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Thread: There is No-Self ... or is there?

  1. #1

    There is No-Self ... or is there?

    I had sent a few questions to Jundo. He asked me to post them along with his answers here. This is one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    ... we are constantly told that one of the key tenets of Buddhism is the idea of anatman, no-Self. Yet some of the Mahayana sutras in the tathagatagarbha and Yogacara traditions seem to put for a notion that there IS indeed some element that is unchanging. In the former case, the idea of the Buddha-nature being a "seed" that always exists, waiting to bloom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Well, you are exactly right. At certain points in Mahayana history, and in certain Sutras such as the Mahaparinirvana, a great Cosmic Self was claimed by some of those sutra authors ... maybe called the Dharmakaya Buddha, or Tathagatagarbha. Some feel that it was the creeping influence of Hinduism and "Bhrahma" as the Great Cosmic One that crept back into Buddhism.

    This is a big topic, and I must head to bed now. I want to say a bit more.
    UPDATE (2yrs later...6/24/2014): see http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post130429
    Last edited by Kaishin; 06-24-2014 at 08:48 PM. Reason: added link to update

  2. #2

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Hi Matt - I get snagged up on this question as well.

    Will wait for Jundo to say more.

    (I think it's partly to do with coming from a Christian background - despite being agnostic/veering towards aetheist - I can't quite let go of the notion (or even
    perhaps the sense) of a soul.

    It's complicated and a bit too tired to express this well just now.

    To be continued ............

    Gassho

    Willow

  3. #3

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Makes me think of the strawberry koan...

    "A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

    Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!"

    Whether we call it no-self or Self, we're lucky to be here. Gather up all the sweetness you can.

    gassho
    Greg

  4. #4

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    This is a big topic, and I must head to bed now. I want to say a bit more.
    Okay, let me try to say a little more about a topic where sometimes not saying is best.

    In a nutshell ...

    As a general theme throughout all the Buddhist Suttas and Sutras ... the Buddha spoke of that which is liberating when one sees through the things of this world ... the things we name and mentally define and call "things", how we feel about them, how we define and feel about ourselves (as another thing we call "me"). However, he usually never really tried to clearly describe what this liberating whatever is when we stop naming/categorizing/defining & "thing-ing" ... cause how can one clearly name/categorize/define something that is precisely about stopping the naming/categorizing/defining & "thing-ing"? :shock:

    Everyone basically agrees that it is very liberating to get through to this place or view or whatever where there are not all these separate, often dissatisfying and conflicting "things" ... and that what is then is some Wholeness, Peace, Oneness of some kind. All the Buddhists basically are on the same page up to here.

    However. generations of Buddhist philosophers and teachers ... for a couple of thousand years ... then tried nonetheless to do their best to describe and define what this Nameless, Wholeness, Peace, Oneness is (if, by the way, "is" is even an applicable verb, cause one of the points of disagreement was whether this 'whatever' "is", or "is not", both "is and is not", neither "is nor is not" or ... something even beyond all those categories! :shock: Reminds me of Bill Clinton trying to describe sex ... "It depends on what 'is' is :roll: ). For example, does "it" exist, or is "it" beyond existence, or something else? Also, does "it" include and somehow embody the "things" or is it completely beyond the "things" which are just total illusion? Is it forever and ever 'permanent' or is it simply timeless beyond all thought of 'permanent and impermanent'? Is it (assuming 'it' even applies as a description) a Thing of sorts ('Thing' with a capital 'T', so as not to confuse it with things). What exactly is this Nirvana/Liberation/Buddhaness?

    And so, to make a long story short ...

    At certain times in Buddhist history, some of those Buddhist philosophers (especially in Mahayana Buddhism) wrote Sutras in which they started to describe and refer to the Whatever that is Peaceful and Whole as ... well, some kind of Cosmic Wholeness or All Pervading Buddha Nature that is Perfect, Permanent ... maybe even a Universal God, a Holy Godhead of sorts. Sometimes they called this Buddha Nature/tathagatagarbha or the Dharmakaya or Vairochana Buddha (Buddha with big 'B') or many other names (here is a picture of ol' Vairochana with some of his entourage):



    ... (although, in all fairness, even then most of the philosophers said that that the names and descriptions really were still just pointing to the reality beyond names and descriptions!)

    Anyway ... to cut to the chase ... in Zazen ... we sit in/as/through-and-through that Wholeness, Peace, Oneness ... right in/as/through-and-through this world of sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly "things" ...

    ... we sit in/as/through-and-through Buddha Nature & the Dharmakaya & Vairochana Buddha all combined! ...

    ... all while not worrying too much, and "giving no nevermind" to names and descriptions and the "thinginess" of whatever the heck we are doing! (assuming, of course, that "we" and "doing" are even good words for what we are doing! :wink: )

    Clear as a bell? 8)

    Gassho, J

  5. #5

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Couldn't possibly be any clearer.

  6. #6

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    As a general theme throughout all the Buddhist Suttas and Sutras ... the Buddha spoke of that which is liberating when one sees through the things of this world ... the things we name and mentally define and call "things", how we feel about them, how we define and feel about ourselves (as another thing we call "me"). However, he usually never really tried to clearly describe what this liberating whatever is when we stop naming/categorizing/defining & "thing-ing" ... cause how can one clearly name/categorize/define something that is precisely about stopping the naming/categorizing/defining & "thing-ing"? :shock:

    Everyone basically agrees that it is very liberating to get through to this place or view or whatever where there are not all these separate, often dissatisfying and conflicting "things" ... and that what is then is some Wholeness, Peace, Oneness of some kind. All the Buddhists basically are on the same page up to here.
    Thank you for this Jundo,

    I have also come to the conclusion that trying to define this no-self is an exercise in futility. We can study the sutras and we can describe and contemplate our experiences, but I think it's impossible to deduct any true description regarding this True self, Unborn, Dharmakaya, Buddha nature, Dzogchen or whatever we try to label it as. We desperately want something unchanging to hold onto, but in Samsara, everything is changing, there is no refuge. Or rather, as Ngak'chang Rinpoche said "Buddhism is always the refuge of no-refuge - it is complete. It is open – it is not closed. And it is wakeful – it is not hiding in some way. Sang-gyé kyab-su ché: I establish confidence in the actuality of complete, open wakefulness."

    We may experience emptiness, the absence of inherent separate existance in ourselves and everything we perceive with our senses. There may be a feeling of inseparability, interconnectedness, wholeness, oneness, freedom, at-homeness, perfection and so on. But to me, it doesn't exist as such. When glimpsing this state, it feels as if this is who I really am, so I like to call this egoless awareness my true self. But at the same time, I try to keep in mind that it is only another view, not the truth, nothing permanent, nothing to cling to. Emptiness easily leads to nihilism. Buddha nature in my opinion is the same as emptiness, but seen from a positive viewpoint. A potential more than an absence. The other side of the two sided coin. But Buddha nature may easily lead to the opposite extreme view, eternalism, atman. Was reality ever born? If it wasn't born, can it still be called permanent? Can reality be impermenent? Can reality be impure? Can reality be aware? It seems to me as if these questions do not apply. Only mind can be aware. What is mind? Mind is everywhere. I don't know more than that.

    When we drop all identification with our views, there is only Suchness, things as they are, as mind perceives them, reflected by the mirror of the mind without distortion. In my current view, that is about as close to the truth of no-self as we may come.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  7. #7

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Jundo, Greg, Pontus - thankyou.

    Sometimes (well often :roll: ) I need reminding that it's pointless to try and pin down the ineffable in words.

    .... and someplace - on another thread - Shokai mentioned to be wary of getting stuck down rabbit holes

    Gassho

    Willow

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    I (if "I" trully exists) or if exist is even the right verb to use :roll: , thoroughly, enjoy reading how each of us endeavors to put things in a nutshell. And, I look out the window to see squirrels that would just love to get hold of those nuts. :shock: :lol:
    What was it Forest's mother said; "Stupid is as stupid does!" (having trouble with that one too) or is it better to say "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." :roll:
    Whether we "are" or "are not" here, at this present moment it is incumbent upon us to be thankful and rejoice by grabbing that last strand of the strawberry bush, moment by moment; life goes on. And, as My aunt Minnie (who lived to be 103 in spite of herself) used to say, "And, If it doesn't, who cares!"

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Thank you Jundo, i really enjoy your history lessons

    And thank you Willow, as i told you yesterday, "You are too kind!"

  10. #10

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Jundo, thank you for your additional comments!

    _/_

  11. #11
    disastermouse
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    People talk about the danger of emptiness, but I think the danger is thinking that it's all empty while still subtlety holding one's self as quite real.

    Chet

  12. #12

    There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Yes, I agree. There is no danger in emptiness. There is danger in wrong view, in being stuck in a view of self and emptiness.

    What is right view?
    That has to be found in one's own practice I believe.

    Our idea of No-self, Unborn, Buddha, Nirvana is always delusional, but right view may provide some framework for integrating our experience and understanding. Through Shikantaza, through practice, we not only manifest, we actualize and realize, make real in our lives, that which we cannot label, that which was always there to begin with, is everywhere and everything without beginning. In actualizing this non-existant No-self, this fundamental nature, we are Buddha. When integrating and abiding in this freedom from selfishness and dukkha in ordinary life, we are Buddha in all aspects of life, on or off the Zafu.

    No-self, Unborn, Buddha, Nirvana is not an idea, not a concept, neither is it the truth, in my opinion. It is the cure, the medicine. Intellectualize about it and you're not taking the medicine as prescribed!

    Here's a Koan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sutra of Queen Srimala's Lion's Roar
    Perhaps there are some of the multitude of beings who because of faith in Buddha’s words arouse the concept of permanence, the concept of joy, the concept of self, and the concept of purity. It is not the inverted view; it is called Right View. Because why? The Dharmakaya of the Tathagata is the paramita of permanence, the paramita of joy, the paramita of self, and the paramita of purity. In regard to the Dharmakaya of the Buddha for those who make this positive view it is called Right View.
    Quote Originally Posted by Huineng in the Platform Sutra
    "What is not eternal is the Buddha-nature," replied the Patriarch, "and what is eternal is the discriminating mind together with all meritorious and demeritorious Dharmas."

    "Your explanation, Sir, contradicts the Sutra," said Zhang.

    "I dare not, since I inherit the 'Heart-Seal' of Lord Buddha," replied the Patriarch.
    Gassho,
    Pontus

  13. #13

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    And practice/life/coming and going still goes on.

    Oops. Where's my box of Buddha? I thought I left it here somewhere.

    One may experience emptiness, but not Buddhism. Not two. I guess that's why they call it "practice". Practicing what? Exactly. Buddhism, goodness, flaws, and Karma.

    Gassho

    W

  14. #14

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Thank you everyone, this is clear as mud... just as it should be

  15. #15

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    My 2 cents :

    No-Self :

    'Self', as in me or you is a mental concept. Mental concepts have mental borders. That's why we can categorize and 'understand' the world. It's really divide and conquer. The problem is that reality doesn' thave any borders. When does the air you breathe become 'self'? If you drink your tea, at which moment does the tea become 'you' ?
    Thinking is just a very powerfull survival tool which has allowed us to rise over animals and aspire for heaven.

    At the same moment, man has 'fallen from heaven', which means, it has created a mental 'self', me and you. The concept of 'self', together with the concecpt of "death" gives rise to dangerous illusions. If I die, wher will I go? I want pleasure and good feelings, let the other selves suffer so I don't have to. I'm dead in a few years anyway ...

    Enlightenment, as far as I understand, is simply the 'realisation' that I or me does not exist in reality. Once you start acting to this realisation, you become the buddha who wants to save all sentient beings from suffering, because you are all sentient beings!

    Hence there is no self, as in 'Me' or 'You' or 'John'.


    Self

    There's a very important, paradoxical 'thought experiment' in science :

    While you can doubt everything in the world, you can not doubt the fact that you are conscious. At the same time, you can prove anything in the world, except for the fact that you are consciouss.

    You can doubt everything that exists, for example maybe the world around you is just created by a computer program, fed as digital data to your 'brain'. But you can't doubt you are conscious, can you ?
    At the same time you can prove anything about the world, for example the earth revolves around the sun, electrons spin around the nucleus ans so on. But can you prove to me that you are conscious ?

    So the only thing you can be sure of is that there is conscioussness. wether you name it Self, or me or God , the universe or 'some type of energy' is completely irrelevant.

    Denying this fact that there is 'self', for me, is as delusional as believing that 'you' exist.

    Hence there is 'self' as in 'conscioussness'.

    ....................................

    Maybe 'self' is more complex than the universe itself, and can exist in as many forms and manifestations.

  16. #16

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    If understanding Buddhist philosophy leads one to let go of thinking that would be nice.

  17. #17

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Undertstanding Buddhist philosophy alone doesn't free anybody from suffering (but I am sure you have experienced that a million times, Rich)
    It might take your butt to the cushion or to the market place. That s where you find the real work and the true undoing.

    Counsciousness????????????????????????????????!


    Not even.


    and :

    Maybe 'self' is more complex than the universe itself, and can exist in as many forms and manifestations.

    More complex than the Univesre itself? Somebody here has not yet opened an eye on a blade of grass of the vast open sky.

    By the way, welcome Gunther! :wink:


    gassho


    Taigu

  18. #18

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Counsciousness????????????????????????????????!


    Not even.
    I'm sorry for my lack of understanding. Please explain to me what conscioussness exactly is. In relation to the topic, self and no-self, I think conscioussness is rather relevant.

    thanks

  19. #19

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Welcome Gunther.

    You are the one using the word consciousness. So please, explain.

    Imho, this has a new age taste, Mahayana Buddhist stuff spiced with cosmic perspectives.


    Reality manifests when we drop views.

    The dropping of all views is reality itself.

    Everything else is but a dream.


    gassho


    T.

  20. #20

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD

    I'm sorry for my lack of understanding. Please explain to me what conscioussness exactly is. In relation to the topic, self and no-self, I think conscioussness is rather relevant.

    ...

    ... you can not doubt the fact that you are conscious.
    Hey again, Gunther.

    Perhaps that is a problem ... "You" and "think" consciousness is rather relevant. "you" and "doubt/can not doubt" consciousness. Best to just sit and stop worrying, thinking about, doubting or not doubting this so-called "consciousness". Just Sit, stop putting descriptions and names on this so-called thing "consciousness" ... and let this so-called "consciousness" take care of so-called "consciousness".

    'Self', as in me or you is a mental concept. Mental concepts have mental borders. That's why we can categorize and 'understand' the world. It's really divide and conquer. The problem is that reality doesn' thave any borders. ... The concept of 'self', together with the concecpt of "death" gives rise to dangerous illusions. If I die, wher will I go? ...

    Enlightenment, as far as I understand, is simply the 'realisation' that I or me does not exist in reality. ...
    This is all nice armchair philosophy, like talking about swimming and "what is water" instead of jumping in and really swimming ... being the water ... the whole ocean, and every single drop!

    If there are no "borders" why do I need a passport to visit America next week? And whose photo is that on the passport? In our little corner of Buddhism as taught by Master Dogen, realizing that things and people are as a dream is only half the point ... and then living in this world of things and people is the whole point! Death and life may be something of a dream ... but now live this dream, and try not to muck it up too bad!

    Master Dogen said that there is no need to travel to foreign lands to realize this truth, and it can be realized right where one sits Zazen ... right in one's life here and now. Yet, he crossed a border to China in order to realize this, then crossed another border back to Japan. If borders do not matter, and if Master Dogen simply realized that Dogen is a dream ... why did he even bother? (A Koan)

    So, as was said by Bro. Taigu and others ... give up all this mental wheel spinning, and just sit-live ... just jump in the water and be the water, move one's arms with grace & balance, and swim forward.

    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #21

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD
    If you drink your tea, at which moment does the tea become 'you' ?
    That is a good question too, and such a true observation! When does that tea "become you"? Where is the true source of the waters? Where does it go when you piss it out? It goes back into and out of something that is just you too all along.

    All true. A Face of our Practice is to see all of reality, all time and space, inside a single tea cup!

    Now, that being said ... just drink your tea. It is just a cup of boiled leaves, something to quench the thirst, sip with a snack, nothing special.

    Got the point?

    Gassho, J

    PS - reminds a bit of this story ...

    Nan-in, a Japanese teacher during the Meiji era (1868–1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

    Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring as the professor pontificated on and on about how the universe worked, consciousness and the meaning of tea.

    The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

    “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

  22. #22

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Thanks Taigu

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Welcome Gunther.

    You are the one using the word consciousness. So please, explain.
    Reality manifests when we drop views.

    The dropping of all views is reality itself.

    Everything else is but a dream.


    gassho


    T.
    Note: I don't want to sound rude or like 'i know it all' but this is truly my honest opinion, and I don't think you want me to blindly accept anything that is said to me, so :

    Reality, views, dreams, aren't those all happening in conscioussness? Can there be reality when there's no conscioussness ?
    What's consioussness? A closet is made of wood or steel, but you keep things in the empty space inside. A letter is made of words, but it is written on an empty paper. Like this, consiousness is empty, there is nothing but consciousness itself, existing from moment to moment. The only real thing is that what never changes. Does conscioussness ever change ? Is my conscioussness different from yours ?

    Self is consciousness being conscious of consciousness. The mistake happens when consiousness THINKS its some type of form like me or you. The point of zen (in my opinion) is to correct this mistake, to drop all thinking so you can experience reality yourself.

  23. #23

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Thank you Jundo for your kind replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    ... give up all this mental wheel spinning, and just sit-live ... just jump in the water and be the water, move one's arms with grace & balance, and swim forward.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I completely agree with your statements Jundo, but In my opinion, sitting zen is just a powerfull method for REALISATION (not 'understanding') that there is no YOU.
    Once you realise that, what's the point of sitting if it's not for helping other beings realise?

    Reminds me of the saying :
    Zen is like a boat to get to England. If you run around London with your boat on your back, you got a problem.

  24. #24

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD
    Can there be reality when there's no conscioussness ?
    If there were no chocolate ice cream, could we still have sundaes? A closet is made of wood and steel and the empty space inside, but what are my hanging wool pants made of? A letter is made of words on empty paper, but what news are you going to write? Why is the only "real thing" that which never changes, and how do you know it never changes when it changes? Who is asking the questions "is my consciousness different from yours?" and who is answering? If my aunt had testicles, would she be my uncle? :roll:


    The mistake happens when consiousness THINKS its some type of form like me or you. The point of zen (in my opinion) is to correct this mistake, to drop all thinking so you can experience reality yourself.
    If the universe went to all the darn trouble to become you, why are you so sure it is mistaken?

    If you drop all thinking "to experience reality itself", whose gonna eat that sundae, wear those pants, write the letter? They may not be real, but what a waste of good ice cream!

    Zen is not a boat to london on your back, but a trip to here and there and back.

    Sometimes around here, if someone asks questions just looking for confirmation of their pre-formed and not so fleshed-out opinions ... they get more questions.

    Gassho, J

  25. #25

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Of course there is a self. You are right there reading this are you not? You are unique and special and you reflect the endless possibilities of life. You are.

    Of course there is no self. Once you read this, you are no longer the ‘you’ you were before reading it. You are not the same you as the one who took a breath three seconds ago. The things you’ve seen, heard, felt, learned, forgot, put down, picked up in just that amount of time, in just a split second of that amount of time, have changed you forever. You encompass and reflect all of life, like Indra’s Net, you are connected to every other thing on this earth and beyond in such a way as to never be able to truly cut yourself away from them.

    It’s the grasping of the idea of “self” that gets you. That’s the trap. When you begin to think of the ‘self’ as something that sets you apart from others, that somehow severs the ties that bind us all heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind, that is where the folly lies. Perhaps this Great and Unchanging Universal Self Buddha seed thingy is really just that the only constant is that you change, and so are like the water of a river (the Ganges perhaps, see what I did there?). The river is always the river, never a mountain, never the ocean, never the sky. But the water that flows in that river fell from the clouds, ran down the mountain and makes its way to the sea, passing a particular point of the banks of that river only once. Until it evaporates and falls again, the same drop of water, but wholly different – an amazing journey behind it that changed it forever, and another waiting to happen when the clouds release it once more. And so the river is the sky, and the mountain, and the sea, and it always has been; and all while being just the river.

  26. #26

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    (....... nothing of any consequence to add - just a little poem I wrote a while back )

    Consciousness

    Consciousness stripped down is only sensation
    so
    I speak softly to the cat, breath in time with her purring,
    in case I forget gentleness.
    Then I burn the retina of my eyes
    with the sight of the fire-flame crimson lily,
    rooted in its pot on the patio – basking in the sunlight,

    in case I forget colour.


    Gassho

    Willow

  27. #27

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    If the universe went to all the darn trouble to become you, why are you so sure it is mistaken?
    Not sure why (kinda am though) but this blew me away. Well, I'm still here :lol: but it blew me away nevertheless.

    Faith. Deep abiding trust in who we are, why we are, where we're going, etc. That there is something ultimately good at the ground of our existence. That we are not an accident, anymore than an apple or an orange is. That we don't have to "do" anything. That there is an underlying sense of grace to our lives. That we don't have to feel like there is an instruction manual that we must follow, and we'd better get it all right or we're gonna fail. That we can just drop all that effort and judgement and perfectionism and JUST BE. And be alright with the fact that we're never going to get it just right, never going to be perfect, never going to be Buddhas or Saints or whatever...BECAUSE ALL OF THAT IS JUST MENTAL CONCEPTS. To be unfailingly human, so-called flaws and all. And be ok with that. To be homeless. To be everywhere at home. To be no-self. To go with the flow, even while making every effort to do our best. To just sit, and let things happen as they will, as they are already happening without our involvement. To drop the illusion that we are in control. To change what we can change. To accept the perfection of this moment of reality, without concepts, without judgements, without demands. To be scared as hell at times and just be scared as hell. It's called The Way because it is fluid, has no beginning, has no end, and we're on it together. No one left behind.

    Wow. I run my mouth a lot. (To be okay with that, too :mrgreen: )

    gassho
    Greg

  28. #28
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Well said Greg....
    This whole thread seems to track where my 'thinking' has been leading me all my life!
    Now I am wholly a living practice and a living practice that is practising a life called me!
    I feel as Greg said;
    That we don't have to "do" anything. That there is an underlying sense of grace to our lives. That we don't have to feel like there is an instruction manual that we must follow, and we'd better get it all right or we're gonna fail. That we can just drop all that effort and judgement and perfectionism and JUST BE.
    Gassho Greg, Jundo and Taigu.

  29. #29

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Faith. Deep abiding trust in who we are, why we are, where we're going, etc. That there is something ultimately good at the ground of our existence. That we are not an accident, anymore than an apple or an orange is. That we don't have to "do" anything. That there is an underlying sense of grace to our lives. That we don't have to feel like there is an instruction manual that we must follow, and we'd better get it all right or we're gonna fail. That we can just drop all that effort and judgement and perfectionism and JUST BE. And be alright with the fact that we're never going to get it just right, never going to be perfect, never going to be Buddhas or Saints or whatever...BECAUSE ALL OF THAT IS JUST MENTAL CONCEPTS. To be unfailingly human, so-called flaws and all. And be ok with that. To be homeless. To be everywhere at home. To be no-self. To go with the flow, even while making every effort to do our best. To just sit, and let things happen as they will, as they are already happening without our involvement. To drop the illusion that we are in control. To change what we can change. To accept the perfection of this moment of reality, without concepts, without judgements, without demands. To be scared as hell at times and just be scared as hell. It's called The Way because it is fluid, has no beginning, has no end, and we're on it together. No one left behind.
    Ah, this blew "me" away ...

    Thank you, one perfectly flawed being to another perfectly flawed being ... dreams or not, both already 'Buddha' and not.

  30. #30

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Gunther, thanks for your 2 cents. Please stay and sit awhile.

  31. #31

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    That there is an underlying sense of grace to our lives

    thank you Greg - my thought for today


    Gassho


    Willow

  32. #32

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Sometimes around here, if someone asks questions just looking for confirmation of their pre-formed and not so fleshed-out opinions ... they get more questions.
    Thank you, Jundo. A good reminder.

  33. #33

    There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Nice one Greg!

  34. #34
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    If understanding Buddhist philosophy leads one to let go of thinking that would be nice.
    _/_

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    If there were no chocolate ice cream, could we still have sundaes?
    ... :| Yes.

  35. #35

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Well said, Greg. Also reminds me of what that wise young fellow, Seiryu said, you can figure out some things in life, but not life itself!

  36. #36

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Well said, Greg. Also reminds me of what that wise young fellow, Seiryu said, you can figure out some things in life, but not life itself!
    Someone (perhaps a dream) asked me (perhaps a dream too) recently (in time, maybe also the dream) if Zen Practice would lead to their complete and ultimate understanding of the universe, who they are and the meaning of life. I said that, while what we call "Zen Practice" helps us see and understand some very vital things about the world and about ourselves that we had not understood ... no, it will not clear up so many questions and mysteries.

    So, then the person asked if, despite Zen Practice, ignorance would remain of so many questions and mysteries. Would there be no answer, clarity and resolution to those, would mysteries remain unknowable and obscure? I assured them that such was not the case either. :shock: Far from it!

    For this Practice allows one to Non-Understand this Universe-Non-Universe, and all things and beyond, and to Non-Attain the 'Meaning of Life-Non-Life' Completely and Ultimately. No Question remains, only a crystal clear and satisfying Non-Question. Such Non-Understanding is far far from ignorance and a lack of understanding, but rather 'tis a kind of Understanding Beyond and Through-And-Through Understanding. Hard to put in words in fact. This is realized thoroughly, and also made real in how one lives one's life (dreamy or not).

    Perhaps one has to be walking this Path for awhile to start to get what is meant when Zen folks speak of stuff like "Non-Understanding" "Non-Thinking" "Goalless Goals" the "Pathless Path" "Gateless Gate" and the like. So, it may be a little confusing to newer folks (many older folks too sometimes). However, stick with it ... and you'll (dream or not) eventually get the "Non-Hang of Non-Things".

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    Ps - So they are not missed, I would like to highlight two seemingly contradictory views that Greg said in his post ... but they are not contraditions in the Way at all. They are, in fact, "Non-Doing, Non-Achieving" ...

    To be unfailingly human, so-called flaws and all. And be ok with that. ... To change what we can change.

    To Be Buddha All Along, To Be A Flawed Being Striving To Be Buddha.

  37. #37

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Understanding the universe


    What did it for me, was when I was told :
    The more you reach for the horizon, the further it will go away from you
    In the past, we thought we were living on a flat pancake. The more we got to know about the universe, the bigger and more complex it became. This will never end. The more we know, the bigger and more complex the universe will get. For each answer you get, you get 10 more questions. Never will there be any moment that we can say : now we know everything about the universe, there's nothing more to understand, we have a complete understanding of the universe.

    Trying to understand is utterly futile. It's not going to save your Self from suffering.

  38. #38

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Accepting not knowing even for a moment is enough but as Taigu says it doesn't free you from the scenery of pain, sorrrow and suffering. But these things move on like everything else and what is left? What is this? is the investigation of this moment. Sorry, I don't understand anything but always seem to say something about everything. :roll:

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Rich wrote;
    What is this? is the investigation of this moment.
    The more I ponder the more I wander. :shock: :roll:
    Seems (to me :?: ) awareness of the moment is more important than whether I am me or this is that.
    While someone sits before the wall, non-time still happens.
    Breath by breath, moment by moment; whoever you is has no meaning.
    It is still dying; yet, it lives on regardless.
    Is it not better to help some one who needs help? to reach out and comfort some one in pain and suffering?
    Do what you can to make this a happier place to suffer in?
    Peace has a great deal to do with warm-heartedness and respect for the lives of others, avoiding doing them harm and regarding their lives as being as precious as our own.
    Dalai Lama

  40. #40

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD
    In the past, we thought we were living on a flat pancake.
    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I just like the way this sounds.

    gassho
    Greg

  41. #41

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Shokai, I think helping is the natural state and manifested as action. That's why my dog will be 18. :lol:

  42. #42
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Rich wrote;
    I think helping is the natural state and manifested as action. That's why my dog will be 18. :lol:
    Can he still get up on the bed? Mine is 12yrs and Is now unable; does that infer that we didn't help him? I think not, he's the biggest suck I've ever known :lol:
    However, truer words were never spoken, helping is compassion and even though we fight and squabble, we do manage to help each other in spite of ourselves. Humankind couldn't have survived otherwise.

  43. #43

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Rich wrote;
    I think helping is the natural state and manifested as action. That's why my dog will be 18. :lol:
    Can he still get up on the bed? Mine is 12yrs and Is now unable; does that infer that we didn't help him? I think not, he's the biggest suck I've ever known :lol:
    However, truer words were never spoken, helping is compassion and even though we fight and squabble, we do manage to help each other in spite of ourselves. Humankind couldn't have survived otherwise.
    Actually its my dog that is the best helper and is full of love and compassion. When I asked him if a dog has Buddha nature he answered immediately.

  44. #44

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Shokai wrote

    The more I ponder the more I wander. :shock: :roll:

    Rich wrote

    Sorry, I don't understand anything but always seem to say something about everything. :roll:

    I would love to spend an evening with both of you - your comments ( which are the hallmark of years of experience 8) ) make me
    I hope I get there someday - chilled out wisdom.

    ... and the picture of the little dog eyeing the sprinklers cup cake was my happy medicine for today . Thank you!

    Gassho

    Willow

  45. #45

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Thanks willow. You are very kind. The only wisdom I might have is that I try to practice with beginners mind. Take care.

  46. #46
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Just another day in the life of a dog named Joey
    When I asked him if a dog has Buddha nature he answered immediately.
    :lol: :lol:

  47. #47

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    At certain times in Buddhist history, some of those Buddhist philosophers (especially in Mahayana Buddhism) wrote Sutras in which they started to describe and refer to the Whatever that is Peaceful and Whole as ... well, some kind of Cosmic Wholeness or All Pervading Buddha Nature that is Perfect, Permanent ... maybe even a Universal God, a Holy Godhead of sorts. Sometimes they called this Buddha Nature/tathagatagarbha or the Dharmakaya or Vairochana Buddha (Buddha with big 'B') or many other names (here is a picture of ol' Vairochana with some of his entourage):
    Yes, I wonder if ideas like dharmakaya, original mind, Buddha mind are really ways of trying to express the experience of the unconditioned, Nirvana. It gets confused though when people start using the language of "True self".

  48. #48
    disastermouse
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Porpoise
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    At certain times in Buddhist history, some of those Buddhist philosophers (especially in Mahayana Buddhism) wrote Sutras in which they started to describe and refer to the Whatever that is Peaceful and Whole as ... well, some kind of Cosmic Wholeness or All Pervading Buddha Nature that is Perfect, Permanent ... maybe even a Universal God, a Holy Godhead of sorts. Sometimes they called this Buddha Nature/tathagatagarbha or the Dharmakaya or Vairochana Buddha (Buddha with big 'B') or many other names (here is a picture of ol' Vairochana with some of his entourage):
    Yes, I wonder if ideas like dharmakaya, original mind, Buddha mind are really ways of trying to express the experience of the unconditioned, Nirvana. It gets confused though when people start using the language of "True self".
    There is no real language of true self. There can't even be said to be true self.

    So many helpful replies by Jundo and Taigu in this thread - especially Taigu's responses about consciousness. What is it you think you're doing in this practice? Okay, now let that drop.

    Why do we argue about Buddha nature or no-self? The useful words are the ones that leave you little to grasp at. They leave SOME, but if they leave little enough, you may be able to let them drop too after you go where they lead you. A new student hears about 'Buddha nature' and seeks immediately to find it. What are they looking for? Where else would they find it but right here. And yet we think, Surely this can't be it!. What else could it be? What else is there?

    Chet

  49. #49

    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Hello,

    here is a quote from the Shangpa tradition regarding Buddha nature which I find very potent:

    So close we cannot see it.
    So simple we cannot believe it.
    So profound we cannot fathom it.
    So fine we cannot accept it.



    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: There is No-Self ... or is there?

    Jundo wrote;
    Clear as a bell? 8)
    Heck yeah !!

    Chet wrote;
    What else could it be? What else is there?
    true !! 8)

    Sorry Pontus, i mis-read your koan as "the Lion's Rear" :shock: :lol: :lol:

    Thanks Hans, Did you mean Potent or Poignant or both?

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