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Aloka
15 Jan 15, 06:36
Sam Harris talking for nearly 7 minutes on "The Self is an Illusion."

Any thoughts about what he has to say ?



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfkO_X0l0

McKmike
17 Jan 15, 20:20
Hi Aloka

I find Sam Harris interesting, he has spent many years on a quest to find the heart of mysticism stripping out religiousity

He is a neurosciencentist and has investigated mystical experience from both a scientific and practitioner's perspective, so I think he has a unique take on the buddhist path.

In this podcast he is pitching the talk to his perceived audience, a bit convoluted for my taste, but the basic message that which ever way you look at it there is no evidence of a self, physically or mentally and through practice anyone can realise this

Once realised far from being the end of existence, existence is enhanced, this statement is made from his own experience
This should be encouraging to all secular buddhists as he is a champion for the cause

AlecS
06 Feb 15, 22:34
If someone says something like "I'm angry, jealous, etc. because that's just how I am," the principle of anatta or "no-self" disagrees with that. Likewise, I doubt you'd have much trouble convincing someone of how "things lead to things which in turn lead to other things" as a means of explaining rebirth. That's the only time I've found these concepts useful.

cosmic4z
16 May 15, 17:40
Hi Aloka,

Thank you for posting this.

I tend to think, that the self, is that which perceives.

If I think the self is an illusion; then I am entertaining the notion of a 'self', and that, it is not 'real'; now, I'm not so sure what 'self' and 'real' mean, but what it is that perceives both of these mental constructs?

cosmic4z
17 May 15, 21:46
Then again, what do I know? Not much TBH.

McKmike
19 Jun 15, 13:00
Hi Aloka,

I tend to think, that the self, is that which perceives.

If I think the self is an illusion; then I am entertaining the notion of a 'self', and that, it is not 'real'; now, I'm not so sure what 'self' and 'real' mean, but what it is that perceives both of these mental constructs?

Hi Cosmic4z

Interestingly your comment is addressed in the book group posting in chapter 27 "Beginners in meditation often assume that our ability to witness means that there is someone who is witnessing; a particular, unique, and lasting subject or agent within us that is the witness. We have a strong tendency to dichotomize our world, especially between the perceived and the perceiver. Similarly, we often make a distinction between the doer and the action: I’m the doer and I am doing something, I am the speaker who is speaking. Most of us consider the idea that there is a perceiver or a doer to be simple common sense. Buddhism challenges this assumption."

daverupa
19 Jun 15, 22:11
Relatively-speaking, removal of sakkaya-ditthi is much easier than asmi-mana, and in fact for a stream-enterer who has removed sakkaya-ditthi the primary efforts are directed towards an ongoing lessening of greed/hate/delusion, but greed & hate will drop away long before conceit/delusion does - that's what the once-returner & non-returner experience. So, because lack of sakkaya-ditthi is an early goal while lack of asmi-mana is an aspect of the final goal, it's important to distinguish between sakkaya-ditthi and asmi-mana.

The first is a set of self-views that have as their basis certain cultural, metaphysical, or otherwise nescient assumptions. Harris mentions one of these as the idea of 'me' riding around in the body. This is the classic (https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.47) "self as in form" or perhaps "perception/consciousness as self", and is more theoretical than experiential: people have ideas that, when examined, are actually contrary to the evidence, but yet the theory is held.

This sakkaya-ditthi drops away for Stream-Enterers, but asmi-mana remains for all but the arahant. This is "conceit", which is not a base for views so much as a comparative perspective, one that compares others to oneself with an evaluative component: better, worse, same. It's also a felt sense of subjectivity, that this current experiential/phenomenological point of view is "me" and has always been "me" and will be "me" when it next shows up. "Today I am worse than that person, but tomorrow I will be better" sorts of thoughts. It isn't a clung-to personality the way sakkaya-ditthi is, but is instead a more subtle "I own it" approach to subjectivity generally.

So a few thoughts about the Harris video:

1) He talks about self-view as though it was present or absent, but there are actually graded stages of treatment, from an initial diminution to a final cessation. So, removal of sakkaya-ditthi is the beginning of the noble effort, not a place to rest on one's laurels - one isn't "done" when sakkaya-ditthi is gone, and conceit is very subtle.

2) "Consciousness", as an aggregate, arises & passes away, as do they all - but Harris seems to think of consciousness as on ongoing and singular 'thing' rather than as impermanent & permutating features of experience in the six sense spheres.

PaulE
21 Jun 15, 16:40
So a few thoughts about the Harris video:

1) He talks about self-view as though it was present or absent, but there are actually graded stages of treatment, from an initial diminution to a final cessation. So, removal of sakkaya-ditthi is the beginning of the noble effort, not a place to rest on one's laurels - one isn't "done" when sakkaya-ditthi is gone, and conceit is very subtle.


These comments have been really instructive, given the state of my own understanding of Buddhist teaching re. overcoming the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. The notion that self-view is either present or absent is a view that I have been holding on to. Your explanation has thrown some familiar terms used to describe stages on the path into a much clearer light for me. It is this knowledge of the graded stages of treatment that I hope will help me to examine my own experiences far more critically in the future.

Thanks

PaulE

cosmic4z
14 Oct 15, 20:12
Isn't the notion that a self is present, just as erroneous as the.notion that self isn't present? I mean, both are mental constructs yeah?

After all, experience is happening, regardless of which notion we entertain.

Jagodage
17 Oct 15, 04:16
I like to add some comments to Daverupa notes on Sakkaya Ditthi and Asmi-mana.

An individual can be visualize as a person having lot of strings attached all l over the surface of body.These include thick strings as well as fine strings. At the time of achieving First Stage of Noble Eight fold path the (Sakkaya Ditthi) thick strings get gradually loosen and removed .Leaving the fine strings(Asmi-mana) behinds.At the Final Stage the fine strings will get removed.

One character of an individual who remove Sakkaya Ditthi can be that he will consumed sufficient portion of resources so as to maintenance himself to achieve Final Stage and until his passing away.He has already prune down his excess desires as well as too stringiness.

What is the sweetness ?

Only who taste treacle will know the taste of sweetness.

With Metta

Jagodage