No-Self | Kinmunity: Otherkin Community

No-Self

Discussion in 'Religion & Spirituality' started by guppy22, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. guppy22

    guppy22 Hatchling
    K9 UnitHiatus

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Bones:
    Ƀ353.86
    Primary Identity:
    Therian/Were
    Lets have some fun!

    I know this is a very ego based forum. Ego not as in the psychology "id, ego, superego" group, but, and I use the term very liberally, as a representation of the idea of the self...

    But this time i want to explore the idea of no-self

    Here on KM we're all about discovering our "true selves." In one way or another, we all believe in the existence of a "self" that is transcendent of the culmination of all that is physically "you." Most of us believe that there is an essence of ourselves, our consciousness if you'd like, that is the actor and observer in our lives.

    Your arm didn't reach for the glass of water. "You" told your arm to grab the water, as a result of "your" own free will.

    But what is your consciousness? Is it a result of higher cognition, or is it a result of a unchanging soul? Or maybe it's something else, a quirk of psychology?

    What if I told you that no region of the brain controls consciousness... and that there is no way to prove consciousness exists in other people. What if I told you that consciousness is an impermanent, subjective experience?

    That is, what if there is no "you"?

    As I write this, I'm chewing on the back of my hand. I don't know why I do it, and I certainly did not consciously start doing it. If that is the case, and no consciousness "actor" made the decision to chew on my hand... then who is chewing on my hand? It's not "me", yet here I am physically gnawing.

    Okay, now that you're intrigued: (or bored out of your mind, I know I'm not very interesting)

    The idea of no-self came from the Buddha himself. I'm irreligious so I can't comment on the exact religious connotations in Buddhism itself. However, concept is interesting beyond the scope of Buddhism: no-self means there is no unchanging, permanent essence of living things. Much like how the physical you is not a collection of the molecules of your body, "you" are not the collection of "your" beliefs, experiences, and whatever else.

    To be fair, Buddha didn't explicitly say whether or not the self exists when asked. No-self is not saying "there is no such thing as the self", it is saying "asking whether or not the self exists is an irrelevant question"

    No matter how you define the line between "self" and "other," the notion of self involves an element of self-identification and clinging, and thus to the Buddhists: suffering and stress. This holds as much for an interconnected self, which recognizes no "other," as it does for a separate self. If one identifies with all of nature, one is pained by every felled tree. It also holds for an entirely "other" universe, in which the sense of alienation and futility would become so debilitating as to make the quest for happiness — one's own or that of others — impossible.

    The questions that you should ask are not "Is there a self? What is my self?" but rather "Am I suffering stress because I'm holding onto this particular phenomenon? Is it really me, myself, or mine? If it's stressful but not really me or mine, why hold on?"

    Because to Buddha, having an identity is suffering.

    Holding on to your identity, contorting the world around you in order to fit that identity, it causes undue anguish on the mind.

    Be like water, my friends. Be fluid but incompressible, have form when necessary, and be mouldable to become anything necessary. Water has no essence, yet it still is.

    True freedom is not finding yourself, but losing it.

    Guppy22 out. *mic drop*
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Jonah

    Jonah Spawn
    Hiatus

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bones:
    Ƀ5.40
    Primary Identity:
    Therian/Were
    Woah, thanks for the insights! What a lot to think about. Connecting the self to the world is immense and powerful. This makes me think also on the construct of time, and how like the "self", it is simply a construct to help define and clarify the world around us. I can barely keep up with the expanse of reality (which is to say, something we cannot define) in my thoughts. We are small and yet bigger than anything else because we're all we know, or at least the closest thing to it.
     
  3. kiror

    kiror Fuzzy Mirror
    Staff Member Deputy Admin

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Messages:
    721
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Bones:
    Ƀ376.92
    Primary Identity:
    Polymorph
    Mood:
    :sleeping:
    How you described "self" made me remember of another word: paradigm.

    Paradigms aren't good or bad: they just exist. They lock you into a comfort zone while provides ready answers for some questions.

    The problem of paradigms is that they can make you repeat the same mistakes many times, while you blindly believe they are correct and the problem is somewhere else, spending both time and effort in the wrong place.

    The disadvantage of having no paradigm is going through the stress of rethinking everything necessary to take an action, something that can demand you more time than you have available.

    I already was in both extremes: none is healthy and productive. It's like a pH scale: if too low is really acid and kills, if too high is really alkaline and kills, but the center is neutral and you won't die.

    Neutral in relation to identity, for me, means having some notions of self that only are relevant if they are adequate for what I have to solve, so they can take me out from the absolute zero quickly, but won't give me a ready answer.

    The key is balance.

    "For the ones who only have a hammer, screws are nails" - Z., E.
     
  4. Shezep

    Shezep Wyrmling
    VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    151
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Bones:
    Ƀ10,782.02
    Natural Winged AngelSilver VIP - Six Month Subscription
    Primary Identity:
    Deity
    That kind of thinking was a big part of my development. That amorphous cloud "memory" was a lot like that. There was no name, no purpose, no needed action, just being. It was very peaceful. All the complicated stuff we end up tripping over came later. Or, maybe "later" isn't the right word. If the original state was timeless, then it's still going on now and forever as we speak. Part of me is still there and is always there.

    As a polymorph I get partway there. My shape isn't me. It's not much different than putting on a different set of clothes. My clothes aren't me either. My personality isn't me. It's just a mask I've chosen to wear because it's useful. My mood isn't me. That changes depending on a number of different factors.

    Not this, not that. That's what they say anyway.

    Do I still get caught up in the drama? Sure, more often than I'd like. I'm not completely sold on nonattachment as a lifestyle choice. Is avoiding suffering the end all and be all of existence? I'm not so sure about that. But it does help to check in now and then to see if you're holding on to things for the wrong reasons. It's easy to sleep walk through life and find yourself somewhere you didn't intend to be. Our natural reactions and resistances are very strong and insidious. It's hard to steer this ship.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. guppy22

    guppy22 Hatchling
    K9 UnitHiatus

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Bones:
    Ƀ353.86
    Primary Identity:
    Therian/Were
    But to ask this question is to be attached to the idea of a meaningful existence :winkwolf:
     
  6. Shezep

    Shezep Wyrmling
    VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Messages:
    151
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Bones:
    Ƀ10,782.02
    Natural Winged AngelSilver VIP - Six Month Subscription
    Primary Identity:
    Deity
    I am more attached to meaning than I am to the avoidance of suffering. That's probably why I'm not a Buddhist.
     
  7. guppy22

    guppy22 Hatchling
    K9 UnitHiatus

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Bones:
    Ƀ353.86
    Primary Identity:
    Therian/Were
    In a sense, Buddhism provides the "ultimate meaning" like every other religion. Just like how the ultimate meaning in Christianity is the love of God and eternal salvation, the ultimate meaning in Buddhism is the avoidance of suffering.

    I don't agree with the Buddha. Taking any action to attain nirvana and free oneself from suffering implies attachment - attachment to right and wrong, and that suffering is somehow bad.

    If attachment is suffering, then is attachment to the idea of suffering any better?

    Now nihilism, on the other hand...
     
  8. Calithilien

    Calithilien Hatchling

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Messages:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Bones:
    Ƀ218.22
    Primary Identity:
    Elfen
    Mood:
    :relaxed:
    That last idea you talked about is especially important in Chan Buddhism. If you need to not be attached to anything in order to overcome suffering, then it won't do good if you're attached to the idea of attaining Buddhahood. Hence they teach their students that they already are Buddha. In a way, there's Buddha in everyone, because everything possesses bodhi (the thought of enlightenment). But at the same time, nothing does. And finally, the world as we see it is nothing than a product of our mind. So everything is, but at the same time, nothing is. If that sounds confusing, that's because it is. That's why Chan Buddhism came up with other ways to trigger enlightenment: there was a prevalent practice of screaming at students or hitting them a single time with a stick, or telling them a seemingly senseless answer to an important Buddhist question, and in that extaordinary state of mind, it'd be easier to attain enlightenment. So then, you wouldn't spend years and years practicing meditation and such to attain enlightenment. (I mean, you still would, but your way to enlightenment is different.)

    But the idea of anatman or no-self (which by the way predates Buddhism) is one of the reasons why I'm not Buddhist, to be honest. I like many Buddhist ideas, but not that of anatman. Additionally to what already was said: the body consists of five skandhas or aggregates (form, sensation, perception, consciousness and mental formations), all of which are "not I", and all of them are empty. (hence we asked our professor, back when she told us, if that doesn't mean that every individual is empty, but the concept of sunyata or emptiness would be a different topic) The only thing they are tied together by is karma, your actions. What you did in an earlier incarnation is something that directly affects that which you are now. But still, your sense of individuality is something non-existent in Buddhism. Which makes it a curious thing that certain people can remember earlier rebirths, but in this earlier rebirth, they were a completely different person, so to say. And that doesn't align with my own beliefs. I might have changed and learned over time, but I'm still the same elf I was way back then.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1