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June 25, 2023


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The Buddhist doctrine of anatta holds that the self is an illusion. "Where, exactly, is your self?" Buddha asked. "Of what components and properties does your self consist?" Since no answer to these questions suffices, the self must be in some sense illusory.

Note the qualification "in some sense." In some sense, our self is indeed illusory. But it's not absolutely illusory.

Blackmore contends in The Meme Machine that if you pluck all the memes out of a mind, you will have nothing left. She even rejects the concept of free will, holding that there is no self to act freely.

Actually, modern science—and meditative introspection—have merely discovered that the self is an emergent phenomenon, difficult to explain in terms of its parts. The world abounds in emergent phenomena. The school where Blackmore teaches can't be defined in strictly reductionist terms either. You can’t point to a person or classroom or lab and say, "Here is Stevens Institute." But does that mean my school doesn't exist?

This all points to the insufficiency of reductionism to give us accurate or truly satisfying answers. The conclusions of reductionism are usually highly idealistic, typically Marxist, and they generally lack utility.

There is no such thing as a Buddhist.

Perhaps 'Spaciousness of Awareness' is simply a wonderful internal experience of immense space?

It is often seen that when someone raises their conscious awareness they think they have accomplished complete freedom from the mind and body.

A mountain climber may have reached great heights, but still there is more to go. They are still on the same mountain, the wall of rock still stands in front of them. And the same equipment that carried them this far is the principle means to go further. Although, the things awakened in practice can be used to assist. The experience of space is now a guidepost to return to, a new base camp for the next level of ascent!

Having an experience emerge from prayer or meditation practice now becomes a guide to returning there and continuing the journey from there. It was inside all the time. But having raised awareness through practice, that becomes a platform for further progress.

The human brain functions at different levels of awareness, consciousness. It is all part of the equipment. Meditation and prayer help optimize its functioning, opening up new levels of conscious awareness to pursue.

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