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Thread: I have some questions.

  1. #1
    Forums Member cmbaye2007's Avatar
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    I have some questions.

    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.

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    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...

    Last edited by Esho; 07 Dec 11 at 03:20.

  3. #3
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    cmbaye,

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

    Everything That Arises Passes Away by Ajahn Sumedho

    Kind wishes,


  4. #4
    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/V..._Investigation



  5. #5
    Forums Member Trilaksana's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    Forums Member tariki's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tariki
    (From "A Still Forest Pool")
    Link to 'A Still Forest Pool' by Ajahn Chah

    http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Aj...orest_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)

    .

  8. #8
    Forums Member cmbaye2007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trilaksana View Post
    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.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cmbaye2007
    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'.

    Quote Originally Posted by cmbaye2007
    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 !

  10. #10
    Forums Member cmbaye2007's Avatar
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    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.

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