Wednesday, June 18, 2003

birthing the self

i have been reading a lot of Buddhism lately. wondrous, joyous, liberating. what insight, what wisdom, and what compassion that the Buddha had to share it all with us.

one of the things that i find really fascinating is that we really don't have a self. we do, but it is not real -- it is something that we create as each moment passes. liberation, freedom, heaven is realizing this and then once and for all, ridding ourselves of the illusion of self of the compulsion to birth one all the time.

self is not so much a thing as it is a habit. thinking is a habit -- a compulsive one at that. every time we think, we create a self -- why? Descartes said it best, "i think, therefore i am." what this means is that in order for thought to occur, there needs to be a self there to think it. so, when we have an opinion, or an assessment of something, someone, or we think about a desire that we have (and we identify with those things), we birth a self. think how many times a day we do this! over and over again...

this may not sound like a bad thing, but the downside is that we also birth a lot of suffering in the process. for suffering to exist, a self is needed as a pre-requisite. no self, no suffering. this does not mean that Buddhists do not experience pain, they do, but it is an experience like any other -- there is no "thought, assessment, identification" with it, so there is no suffering. it is an observation of a sensation. pain, happiness, jealousy, anger - these are all sensations in the body -- the arise, they fall -- they are not permanent. inasmuch as we identify with them, we create a self. "i am angry, i am jealous, i am happy, etc." the other option, the Buddhist option is to say, "there is anger, there is jealousy, there is happiness." this is not claiming ownership of any of these things -- it is not MY anger, jealousy, happiness, etc., they are just there.

Some of my Samsaric thinking

I dislike fear
I hate obsessions
I like feeling light, free, open
I dislike olive oil in jasmine rice and black-eyed peas
I crave meat, pasta, pretzels, java chip ice cream
I hate waking up tired in the mornings
I love to sleep - it is so delicious
I hate duplicity and power - together and separately
California is bliss

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