What connects us all when there is no self?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby flowerbudh » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:03 am

I'm so confused... what connects us all, what is "passed" karmically from one life to the next, if not the essence of an eternal cosmic force? I believe the Universe and everything within it is subject to change, yes, but I don't believe it's existence came out of non-existense. Our karma influences our future lives, but how can this be so if the self does not exist, and nothing of a past self remains? Your thoughts, dharma brothers & sisters?
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
User avatar
flowerbudh
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:38 pm
Location: earth

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Qing Tian » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:25 am

It is only the untaught human mind that craves connection between that which is not separate and that which is also not separate.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
User avatar
Qing Tian
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:18 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby dude » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:33 am

Cause.
dude
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby smcj » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:07 am

I'm so confused... what connects us all, what is "passed" karmically from one life to the next, if not the essence of an eternal cosmic force?

What passes from one day to the next? We assume that it is our personality, but that is not true. Our personality isn't the basis of our being, even though we think it is.

What we see as the continuity of personality is actually a very slow metamorphosis. Between lives the metamorphosis can be much greater, but the continuity between days and lives is the same.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2078
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:34 am

my thoughts on this is something like that life and everything is like a mirror. it can reflect anything and will reflect ''karma'' through there being a cause for it. allthough the mirror reflects a cause creating an effect, the mirror nevertheless stays pure, untouched, and could be referred to being the buddha-nature (tathagathagarbha).

as you can investigate the five skandhas. form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness that you can not locate an independently existing ''i'' there, anywhere. these five skandhas could be likened to the previous metaphor of mirror, and through causes and effects there seems to be a self or an ''i'' existing in the image of the mirror, but when we look at its nature, its just a reflection or a passing impermanent image, but the mirror stays pure and untouched, unstained nevertheless no matter what appears in the mirror. and the mirror again could be seen as our true nature, it is empty, has infinite potential, it is pure, untouched and undefiled no matter what is reflected in it.

can you find a self in the mirror? yes, no. you can find a conventional self through fixating or relating to the reflection in the mirror, finding yourself there.

when the image in the mirror changes does the self cease to exist, yes the conventional self was just a mirage, a dream, but the mirror is still there.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:39 am

flowerbudh wrote:Our karma influences our future lives, but how can this be so if the self does not exist, and nothing of a past self remains? Your thoughts, dharma brothers & sisters?


there is a level of consciousness called the alaya vijnana, its called ''the storehouse'' consciousness. its the ground consiousness of a samsaric being. and whatever we do with our body, speech and mind, leaves an imprint to the store house consciousness and will in ripen into an effect of a cause.

this could be likened that we imagine that the mirror is dirty and we keep making in dirty not realizing it is already pure and does not need cleaning.


anyone correct me please if im talking out of my ass. im not an authority on this matter so dont take my word from it. these are just my reflections and thoughts on this matter.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby futerko » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:25 pm

flowerbudh wrote:...I don't believe it's existence came out of non-existense.


This is a philosophical point in Buddhist thinking. For anything to be 100% existing or non-existing is not possible because 100% existing would mean that it could be independent and unchanging - it would be "outside" the cosmos.

So you are right to mention change, and in fact everything can change because it can interact with other "things", but it is only in our mental classification that we draw lines around things and call them separate, beyond which they are already connected.

So we have two different perspectives to consider. This wooden table I am using changes very slowly and for me, it serves as an unchanging table - i.e. it has the identity of the thing called "table" - but if we take a wider perspective, it was once a tree, and before that it was just a seed, and in the future it will disintegrate in some way, so its essence is to change even though it appears solid right now.
If we trace back to what the table/tree is actually made of - it took the seed from its parent tree, sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and the idea of the person who made it, etc. and all those things had to come together in a very specific way to make it - there is nothing solid we can grasp onto to identify what it actually is other than a series of processes, except by drawing a mental line somewhere and artificially isolating certain aspects.

As a result, it is almost impossible for us to "think" at the level at which things actually "exist" - in order to think at all, we need to classify and categorise in order to make any sense of the world whatsoever - our "sense-making" faculties are always a distortion of one kind or other.

So even your question, "what is "passed" karmically from one life to the next" is based on the idea of a boundary between lives, based upon the way things appear to us and the way we mentally categorise the universe, rather than what actually occurs - an endless flow of changing processes.

Then we encounter another problem with perspective, because the idea of "an endless flow of changing processes" only applies when we are ourselves a part of that. Yes, we can imagine what it might look like if we could take a step away from it, but if we actually were to step out of that flow, then we would have no perception of it at all, we would literally be outside of time and space.

(I realise this isn't in itself an answer, but in some ways it is more important how we lay out the problem. I would suspect any simple answer involving another level of "Being" would either replicate the same issues at that level or close them off by reference to the imaginary.)
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
User avatar
futerko
 
Posts: 993
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:58 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby takso » Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:12 pm

The self refers to one's individuality. Buddhism teaches non-self instead of no-self. Non-self means the non-ownership of self. Buddhism merely sees in the non-existence of a 'fixed' self. This is what the principle of emptiness is all about. Nothing remains unchanging on any given moments. Just like the saying goes, 'Now you see it, now you don't.' Also no two minds are the same. Your past mind is not the same as your present mind and your present mind is not the same as your future mind. The flux of your mind continues on beyond the grave but there is no transmigration of your mind happening.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~
User avatar
takso
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:08 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:41 pm

takso wrote:but there is no transmigration of your mind happening.


how come ?

of course you can say that mind does not transmigrate but when we perceive with our mind to be this body, '' i am '' we could say that the mind has transmigrated into this body, and if we are in this delusion when we die, it will happen again.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Anders » Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:55 pm

flowerbudh wrote:I'm so confused... what connects us all, what is "passed" karmically from one life to the next, if not the essence of an eternal cosmic force? I believe the Universe and everything within it is subject to change, yes, but I don't believe it's existence came out of non-existense. Our karma influences our future lives, but how can this be so if the self does not exist, and nothing of a past self remains? Your thoughts, dharma brothers & sisters?


The clue is in the thread title - "connecting" and "self" are actually a bit mutually exclusive. The fact that things are dependedly originated, and not a self-contained discrete entity, means that they can connect to create a series of events, and from this, apparent continuity.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 729
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:26 pm

A parable / koan, if I may. Suppose that someone has been having disturbing dreams about Nazi Germany. So he goes to a couple of psychics.

The first psychic says, "You were Adolf Hitler in your previous life. That is to say, your experiences today are the result of causes set in motion by Hitler in the past. Or to look at it another way, both you and Hitler form segments of a single mind-stream that persists from life to life."

The second psychic says, "Your mind is under psychic attack by Adolf Hitler, who has somehow managed to influence you from the past. Perhaps his brain-waves have been bouncing around the ether all this time, waiting for a victim whose mind was on the same wavelength."

Is there any difference between the accounts of the two psychics?
(no longer participating on this board)
Alfredo
 
Posts: 421
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby flowerbudh » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:50 pm

Alfredo, are you suggesting that one of the properties of all matter is a rudimentary stream of consciousness that collectively creates the "One Mind" of All, so to speak? Please call me out if I've completely missed the point. :thanks:
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
User avatar
flowerbudh
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:38 pm
Location: earth

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:58 pm

"KonchokZoepa"]my thoughts on this is something like that life and everything is like a mirror. it can reflect anything and will reflect ''karma'' through there being a cause for it. allthough the mirror reflects a cause creating an effect, the mirror nevertheless stays pure, untouched, and could be referred to being the buddha-nature (tathagathagarbha).

agreed

as you can investigate the five skandhas. form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness that you can not locate an independently existing ''i'' there, anywhere. these five skandhas could be likened to the previous metaphor of mirror, and through causes and effects there seems to be a self or an ''i'' existing in the image of the mirror, but when we look at its nature, its just a reflection or a passing impermanent image, but the mirror stays pure and untouched, unstained nevertheless no matter what appears in the mirror. and the mirror again could be seen as our true nature, it is empty, has infinite potential, it is pure, untouched and undefiled no matter what is reflected in it.

agreed

can you find a self in the mirror? yes, no. you can find a conventional self through fixating or relating to the reflection in the mirror, finding yourself there.

when the image in the mirror changes does the self cease to exist, yes the conventional self was just a mirage, a dream, but the mirror is still there.


agreed the conventional self ceases to exist and was just a mirage, but the Mirror/Buddha Nature/True Self is still there untouched and pure.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:06 pm

i would be careful though to use terms or concepts such as '' the true self '' not to give a wrong understanding.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:28 pm

No self means no separation. Without separation all is connected.

The same thing which connects you to you connects you to others.
Arjan Dirkse
 
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:53 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby disjointed » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:30 pm

flowerbudh wrote:I'm so confused... what connects us all, what is "passed" karmically from one life to the next, if not the essence of an eternal cosmic force? I believe the Universe and everything within it is subject to change, yes, but I don't believe it's existence came out of non-existense. Our karma influences our future lives, but how can this be so if the self does not exist, and nothing of a past self remains? Your thoughts, dharma brothers & sisters?


There are two things that connect us moment by moment.
1) The sequence of one consciousness giving rise to a similar but different consciousness. This idea is called the stream of consciousness.
2) Mere designation. What this mean is that a consciousness identifies with something as a "me".
This is highly variable and is just something your mind makes up.
This is also what wisdom realizing emptiness exposes as false when the "me" appears as a inherently existent.

When going from life to life the thing that changes is that you change what you designate as "me".
So instead of one body which has ceased to function, the stream of consciousness designates another body as "me".

The wisdom realizing emptiness takes effort to study and contemplate but it is the way out of samsaric existence.
If there is a radical inconsistency between your statements and the position you claim to hold,
you are a sock puppet.
Make as many accounts as you want; people can identify your deception with this test.
disjointed
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:26 am

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:38 pm

takso wrote:The self refers to one's individuality. Buddhism teaches non-self instead of no-self. Non-self means the non-ownership of self. Buddhism merely sees in the non-existence of a 'fixed' self. This is what the principle of emptiness is all about. Nothing remains unchanging on any given moments. Just like the saying goes, 'Now you see it, now you don't.' Also no two minds are the same. Your past mind is not the same as your present mind and your present mind is not the same as your future mind. The flux of your mind continues on beyond the grave but there is no transmigration of your mind happening.


The Self doesn't refer to individuality or personality there are different words in Pali and Sanskrit for those terms.

the Self described in Buddhism can be found in the Nirvana Sutra Chapter 3

"What is this Self? Any phenomenon [dharma] that is true [satya], real [tattva], eternal [nitya], sovereign/ autonomous/ self-governing [aisvarya], and whose ground/ foundation is unchanging [asraya-aviparinama], is termed 'the Self' [atman]. This is as in the case of the great Doctor who well understands the milk medicine. The same is the case with the Tathagata. For the sake of beings, he says "there is the Self in all things" O you the four classes! Learn Dharma thus!"

[Nirvana sutra] CHAPTER TWELVE: ON THE TATHAGATA-DHATU
“Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Is there Self in the 25 existences or not?" The Buddha said: "O good man! "Self" means "Tathagatagarbha" [Buddha-Womb, Buddha-Embryo, Buddha-Nature]. Every being has Buddha-Nature. This is the Self. Such Self has, from the very beginning, been under cover of innumerable defilements. That is why man cannot see it. O good man!
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:41 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:i would be careful though to use terms or concepts such as '' the true self '' not to give a wrong understanding.


True Self is the term the Sutras use.
User avatar
Son of Buddha
 
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:53 pm

There is no disconnect, between anything.

Check out the Lankavatara sutra for instance, reality is just a concatenation, and death and birth, existence, non existence are just conventional designations, what is "real" is outside those polarities.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: What connects us all when there is no self?

Postby Alfredo » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:59 pm

Flowerbath, I said nothing about any "One Mind of 'All'," and AFAIK all Buddhist schools admit that there is more than one mind (although I can see how Cittamatra might be misinterpreted in this quasi-Vedantic direction).

On the other hand, either psychic explanation would assume that thoughts are not limited to "our" own minds, but have much larger effects. They also both involve "woo" mechanisms for transmitting this influence, although non-woo equivalents exist. For example, our minds preserve some of the ideas of our parents and teachers. The difficulty of drawing a boundary around "my" mind has obvious Buddhist affinities.

The issue of other minds seems connected to the issue of an external world. Again, AFAIK Buddhists everywhere seem to affirm the existence of both. However, given karma, it could be argued that everything we perceive and experience is somehow the result of our own decisions (NB, mental acts), which raises the problem of how other minds can ever do anything in our presence that we have not laid the karmic seeds to experience. For example, if we lack sufficient merit to hear Buddhist teachings, then the Buddhas and bodhisattvas ought to be completely unable to reach us, no matter how they might shout and gesticulate in our presence! Can this be right? (I realize that there are many subtle categories of karma, but have never been able to parse them into a coherent model.)
(no longer participating on this board)
Alfredo
 
Posts: 421
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Next

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>