.

The new dot outside the circle could be blue, could be brown, could be yellow, but it doesn't have to be RED. If you don't like the color of the new dot, draw another dot.

Aloka
08 Dec 11, 04:16
right, im not trying to say i think there is a permanently existing soul. what im trying to get at is what reincarnates? thats one of the things i never understood well.

i think you are saying that the "permanent self" does not exist because it always changes, i agree with this. the thing which i am or am not is what is causing me confusion ha.

My personal view about this issue of what reincarnates/is reborn is that it's speculative and pointless trying to figure out.... so I tend to take a neutral stance on these matters, in favour of attention to my practice in this life here and now.

Element
12 Dec 11, 04:24
right, im not trying to say i think there is a permanently existing soul. what im trying to get at is what reincarnates?
later day Buddhists have created theories that consciousness reincarnates but the scriptures show the Buddha did not teach this

the Buddha said what reincarnates (or takes "birth again"; "rebirth") is karma (action)

for example, you enjoy some delicious ice-cream. then, at a later time, your mind is takes birth into a state where it wishes for that same ice-cream

this is rebirth or reincarnation

thus, based on what the Buddha taught, many Buddhists hold these mental tendencies (such as for ice-cream), if not extinguished in this life, will be reborn after death

this is rebirth or reincarnation

what reincarnates are the mental tendencies (cravings) produced by karma (action)

kind regards

:peace:

ngodngam
13 Dec 11, 15:42
1. Non-Self

To answer this question, I will use a cartoon as an example for explanation, .e.g. Ben10. When we see Ben in television, we would see or feel that the boy runs and fights. If fact, it is not the same boy runs and fights, it is just so many pictures show continuously very fast. Our eyes are not sufficiently fast to capture each particular picture at a time, so we feel that the boy is really running and fighting.

Another explanation is a fire on a candle. We would see or feel that the fire on a candle exists and is the same fire until it ends. However, if we use a special or high technology video camera to record it and replay slowly, we will see the truth that in fact such fire appears and disappears all the times. Our eyes are just too slow to capture this.

This concept is applied to ‘Self’. We may feel that we have same sole all the times because our mind is too slow or not sufficiently fast to see the truth that the soul births and ends all the times. I do not request you to believe this as you are the only one who can prove this to yourself. (I cannot prove your sole to you.) If you practice in a right way, you will be able to see this truth by yourself.

2. Craving

You want to stop carving. If you can stop carving, it means that you can control your mind and control carving, so you have self. This is contrary to the Buddha’s teaching.

Three things which make us crave things are ‘greed’, ‘hate’ (or angry), and ‘delusion’. We call them as carving (or ‘Tanha’). We are driven by one or more of these three things whole day and whole life.

Without the Buddha’s teaching, people will do one of these two things, i.e. follow carving or fight to control or stop carving. Buddha’s way is the middle of those two sided ways. A Buddhist is aware of those carvings by having ‘Sati’ (awareness or skillful attentiveness) and does not follow them and also does not fight to control them.

We call the Four Noble ‘Truth’, right?. So, a Buddhist needs to practice in order to know the ‘Truth’. We do not practice to control those carving or stop carving. If you can control or stop carving, it would support you to believe in more self. This will be contrary to the Buddha’s teaching. On the other way round, if you see the truth that you cannot control or stop carving, you will believe more in no-self. How could your mind be yours given that you could not control it? If you can control your mind why don’t you order it to think only happiness for the whole life. (Do not think anything unhappy.)

Again, we practice to know the truth. What truth? The ‘Four Noble Truth’. The four noble truth starts from ‘suffering’ (Dukkha). What is suffering? It is our body and mind. In order to understand this you should understand Characteristics Common to All Conditioned Things (‘Samannalakkhana’).

Your may read my comments nos. 16 and 21 in the below thread for more information.
http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?1360-An-observation./page2

3. The Buddha said friends are something like the whole of holy life because if you do not have the Buddha or any follower of the Buddha as your friend, you will never have chance to learn Buddha’s teaching. If you have only bad friends, they will drag you to do bad things and will have a bad future or consequence. If you have the Buddha or any follower of the Buddha as your friend, you will have chance to learn Buddha’s teaching, and have chance to get out of this wheel of rebirth.

Your romantic relationship will make you suffered because everything has its beginning has an end. Your lover may betray you later, may die, or may be injured or hurt etc. which can make you suffered. If there is a meeting, there will be a departure. You will suffer at the time of departure. At the time of keeping relationship, you will also worry about your lover. At the early stage which you court your lover, you will also want/need to him/her to love you. So, you have chance to be suffered all along.

However, if you do not intended to be a monk, you can have your lover and have household life. It is possible for many household life persons to achieve the 'Stream-winner' provided that you need to practice (on the right way).

ngodngam
13 Dec 11, 15:47
Let us say that you are drawing a circle and then you kept drawing right on top of it, over and over, say thousands of times. Does it really matter where the start is? Buddha refused to answer the question of origin as well, because the point is moot.

The Buddha also taught on the origin. Please have a look on the teaching on Dependent of Origination (Paticca-samuppada).