Treeleaf Founder and Priest
12/14 - The Observing Self p.122
What's to observe? I've no idea. This stuff is very abstract. The 'observing self' is putting a name on something that doesn't really exist, isn't it? If there is no observing self, if it is empty, and that which is observed is also empty, then what are we talking about? What good does it do us even to think about these concepts - we seem to be solidifying something, bringing something that doesn't exist into existence. But I suppose the concept was there already or we wouldn't have so much trouble from it. In one of his books Robert Aitken said that we don't have to get rid of the self - if we absorb ourselves fully in everything we do, it automatically disappears. Something like Dogen's phrase ' to study the self is to forget the self'?
I was just observing myself spinning my wheels while thinking about what to say about this chapter when your posting suddenly appeared. Thank you.
I think what we observe here has many names: small self, ego, karma. You're right, they don't really exist, but the funny thing about them is, we only come to the realization that they don't exist if we observe them very closely and watch them dissolve. Otherwise we're so caught up in our illusions that we never even notice that we're making 'much ado about nothing'. We simply take it for granted that our likes/dislikes, concepts of good/bad, rich/poor, beautiful/ugly, etc. have some objective basis in reality. Only when we really start to look closely can we come to the realization that that is not the case.
Originally Posted by John