14

Identity view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi) is the first of the ten fetters.

The "eradication" of identity-view is important towards enlightenment.

Presumably, "eradication of identity-view" is more than simply claiming, "Yes, there's no self anywhere!!"

So, how should one understand what "identity-view" is, and whether it's eradicated?

If "eradication" of identity-view marks an important step or stage, can that eradication be analyzed into smaller substeps (e.g. is there an 80-step lesson plan or set of tests towards eradicating it)?

Can you give some of important examples of the practical consequence of identity-view: how it affects belief and behaviour? So that it might be possible to use the presence or absence of these beliefs and behaviours to test whether identify-view exists or has been eradicated?

Is "eradication of identity-view" synonymous with having no habits?

Can you recommend any competent English-language literature on this topic?

If there are not good questions to be asking about identity-view please suggest better ones!


Among the reasons why I'm puzzled are the that Culavedalla Sutta for example seems to describe it:

As he was sitting there he said to her, "'Self-identification, self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"

"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."

Is identity-view the same then as being aware that skandhas exist? The same as being attracted to (clinging to) sense-objects? Isn't the answer to that, "No that's not true, because 'sensual desire' is the fourth fetter"?

Also, questions about the self come with a warning: "This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, etc." -- so I have not been trying to analyze that (views-about-self) ... but maybe I am supposed to know what identity-view is?

7

From my perspective, when it comes to eradication of identity view, there is analytical level, and then there is the level of day-to-day intuitive action.

On analytical level, it is a clear direct understanding that:

  • the boundaries of ("external") entities are conventional designations;
  • thoughts come from perceptions plus associative memory, not "I think";
  • actions arise the same way as thoughts, not "I decided";
  • the ocean of information and causation is the source of its own existence-activity;
  • identification with a living organism is not necessary (but understandable and even inevitable given the way intelligence is mediated by organic life at this place at this time);

On the level of daily activity, it is what R. Barzell said, operating without an unspoken assumption that there is some inner core that needs to be protected from "external" threats, who deserves something, who is better or worse than someone, whose case has to be promoted etc.

Why is it (eradication of identity view) enlightening? Because identity view is a quintessential element of the childish, oversimplified, mistaken view of the world, and is one of the major contributors to suffering, both at social as well as at individual level.

  • 1
    I love this statement: "the ocean of information and causation is the source of its own existence-activity". Ocean is my favorite metaphor of... um... well, you know. – user2341 Jun 29 '15 at 3:19
10

Well, here's my take on Identity view. I think it's relatively compatible with the Sutras, but should not be considered an exposition of them.

First, what is this "self"? One answer is that it's your reaction when contemplating the following questions...

1. When you feel pride in an accomplishment, what is the recipient of this pride?
2. When you feel offended at being insulted, what was insulted?
3. Who is the "star" of your narrative?
4. What is the agent that wills and acts and controls thought?

Identity views cause pain since this self is something that can come under attack and hence becomes a source of worry and regret (see #3) and conflict (see #2). Further, suffering continues because experience becomes filtered and emotionally laden because of how it's seen to relate to this "self" (see #3). Then there's the fact that desires are in reference to a "self" -- when you seek desires, you seek to feed this "self".

So the goal is to suspend belief in a self. This doesn't mean claiming it doesn't exist -- but rather, letting all beliefs about it go. That's the only way the apparently contradictory claims of the Sutras (and the various view fetters) make sense to me.

You suspend these beliefs by inquiring into the nature of this self. Be mindful and present to your experience, especially when confronted with 1-4, and inquire deeply into this "self" that seems to present itself. During meditation (or in quieter times) try to focus on this sense of "I" and go through the Skhandas to see if you can find any self there. You can even look at it logically; if the self is "you", the thing behind your consciousness (not that I'm claiming it is), then how can you be aware of it, as to be aware of anything means its an object of consciousness and not the subject?

As for Western approaches to the self, I think the most systematic treatment is Derek Parfitt.

After that, there's David Hume. Here's a PDF outlining his identity views.

And here's a passage from Hume (from here) about his views on a self. This may make a good object for meditation, and the relationship to Skhandas is clear:

For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are remov’d for any time, as by sound sleep; so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions remov’d by death, and cou’d I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate after the dissolution of my body, I shou’d be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is farther requisite to make me a perfect non-entity. If any one upon serious and unprejudic’d reflexion, thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason no longer with him. All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular. He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continu’d, which he calls himself; tho’ I am certain there is no such principle in me… But setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.

  • 2
    excellent, very practical. – Anthony Dec 18 '14 at 2:52
  • You said: "when you seek desires, you seek to feed this 'self'." This strikes me with such clarity and force that I feel like if we could convey this simple message to everyone, the whole world would be enlightened at one stroke. – user2341 Jun 29 '15 at 2:46
  • @nocomprende Thanks! I really wanted to convey this relationship clearly, so I'm delighted this resonated with you! – R. Barzell Jun 29 '15 at 18:31
5

Is identity-view the same then as being aware that skandhas exist? The same as being attracted to (clinging to) sense-objects? Isn't the answer to that, "No that's not true, because 'sensual desire' is the fourth fetter"?

The Samanupassana Sutta might help you in answering some of the questions you asked above. I think the Samanupassana Sutta makes the difference between sakkāya-diṭṭhi and clinging to sense-objects quite clear by illustrating what exactly is meant by sakkāya-diṭṭhi (and it can also be said to extrapolate on the terse teaching of the Culavedalla Sutta). You could also refer to the Maha-nidana Sutta for the teaching on "Delineations of a Self". And, although this may be a bit unrelated to your question The Brahmajāla Sutta also describes some pernicious speculations on self and the Buddha's warning against such speculations and holding such speculative views.

Delineations of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.'

"Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and infinite, either delineates it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and finite, either delineates it as formless and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and infinite, either delineates it as formless and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite obsesses him.

Non-Delineations of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one not delineate when not delineating a self? Either not delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, not delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and infinite.'

"Now, the one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and finite, does not delineate it as formless and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and infinite, does not delineate it as formless and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite does not obsess him.

Assumptions of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming feeling to be the self, one assumes that 'Feeling is my self' [or] 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling]' [or] 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now, one who says, 'Feeling is my self,' should be addressed as follows: 'There are these three feelings, my friend — feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of these three feelings do you assume to be the self?' At a moment when a feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that moment.

"Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pain, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished.

"Thus he assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled in pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away, he who says, 'Feeling is my self.' Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume feeling to be the self.

"As for the person who says, 'Feeling is not the self: My self is oblivious [to feeling],' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, where nothing whatsoever is sensed (experienced) at all, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling].'

"As for the person who says, 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then with feeling completely not existing, owing to the cessation of feeling, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"If anyone were to say with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' is his view, that would be mistaken; that 'The Tathagata does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' is his view, that would be mistaken. Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves: Having directly known that, the monk is released. [To say that,] 'The monk released, having directly known that, does not see, does not know is his opinion,' that would be mistaken.

And,

Can you recommend any competent English-language literature on this topic?

The Study Guide by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on The Five Aggregates may be a reasonably good choice.

5

"Presumably, 'eradication of identity-view' is more than simply claiming, 'Yes, there's no self anywhere!!'"

From [my understanding of] the Theravada standpoint, in terms of practice, it is definitely more than simply claiming something like that.

"So, how should one understand what 'identity-view' is"

[edited]: I suppose there is no other way but to actually practice following the instructions and the clues and similes on the texts. Monk's answer quotes a sutta (Maha-nidana) that I think is quite unique. Most of the other suttas describe a formula like:

"Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever form [feeling, perception, etc], past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that form must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

-- SN 22.59

"Regarded with proper wisdom" implies, then, that it is not an inclination to be taken at face value, but "directly seen". So, wisdom ha to be developed, say, through the practice of vipassana (see Satipatthana sutta), which benefits from well developed concentration/samadhi (thus, the development of the jhanas), and these require Sila to be developed, and so on.

Other suttas help to further explain, in brief, debate, simile or in more detail what exactly is meant. For example (again SN 22.59):

"Form, O monks, is not-self; if form were self, then form would not lead to affliction and it should obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since form is not-self, therefore form leads to affliction and it does not obtain regarding form: 'May my form be thus, may my form not be thus.'

(The above line of argument is often used by the Buddha when debating with a Brahmin).

Or the famous Nagasena and King Milinda debate (technically not "Buddhavacana"? but, apparently, part of the Burmese khuddaka nikaya):

[...] "How then did you come on foot, or on a mount?"

"I did not come, Sir, on foot, but on a chariot."

"If you have come on a chariot, then please explain to me what a chariot is. Is the pole the chariot?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Is then the axle the chariot?" No.."Is it then the wheels, or the framework, of the flag-staff, or the yoke, or the reins, or the goad-stick?"..."Then is it the combination of poke, axle, wheels, framework, flag-staff, yoke, reins, and goad which is the "chariot"?"... "Then, is this "chariot" outside the combination of poke, axle, wheels, framework, flag-staff, yoke, reins and goad?"

"No, Reverend Sir!"

"Then, ask as I may, I can discover no chariot at all. This "chariot" is just a mere sound. But what is the real chariot? Your Majesty has told a lie, has spoken a falsehood! There is really no chariot!

-- Milinda Panha

Outside buddhism (and quite interesting from a materialistic point of view) some scientists have come up with estimates for how long it takes for a body to have all its cells replaced (quick google showed this article on nytimes). Similar estimate for atoms arrive at the "obvious but not so obvious" conclusion that our bodies are actually completely different (ie. it's a 100% "another body") from what they were some time ago (maybe, except, for tattoos?). That's without going subatomic...

"[how should one understands] whether it's eradicated?"

This might be one of those things that "you know when you know". Simultaneously, one of those things that people "believe they realized but didn't" -- granted, not a very helpful answer.

I think if, for each description the Buddha provides for one who does not possess identity-view, one's mind works perfectly according to it (plus, any other associated factors developed by side-effect), than this person is quite accomplished (if not fully accomplished) in this matter.

"Can you give some of important examples of the practical consequence of identity-view: how it affects belief and behaviour? So that it might be possible to use the presence or absence of these beliefs and behaviours to test whether identify-view exists or has been eradicated?"

In general, it opens the door for all kinds of misunderstandings, hindrances, fetters, further craving and clinging, birth & death, etc. Some suttas describe in more detail (but not that much detail), for example:

The Blessed One said: "Not knowing, not seeing the eye as it actually is present; not knowing, not seeing forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye as they actually are present; not knowing, not seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — as it actually is present, one is infatuated with the eye... forms... consciousness at the eye... contact at the eye... whatever arises conditioned by contact at the eye and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

"For him — infatuated, attached, confused, not remaining focused on their drawbacks — the five clinging-aggregates head toward future accumulation. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that — grows within him. His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances grow. His bodily torments & mental torments grow. His bodily distresses & mental distresses grow. He is sensitive both to bodily stress & mental stress.

MN 149

"Is 'eradication of identity-view' synonymous with having no habits?"

I don't think so. The way I understand, it is simply the abandoning of any doctrine of self, displaced by the understanding of conditions, arising and cessation of whatever was once regarded as 'I' and 'mine'. I think it's reasonable to assume that such person could still mantain the habit of eating.

"Is identity-view the same then as being aware that skandhas exist?"

Hm, no (at least, if you mean 'it exists' in the contemporary sense, not in the "sutta-sense" were it is implied that such thing is/has an eternal self). As I understand, from ignorant to arahant, a person is still aware of skhandas, six-sense doors, etc.

"[Is identity-view] The same as being attracted to (clinging to) sense-objects?"

Not clinging to the sense-objects, but to any of the skhandas, as the sutta quoted in the question. Perhaps, a specific kind of clinging that takes place as a person regards the skhandas as self.

"Isn't the answer to that, 'No that's not true, because 'sensual desire' is the fourth fetter'?"

I don't think sensual desire equates to clinging. Even if that was the case, I think the clinging to a skhanda, in this context, is not really clinging to any sense-object, but to an illusory self clothed as a skhanda.

  • You wrote "... the instructions and the clues on the texts", and "... each description the Buddha provides". Would you identify which 'texts' and 'descriptions' help to answer this question (unless you meant only MN 149 which you already cited)? – ChrisW Dec 18 '14 at 20:22
  • Thank you for writing, "... displaced by the understanding of conditions ...". I found it a bit easier to understand 'displacing' (i.e. replacing one view with a different view) than to understand 'eradication' (i.e. replacing a view-of-self with ... nothing or the unknown). – ChrisW Dec 18 '14 at 20:25
  • Sure, I elaborated a little more. I don't have quite at hand the suttas that deal with anatta, but a search on accesstoinsight.org for, say "this is not my self" may, hopefully, offer more pointers. – Thiago Dec 18 '14 at 21:05
  • Do you understand why "the combination of poke, axle, etc." is not "the chariot"? Is that just because "the chariot" is being used as a simile for something eternal, i.e. soul (Ātman). – ChrisW Dec 18 '14 at 22:09
  • I don't know, that puzzled me too. I imagine he refers just to these things "thrown together" but not properly assembled as a "chariot" – Thiago Dec 18 '14 at 22:12
1

At the Buddha's time there were many philosophies an religion around Atta and Sakkāya. Some off them took the form that the aggregates are Atta and with some saying particular aggregate is Atta.

In order to remove identity views in my opinion the following training would be beneficial:

  1. Eliminate the perception of self
    • External form as a possession in relation to one self. My car, my wife, etc.
      • With you expect some thing to be mine and something unwanted happens you become miserable
    • Being in control
      • Things going out of control becomes a pain
    • Faculties and physical form being part of self
      • Weakening eye sight would be a pain
    • Conciousness of form being in relation to one self. This is what I say. I heard so.
    • Sensation arising from contact effecting oneself as the subject. He hut me. It is too hot. He said good thing about me and made me happy.
    • Perception being in relationship to self. My view.
  2. Realise there is no:
    • Core or eternal part

What you have to realise is when you build a perception of one self and there is a gap in the perception of one self and reality misery follows. Generally perception of one self is superior or inferior and even at times if realistic as things change gaps will appear. Also you cannot always close the gaps and trying would be very tedious. Any expectation of one self will not always be met hence again resulting in misery. When you realise a certain perception is unrealistic you should abandon it and replace it with a realistic view. When you have fully dissolved the notion of a self and ego you are free from misery arising by grasping onto this wrong perception. Use of non self is also not very accurate as this it self is view but abandoning the identification or perceptions of self as with any perception cannot be very accurate and many lead to perceptions as there will always gaps. This is a paradigm shift in thinking. When you stop reacting hence do not create any unpleasant sensations regarding any gap or you do not identify gaps with a grasping or expecting it to be otherwise you know you do not have identity view any more. Initially this will be a temporary suspension until you get stream entry there you have seen something beyond the sense sphere.

Like wise meditation with a view to realise there is solid core and true nature of all mental and physical also helps realise and overcome the view on identities. As you progress in meditation you see that certain aspects of the aggregates are not permanent. Initially this will be physical form and the last will be perceptions (part of mental fabrications). Then you will see something beyond perception and sensation then your view is complete that there is noting which is eternal. This I have elaborated more in my answer to: How do I integrate Vipassana practice into daily life?

Also see:

1

[warning, mystic tries to apply logic...] To prove that something is true, you can assert that it is false and show that it leads to a contradiction. (You cannot prove that something is false, you can only try to prove truth and fail in a blindingly obvious way.) So, assert that there is no self and then we can prove that there IS a self, right? But in the scriptures it has been shown that no contradiction is reached.

As a practical matter, if I tell you that there is no self because: 1. it would have to be impermanent 2. it is subject to change 3. it is not anything particular (I might have some of the details wrong here) then does that lead to a contradiction for you? No, life goes on pretty much the same, so it seems obvious that the theory of self has no support.

"Eradication" is an important word because it suggests a relentless process over a period of time, not a sudden insight (although it could become obvious suddenly, the groundwork must go in first). How to accomplish it? Accept that it is true and like Diogenes with his lamp, look for it everywhere you go. It MUST become obvious, because it is the truth. You ask why it is important to know this (being the first of the ten fetters it must be important): because it is the truth. We function properly with the truth and not so with error (for large values of error).

You ask if identity-view is various things and then seem to contradict yourself, so I will not address each separate question. Identity-view is simply the perspective of thought (view) that a particular, permanent, unchanging self of any kind at all must exist. Nothing in the world works this way, so why we think it would be uniquely true of a self is delusion. A wrong idea. If you think that there is a self, reconsider. At some stage, it will not make sense to you anymore, and later it will become clear why identity-view is just wrong. It amounts to superstition (also one of the ten fetters. 2 points!)

Then, you can try to explain it to other people : )

  • IMO the first job (of several jobs) of a scientific view (aka theory) is to fit the observed facts. Also IMO: given the facts we observe, either of two views (e.g. "this is self" and "this is not self") are tenable (at least temporarily). But the former is conducive to suffering and the latter leads towards the end of suffering; it's not that the latter is truer (or that the former is easy to dismiss using proof-by-contradiction), it's that we should choose/prefer the latter view because it's more beneficial. – ChrisW Jun 29 '15 at 6:48
  • Texts like Anatta-lakkhana Sutta say "must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus" and "is [it] fit to be regarded thus" ... i.e. not whether it's "true" to be regarded thus but, maybe, more like whether it's worthy, noble or "right" to be regarded thus. – ChrisW Jun 29 '15 at 6:51
  • @ChrisW: I am still pondering that quote by George Stanley: "You have confused the true and the real." Some people say that truth is beauty or beauty is truth, which seems like a similar ideation. But Ideations can never be true. So maybe I am agreeing with you? The self cannot be true, because it is only a thought that we have about ourselves. Paraphrasing from Alcoholics Anonymous: "First the man has a thought, then the thought has a thought, then the thought has the man." Terrifying. – user2341 Jun 29 '15 at 16:47

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.