Just as in Buddhism one's views and self are questions of importance for well being, I noticed my difficulties relating to spirituality relate precisely to those two topics.

On the one hand, I don't hold the belief in the intrinsic existence of the self and of views in general.

On the other hand, in writings I produce there arises views and self-related imagery which betray an attachment to those two things. In my fiction, there's great and visible conceit, a kind of obvious self-valuing. In the theoretical texts I write, the valuing of certain views is obvious. In both cases, it seems more a question of attached valuing than truly holding definitely those things as true.

Why am I valuing these (created views and self) with cherishing and esteeming, but still feel (perhaps out of some delusion) that they are not intrinsically real? What are the mental factors involved?

2 Answers 2


It's a mental conflict many practitioners face every day. I humbly submit how I perceived the cause and effect behind it:

1) You learn (i.e. intellectually) that Buddhism teaches the self is an illusion. However, you haven't realized (in both senses of the word) this yet.

2) Your self (Western psychology would say your ego) doesn't like this idea. Nor does your id. They perceive it as death. (In Zen for example attaining Buddha-hood is called "Great Death"). "If the self is an illusion, I don't actually matter/exist"

3) Ego and id will manifest more vigorously and alluring as you practice more, fighting against their "impending doom". They will cling to anything that affirms your individuality or negates your knowledge of the illusionary nature of self. To a certain extent, you could even consider it an instinctive survival mechanism.


Well, these things are emotional in nature, of course. It's not that we attach to things because of clear understanding, we hold things dear because of what they mean to us in terms of our feelings.

And our feelings are nothing but highly generalized value axioms, created by primary (first, strong) experiences.

So the usual course of meditation (as well as of analytical psychology a-la Freud) is to trace our biases back their roots in these primary experiences, so they can be de-reified, re-evaluated, re-interpreted, and finally dismissed in peace.

At the end of the day it all comes back to our feelings of pain and conflict vs. comfort and harmony. Things that stir conflict between something we settled on and something else - cause pain. Having no conflict is harmony. It's all very basic. No need to overthink, just look at it directly and you will see.

At least that's how it seems to this confused guy :)

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