Thread: Difficult to understand

  1. #1

    Difficult to understand

    Dear friends,

    Which Buddhist teaching do you find the most difficult to understand... and why ?



  2. #2
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    That one is easy. No self. If I have no self where do the thoughts come from? I read and study and meditate on it and think I have it figured out, then I will start having doubts again. I know I need to let go of it...but it keeps coming up. I would appreciate any help on this.

  3. #3
    Hi justusryans,

    This transcript of a talk by Ajahn Sumedho might be helpful :

    http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books9/Aj...ersonality.htm

    Excerpt:


    ....the Buddha's teaching on anatta, was to point out the reality of non-self in very simple ways. It wasn't a practice where your personality totally disappears for ever, where you no longer have any emotional feelings whatsoever and where you're just a total blank forever. Anatta is a practice for ordinary everyday life in which you notice when personality arises and when it ceases.

    When you're really observing it, you'll notice that personality is a very changeable thing. Are you the same person all the time? You might assume that you are. But in observing the actual nature of personality, you'll notice that it changes according to who you're with, the health of the body, and the state of mind. When you're at home with your parents, when you're in a Sangha meeting, when you're chairman of a committee, when you're just a junior member of the Sangha, when you're the chores officer or the work officer or the guest officer, what happens? Personality of course adapts itself to those roles, those situations and those conditions.

    Reading suttas SN 22.45 and SN 22.59 might also be beneficial:

    https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.45

    https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.59



  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justusryans View Post
    That one is easy. No self. If I have no self where do the thoughts come from? I read and study and meditate on it and think I have it figured out, then I will start having doubts again. I know I need to let go of it...but it keeps coming up. I would appreciate any help on this.
    Thoughts come from the mind. For example, the physical body has a painful feeling of hunger & the mind starts to think: "I am hungry". The thought was generated due to the hunger pain rather than due to a 'self'. Yet the mind thinks in terms of 'self' even though the 'self' does not generate the hunger pain & urge to think.

    This said, realising not-self was never regarded as easy because self is an in-born tendency of the mind; a survival instinct.

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    Hi Justusryans

    Firstly I think it worth considering that the Buddha did not say that you do not have a self, what he said was you do not have a permanent unchanging entity.

    The self you have that experiences reality in all it's forms is an ongoing changing process affected and responsive to all the experiences you have.

    Just look at your own experience, are you the same person you were, 5 or 10 years ago, do you still respond to difficulties as you did as a child ? you change and adapt

    When you begin to see this process for yourself, I lot of the Buddha's teachings make a lot more sense

  6. #6
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    Thank you all for all the help! This makes it much clearer for me. Baby steps...

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