Now separating self from perceptions for me is understandable. That Ego is just an illusion there is no self. But a question arises... Who is the watcher?

Can't I say that I am the watcher or is awareness the watcher and what I perceive as self is just awareness ?

Or I can just recognize "there is a watcher".

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Identity view (i.e., "I am...") is the first lower fetter.

the mendicants who, with the ending of three fetters are stream-enterers

To say "I am the watcher" simply perpetuates identity view. Identity view is a conceptual tool. Like all tools, it can be put aside. When identity view is put aside, "there is watching." With identity view, there is a prioritization towards the self. Without identity view, broader consideration becomes the norm. With identity view, the self controls--there is struggle to use and impose will. Without identity view, experience unfolds effortlessly.

To see this, meditate "there is breathing" vs. "I am breathing". When "I am breathing" there comes a cascade of questions ("Am I breathing well?", "Should I exhale now?"). When "there is breathing", simple awareness follows the breath in and out. Effortlessly.

Relinquishing "I", we relinquish the first fetter. There is watching.

As I currently understand with my own experience, the one who watches is just another self. The salient feature of this part of self is that it observes with no judgement, interpretation or opinion about phenomena that arise.

If you look very carefully, you'll see that all there is, is experience. The watcher is merely a logical inference. It's implied. We are just so used to this idea of self that we add it, we assume that experience has the one who experiences it. But the watcher is a lie, an inferred part of the experience.

Just look at your mind very carefully and you will see. The stimuli trigger associations. Then the thoughts follow one another through the mechanism of association. When you look at your mind you simply redirect attention to a different stimulus. Instead of a sensory organ the manas takes the content of Short-Term Memory as a stimulus and sends it to Long-Term Memory to seek associations. That's it, no watcher.

Everyone can say "I am a watcher" and "There is a watcher".

But when the noble ones are saying like that, they are realizing and understanding "there are just five aggregates, which called watcher, are arising and vanishing in the dependent origination cycle".

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