1

I'm energetically trying to uproot the view of self, meaning, the sense that there is a subject of experience.

I have read/heard authors such as Sam Harris and Joseph Goldstein say that the self as a subject of experience "cannot be found" or "is not there in the first place."

Sam Harris, Page 92

The self that does not survive scrutiny is the subject of experience in each present moment— the feeling of being a thinker of thoughts inside one’s head, the sense of being an owner or inhabitant of a physical body, which this false self seems to appropriate as a kind of vehicle.

And yet, however one looks for it, this self is nowhere to be found. It cannot be seen amid the particulars of experience, and it cannot be seen when experience itself is viewed as a totality. However, its absence can be found— and when it is, the feeling of being a self disappears.

Josteph Goldstein, No-Self (17:00)

Losing the self is not necessary, you don’t have to get rid of the self because it is not there in the first place.

Is it be more accurate to say that the self as a feeling that there is a subject of experience "cannot be found" or "is not there in the first place."?

Since, when an object is known, how do you deny there being someone who has done the knowing of the object?

1

-- Is it be more accurate to say that the self as a feeling that there is a subject of experience "cannot be found" or "is not there in the first place."?

No, the feeling that there is a subject of experience is real. The illusion is real. This is like rainbow - the appearance is real, it's just not indicative of its real nature. When you get closer and start looking carefully it disappears and you only see the individual components.

-- "Since, when an object is known, how do you deny there being someone who has done the knowing of the object?"

The actual subject is unreal, it is inferred. When you stop inferring it, you will clearly see that the experience occurs without a subject. Experience is all there is. Then, from memory, comes an attitude to the experience, which then becomes a thought about the experience. Neither the memory nor the attitude nor the thought are the subject of experience. We infer that "the direction" the thought/attitude comes from -- must be the subject. But if we examine what lies in that direction - all we find is our memory of past experiences.

The feeling of "subject being aware of itself" only occurs when we turn attention to reflect upon our mind - in which case "the experience" comes from manas as opposed to an external organ, but the memory/attitude/thought sequence remains the same. See my answer to How to experience Anatta for a detailed analysis of this state. The bottom line is, it is only a thought following (experience of a) thought. If you look carefully, there is no subject.

  • So the subject of experience - not the feeling - is itself inferred, an illusion. Meditation sometimes lets me see it's possible to be aware of the object without the subject. But how do I see this is not just a temporary distraction from the subject, and see that the subject is and always was an illusion? Sam Harris seems to say Dzogchen has methods to cut through the illusion of self quickly, are you familiar with these? – avatar Korra May 22 '18 at 22:25
  • Page 135 "I came to Tulku Urgyen yearning for the experience of self- transcendence, and in a few minutes he showed me that I had no self to transcend." – avatar Korra May 22 '18 at 22:26
  • 1
    When you look from aside, you can't see experience, you can only see the brain etc. When you look at a live brain, would you say that it is the brain that is the subject of experience? – Andrei Volkov May 23 '18 at 0:40
  • 1
    Subject is an abstraction. Abstractions cannot be found in ontological reality, they exist in the sphere of intellect. When the author writes about his experiences - there were eyes, ears, brain, personal background, education, preconceptions, interpretations, events, circumstances - and on the basis of all that happened something we call "experience". And then, in the virtual reality of that experience, we postulate an abstraction for the experiencer of the experience, and call that "subject". – Andrei Volkov May 23 '18 at 2:53
  • 1
    Thank you. So we construct an abstraction, or make a label, for all those empty phenomena you listed, and designate it "the author". – avatar Korra May 23 '18 at 3:14
1

Knowing is a part of the experience. An experience is merely the arising and vanishing of the five aggregates: Rupa(form), Vedana(feeling), Sanna(perception), Sankhara(mental formations), Vinnana(knowing/awareness).

If the meditation is done correctly, the awareness can be seen as merely an aspect of the experience along with the other 4 that comes and goes. Not as a person.

0

Namo Buddhaya.

If I ask you , who says that there is no self ? You will say Joseph Goldstein says so. If I ask you , who is Joseph Godlstein ? You will say the one who wrote the book. But if I ask you, is the Joseph Goldstein who wrote the book was same as the Joseph Goldstein who is present now ? You will say no. If I ask you , is the Joseph Goldstein who wrote the book was different from the Joseph Goldstein who is present now ? You will say no. Joseph Goldstein is similar and different to the Joseph Goldstein of the past. Thus ,you will find that there is no permanent,unchanging identity called Joseph Goldstein. That is why Buddha declares Sabbe Dhamma Anatta. All phenomenon are without Self.

Now the question is where is the idea of self arising ? The conceiving of the Self arises due to clinging , due to attachement. When the mind identifies itself with form , feelings , perceptions, consciousness and /or volition formations as me or mine then self is said to conceived. It is like a disease because form is not self, feelings are not self , perceptions are not self, consciousness is not self and volitional formations are not self yet we conceive self as one or some of the five aggregates.

Is it be more accurate to say that the self as a feeling that there is a subject of experience "cannot be found" or "is not there in the first place."? Subject of experience is existing like a disease if there is a clinging. If you do not cling to the experience as me or mine then there is no self to be found.

Since, when an object is known, how do you deny there being someone who has done the knowing of the object? I am the knower of your question but am I the same person who read the question and who answered the question ? Or am I the different person ? Answer is I am neither the same nor the different person. I am similar and different. It means that there is no permanent , unchanging self called Me. I do not deny someone has done the knowing of question but that someone can not be called to have self.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.