2

According to the Yamaka Sutta quoted below, a run-of-the-mill person thinks one of the following:

  • the form to be the self
  • the self as possessing form
  • the form as in the self
  • the self as in form

And the same applies to the other aggregates.

If someone says with identity view, that "I am a professor", "I am an American", "I am successful" etc., what would this case be?

Is "professor" a mental fabrication? So, "I am a professor" (with identity view) would be the case of assuming a mental fabrication to be the self?

From the Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85):

"In the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

2

"I am a professor" is conceit not self view. But if self view arises before conceit as "professor is attā", then the conceit, which arises after that, will become misunderstood conceit.

The explanation

There are 3 clauses in tipiṭaka:

  1. "etaṃ mama-this is mind" is thought by taṇhā.
  2. "esohamasmi-I am this" is thought by māna. <<< this is conceit.
  3. "eso me attā-this is my attā" is thought by diṭṭhi. <<< only this one is compatible with your quoted identity view, Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85).

But there are the complicated arising of taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi, because taṇhā must co-arises with only one, diṭṭhi or māna, per mind-moment arising. And diṭṭhi can't co-arises with māna. So:

2 taṇhā = 1. sotāpanna's taṇhā 2. puthujana's taṇhā.

2 diṭṭhi = 1. sotāpanna's diṭṭhi 2. puthujana's diṭṭhi.

3 māna = 1. we are the same 2. I am better 3. I am worse.

  1. There are sotāpanna's taṇhā and 3 māna of sotāpanna, but there are not diṭṭhi of sotāpanna.
  2. There are 2 taṇhā, 9 māna, and 2 diṭṭhi of puthujana.

Therefore, there are just 3 māna of sotāpanna, but there are 9 māna for puthujana, 6 Diṭṭhi-Before&After(misunderstood) and 3 No-Diṭṭhi-Before&After māna's arising (right understood).

  1. "eso me attā-this is my attā" is thought by diṭṭhi. <<< only this one is compatible with your quote, Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85).

There are 20 sakkāya-diṭṭhi which thinking about attā in Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85).

  • It doesn't mean arahanta can't call himself "professor", but it means arahanta remember himself and the others as the same value "anicca/dukkha/anatta aggregates" even though he call himself "I am a professor". – Bonn Aug 14 '18 at 19:34
1

Conventionally, "I am X" is a simple inclusive assertion of a facet of identity. Since professor-ship is acquired post-birth, it would pertain to the delusion/conceit of possessing an earned identity:

the self as possessing form

However, in the context of native citizenship or genetic identity, the situation would be somewhat different if the delusion did not include rebirth. I.e., the delusion would be about inherent identity:

the form as in the self

Generally, the materialistic acquisition of objects or traits serves the delusion of self as super-aggregate of all these possessions.

0

"I am a professor" belongs to the volitional formations or the sankhara category. Sankhara defines the behavior(conditioned behavior). As a professor you are expected to be able to teach. But this behavior is Anicca. This behavior is also the cause of suffering. Therefore Professorship is Anatta. To say " I am professor" is unfortunate if you cling to the idea that you will forever be the teacher but if you can say "I am a professor" without clinging to the idea of ever lasting teacher then you have just destroyed the reason to suffer due to such statements which shows attachment. The impermanence of professorship takes away the conceit regarding the job.

Similarly for "I am an American" and "I am successful".

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