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September 19, 2012

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Hey Brian
Rssb put out a book called Buddhism Path to Nirvana not too long ago. I read most of it and as always during my time as a believer,i thought they had exposed a secret link between religions. Now I tend to think they conveniently lift quotes and passages out of context to support their views. Also after reading more about the organization and considering how repetitive the other books are, I doubt the sincerity and integrity of rssb authors methodology.(no offense.it's just that god is less concerned with academic standards and he is willing to put a lot of pressure on people to lower their standards as well.)

They admit that they interpret the ' scriptures' through the rs lens but isn't that misrepresenting their sources? It seems unrealistic to think that Gautama,Rama,Nanak,kabir,Lao tzu, and everyone else who wrote poems about consciousness were all leading to Rssb.

Did you read the book? What did you think of it?

Jesse

Jesse, I've read part of the book. You're correct, Radha Soami Satsang Beas seriously distorts Buddhism in a self-serving attempt to cram the Sant Mat philosophy into Buddhism's very differently shaped view of the world.

See:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2012/02/rssb-buddhism-book-distorts-reality.html

http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2012/02/no-need-for-a-creating-god-in-buddhism.html

And this post is related to the "no-self" theme I just wrote about:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2012/05/key-to-self-knowledge-knowing-you-dont-have-a-self.html

Brian you should follow Sikhism.

G,
I'm not sure that would be a good idea for any of the people who read this blog and identify with any of the views presented here.
We're trying to NOT follow any rehat and NOT inundate our minds with beliefs based on stories of dudes from the past.

Sikhism is the belief that 10 guys a long time ago were infallible.They,like modern gurus, held the keys to the proper interpretation of even older guys' words.

Some of these 10 Gurus wrote stuff down. The last one (supposedly) said that they should stop believing in humans and instead start believing that books written by humans are human as well.Also they believe in a "panth" which has devolved into more of a tribal affiliation.

So we have a Guru being replaced by a tribe and leaders aka jathedars and gianis who ask for the same reverence as all other god men.

Going against these jathedars or committing 'beadbi' or disrespect of the book Guru(which includes calling a book a book even though granth directly translates as book) by means of improper ritual can mean death as it did for this man as well as hundreds of others-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_AVbCBGDK0

Also part of the deal is that the so-called rehit, that has been instituted only since the late 1800's by the British created SPGC but is attributed to the gurus with no documented evidence, doesn't allow one to wear the clothes they like,eat the food they want,marry who they want,or to even cut their hair.

So Brian,unless you want to be restricted in everything that you do in life and risk death for doing the wrong rituals,I'd say that,contrary to what G suggests, the Sikh path probably isn't for you. But hey, it could be everything you've been looking for.

Jesse

Jesse,

I don't claim to be an expert on Sikhism but I do know that the 11th Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib. The 10th Guru was their last human Guru and no other human can claim to be the next Guru in their system of belief. What's wrong with that? Isn't this better than to have a hoard of half baked, false Gurus representing their system running around claiming this or that? They have the essentials, the sacred and what they value the most given to them already through their completed human Guru lineage and the same codified in a representative book form, metaphorically called the last teacher, their last and 11th Guru. Makes sense to me.

Coming up with more and better reasons for debunking the existence of the self, "I", is a worthy exercise if it exorcises the demonstrable fact that I is not going away. The fact is, that until I have lost the will, given up the ghost, handed in my credentials and tendered my resignation, I am here to suffer and recover until I am unrecognizable.

Call me a masochist if you like, but putting up with you is a worthier exercise than trying to talk myself out of I.

So are we to understand that the Guru Granth Sahib cannot be called a book? That it is more than a metaphor to the Sikhs? That in fact it is living? I wonder if this concept is similar to that of Noah's Arc.

You "know" that the 11th Guru is the granth how?It's folklore for the most part that has become more and more solidified as time goes on.
Take the story of the Namdharis or other early Sikhs who never heard the words "Guru Manyo Granth" and don't believe it til this day.
Take the followers of Baba Chand and other Jathas from Seva Panthis to Nihangs,some of whom still believe Guru Gobind Singh to be alive and who also consider there to be multiple Granths which represent the Guru ie the Dasam and Sarb Loh Granths.

These now non-Sikhs and "Tanakhiyas" were considered Sikhs until recently when the SGPC decided that only "Khalsa"Sikhs were the real deal.
Khalsa being as per the SGPC definition and not the actual Nihang Khalsa who have military lineage tracing back to the Guru Gobind Singh himself.

Sikhs are free to believe in Guru Granth but as I stated,there is ZERO evidence to support this claim, at least in the way we see it now. ZERO evidence. The creation of the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh,which is the day in which he supposedly inaugurated the Granth, was so poorly documented that it makes Xtianities Bible look like a sophisticated Encyclopedia. Did he chop the heads off goats? Pigeons? None of the above? Did he say ALL Sikhs must be Khalsa? What did happen? I'll pay you a large sum of money to find any serious evidence of the events that took place on that day.

People are free to believe in anything they want, really.It doesn't mean much.

I converted to Sikhism for a few years and spent all that time blabbing with Sikhs about this stuff as well as reading the stories of Sanatan Sikhs from the Nirmala Panth as well as other heterodox Sikh literature from modern groups affiliated with the likes of Nihang Nidar Singh and his group.I'm not convinced at all by the "official" story.
You're informed only about the official aka violently oppressive Jat Sikh dominated story which doesn't hold water regardless of how much it has been proliferated.

Anyway,We've hijacked this thread about something valuable and turned it into a talk about another mythological lineage of supposed great ones.
Let's delight in nothingness and leave religion behind.

cc if your comment is directed at me, I can only smile and applaud you for "putting up with me", at least I ignite your I.

Jesse thanks for this great info! I had no idea. You know I said I am not an expert on Sikhism. There is no Sikhism thread here. Guess the blame lies with G on this one!

There is so much misunderstanding, half truths and little truth, about so many terms people use. Take Nirvan for example.

What is nirvan? Extinguish? No flame? Maybe these terms are purposefully chosen for their ambiguity. If putting out the flame of ego or existence is the ultimate then why notcommit suicide and experience that ultimate experience right now? I absolutely distrust all buddhas and sants. This is a recent epiphany.

I am with you on this Jesse. But there is another side to it. To Shunyata that is. Yes, Shunyata I would like to get into from different perspectives. From the little I know of it so far, it sounds like the Arupa mental plane. Now there is the Buddhi plane ascendent to it. That is why the title "Buddha".

Well,i guess it's a complex metaphysical term designating a place,state of being or thing that may or may not exist in its non existing existence.

When I think of these things it makes me want to meditate and have the experiences just for the experience sake. Not for the salvation or even the knowledge but because it seems really weird and interesting. Like traveling to a foreign country.

I think that the "disco" lights that Gurinder teases his disciples about would be really fun. Then after playing around with lights and different forms of emptiness I'll die having known that shit was super cool in the astral world that my mind was able to create for my subconscious pleasure.

The most profound experience I had was when I was 24 and I sat,staring at a candle flame for about 10 minutes until it felt as though something had grabbed me and was pulling me into myself.
The visions were sort of like in a sci fi movie and the stars are flying by as a space ship travels at light speed. I got scared and snapped myself out of it cause I didn't know "where" I was "going."

Now if I were to listen to my Guru I think I would be forbidden to tell that anecdote. Maybe not though. That slight experience that I found to be so intense was long before I'd ever heard of sant mat. Maybe the Gurus and books and preconceived notions about Buddhas and Avatars scared me into thinking I needed them to have those experiences again safely.

. . .
The tug 1, tug 2

The fear

momentary stops at train stations

I'm flying on a jet plane, don't know when

I'll be back again . . .

Well it was before you met your Guru. Its ok. Can your Guru not be the GOOD and the TRUE itself? Courage, love, the desire to go and know. And why not?

Have you read the works of one called Robert Monroe? He gave some great interviews which are on you tube.

To know the self (or what the self is not) go outside, to know the world go inside.:( :) :-

Do you have a background or interest in Mathematics, Jesse?

This might throw some Scientific light on the subject.

Understanding 4th Dimention - HQ with Dr. Quantum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOuXtONDAN0&feature=related

This one explains even more . . .


Scientists Confirm That Reality is an Illusion - Our 3D Universe Is A Hologram

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qngieHWZXcM&feature=related

Janya,
You make worthwhile contributions to the dialogue on this blog but your comments dominate the "Recent Comments" column where there is space for only ten comments. As I write this you currently occupy seven of the ten spaces. This causes other people's comments to go into the archives before they have an opportunity to be read by other blogsters. May I suggest that you condense your comments as much as possible perhaps by combining several comments or responses into one post whenever possible.

Some people do not know that they can copy and paste a long comment rather than make multiple entries. When you do that you may have to erase part of your email and re-enter it for TypePad to accept your copy-paste entry.

To copy,left click and drag the cursor over your text to highlight it. Then right click on the highlighted text. Select "copy" and then refresh the page. You will not lose what you have written. In the comment box left click to establish your presence and then right click. Select "paste". There... you have done it. Now erase part of your email and re-type it. Then do the submit process. It works, unless I screwed up somewhere in my explanation of the right and left clicks but I do it successfully.

You write a long entry, go have lunch, come back and finish it and then do the copy paste process and you will lose nothing even after TypePad has timed out.

Hi Tucson,

Really, I had no idea that this is what has been happening! I was wondering why all I can see is Janya Barrish all day long - gets highly boring after a while. How much oneself can one take? HA HA. . . Thanks for the tip and the kind words. Will do.

If Buddhism teaches that the "I" or ego is nothing but ever changing processes of thought, how come everybody's sense of "I" remains unchanged throughout their entire life?

The thoughts come and go, the memories fade out, the personality changes, but the sense of "I" never leaves. Anybody can confirm this.

The body changes but the person in the body doesn't change. That is just common experience.

In fact, the only one thing i can know without a single shred of doubt, with 100% certainty, is this sense of "I" has always been there and always remained the same. I can doubt absolutely everything else.

I am, therefore I think. Descartes had it backwards.

Buddhism is wrong. Vedanta is right.

Everybody has a self. This notion that there is a "true self" is what is problematic. This true self or Self is the ground of Being, or God etc.

And despite neuroscientists saying that they cannot locate a self they also say that they cannot locate memory in the brain. So if you think your sense of self is an illusion and really it is just continuous thoughts popping in and out including memories, that would be wrong.

The sense of self, or ego, is the organising and directing hub for all the thoughts. Without an ego, you would probably be insane. It would just be chaos.

It has never made sense to me to try to get rid of the ego as if this was standing in the way of revealing a true Self. Gurus that teach this also teach that the ego is not annihilated but that the consciousness expands beyond it. This is clearly contradictory. Egotism is bad, yeah we all know that right? No ego at all? Inconceivable.

I've always wanted to know what Brian thinks about Sikhism and Islam. He discusses RS extensively, I'd like it if he a had a section on Sikhism and Islam, it would be interesting.

If Brian wanted to convert to Sikhism, he has a head start, judging from his profile picture, I don't think Brian cuts his hair lol. Also I think Bryan would look cool wearing a turban.
But I don't think there are many Gurdwaras in the US, only one I'm aware of is the one in California which had the terrible shooting, God bless the victims involved.

Sikhism is interesting, the Guru Granth Sahib has some very interesting stuff in it. I'm just not to sure about the Holy Book being a Guru.

You bring up so many good points David R. It seems like there is a lot of confusion of concepts going on. Is there a forum we can move to or maybe even to the vedanta thread? Its getting harder and harder to communicate on this blog without aggravating someone or the other or having to argue on so many different topics and with so much abstraction, half truths, half knowledge, few references, foundational ideas missing etc. and the feeling that when has to say something, it feels like one is hogging the limelight.

Janya, i would suggest that you calm down and have a glass of Rose or red wine, come to your senses and hieghten your mood, just for a little bit here. Because you seem to me to be venturing into territory that is going to blow your mind, even if self instigated.

Vedanta is a simple philosophy, despite the complexity of the ideas around it.

I don't know if you want to discuss this with me further outside of public, but Brian can give you my email address since this is his blog. I welcome hearing from you personally. Don't worry, fear is nowhere near as bad as bad moods. I look forward to seeing your response. Be happy.

I think therefore I am
I am that
not this, not that

what self is being talked of - an ego (self), a deeper self (soul), a cosmic consciousness Self or some sort of pure awareness.

I dunno whether I'm coming or going with all these Wisdom and mystical traditions

the only thing they appear to have in common is meditation - of cultivating another aspect of perceivng reality directly by stilling or bypassing the thinking mind (intellect or ego)

it seems to me that once this has been done, the experience is described in different forms by the various mystic traditions, some describe it aspire awareness others with the soul communing with the ocean and so on with allsorts of different theologies and cosmogenies.

Only doing this because of the great confusion and for those who have been asking but no one else seems to want to respond, so I have decided to offer it. If you do not agree with this please add to my understanding if you so wish. I am pretty sure no one is going to read this with the sincerity that I am writing it, but that's ok.

Usually and ordinarily people, call everything and more of the same type of stuff on the list A below,"My Self."

LIST A

(Feelings, desires, hopes, hates, love, wanting to possess something,likes, dislikes, orientation towards something or not,the need for power etc. Its all about ME,ME,ME; all about MY, MY, MY. This entire package is called the Astral forces of the person (And the general Astral dimension is more of-course.)

PLUS

Thinking.
(The Mental Dimension.) Analyzing, intellectualizing, putting 2 and 2 together etc.

List A has pretty much all our thoughts connected with the environment and our feelings and relationship to it. This might include spiritual thoughts experiences, practices etc. as well. Its all about ME, ME, ME.

But this package of "My Self" is not "THE SELF." "THE SELF" is something different. "THE SELF" is that what is left over, after you have been able to completely negate List A. Practically no one can do this. It is an extremely rare individual who can. It can pretty much NOT be accomplished.

How to do it, in its embryonic state, because that is all this exercise will do for you or me as well (but not for that rare person of-course).

Look (fully observe) at a piece of art without having feelings of wanting to possess it. Also, completely and absolutely negate/not have any thinking attached to it. Do not think of its color, its size, its frame, what the artist must be trying to convey, how nice it looks etc. In other words, your outer senses are the only things operating. You are not thinking, feeling or willing. You are in pure observation. This subject and object relationship,is "THE SELF" that is spread out into the world,over and into the objects of perception/the world. This is "THE SELF" that is the NO SELF meaning its not the "My self (the List A stuff)."
*******

Now, the "I" is different is something else.

(Ego is the latin translation/word for the English "I".)

The I, your I, your individuality is the one you know, that you have always known, just like David R. says in his post above. Its that that which you know of as you, the same you as in kindergarten, the same you in your youth, old age. It is also the I, you that has lived before, in other incarnations (reincarnation)and will be born again, unless of-course you have gotten everything about the physical world,completed your karma.

References

Trancendentalists
Bhagvad Gita
Henry David Thoreau
A German Philosopher

At the risk of hogging the limited new comments list, sorry Tuscon, I just absolutely need to add this to my recent post : the exercise mentioned can be done by contemplating nature as well, and I suppose any other physical thing, maybe even a candle flame, I suppose.

Janya,

First of all, you have a cool name.

I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at with the sincerity part.I think it's not safe or necessary to assume that people are less sincere than you on any given topic.Maybe you meant that what you're writing is very meaningful to you and you doubt others are thinking the exact same thing.That's probably true.So in that case you're probably right in that nobody is really on the exact same page at the exact same time which amounts to different levels of interest and sincerity.Such is life.

About what you wrote-You list a bunch of cognitive functions and then appeal to more authority figures ie supposed mystics. One would have to accept without evidence in something such as reincarnation to even begin to think about the experiences you describe in the context you have put them in. I really don't know that there is an "I" that I've "always known," I don't remember anything before I was about 5 years old actually.Might be "maya" but might be that my brain was not developed enough.

If I did have a previous life, I hope it was during a time when I didn't hear as much traffic.The sound of cars really annoys me.Most past life specialists ascribe near-divine past life status to their clients because it sells well.Everyone was a king from ancient Egypt or some other exotic place like Lemuria or Atlantis. I'd like to go back to that if possible.Who wouldn't?

The whole of Indian and most other religious thought is predicated on the idea that there is some unknown essence that isn't rooted in the physical. Fine to believe but difficult to provide empirical evidence in support of this. We can't use that as our launching pad because too much is assumed in that belief to allow any serious enquiry into the topic of consciousness.We can't start with complete answers is what I'm trying to say.As we know it now, there is a brain.We need to start there.What does the brain and the nervous system do? Can it create illusions of astral worlds and ethereal bodies and all that shit? Yes. Is there something more? Maybe.

Aside from that, I don't agree that I'm the same person I once was. Were it not for my brain's need to retain information for survival purposes, I can't really say that "I" would exist at all. Even with the memories I have, it's hard to really relate to or recognize that I am who I was. If given the chance to experience the same experiences from my past it would probably be as foreign to me as experiencing your experiences or watching a movie.

Life is strange,

Jesse

Jesse, nicely put. If I hadn't been obsessed with getting my newly delivered iPhone 5 up and working today, I might have written something similar. Yet you made more sense that I would have, likely.

I'm still reading my "emptiness" Buddhist book. It makes your point: there is no essence of a person, or anything else. Everything, including the notion of "emptiness" in devoid of inherent essential existence.

Meaning, everything and everyone is a form of dependent origination. We're all leaning on something, and there's no thing that isn't leaning on something.

It's entertaining to believe otherwise. It's comforting to believe in some part of us that lives on, maybe forever, as soul, spirit, or whatever. We can tell stories about this to each other, some of which turn into holy books.

But in the end? All we experience, including our own experience, is ever-changing and impermanent. Such is life. To understand this, according to Buddhism, is enlightenment. To reject it is to embrace continued suffering.

Jesse, aside from whether you don't remember being 5 years old, are you seriously saying that you don't have a sense of "I" that persists despite aging? I don't think you mean that.

In any case, i don't see how the sense of self is related to a soul. It's an argument some make but i don't see it.

So again, what is the difference between the ego (I) or self?

These are apparntly all the same thing, a false psychological construct of ourselves, which feels permanent but is impernanet, a process informed by our experiences and informing our thoughts and feelings.

But the soul (in certain traditions or religions) is contasted to the self/I as being real and permanent. In less religious traditions like budhism I understand the concept of the soul is replaced by the concept of a pure awareness or consciousness, which is supposedly made of the same spiritual stuff (cosmic consciouness) that everthing is constituted by. In other words everything is fundamentally empty (of it's own existence), there are no-things, no individual objects, rather all is interconnected by this consciousness which we falsely perceive as being seperate things until we become enlightened, and awake from outlr slumber by following the instructions of other enlightened old dudes who supposedly can teach one how to navel-gaze properly.

David,
My brains capacity for memory still exists.Other than that I don't know what to think other than that a mind and body connection exists and always changes. A persisting "I" to me would seem unchanging yet as I said, my memories seem very foreign at times. That 'I' from the past seems like a movie.

My past is a very fuzzy and abstract concept that I'd just never think of defining or trying to understand until engaged in a conversation such as this.The fuzziness was generally taken for granted. Now I'm seeing the abstract nature of 'I' definitions and the absurdity of futile attempts at defining what we are or what 'I' is.
Your question was good because it called me on bullshit to a degree but the bullshit is all that we can deal in. Once we start on the topic of self we get lost. It's a really perplexing thing to conceptualize.Nobody can even agree on terms and definitions.

Have I persisted or has 'I' persisted while aging and what the f*** do either of those things mean?

Time for saturday morning pancakes.Egg-free because Arrowhead Mills brand are without eggs and AWESOME. Not because a baba said so. I think "i" feels independent right now.

Be well,

Jesse


Brian - "All we experience, including our own experience, is ever-changing and impermanent."

This doesn't prove that there is no 'I'. Because you know that these "changes" are happening and are "ever changing and impermanent" doesn't preclude the one permanence of the I experiencing them.

But then, I am still learning about Buddhism, so what do I know?
____________________________________________
Jesse - About the sincerity remark, I meant that I thought about this stuff and tried to separate and categorize, so that the concepts of "The Self" etc. can be thought out rationally and without mystification. Thats all. Not that others are not sincere.

The category of the Buddhist Skhandas is what my List A is about. I haven't delved into them to know how they are "empty". Reading the book that Brian mentioned on "emptiness" could throw some light on the subject.

The concept of Anatman (in contrast to the Atman) is for a novice like myself, quite nicely described as:

"The doctrine of anatman (or anatta in Pali) is one of the central teachings of Buddhism. According to this doctrine, there is no "self" in the sense of a permanent, integral, autonomous being within an individual existence. What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations of the skandhas.

Anatman is sometimes misunderstood to mean that nothing exists, but this is not what Buddhism teaches. It's more accurate to say that there is existence, but that we understand it in a one-sided and delusional way."
Also Known As: Anatta
(ref: about.com)

For myself this is easier to understand and relate to.

I am pretty sure that if a person could stay in the authentic Buddhist "No Self" state for an extended period of time, they probably would experience the other "dimensions" as well as the mode in which they are being experienced, those containers of the experiencing I.

Additionally, I mentioned those references merely as references, not to lean on them entirely.
____________________________________________

David R. - Thanks for the invite.

This, permanent self, the I, the carrier of individuality (meaning the carrier of the past, present and future) is said to not exist. But at this point with my limited knowledge base and experience, I for myself do know my "I" as the kernel of my being, the Monad. This kernel, my kernel does appear to have reporting and accountability responsibility to the spiritual world and its administrators. And it is the instrument through which I know.
____________________________________________

********

Thanks for the input Brian, Jesse and David R. It appears that knowing Buddhism and what the Buddha taught is just as important as Vedanta and Science.

*******

Janya, you don't have to know a lot about Buddhism to realize that there's no permanence to our sense of "I."

Just go to a nursing home and observe the people with advanced Alzheimer's disease. Or see people who have suffered a serious stroke, or have other extensive brain damage.

My mother had a serious stroke before she died without regaining consciousness. She, the "I" she once was, wasn't there any more after the stroke. My mother was unresponsive. This shows the impermanence of our sense of "I." So does anesthesia, deep sleep, etc.

Also, death. One moment the living person is there; then they're not. Buddhism seems to have it right: there is no permanence, no eternal essence to anything.

Brian,

I know about stroke. My grandma had one and I nursed her for 3 months, so I empathise.

For external observation it would seem that there is no I, but the person as its own self, a being that is undergoing these things, stroke, alzheimers, others that destroy the physical, the entire experience might very well be different. Their sense of I could still be intact, experiencing and knowing, even though the physical apparatus is unable to be used. People in a coma come to mind and even a vegetative state, the longest known of 37 years reversed with partial awareness returning! There are accounts of people in these damaged states who have expressed their I in various ways. Then there is the minimally conscious state where there is extensive brain damage but some "fragments of mind" have been located.

http://www.philosophicalturn.net/intro/Consciousness/What_if_There_Is_Something_Going_On_in_There.pdf


It doesn't seem like external observation can tell the entire story. The comotose person's I may be intact in some manner or other, the alzheimer's patient's as well, only the apparatus of expression are dead or dying and cannot be utilized, the dead could be aware of themselves, not as in ordinary life but as the essential I, the essence of themselves.

No one knows, not even scientists if the I survives or not. Only the I, itself knows.

I know what you are saying Brian, but appearances can be deceptive. The dead corpse is that we call the physical, the purely mineral. What was enlivening it? Chemical reactions, bacteria residing in the body? All these can create the wonderful I that we all experience while alive? I doubt it. For me, that which is simple is the truth.

Janya, George,

Your antipathies are disturbing my peace. In the end there is nothing, no I and no why!
PS

Brian

it's only fair janya can reply and take a potshot.

But yip I understand you prefer more civil conversation - so you probably should remove my posts also - re Janya's essenence of bullshit and Guru YabbyDabbyDoo. Apologies - couldn't help myself.

George, thanks for the offer. I took you up on it. Your personal comments about Janya have been unpublished; her personal comments about you have been unpublished.

Clean slate. Hopefully we all can shake hands, or hug virtually in cyberspace, and get back to comment conversations that are respectfully intense.

Meaning, it's great to have strong opinions. And since it's people who have opinions, it's difficult to completely separate impersonal from personal language when expressing them.

When moderating comments, I look them over and make a judgment about where the balance is between attacking someone's ideas and attacking someone's person. Sometimes I get this wrong. I did this time.

Like I said, it's a fine line. "You're full of shit when you say..." starts off the same way as a blunter "You're full of shit," but has a considerably different feel to it.

Another consideration: people have different tolerances for intense communications. I've gotten emails from people who tell me that they are reluctant to leave a comment on this blog because comments can be attacked so fiercely.

That bothers me. I'm not a highly sensitive person when it comes to arguing and debating (take after my mother, I guess), but I'm bothered when those who are more sensitive feel like they can't express themselves on this blog.

It's a lot like talking face to face, when a quiet person can't get a word in while more agressive speakers dominate a conversation. Of course, with blog comments everyone can say what they want -- but the psychology is much the same, since more reticent people feel intimidated by the intensity of the more forceful people.

Again, it's a balancing act. I lost my balance in moderating some recent comment exchanges, for which I apologize. Live and learn.

I have a memory.

I saw at least part of the exchange.

Humans often disappoint me - but I have learned to expect little from them. Even from the ones who occasionally sound pleasant.

Egotism remains a widespread human problem. C'est la vie. Dukkha.

"Love" might be a "goal" - but it surely seems uncommon (reincarnated or otherwise).

Robert Paul Howard


All Humans are Man
I am a Man
I disappoint Man

Condescending remarks often hint of egotism even when they are well intentioned.

Q.E.D.

Robert Paul Howard

"I always thought that if I kept searching and exploring, I'd discover who I truly was," said Speth from his Wrigleyville efficiency. "Well, I looked deep into the innermost recesses of my soul...."

This guy is nowhere near the Buddhist level of anatta realization. His language reveals it.

Unfortunately, David, you got it all backwards.

"If Buddhism teaches that the "I" or ego is nothing but ever changing processes of thought, how come everybody's sense of "I" remains unchanged throughout their entire life?

It doesn't. In 'your' ignorance, 'you' think it does.

The thoughts come and go, the memories fade out, the personality changes, but the sense of "I" never leaves. Anybody can confirm this.

Nonsense. You have not really gone deep into this investigation.

The body changes but the person in the body doesn't change. That is just common experience.

Common experience - of ignorant people.

In fact, the only one thing i can know without a single shred of doubt, with 100% certainty, is this sense of "I" has always been there and always remained the same. I can doubt absolutely everything else.

Congratulations, you have been 100% fooled by an illusion.

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