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December 27, 2023


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I read somewhere recently that the persistent and inescapable feeling of self is the result of Original Sin. Some Catholic wrote that of course.

Whether or not Adam & Eve are to blame for it, that feeling of self is the shadow that can't be evaded. All the best sadhana, all the hedonistic entertainments, all the knowledge won't make any difference. After it's over, we're still left with that familiar "me" that hasn't changed a bit since we were 3 years old.

Charan Singh and Chand both confessed to being struggling souls.

Maybe Ramana Maharshi really did transcend the self. I mean, really really transcend it. He lived like he had, so who knows. Maybe some of the Zen masters did as well. But I cannot say I have. After all these years, Mr. Self still tags along.

We are only what our memory regurgitates back several times a second. We are merely the last copy loaded again...

Continuity is just persistence of short term memory.

Does it really help to see the truth?

But who is the one seeing it?

When you can watch this happening for yourself, who is the watcher?

They are filled with bliss...How can that be?

It is.

We are so excited to be nothing. But we are actually far more than that.

Enjoyed reading this post. Excellent description of the experience of Vipassana. A portion of it I can vouch for, from personal experience.

Of course, a great deal of the more dramatic bits of it, while it is borne out by the teachings, that much I can vouch for (I mean obvously, guy's a monk, which is to say a pro, he doesn't need my vouching-for at all!); but the latter part of it is kind of aspirational, to put it gently. Two things, specifically:

First: Do people really experience the emptiness of self? The "teachings" say they do, I've read plenty of books saying they do. But I've interacted a great deal with practitioners and teachers of Vipassana, including hard-core practioners, and including monks as well: but I've not actually spoken with anyone who's actually experienced no-self. (And here's the thing: Had they actually experienced it, that means nothing, really. That you might experience constellations within, does not mean there are constellations within; that you might experience out-of-body sensations, does not mean you've been flying around in your astral body; likewise, that you experience no-self, does not mean there's no self! No-self is a thing only because it happens to be borne out by science. That it might be experienced within is no more than an oddity, at least not unless the inerrancy of such experience and realization is first established. Established by science.)

In any case: The game doesn't seem worth the candle, really, putting in all of this effort merely to experience this. It's like spending hours and days and months and years, to "realize" the earth goes around the sun. I mean, what's the point?


The last bit? The complete craving of "tanha", craving, all of that? Now that would be an interesting thing to realize, a very very VERY useful thing, and in fact the whole point of the Buddha's (probably apocryphal) story. Again, in my (fairly wide) personal interactions with practitioners and teachers of Vipassana, I haven't actually met and spoken who've themselves attained to this.

Attaining to this, now this part would, I suppose, well be "a game that's worth the candle", at least to some people that might be most troubled by this, and that seek this. This part of it, I can see how it might well be worth "hours and days and months and years" of practice. Provided of course it's actually and really a thing, that kind of experience.

A nice summing up of mindfulness by Bhante Henepola Gunaratna and descriptions of the findings of such an investigation. I would say that depending on the importance or perhaps better to say, the depth of interest in undertaking mindfulness meditation, such findings are inevitable.

It is often said by teachers of meditation that initially one is searching for a goal, a reward. Later, it is realised that there is no goal other than just sitting (meditating). I tend to see meditation as an on-going enquiry even when not sitting. It is often referred to as simply just paying attention, or just watching which enables insight into all the mental phenomenon that Gunaratana talks of here.

As far as I’m concerned, all the ever-arising thoughts, feelings and so on are seen as they appear, act-ed on where necessary but mostly just observed as the ever-arising procession of mental activity – yet without the habitual guilt, worry, fear etc. that is often associated with them.

The enlightening difference I believe, arrives when no trace of a ‘me’, an ‘I’ can be found, that is apart from the entire ‘structure’ that consists of all the informational contents that poses as ‘me’. I don’t believe it is necessary or even possible to function without a sense of ‘me’, simply because such a structure contains all the information to function in the world. It is sufficient to realise that there is no separate ‘me’ who experiences pain and pleasure etc., just a reactionary mental structure – and one that is in a continual state of flux.

And incidentally, there is no ‘me’ that has such a thing as free will acting independently of all the biological and mental processes that comprise the information that presumes a ‘me’. And perhaps, being psychologically free of believing in a separate controlling ‘me’, adds up to nirvana!

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