I don't think "self" is the right term in English for the sort of quality I want to ask about.

So, regardless of its ontological status, or that of what it relates to (objects), do (any) Mahayana Buddhists teach subjectivity?

  • Are you thinking of Kierkegaard, or maybe more along the line of phenomenology (Husserl, etc)? Mar 13, 2017 at 13:51
  • I am also curious to this subject as I think that the virtual reality model fits Buddhism teaching FAFAIK perfectly, solves lots of current physics 'problems' like special relativity, big bang, speed of light limit. With respect to the self, I think it is like there is this experience of space and time, but one is not contained in it. That which observes is more fundamental. In my experience there is a self, only not 'in' this universe. Much like a player in a multiplayer online video game isn't 'in' the game but connected to it experiencing the physics of the game. Jul 17, 2017 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


Some person got wet in the rain, and so he feels wet. Some other person didn't walk in the rain, and so he feels dry.

Thus feelings of people standing side by side in the same room can be very different.

Likewise, their thoughts can be very different. Likewise, their actions can be very different.

To explain that, it's enough to have understanding of causes and effects. Thus the explanation doesn't need notions like "subjectivity" or "self".

Investigating our experiences from the point of view of causality, we can discover illusoriness of "self" and "subjectivity".

Imagine such ideas - "self" and "subjectivity" - as opaque spots which taint our field of vision. When we realize that such ideas are illusory, it's like the spots became transparent. If we focus on them, we still might see them, but they don't hinder our sight anymore. We just look through.

Then we don't need to rely on such ideas anymore. Thus they will not lead to attachments.

That's what Mahayana (and Buddhism in general) teaches. "Self" and "subjectivity" are opaque spots where actually everything is transparent. Likewise, all the other ideas are like opaque spots, if we don't see through them.

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