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Thread: ego = self?

  1. #1

    ego = self?

    The self, that we will all realize does not exist–with our prolonged practice–is this self the same as ego?
    My name is: Jordan.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Self is your identity or "soul". Ego is believing in self importance. Both of which exist and do not. My opinion only. See Taigu's hermitage poem

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ight=hermitage

    Daido


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Daido View Post
    Self is your identity or "soul". Ego is believing in self importance.
    Yea, what's the difference?
    My name is: Jordan.

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    in subjective terms you can believe in yourself (self). you can also believe that yourself is important or not important (ego). Not sure what else you are looking for? Maybe you are making some kind of profound zen like statement?

    Daido


  5. #5
    No, it's good stuff. I'm seeing them as merging together–like body/mind–where the belief inherently creates importance. But, if that is the distinction, thank you for pointing that out.
    My name is: Jordan.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Komatsu's Avatar
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    When thinking of "self" I think more of an ontological entity, experienced existentially. "Ego", for me, is a psychological name for a batch of mechanisms that occur based upon assumptions made about the reality of the self-in-the-world.

    The substantial nature of each maybe questioned at will.

  7. #7
    The basic view across Buddhist traditions is that all things (including body and mind) are impermanent and without an unchanging self-essence.. or experiencer. This absence of an abiding self-essence is called Anatman. Anatman is an upaya, or an antidote, to the sickness of self-view, and not an absolute truth to be clung to. In other words, don't get stuck in "no self"

    There is a very real "person", or social agent, called Bob, or Sue... who is responsible for conduct and so forth. That social "self" needs psychological and emotional health.

    In short, within society this body and mind has agency, but within this body and mind no absolute agency can be found.

    But it is better to not ruminate on this, and just practice with the guidance of a teacher and the support of a sangha.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  8. #8
    Hi,

    Please stop all this wasteful semantic discussion.

    The sense of "self" is that self image "I" hold of my "self" separate from all things the "my self" deems "not myself" ...

    ... and the "self" is that selfish wanting, judging, dividing, categorizing, remembering, hoping, fearing, missing, running toward and running away, sense of birthing, sense of remaining, sense of dying that one can soften, and often fully drop away, in Zazen.

    That is all you need to know. Not rocket science.

    The rest of this discussion is a waste of breath. Call it "ego", call it "self", call it "atman", call it "dingo wingo", call it whatever the hell your self wants.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-24-2012 at 09:41 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Ok. No more wasteful discussion.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  10. #10
    Hey, Jundo.. Do you want to hear a silly bit of self? I actually thought for a moment of apologizing for posting my response... ..an ordinary response.. within the terms of service.

    Gassho.
    大山

  11. #11
    Ah, well, speaking for myself ... I hope I did not bruise anyone's ego.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    The basic view across Buddhist traditions is that all things (including body and mind) are impermanent and without an unchanging self-essence.. or experiencer. This absence of an abiding self-essence is called Anatman. Anatman is an upaya, or an antidote, to the sickness of self-view, and not an absolute truth to be clung to. In other words, don't get stuck in "no self"

    There is a very real "person", or social agent, called Bob, or Sue... who is responsible for conduct and so forth. That social "self" needs psychological and emotional health.

    In short, within society this body and mind has agency, but within this body and mind no absolute agency can be found.

    But it is better to not ruminate on this, and just practice with the guidance of a teacher and the support of a sangha.

    Gassho, kojip
    By the way, nothing in any of the above to find fault with. Sounds about right to me (speaking for myself, anyway).
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Easily bruised, easily forgotten...
    大山

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    The skin's pretty thick here...especially since you're right

    Daido


  15. #15
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daido View Post
    Self is your identity or "soul". Ego is believing in self importance. Both of which exist and do not. My opinion only. See Taigu's hermitage poem

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ight=hermitage

    Daido
    No. I disagree. Ego is not just believing in self-importance. It's thinking that identity is real. If you try to reify anything like a soul or identity....well, that's hopelessly wrong-headed.

    There is no soul. There is no self. And yet, rejecting self too vociferously becomes an expression of self. Looking to put your foot firmly on any ground regarding these questions becomes an expression of self-delusion.

    IMHO, of course.

  16. #16
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post

    In short, within society this body and mind has agency, but within this body and mind no absolute agency can be found.
    This! Thanks, Kojip!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    No. I disagree. Ego is not just believing in self-importance. It's thinking that identity is real. If you try to reify anything like a soul or identity....well, that's hopelessly wrong-headed.

    There is no soul. There is no self. And yet, rejecting self too vociferously becomes an expression of self. Looking to put your foot firmly on any ground regarding these questions becomes an expression of self-delusion.

    IMHO, of course.
    Trying to define 'ego' 'self' 'mind' 'soul' is like playing with so many pieces of plasticine. The terms have been stretched in so many ways that it's probably not possible to come up with a definitive meaning.

    But here's a definition from Guntripp - an object-relations psychoanalyst ' ''ego'' - the whole basically unitary psyche with its innate potential for developing a 'true' self.'

    In the introduction to Shobogenzo (xii) Chodo Cross seems to equate soul with mind - which is not a reification - but mind has the innate capacity to manifest as 'secretly working concrete mind'. Again - this is not a reification (Jundo will correct here if I've misunderstood).

    But spend too much time thinking on all this and we're in danger of becoming one of a thousand angels dancing on a pin head - we're not even the person trying to count them.

    Gassho

    Willow

  18. #18
    There is fairly established precision on the teachings of anatta/anatman. And they do have value,.... Look through the Treeleaf reading list. There is no point musing and intellectalizing on these teachings, but they are not just a wank either. This board is not the place for getting into it... that's all.
    大山

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    This! Thanks, Kojip!
    Hi. chet. How about doing this... and joining me for the 6:30 am EST sitting? The one person who was is on vacation and it is kind of lame-o doing a hangout alone all the time... Think about it. Shared sitting.. together.. I don't bite
    大山

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post

    But spend too much time thinking on all this and we're in danger of becoming one of a thousand angels dancing on a pin head - we're not even the person trying to count them.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hi Guys,

    Yes, I would say that Willow's point hits the nail (or pin) on the head! For purposes of Zen Practice, the words "self" and "ego" or "mind" (small "m") are just used as interchangeable translations of the Buddhist term Ātman (in Sanskrit, or Atta in Pāli) which in about all schools of Buddhism is the ultimately false** and trouble making sense of "me/myself/mine" self-existence all sentient beings possess, seeming to separate "me" and cause friction with all the rest of the "not me" beings and things of the world which we mentally divide, categorize, name, think of as friend or foe or good or bad, like or fear, run towards or away from, cling to or loath, remember or anticipate, think of as coming or going, abiding, being born and dying, etc. etc. etc. In all schools of Buddhism (and many other Indian derived religions too such as Hinduism and Jainism) the point of Practice is to eventually develop the ability to see through, escape, transcend and/or not be a prisonor of that false** and trouble making sense of individual and abiding "self".

    NOTE ** False but, especially in many flavors of Mahayana Buddhism including Zen, also simultaneously conventionally real in its way ... a dream perhaps, but our dream to live ... so that "escaping, transcending, managing and seeing through" while simultaneously living the dream as one's own life becomes possible.

    So, for purposes of Zen Practice, there is no real difference between the use of the English words "self" and "ego" to refer to the above Atman, and "ego" does not mean the "I am so great and wonderful" ego, or the Freudian "Ego" or the like. (Of course, it could be said that the egotistical sense of "I am so great" or "I am lousy" ... and all that Freudian neurosis, lust and craving after beautiful "not me's" ... are just themselves more examples of the judging, desire-filled false "Atman" at work).

    For purposes of Zen Practice, about all you need to know (and more vitally, experience and pierce) about "self" and "not self" and getting through both is the above. Not rocket science.

    Now, that being said, over the millennia, Buddhist philosophers with too much time on their hands, constructed hyper-intricate models of how the mind works, the nature of "things", and the nature of "self/not self" (not only, for example, arguing over what "ego" or "pride" is, but listing 50 sub-divisions and sub-sub-divisions of each) that most Zen folks found to be mental wheel spinning, fanciful, distracting and generally a "how many angels on the head of a pin" waste of time*** that misdirects us from the actual Practice-Enlightenment of getting free of the trouble maker.

    So, ... don't debate it, just sit & live free.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J


    PS - NOTE *** Traditional Buddhist psychology's models of the mind (not unlike Freud's original model to modern psychologists) may be quite quaint, fanciful, artificial and just plain silly sometimes to modern eyes ... but not completely useless. They can (if their literalness is taken with some grains of salt) generally help us get some sense of the mechanisms for how the "trouble maker" mind goes about making its trouble in our "mind theatre" which we take to be real.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Seeds-PRACTICE
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-26-2012 at 03:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hi. chet. How about doing this... and joining me for the 6:30 am EST sitting? The one person who was is on vacation and it is kind of lame-o doing a hangout alone all the time... Think about it. Shared sitting.. together.. I don't bite
    Gah! I'm working these two nights! Sometimes my sleep schedule has me up at that time. The next available AM would be Saturday, but I'm going on a promising date to a beer bar the night before. I don't know what condition or where I'll be that AM.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Gah! I'm working these two nights! Sometimes my sleep schedule has me up at that time. The next available AM would be Saturday, but I'm going on a promising date to a beer bar the night before. I don't know what condition or where I'll be that AM.
    c'est la vie.... the server appears to be down now anyway. ..any time, any day though, Chet. Gassho.
    大山

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    The one person who was is on vacation and it is kind of lame-o doing a hangout alone all the time...
    Hi Kojip, funny you should mention that. Recently I read a story from Gateless Gate collection of koans about a monk who was told to establish a monastery high up in the mountains and sat alone in it for 8 years because nobody showed up. Now that's what I call dedication to practice
    Gassho,
    Andy

  24. #24
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ View Post
    Hi Kojip, funny you should mention that. Recently I read a story from Gateless Gate collection of koans about a monk who was told to establish a monastery high up in the mountains and sat alone in it for 8 years because nobody showed up. Now that's what I call dedication to practice
    That sounds like paradise, assuming one is sufficiently fed. Or maybe deficiently fed and hence one's libido is very low. Still, all that 'no-one-to-accidentally-bruise'. Ahhhhhh..


    Chet

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ View Post
    Hi Kojip, funny you should mention that. Recently I read a story from Gateless Gate collection of koans about a monk who was told to establish a monastery high up in the mountains and sat alone in it for 8 years because nobody showed up. Now that's what I call dedication to practice
    Given that I sit in the morning anyway... it makes no real difference to make it a hang out or not. ...and no feat of dedication that's for sure.

    That's a great story. But there are different kinds of "alone", alone on a mountain top, and alone in the world. It would to be interesting to hear about someone practicing alone, with no like minded sangha, while juggling all the responsibilities of raising children, paying for it, and engaging his community. That singular dedication would be humbling.

    Gassho.kojip
    大山

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