'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

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'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby steveb1 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:18 am

(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

I only have a lay person's grasp of Theravada, but from what I've read, Shakyamuni taught that there is no soul or individual personal entity to begin with; and even much less of a one regarding rebirth.
That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

3) Ditto re: "my" rebirth:

First, that rebirth won't be me or "of" me. Rather, it will be the emergence of just one more mere cipher, a carrier of my ripples (karmic burden), but it won't be me, so why bother?

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern? Why should he or she enjoy the fruits of my store of merit or suffer my karmic debt? I owe this future "person" nothing.
If I am no-self, so too will my rebirth pattern be no-self, just another pointless gust of empty wind.
I could see expending effort toward an "auspicious rebirth" of MYSELF as a human being who will benefit from my previous lifetimes of merit and Dharma-knowledge. But that's exactly what Shakyamuni denied. There can be NO rebirth of "ME" ... and thus a meritorious Dharma-led life NOW furnishes me with NOTHING later on.
So, again - why bother? What's the point?

If hatred or compassion is merely a game between two or more ciphers, no-selves, then what's the point? What's in it (Buddhistic self-denial, learning the Dharma, facilitating a "good" rebirth) if Anatta is the central fact of our (illusory) lives?

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby kirtu » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:32 am

Your analysis is incorrect.

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?


In Theravadin terms: the choice between extreme suffering and liberation.

In Mahayana terms: the choice between extreme suffering and Buddhahood.

In life after life your aggregates will actually undergo constant suffering if you do not make a change.

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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:42 am

These are all really good questions and these questions show you have some capacity. Obviously the questions you ask are nihilist. What makes them nihilist is that you are presuming that nothing exists. Which is also strangely eternalist as well.
So illusions and non-self don't have any substantial basis. That's the answer. Non-self does not continue moment to moment. If we think it does then we are mistaken. Rainbows don't leave a mark in space. The water that refects an empty moon is as empty as the reflection. And so on.
If you want to know how compassion and right action are related to wisdom then you need to understand that once you get a grip on basic reality then the apparent suffering of others seems unnecessary.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:13 am

It is exactly because there is no permanent, unchanging, immutable, essential self nature that what we do is so important. If there was a permanent... then it wouldn't matter, because you could not effect it. But exactly because we are this constantly mutable yet continuous process, then what we do is of utmost importance, because what we do makes a difference.

The problem with your question though is that you ask: why would I bother what happens to the self if there is no self?

If you start from the premise that there is no self then why would you care what happens to the self? If you start from the premise that there is a self that is effected, then why enter into process of asking?

It seems that it is time for you to move beyond an intellectual understanding into a realisation of no-self, otherwise you will get stuck with these sort of questions. This requires instruction and practice.

In the meantime you could study the four assurances from the Kalama Sutta.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:24 am

I believe that misunderstandings of this notion abound in popular interpretations of Buddhism, in fact, I would argue that they are prevalent even in some well-regarded mainstream schools. Perhaps this is due to the interpretation of anattā. Anattā means 'nothing is self', which is not the same as 'there is no self', even though it is frequently interpreted to mean that. Anattā is used adjectivally, rather than as an assertion about something that does or doesn't exist.

Note the following:

[T]he wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests and contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. (Ananda Sutta, SN 44.10; trs Thanissaro, Access to Insight.)


It is significant that in this passage, the question ‘then is there no self?’ is expressed as follows: “Kiṃ pana, bho gotama, natthattā"ti? Here, natthattā is the noun form of 'no-self' and is one of the only occurrences of this form in the Pali texts. Virtually every other instances of the term is given adjectivally, as anattā, and nearly always in relation to ‘those things which are not the self’ - this thing, or that thing, is anattā. In other words, on the one occasion when the Buddha was directly asked ‘whether or not there is atta’, he did not respond either negatively or positively. This is a significant point in understanding the meaning of ‘the Middle Way’. 'Self' neither exists (which equates to eternalism) nor does not exist (which equates to nihilism). But it is a very subtle point which takes a great deal of reflection to grasp. It really is the pivot on which the subsequent development of Śūnyatā turns (for which see The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, T.R.V. Murti.)

If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself?


It is an illusion which is real to you and those around you. You can't deny it, because the very fact of existence, and the fact that existence is dukkha, is undeniable. (In philosophical parlance, it is apodictic, cannot plausibly be denied.) I think the aim of the teaching is to rise above this illusion, which also means to rise above one's notion of oneself as something separate and special. Until then we are bound to existence by our clinging to it, even if it is ultimately illusory. The perspective from which it is illusory is not one which us living beings are able to generally participate in. Which is why we study the teaching!
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby dude » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:11 pm

Did the Buddha say that the living which will come into manifest existence after death is not you?
Did the Buddha not predict the future rebirths of others?
What do the members/teachers in your sangha do with this question?
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:25 pm

dude wrote:Did the Buddha say that the living which will come into manifest existence after death is not you?
He showed that "the living" which exists now is "not you", that there was no "you" to be found there.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Parasamgate » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:36 pm

This is a very good question and many who encounter Buddhism have the same question. Others will explain how these questions come about because of an incorrect view of the doctrine of no-self. I am going to try and just answer the questions straightforward.

steveb1 wrote:1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"


Because you suffer and wish to be free from suffering.

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"


Because they suffer and wish to be free from suffering.

3) Ditto re: "my" rebirth:


Because unless you reach liberation your future rebirth will suffer and wish to be free from suffering.

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?


Because you suffer and do not wish to do so. If you examine yourself and discover the first noble truth... that you indeed suffer and have suffered and will continue to suffer and the many, many, many forms of your suffering and how deeply you suffer. Perhaps you will come to know samsara and the state of being in samsara.

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern?


This question is valid, but in order to really answer it correctly you have to first realize your own suffering and the truth that you wish to be free from it. If you do not realize your own suffering and how you suffer and the depths of this suffering how can you possibly care that others suffer in the same way and also wish to be free from suffering? I would concentrate on the first question.

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?


Nothing less than the complete and total elimination of suffering and the sources of our suffering. Nothing less than complete and total liberation. Nothing less than endless bliss and happiness.

Buddhism is not nihilism. The doctrine of no-self and the conception of it does not negate the fact that you suffer. It is precisely this fact that necessitated the Buddha to teach the Dharma. This mystery of why we suffer and how we suffer in spite of the fact that we are empty of inherent existence is what we must solve.

Here is one analogy that I have found very helpful courtesy of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. I am paraphrasing, but consider a dream you might have where you are dreaming that burglars have entered your house. These burglars ransack your house and tie you up and begin to chop you into pieces. You are very scared and wish to get away from them. It is a nightmare.

And then you wake-up and discover that it is just a dream. Oh! How happy you are! The burglars are not real and the chopping up was not real. It was just a dream.

Now consider another dream you might have of purchasing a lottery ticket. You go home to your house and turn on the television and watch as they read out the numbers for the lottery. You check your ticket against each number and sure enough they match. You have won the lottery! You will be rich and begin thinking of all the things you will do with this new found wealth. You are very happy.

And then you wake-up and discover that it is just a dream. Oh... How sad you are... The lottery is not real and there are no riches to be had. It was just a dream.

Life is like this. Samsara is like this. We have to wake up.

Here is the video of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu explaining it much better than I can: Life is like a dream
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:19 pm

steveb1 wrote:First, that rebirth won't be me or "of" me. Rather, it will be the emergence of just one more mere cipher, a carrier of my ripples (karmic burden), but it won't be me, so why bother?

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern? Why should he or she enjoy the fruits of my store of merit or suffer my karmic debt? I owe this future "person" nothing.
If I am no-self, so too will my rebirth pattern be no-self, just another pointless gust of empty wind.
I could see expending effort toward an "auspicious rebirth" of MYSELF as a human being who will benefit from my previous lifetimes of merit and Dharma-knowledge. But that's exactly what Shakyamuni denied. There can be NO rebirth of "ME" ... and thus a meritorious Dharma-led life NOW furnishes me with NOTHING later on.
So, again - why bother? What's the point?

If hatred or compassion is merely a game between two or more ciphers, no-selves, then what's the point? What's in it (Buddhistic self-denial, learning the Dharma, facilitating a "good" rebirth) if Anatta is the central fact of our (illusory) lives?

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?

If you are not you, who is bothering? And why should you be bothered by his bothering? It may sound awkward, but I am not Me. If I am not me, why bother about me? The core of delusion is bothering about yourself, egoism. If you are not bothered about yourself, you are not bothered by you being bothering with well being of others, and you can practice compassion.
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Jikan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:47 pm

Parasamgate wrote:This is a very good question and many who encounter Buddhism have the same question.

<snip for brevity>

Life is like this. Samsara is like this. We have to wake up.

Here is the video of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu explaining it much better than I can: Life is like a dream


:good:

Here's another way to respond to the beginner's question of "what's in it for me":

http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781590306390
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Anders » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:41 pm

steveb1 wrote:(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

I only have a lay person's grasp of Theravada, but from what I've read, Shakyamuni taught that there is no soul or individual personal entity to begin with; and even much less of a one regarding rebirth.
That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

3) Ditto re: "my" rebirth:

First, that rebirth won't be me or "of" me. Rather, it will be the emergence of just one more mere cipher, a carrier of my ripples (karmic burden), but it won't be me, so why bother?

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern? Why should he or she enjoy the fruits of my store of merit or suffer my karmic debt? I owe this future "person" nothing.
If I am no-self, so too will my rebirth pattern be no-self, just another pointless gust of empty wind.
I could see expending effort toward an "auspicious rebirth" of MYSELF as a human being who will benefit from my previous lifetimes of merit and Dharma-knowledge. But that's exactly what Shakyamuni denied. There can be NO rebirth of "ME" ... and thus a meritorious Dharma-led life NOW furnishes me with NOTHING later on.
So, again - why bother? What's the point?

If hatred or compassion is merely a game between two or more ciphers, no-selves, then what's the point? What's in it (Buddhistic self-denial, learning the Dharma, facilitating a "good" rebirth) if Anatta is the central fact of our (illusory) lives?

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?


To sum it up: Painted rice cakes don't satisfy hunger.

You practise because you feel a need to be profoundly and truly happy and intuit that Buddhism is a way to get there. And that is all there is to it.

All these speculations about how the landscape might look to you once you get there is just so much prapanca. The implications of all this will sort itself out on its own accord in ways you quite literally can not imagine, simply because you don't have the experiential framework to do so. It's like imagining what a foreign country is like, how it smells, whether the people are friendly and the food is good and so forth by reading the entry in the CIA World Fact Book. It's not a question of how close to the mark your speculations might be. It's not even close to putting together a proper picture.

If you feel a need to answer questions about why you should bother helping future selves, other beings, etc. I suggest a philosophy course for your intellectual needs. Part of the awakening process involves becoming the kind of person who delights in giving freely to others in such a way and finds great happiness in benefiting themselves, their future 'selves' and all beings equally. If you want to awaken, one can not expect to take in expansiveness of the sky by looking through a pipe.


MN63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison.

His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.'

He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.'

He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.


MN2: Sabbasava Sutta wrote:"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person... does not discern what ideas are fit for attention, or what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas fit for attention, and attends instead to ideas unfit for attention... This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity.

This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones... discerns what ideas are fit for attention, and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention, and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention... He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices."
"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
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby steveb1 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:25 pm

A quick thank you to all who have/are replying to my questions. Thank you for taking the time to do this, and to discuss "my issues" from several points of view and by various sources of illumination. Right now, it's all rolling around in my head (naturally) but the food for thought you all have provided is both satisfying and meaningful. Please don't be shy to keep on adding anything you would deem helpful for my "beginner's question".

:)
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby gordtheseeker » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:06 pm

I am new to Buddhism as well and it's the teaching of 'no self' that at first made a lot of sense to me. I come from a Christian background and I always struggled with believing that 'generic' Christian view of when we die, we go to heaven and live there forever. Even as I prayed and read the Bible, it was almost to block out the fact that I didn't believe we would all go to this same place and be conscious of it. This lead me away from Christianity into a more gnostic view of reincarnation and liberation from the endless cycle. In the end that just lead me to more questions.

When I started looking into Zen Buddhism I realized my questions didn't matter and I just needed to see the truth in everything. This lead me to again ponder 'what's next' after death and accept truth where I found it. It was a teaching I heard about the ocean and how we are all the ocean, and our short little lives are the white caps of the waves that gave me peace. We go up and we go down into the ocean. We are all part of that ocean.

So why bother? Because why have fear? Why have doubts? Why not realize that once we die, we won't be attached to our self anymore. Attachment is suffering, so if we can not be so attached to who we are, it is easier to understand 'no self' and not worry about death so much. Of course it's not like I have a firm grasp on it. Hopefully one day I can fully embrace it.

All the best to you. :namaste:
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:07 pm

If you truly experience no self,
then, no bother.
Otherwise, plenty of bother.
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:23 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If you truly experience no self,
then, no bother.
Otherwise, plenty of bother.

:twothumbsup:

We need the path because we can't remain in the view 24/7.

Glimpses are easy, sustaining is difficult.
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:37 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If you truly experience no self,
then, no bother.
Otherwise, plenty of bother.

:rolling:
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:03 pm

steveb1 wrote:(Sincere question and playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here, but I keep running into this question and feel that I have to ask it:)

I only have a lay person's grasp of Theravada, but from what I've read, Shakyamuni taught that there is no soul or individual personal entity to begin with; and even much less of a one regarding rebirth.
That is, first you're nothing, a mere illusion, and then the patterns that "I" created will ripple through time to create a "reasonable facsimile" of "me" in some karmically-designated "format"; a format that only resembles me, but will not be me.

I have, however, an instinctual intuition that my view of this issue must be wrong - my understanding must be incomplete or misinterpretive, because:

1) If I'm illusion, why should I practice right action and compassion toward myself? I'm just a temporary cipher composed of impermanent processes, which at death will be scattered anyway. So - 'Why Bother?"

2) Ditto re: other sentient (non-) beings: why should I regard them any more highly or with any more reality than I regard myself? Like me, they are all illusions, empty of form/self-nature, temporary ciphers; how can a non-being spiritually assist or obstruct another non-being? So again the question - "Why Bother?"

3) Ditto re: "my" rebirth:

First, that rebirth won't be me or "of" me. Rather, it will be the emergence of just one more mere cipher, a carrier of my ripples (karmic burden), but it won't be me, so why bother?

Second, why should I try to "get off the Wheel" if I'm not really on the Wheel to begin with? I'm just a temporary, impermanent heap of skandhas - no me; no birth-death-rebirth of "me", and putatively no Wheel (because I don't really exist, the Wheel or Cycle of birth-rebirth is irrelevant). So - why bother?

Third, why should I try to ease the sufferings of a complete stranger - i.e., the future "me" - "my" rebirth pattern? Why should he or she enjoy the fruits of my store of merit or suffer my karmic debt? I owe this future "person" nothing.
If I am no-self, so too will my rebirth pattern be no-self, just another pointless gust of empty wind.
I could see expending effort toward an "auspicious rebirth" of MYSELF as a human being who will benefit from my previous lifetimes of merit and Dharma-knowledge. But that's exactly what Shakyamuni denied. There can be NO rebirth of "ME" ... and thus a meritorious Dharma-led life NOW furnishes me with NOTHING later on.
So, again - why bother? What's the point?

If hatred or compassion is merely a game between two or more ciphers, no-selves, then what's the point? What's in it (Buddhistic self-denial, learning the Dharma, facilitating a "good" rebirth) if Anatta is the central fact of our (illusory) lives?

Bluntly put: what's in it for us?



Samsara is like a dream, but in your dream you still suffer. So when you wake up like Buddha, you will no longer suffer. Buddha is beyond existence or non-existence; in other words, beyond any concepts.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: 'No Self' = 'Why Bother?'

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:10 am

Went too far from the Middle Way. Mediate on Dependent Arising more.

For the Madhyamaka pov:

“When reasoning searches to whether the chariot intrinsically exists, it is not found in any of the seven ways. This is the case in terms of both of the two truths. But when reason fails to find it those seven ways, does this refute the chariot? How could it? Reasoning that analyses whether things intrinsically exist does not establish the assertion of the chariot; rather, leaving reasoned analysis aside, it is established by a mere unimpaired, ordinary, conventional—i.e., worldly—consciousness. Therefore, the way a chariot is posited is that it is established as existing imputedly; it is imputed in dependence upon its parts.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 283 tib pg. 725

“Analyzing [appearances presented to conventional consciousnesses] often with reasoning that examines whether they intrinsically exist, you develop a strong certainty that intrinsic existence is refuted. Then, when you see an appearance arise, it appears like an illusion. There is no separate way to set up an illusion-like emptiness.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 300 tib pg. 742

“The earlier citation of Candrakirti’s Commentary on the “Four Hundred Stanzas” continues:
Therefore, since in this Madhyamaka system to be a dependent-arising is to lack autonomy, lacking autonomy is what emptiness means; emptiness does not mean that nothing exists.

Consequently, the view that functioning things do not exist is a mistaken denial of the existence of illusion-like dependent-arisings, both the pure and afflicted; hence, it is not accurate. The view that things intrinsically exist is also inaccurate because such intrinsic nature does not exist in anything. […] Therefore, those who wish to be free from the views of permanence and annihilation should assert both the lack of intrinsic existence and illusion-like dependent-arising of both pure and afflicted phenomena.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 317-318 tib pg. 760

“When living beings experience or see a phenomenon, they do not apprehend it as being set up by the power of the mind to which it appears. Rather, they apprehend it as existing just as it appears, i.e., as existing in an essentially objective manner. This is how intrinsic existence is superimposed. The presence of such a nature in the object is what is meant by essence, intrinsic nature, and autonomous existence. Thus, if such a nature were present, this would contradict reliance upon other causes and conditions.”
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v03 pg. 316-317 tib pg. 759
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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