Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:24 pm

Astus wrote:
songhill wrote:Looking for the self using the nets of the five aggregates is an impossible task. It isn't a particular shape or a pleasant feeling. It isn't a percept. It isn't a formation or consciousness. In addition, the five aggregates are produced by worldlings (S. iii. 152). The aggregates also belong to Mara the Buddhist devil (S.iii.189). From passage after passage, for example in the Khandhavagga of the Samyutta-Nikaya we learn that aggregates are not the self or not my self (na meso attâ). From this we can surmise that the self is most intrinsic. It doesn't have to be made or produced. In a manner of speaking it finds itself by putting away desire for what is not itself (S.iii.78). But as we know, worldlings produce and crave the five aggregates which are suffering; which are not the self.


You think that because it is taught that the five aggregates are not self that there must be a self somewhere else. However, if there were a self outside of the five aggregates that self would be without any sensory ability or even consciousness. Who believes in an unconscious, inactive self, and what would be the point of such a self anyway? On the other hand, the Buddha teaches that people think something to be a self or a possession of the self among the five aggregates, and that's why he teaches again and again that the five aggregates are not the self. But imagining a self beyond the five aggregates makes no sense even in everyday terms, not to mention Buddhism. Nevertheless, if you find a self appealing that is without thoughts, feelings and sense faculties, go on. It's just I don't see what Buddhism has to do with that idea of a non-functional self.


Well, yes I do Astus and the Pali Nikayas support me. And I don't see this self as being on the radar screen of the five aggregates. Basically, the aggregates, besides being produced by worldlings (puthujjana), are pretty much illusory as we can see from this passage.

Rupa is like foam, vedanâ is like a bubble, sañña is like a mirage, sankhâra is like a plantain-tree, viññâna is like a magician's creation, so explained the Kinsman of the Sun” (S .iii. 142).


(edit) Full teaching S.iii. 142 for context and correct translation.
This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate
One, the Teacher, further said this:
"Form is like a lump of foam,
Feeling like a water bubble;
Perception is like a mirage,
Volitions like a plantain trunk,
And consciousness like an illusion,
So explained the Kinsman of the Sun.
"However one may ponder it
And carefully investigate it,
It appears but hollow and void
When one views it carefully. [143]
"With reference to this body
The One of Broad Wisdom has taught
That with the abandoning of three things
One sees this form discarded.
"When vitality, heat, and consciousness
Depart from this physical body,
Then it lies there cast away:
Food for others, without volition.
"Such is this continuum,
This illusion, beguiler of fools.
It is taught to be a murderer;
Here no substance can be found.!
"A bhikkhu with energy aroused
Should look upon the aggregates thus,
Whether by day or at night,
Comprehending, ever mindful.
"He should discard all the fetters
And make a refuge for himself;
Let him fare as with head ablaze,
Yearning for the imperishable state."


Some people might enjoy playing in this illusory world, believing that it is really real. But as for the Buddha, the canon is pretty clear that he taught the aggregates are suffering, we are to abandon them, and the self and dharma are the refuge (the aggregates are sure not a refuge).
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:27 pm

Please provide links to the quoted Sutra/Sutta. I am not going to ask you again.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:01 pm

futerko wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:That's the difference between Buddhist and non-Buddhist assertions.


Well, I did once have a dream where Spongebob Squarepants was teaching the path of no-path pathlessness path, but I woke up.
I like to think that in that talk he may well have spoken about the doctrine of the selfless self of no-self. :tongue:


As I recall, being porous, absorbent and yellow are three of the attributes of an enlightened master.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:06 pm

songhill wrote: the canon is pretty clear that he taught the aggregates are suffering, we are to abandon them


What do you mean by "abandon" ?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:27 pm

I think the problem here is that Songhill is arguing from a theravadin perspective which does not recognize the emptiness of "other" phenomena, thus, the aggregates are not viewed as being empty of intrinsic nature, but are regarded as "things" experienced by a being who experiences them as real objects which are to be discarded.

In that context, it is a legitimate perspective because "objects" such as skhandas ("khandas", in the Pali) can only exist in relation which arises due to to some notion that one already experiences, that of an existent "self". Once they are abandoned, the "true nature' of the "self' which has, (merely as an experience) actually arisen, can be seen for what it is. So, a statement such as "your true self" is not inaccurate, although it shouldn't be confused with the Mahayana concept of "Buddha nature".

It's sort of like when you are dreaming, and you take what is in the dream to be real, but at some point you realize that you are only dreaming, that those appearances aren't real after all, and you wake up. In other words, the approach is applied within the context of the experience one is having, that being the reality of "self" and the objects.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Mahayana perspective, by contrast, regards both the self and (external) objects to be void (sunyata)of any intrinsic self-nature to begin with. Since this is not directly experienced at first, one must assume this from a hypothetical point of view, which is why what we would call "faith" seems to be so much more predominant in Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. It is, however, realized intellectually by deduction, and that acts as a support toward actual, non-conceptual realization.

In this context, one could say that the Mahayanist doesn't care if what one is experiencing is a dream or not, because that is a moot point since either way the phenomena experienced has no intrinsic 'self' nature anyhow, and that the only thing that actually does matter is whether or not one clings to the appearances that arise as "real".

So, depending upon which approach one is taking,
one either regards the aggregathes themselves (skhanda/khanda) to be abaondoned,
or they see clinging to the aggregates as what should be abandoned.
It's like with computers, PC vs. Mac. They are not very compatible, but each is a valid way to understanding.

Again, "self" as regarded in the context of appearances should not be confused with "Buddha nature" (tathagatha).
That is where confusion is likely to occur.
To say "buddha nature" as referred to by the Mahayana is the "true self" as referred to by the Theravada (whether it actually is or not) is an erroneous statement.
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Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:49 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Astus » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:39 pm

There is an important difference between the five aggregates and the five clinging aggregates (SN 22.48), namely clinging itself. This clinging is not from outside the aggregates, it is not the same as the aggregates, but the attachment, desire toward them (SN 22.82). There are ways people assume a self related to the aggregates, but even when it is believe to be beyond them is refuted (DN 15). As it is clear from the definition of the four noble truths, the five clinging aggregates is considered the fundamental source of suffering, while the abandonment of clinging - not the aggregates - is the liberation from suffering.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:46 pm

songhill wrote:Some people might enjoy playing in this illusory world, believing that it is really real. But as for the Buddha, the canon is pretty clear that he taught the aggregates are suffering, we are to abandon them, and the self and dharma are the refuge (the aggregates are sure not a refuge).



The self is refuge???? You do realize that this is absolutely contrary to the belief and practice of almost every Buddhist, and their teachers? Buddha, dharma and sangha are the objects of refuge. Adding in the self invalidates just about everything Buddha taught, From the Four Noble Truths on up.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Please provide links to the quoted Sutra/Sutta. I am not going to ask you again.


Whoa Greg, is this a threat? When you talk about links what do you mean? My PTS citations are from books, translations of the Nakays, done by such scholars as Bhikkhu Bodhi, I.B. Horner and others. Look them up.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:26 pm

catmoon wrote:
songhill wrote:Some people might enjoy playing in this illusory world, believing that it is really real. But as for the Buddha, the canon is pretty clear that he taught the aggregates are suffering, we are to abandon them, and the self and dharma are the refuge (the aggregates are sure not a refuge).



The self is refuge???? You do realize that this is absolutely contrary to the belief and practice of almost every Buddhist, and their teachers? Buddha, dharma and sangha are the objects of refuge. Adding in the self invalidates just about everything Buddha taught, From the Four Noble Truths on up.


They only thing you are saying to me is that you've never actually read the Pali Nikayas.

"Therefore, Ananda, stay as those who have the self as an island (attadîpâ), as those who have the self as refuge (attasaranâ), as those who have no other refuge; as those who have the dharma as an island, as those who have dhamma as refuge, as those who have no other refuge" (Mahaparinibbana Sutta).
(edit) Intentionally wrong translation of the Sutta, see further down for correct translation.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:15 pm

songhill wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Please provide links to the quoted Sutra/Sutta. I am not going to ask you again.


Whoa Greg, is this a threat? When you talk about links what do you mean? My PTS citations are from books, translations of the Nakays, done by such scholars as Bhikkhu Bodhi, I.B. Horner and others. Look them up.
Hmmmmm... a threat? Well, it got an answer, whereas my polite request was ignored. So whatever it was, it worked. ;)

I am having problems with the Pali Text Society citation system you use. It does not turn up results for me either at PTS nor at Access to Insight nor on web searches, etc... That makes validation of your Sutta quotes, or their context, impossible for me. As you may have noticed when I use quotes I always link to the source or give its exact source if from a book. This allows the person I am discussing with to validate the quotations without having to struggle with searches, etc... It is also polite to assume that some people (me for example) may be unfamiliar with the referencing system you are using. This is not an Academic site and we are not in the "Academic Discussion" sub forum.

So, for the third :tantrum: time (even though I said I was not going to ask again) please provide links for the :tantrum: sources of the quotations you are using, or failing that (ie given that cyber links may not exist), give the name of the Sutta or the book your are quoting from.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:31 pm

"Therefore, Ananda, stay as those who have the self as an island (attadîpâ), as those who have the self as refuge (attasaranâ), as those who have no other refuge; as those who have the dharma as an island, as those who have dhamma as refuge, as those who have no other refuge" (Mahaparinibbana Sutta).
You see, this is the sort of nonsense I am talking about. Whose translation is this? What is the source? Because when I looked it up I got this translation:
33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

"And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge?

34. "When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.

35. "Those bhikkhus of mine, Ananda, who now or after I am gone, abide as an island unto themselves, as a refuge unto themselves, seeking no other refuge; having the Dhamma as their island and refuge, seeking no other refuge: it is they who will become the highest, [20] if they have the desire to learn."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

So what is your source? For the fourth time.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Whose translation is this? What is the source? Because when I looked it up I got this translation:
33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.


Yumpin' Yiminy what a difference a translation makes. Now you have me wondering who did the translations being shown in this thread. At least with Greg's version there's no problem with harmonizing with other scriptures.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:06 pm

I don't have anywhere near the book-lernin' that you guys do, but...

Seems like common sense to me that within the Buddhist tradition, any reference to "self as a refuge" is similar to the "self" used in the self chapters in The Dhammapada etc., talking about a conventional self and not anything else.

I'm curious for those proclaiming that there is a scriptural "true self", do you claim this is in accord with famous thinkers, or do you claim the famous thinkers are mistaken? When I read Tsongkhapa or Nagarjuna or whoever, it seems to really fly in the face of these true self notions. So i'm wondering, other than simply different (to say the least) readings of Sutra, is there such a notion of True Self in any maisntream Buddhist commentary or philosophy?
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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
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:16 pm

There are 100%, without a doubt, references to this concept in some of the Tathagatagarbha class of the Mahayana Sutras. I have yet to come across a reference to this subject (True Self) in any of the Pali Canon Sutta and Abhidhamma that I have ever read. Not in any of the recognised translations, that is. ;)
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:22 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There are 100%, without a doubt, references to this concept in some of the Tathagatagarbha class of the Mahayana Sutras. I have yet to come across a reference to this subject (True Self) in any of the Pali Canon Sutta and Abhidhamma that I have ever read. Not in any of the recognised translations, that is. ;)
:namaste:



Are the sutra references the same as what is being drawn here though? If someone can explain, how can this kind of self-affirming viewpoint be reconciled with emptiness as it's normally explained?
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:23 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:There are 100%, without a doubt, references to this concept in some of the Tathagatagarbha class of the Mahayana Sutras. I have yet to come across a reference to this subject (True Self) in any of the Pali Canon Sutta and Abhidhamma that I have ever read. Not in any of the recognised translations, that is. ;)
:namaste:



Are the references the same as what is being drawn here though? I seem to remember there is a school of thought that the language in these sutras is one of function, and not theory necessarily. If someone can explain, how can this kind of self-affirming viewpoint be reconciled with emptiness as it's normally explained?


I think you are asking for the impossible, at least if recognized translations are used.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:24 pm

catmoon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:There are 100%, without a doubt, references to this concept in some of the Tathagatagarbha class of the Mahayana Sutras. I have yet to come across a reference to this subject (True Self) in any of the Pali Canon Sutta and Abhidhamma that I have ever read. Not in any of the recognised translations, that is. ;)
:namaste:



Are the references the same as what is being drawn here though? I seem to remember there is a school of thought that the language in these sutras is one of function, and not theory necessarily. If someone can explain, how can this kind of self-affirming viewpoint be reconciled with emptiness as it's normally explained?


I think you are asking for the impossible, at least if recognized translations are used.


Well I'm not really asking about specific sutra references, I just don't understand how you can reconcile emptiness of inherent existence itself with the inherent existence of true self, the one seems to make the other absurd, unless I am missing something.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:29 pm

I really dont think you've missed a thing, Johnny. There are now at least three people in this thread who see it your way and it looks quite clear that the idea stems from a faulty translation. It turns out some of the very biggest academic guns around here have quietly weighed in as well, and the outlook for the idea of an intrinsic self is deader than the the proverbial doornail.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:58 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
"Therefore, Ananda, stay as those who have the self as an island (attadîpâ), as those who have the self as refuge (attasaranâ), as those who have no other refuge; as those who have the dharma as an island, as those who have dhamma as refuge, as those who have no other refuge" (Mahaparinibbana Sutta).
You see, this is the sort of nonsense I am talking about. Whose translation is this? What is the source? Because when I looked it up I got this translation:
33. "Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

"And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge?

34. "When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.

35. "Those bhikkhus of mine, Ananda, who now or after I am gone, abide as an island unto themselves, as a refuge unto themselves, seeking no other refuge; having the Dhamma as their island and refuge, seeking no other refuge: it is they who will become the highest, [20] if they have the desire to learn."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

So what is your source? For the fourth time.


Here is still another:

Therefore, Ânanda, go along having Self as lamp, Self as refuge and none other refuge; having dhamma as lamp, dhamma as refuge, and none other refuge" (S.vi.162–163; cf. S.v.164; D.ii.100) (Coomaraswamy & Isaline Blew Horner, The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha, p. 153)


BTW, I usually don't rely on translations from accesstoinsight, for one thing it is incomplete. I rely on I.B. Horner, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhu Nanamoli, Joaquin Perez-Remon, Rune E.A. Johansson, H. Saddhatissa and K.R. Norman.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:00 am

If you Google, framed in in quotation marks, this exact phrase:
"Therefore, Ananda, stay as those who have the self as an island (attadîpâ), as those who have the self as refuge (attasaranâ), as those who have no other refuge; as those who have the dharma as an island, as those who have dhamma as refuge, as those who have no other refuge"

The few sources that come up, where this exact phrase appears, and perhaps they are merely copying from each other, are the"Zennist", a YouTube video link, a health & wellness yoga site, a tarot-astrology-horoscope blog, and something called "BuddhaRocks".

as the saying goes, "Question Authority". Or at leats"Question the authoritative source".
...especially when one or two passages seem to contradict everything else.
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