Buddha-Basics (Part XIII) — No Self, No Problem!
Here’s some news for you that you may find startling, so you’d best brace yourself:
You see, your sense of your “you” is just your illusion. There is no “you” there, never was or will be.
Or, at least, there is no “you” that’s the separate, ongoing “you” you think you are… a “you” that you constantly contrast to the rest of this life and world you think of as “not you.” In fact, your “you” is just your mind’s cutting up and dividing the world into “you” and “you not … a “you” and a “not you” that you can stop dividing in two.
And, in Buddhism, the fact that there is no “you” — and no “not you” separate from “you” for that matter – is a very nice thing. That’s because your “you” is always causing you a lot of dissatisfaction and trouble. This “you” is always bumping and crashing into, running toward or running away from, judging and feeling separate from, all the rest of the world that your “you” thinks is a separate “not you.”
In Zazen, you can just stop that dividing and cutting up, running toward and running away from, judging and feeling separate that you feel.
Thus, drop all that division of “you” and “not you.” Drop the judgments, attachments, aversions and friction, and your “you” can’t mess you up!. NO SELF, NO PROBLEM! (‘Cause you need a “self” bumping into a “not-self” in order to have a problem.)
However, before you quit paying your taxes or quit your job because there’s no “you” and never was, remember: that is only one way for you to look at “you.” That’s because, of course, there most certainly — IS — a “you.” And that “you” is perfectly you. So, just because there is no “you”… don’t think that there is no “you”. You can bet your bottom dollar that there is a “you” too … even though there isn’t!
Are “you” confused now?
As you will soon hear, there’s no need for you to be!
Other earlier “Buddha-Basics” sit-a-longs looked at Dukkha (suffering, dissatisfaction) and Anicca (impermanence). Today, the topic is the third of the so-called Buddhist “Three Marks of Existence” – Anatta, or “no self.”
CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.
Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.
If you would like to here a pretty good interview with a neuropsychologist who explains a bit of the mechanism by which the human brain creates a sensation of "self" ... this is a pretty good one ...
Self is a Network Phenomenon
We’re joined again by Neuropsychologist and Theravada teacher, Rick Hanson. This time we explore the Buddhist proposition of anatta, or selflessness, from the point of view of neuroscience and the brain. Rick explores whether a self actually exists using the following 4 core attributes of how a self is often defined:
It is unified & coherent
It is stable & enduring
It is independent
It is the whole of experience
Looking at current research on how the self manifests in the brain, as what Hanson calls a “network phenomenon”, he deconstructs each of these four attributes, arguing that “self is not special inside the brain.”