Has doctrine of self become more in modern times?

This is my question in my mind today when reading my Samyutta Nikaya hardcopy.

I think with the advent of the digital medium, the expansiveness of what can apply to “me” has the potential to be denser and more complex than ever before. Although not fundamentally different from what it was like 2500 years ago, the draw seems to be far more powerful on account of immediate access to preferred sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. I do think it is much harder to practice now than it was then.

A cruise ship can sink just as easily as a rowboat under the right conditions, so we just have to be a bit more clever to overcome how elaborate things have become.


I been learning of the beliefs we create in what we are because attachment styles. Our self-beliefs is so much more complex.

I am worthy or unworthy etc

Going back to wanting existence or non-existence kinda. Wanting to be worthy can turn into wanting attention. Not feeling worthy, then you won’t have high self-esteem to go retreat and believe you can do 3 months.

So much more than whats in suttas is needed to truly get the essence of our body as layperson as samyutta nikaya calls it. I think meaning our highest benefit in this life.

I think the doctrine of ‘self’ has become more in modern times due to the growth of individualism and the reduction in communal values. The whole political shift to ‘the right’ and the fact the new ‘left’ (about identity politics) resembles the old ‘right’ (about individual rights) is indicative of this political shift to the right; which is a political, social & individual shift towards ‘self-cherishing’. In most Western countries, there is no tangible difference between the purported left vs right wing political parties, which is indicative of the character of the general electorate. In fact, many traditional right wing parties are now campaigning using old left-wing or ‘populist’ policies. This seems to show how salient self-cherishing has become when the political landscape seems utterly confusing. I think the root of all of this is personal/selfish greed. More technologically efficient materialism (means of production) results in more materialistic personal/selfish greed plus more personal/selfish sensual desires; more sensual becoming & more material becoming. In short, greed & lust causing self-view to arise very aggressively & competitively. :saluting_face:

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The OP question shows an inability to separate the public self from the practice self (Anguttara Nikaya 3.40), which means ultimate and conventional reality have not been separated in the first place.

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mind elaborating? i was going to throw in my 2cents but ill spare everyone if im starting from the wrong place anyways.

Please pose specific questions.

How does the public self differ from the practice self?
How does one separate the public self from the practice self?

If we were to pose the original question in a better way that paid attention to these details what would be your response then?

Anguttara Nikaya 3.40 shows there should be a practice self upon which motivation relies in the initial stage. The reasons given in the sutta will differ slightly in the case of a layperson. The public self is what is imposed upon the practitioner when they function in the public sphere. Even the arahant is subject to these projections:

“An arahant monk,
one who is done,
effluent-free, bearing his last body:
He would say, ‘I speak’;
would say, ‘They speak to me.’
knowing harmonious gnosis
with regard to the world,
he uses expressions
just as expressions.”—Samyutta Nikaya 1.25

This depends on the separation of conventional and ultimate reality in the first place, one samsara, the other nibbana. The reason for this omission is the practitioner not realizing the unconditioned element should be categorized from the beginning. Just as light and shade are elemental, so when there is conditioned reality, there is always an unstated unconditioned, knowing one is dependent on the other:

“There is, monks, an unborn[1] — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that escape from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, escape from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.[2]”—Udana 8.3


I agree. Thats wonderful writing.

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Sensual desire world selves

Form world selves

Formless selves

Do sutta give some example?

For me its, waking,dream and deep sleep selves.
But then if so have we created more self in them?