This has started in another topic but deserves one of it’s own
I propose all who believe a self exist or that a self might exist a challange: Let’s do something super unique, something that has never been done on a buddhist forum. It is done countless times in the suttas, but it has yet to be done on a buddhist forum:
Let’s debated the problem itself, not weather Buddha had this opinion or that opinion about it. Let’s just debate the problem itself. Where is this self that you believe might exist hiding ? Is the body yourself ? Nope, cause it is changing. It was in one way when you were little. It didn’t even exist before. The body that you have now is different than the one that existed when you were a baby.
Most people can easily see their body is not their self because of this. They then go to believe “it is a self that is observing all of this. The self is the thing observing it all”. When questioned even further, they either believe consciousness is the self or that the aggregates as a whole somehow make a self. These are the 2 main ideas that the mind will jump towards next.
If anyone believs there might be a self hinding somewhere, that the human is not as selfless as a computer, etc. - then present your arguments. Say what is on your mind. We see this happening all the time in the suttas, it’s the natural thing to do when hearing about these no-self teachings. And yet, to my knowledge, it has never been done on a buddhist forum in so many years.
“MY self is changing all the time, my ever-changing connection to the body is myself, and my ever-changing mind is somehow my self too. It’s all in a flux, everything is changing and my self too. And please don’t tell me that I’m not allowed to believe in a changing self - why would I need to follow your strange buddhist logic?”
You assume there is a self that is changing all the time. You assume this self has a connection to the body. Before starting with “this self is doin this and that”, what is the evidence for this self existing in the first place ? It’s just like discussion about a God that is either good or bad, is either humanoid or looks like an octopus, etc.
If things that change can be yourself, then why can’t the body be yourself ? Why can’t the trees and leaves of the forest be yourself ?
Stop a little and think about it. Can your body actually be yourself ? In that case, your self dissappeared long ago. Your baby body was yourself. Now yourself is no more. This new body that you have is a different self.
You’re applying Buddhist logic, I don’t. Yes, some self disappeared long ago and some other self came later, and now there is another again. I already stated, MY self is in constant flux. I don’t understand why I need to prove it. Can you prove even that you’re thinking? It doesn’t mean that you don’t think…
There was a self that dissappeared long ago and new selfs that appeared after ? All that I see is that a baby body made out of matter dissappered and different matter appeared. I don’t see a self there, I don’t see an unicorn there, I don’t see a God there, I don’t see a giant monkey there.
I see the same that I see when a computer or a car is destroyed. There is just matter that got destroyed, I don’t see a self there being destroyed.
In this case, tell me why the self of this computer I am writing on didn’t die long ago and re-appeared again right now, etc. Why does this computer not have a self and you do have one ? What if this computer too has a self or a unicorn or a giant monkey inside, dying and reappearing all the time.
The biggest problem here is that if you say that baby body was yourself, then that self is no more. If there is a self, there are things that belong to that self, things that make up that self. You can’t have a thing without anything making it up, a thing that is made out of nothing. That’s just an imaginary thing.
And coming back to that baby example: Why was that baby body yours and not that of another person ? What if it belonged to someone else entirely.
See ? If you have a self, you have things belonging to that self.
Actually I don’t see. It appears to me that you say “Make arguments exactly like in the suttas, so that I can refute them exactly like in the suttas”.
I’m not a “soul-scientist”, so I can’t tell you how it all works. I just know that I am, and I am changing. It’s like I know how to ride a bicycle, and you tell me “Well, if you ride a bicycle, then build me one from scratch. And if you can’t then your bike is clearly imaginary”.
The knowledge that the sun is shining is not a perception, not a conviction. It is simply knowledge, just like the knowledge that a computer has about a virus being present, if it has an anti virus installed. That knowledge present in the computer is based on information + ability to process.
The knowledge that the sun is shining is based on the same 2 elements: information + ability to process.
What I asked you is on what information is this knowledge that exists in you - “I know there is a self” - based on. Isn’t it based on a feeling ? A feeling + ability to process ?
The ability to process exists because of the way your brain is built, same as ability to process information in a computer is based on the hardware and software installed. It is the information part that I am concerned about. When this knowledge that “I know there is a self” appeared - what is the information based on which that appeared ? Isn’t it a particular feeling ?
To me it’s the simple self-evident knowledge that ‘I am’
But the sun is shining regardless of someone processing it, isn’t it? It might look yellow to me and colorless to an insect or just energetic to a plant, but would you doubt that it’s shining nonetheless?
That is because of the different ability to process present in humans or insects or solar panel computers etc. That ability to process will give rise to a different perception. But there is an information existing there that gave rise to it in the first place.
In the same way I am asking what is the information on which this knowledge that “I know that there is a self” is based on. Is it not based on a particular feeling ? Did it not appear because of a particular feeling ?
There is a feeling that “this is mine, this is myself” etc. that appears from time to time. For example when watching a movie, such a feeling might not appear at that particular moment. But, when you thought about this and made your third post in this topic, there was a moment when this feeling appeared. In a particular second, there was that specific feeling existing.
Because of that particular feeling, then the opinion that “there is a self” is born. If there would be no such feeling, such an opinion would not arise.
You assume that everything is conscious. It’s like thinking the sun has disappeared at night. It’s constantly shining of course but is veiled by an object. But my whole being is suffused with this conviction. Even if I don’t have the explicit thought or feeling, it is still operating through me all the time. Every thought or mind-event carries with it the undercurrent of ‘I am, I am, I am…’
And this opinion that you wrote right now, is it not based on that particular feeling that we spoke about ? Why not have a different opinion ? Could such an opinion as the one you just wrote arise without that feeling ever existing ?
You said it yourself “I have this opinion because I just feel it. You can’t deny that I feel it”. And no, I do not deny that you are feeling that. On the contrary I am saying the same thing, that that opinion is based on that feeling that exists.
If such a feeling would not exist, such an opinion would never arise.