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Each phenomenon (how impersonal and indifferent it is) is always looking to sustain itself. Am I right when I say that—in the same way—our habit patterns are obstacles that prevent/hinder us from seeing things as they really are because they fuel the fire of self?

  • I've changed the title to reflect the question. Feel free to correct if you think I've misunderstood. I suggest also changing the wording to use more ordinary language as I'm not sure what you mean by "system" and "evil energy". – Anthony Feb 16 '15 at 18:17
  • @qweilun - hope I made it clearer. – Guy Eugène Dubois Feb 16 '15 at 18:34
  • so, in other words, "our habits reinforce our belief in self, therefore our habits prevent us from seeing things as they really are." is this the same meaning as what you are asking? – Anthony Feb 16 '15 at 18:57
  • @qweilun - that's what I'm asking. Thanks for your help. – Guy Eugène Dubois Feb 16 '15 at 19:22
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Habits and patterns are like the water streams carving paths on earth when it rains. So when it rains again, the water follows the same paths. There's no self in the rainwater that made the paths and the rainwater that followed the existing paths. It's a process of causes and effect.

If habits are self, why is it hard to get rid of them? ex: smoking, drinking etc. And why do good habits need to be cultivated?

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Am I right when I say that—in the same way—our habit patterns are obstacles that prevent/hinder us from seeing things as they really are because they fuel the fire of self?

What you call habit patterns are basically your Karma (or Kamma in pali). Every action you perform with ego generates a force (similar to every action has a reaction concept in physics). However, this force may not materialize itself instantly, but depending on the conditions, its seeds are sown into your psyche. Then onwards, whenever these seeds bear their fruits, you will feel them becoming habit patterns in your life.

The fact is that you are constantly undergoing this process of sowing seeds and obtaining fruits all your life, as this is what samsara is all about. This cycle will continue for ages, in fact many lifetimes, unless you yourself decide to walk the noble eight-fold path and surrender your ego and five aggregates into the fire of Nirvana.

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Am I right when I say that—in the same way—our habit patterns are obstacles that prevent/hinder us from seeing things as they really are because they fuel the fire of self?

The Self itself is a habit.

We only believe in a permanent separate self because we have conditioned the mind over and over and over again through infinite aeons that it's real.Habits are repeated actions.So if you act repeatedly it becomes like second nature.Now we don't even question it.We have been thinking that there is a permanent separate self for a very very long time,almost beginningless.That's why it's ingrained deeply.

Not all habits fuel the fire of self though.As you may have a habit of practicing vippassanna or contemplate the Dhamma that works to counteract the strong belief in a separate permanent self.

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Having self-view is a latent tendency, which lead to craving. Tanhā Jālinī Sutta. Craving fuels the cycle of Dependent Arising.

Latent tendency ignorance arise from self-view. So self-view hinders our ability to see things as they are.

(1) Where does the latent tendency of sensual lust lie latent?
The latent tendency of sensual lust lies latent here in the two feelings [pleasant and neutral] of
the sense-sphere.
(2) Where does the latent tendency of aversion lie latent?
The latent tendency of aversion lies latent in painful (bodily and mental) feeling.
(3) Where does the latent tendency of conceit lie latent?
The latent tendency of conceit lies latent here in the two feelings of the sense-sphere, and in
those of the form sphereand the formless sphere.
(4) Where does the latent tendency of views lie latent?
The latent tendency of views lies latent in all states related to identity (sakkāya).
(5) Where does the latent tendency of doubt lie latent?
The latent tendency of doubt lies latent in all states related to identity (sakkāya).
(6) Where does the latent tendency of lust for existence lie latent?
The latent tendency of lust for existence lies latent in the form sphere and the formless
sphere.
(7) Where does the latent tendency of ignorance lie latent?
The latent tendency of ignorance lies latent in all states related to identity (sakkāya)

(Yam 268; cf Nyanatiloka 1971: 104) 

Secondary source: Anusaya by Piya Tan

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