Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No I, No Self

Question (Unedited)
If there is no self at all, who is meditating? your body? your mind? Are we something bigger than just humans? and when we die, who is being reborn?

Thank you!

My comment:
Hi Kt,

Thank you for asking me.

The Buddhist concept of "no self" is not to be literally translated as such. The Pali term is "Anatta".  What the Buddha meant was that there was no permanent,unchanging self.  There is no permanent unchanging soul.  There is no permanent unchanging "I".  In order to understand this concept, we need to know the Buddha's revelation of what constitute a person.  A person is comprised of matter (physical body) and mind.  We know that this physical body will perish one day.  It is not a permanent entity.  The mind is also not a permanent unchanging phenomenon.  The mind is always in a state of flux.  There are thought moments continuously going on in the mind.  This is the consciousness or energy that gives the mind its substance.   The energy of the mind is just like the electric current flowing continuously, but no two moments are the same.
The existence of a person is the results of the energy of the mind taking existence in this physical body. The nature of life-form that this mind energy affixes to, will depend on the nature of the accumulated "kammic" store-house which the being had generated throughout its numerous life existences. If the kammic storehouse has a greater portion of evil and unwholesome kammic energy, this mental energy will seek a rebirth in the appropriate existence such that the evil and unwholesome energies will actualize in that life, causing agony and suffering for the being.  Likewise, wholesome kammic energy will seek out a happy rebirth.  Often, the kammic energy is a mixture of both good and bad strains.

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