There is no selfexisting thing in ones experience

… of the five constituents of the process of perception namely mental images, sensations, feelings, perceptions, mental construction

With the five constituents of perception constituting for all of ones experience - is it correct to say that a thing actually exists being deterministically mentally constructed based on previous experience?

When i see a cat i know it is a cat because i have seen a cat before and a mental construction has been made naming cat and its associated mental images which are made with the activation of the sense organs. Does the cat exist or not? How does name ‘me’ differ from experience of ‘cat’? Is a virtual cat a cat? Do you need to touch it for it to be real? When it gets real? When the things get real

Hi, could you try shortening the topic’s / thread’s title?


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It sounds like the Buddhist version of a Puritan name. I kind of like it.

“There-is-no-self-existing-thing-in-one’s-experience Barebone”

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Hello friend.

Typically I would reply that these kinds of questions are not conducive to the path and it’s fruits and is In fact detrimental. However since dependent origination understanding is the main point of the question, I think it’s worth some discussion.

Based on MN148:

To preface. Using your example above. The eye and the form(cat) create eye consciousness. The 3 together make eye contact. With eye contact there comes either a painful, pleasant or neutral feeling. With the feeling comes craving for it or away from the form(cat).

So my point being. Just because you don’t know the name or the identity of the object, one of your 6 sense bases will still register it. If not your mind then your nose, eye, ear etc…

That all being said. It’s not a virtual cat, it’s an object, which is simply not me, mine or myself.

Sometimes it’s best to simplify our answers with what the Buddha taught as important and necessary for enlightenment.

I hope this helps or answers your question my friend.


You misunderstand me, those are rhetorical questions…

Eyes dont see objects and there is no actual cat youre seeing existing, experience of ‘seeing the cat’ is all there is, without an actual cat, you are never experiencing ‘object cat’ you’re experiencing ‘seeing cat’ because you have notion of ‘cat’ internally, not that there is cat you are coming in contact with externally.

If you think ‘im coming in contact with cat [externally]’ you are identifying yourself as body which the cat is coming in contact with, existing self and existing self of a cat.

Hi lovegood, welcome to the forum. I hope find interesting material here. :blush:


Hi, thank you

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The cat exists as an object/process that can be perceived by the 6 senses of humans. An individual human can perceive ‘cat’. Whether the person perceives ‘I’ am experiencing ‘cat’ (and all the proliferations and sankharas that go with this) or whether the experience of the senses occurs without identification and ownership is the key.

That is to say - see only what is seen (sight), hear only what is heard (sound), feel only what is touched/felt) etc…

AN 4.24 At Kāḷaka’s Monastery —Bhikkhu Sujato

At Kāḷaka’s Monastery24.SuttaCentral Kāḷakārāmasutta

So a Realized One sees what is to be seen, but does not identify with what is seen, does not identify with what is unseen, does not identify with what is to be seen, and does not identify with a seer.
Iti kho, bhikkhave, tathāgato daṭṭhā daṭṭhabbaṃ, diṭṭhaṃ na maññati, adiṭṭhaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhabbaṃ na maññati, daṭṭhāraṃ na maññati;
He hears what is to be heard, but does not identify with what is heard, does not identify with what is unheard, does not identify with what is to be heard, and does not identify with a hearer.
sutvā sotabbaṃ, sutaṃ na maññati, asutaṃ na maññati, sotabbaṃ na maññati, sotāraṃ na maññati;
He thinks what is to be thought, but does not identify with what is thought, does not identify with what is not thought, does not identify with what is to be thought, and does not identify with a thinker.
mutvā motabbaṃ, mutaṃ na maññati, amutaṃ na maññati, motabbaṃ na maññati, motāraṃ na maññati;
He knows what is to be known, but does not identify with what is known, does not identify with what is unknown, does not identify with what is to be known, and does not identify with a knower.
viññatvā viññātabbaṃ, viññātaṃ na maññati, aviññātaṃ na maññati, viññātabbaṃ na maññati, viññātāraṃ na maññati.

Since a Realized One is poised in the midst of things seen, heard, thought, and known, he is the poised one.
Iti kho, bhikkhave, tathāgato diṭṭhasutamutaviññātabbesu dhammesu tādīyeva tādī.
And I say that there is no-one who has better or finer poise than this.


As for when the things “get” real, i like the following story:

Tit Porngn went to visit the Venerable Abbot of the nearby monastery. At one point, he asked:

“Eh, Luang Por, the Buddha taught that everything is not-self, and is without an owner – there is no-one who commits kamma and no-one who receives its results. If that’s the case, then I can go out and hit somebody over the head or even kill them, or do anything I like, because there is no-one commit-ting kamma and no-one receiving its results.”

No sooner had Tit Porng finished speaking, when the Abbot’s walking stick, concealed somewhere unknown to Tit Porng, swung down like a flash. Tit Porng could hardly get his arm up fast enough to ward off the blow. Even so, the walking stick struck squarely in the middle of his arm, giving it a good bruise.

Clutching his sore arm, Tit Porng said, “Luang Por! Why did you do that?” His voice trembled with the anger that was welling up inside him. “Oh! What’s the matter?” the Abbot asked offhandedly. “Why, you hit me! That hurts!”

The Abbot, assuming a tone of voice usually reserved for sermons, slowly murmured: “There is kamma but no-one creating it. There are results of kamma, but no-one receiving them. There is feeling, but no-one experiencing it. There is pain, but no-one in pain … He who tries to use the law of not-self for his own selfish purposes is not freed of self; he who clings to not-self is one who clings to self. He does not really know not-self. He who clings to the idea that there is no-one who creates kamma must also cling to the idea that there is one who is in pain. He does not really know that there is no-one who creates kamma and no-one who experiences pain.”


I’m wondering how the cat sees things. :tiger2:

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I’m wondering how I’m seeing things :smiley: I think cat starts seeing things (haha) similarly to me - sense organs get activated by the environment and the self and the world (subject and object) is unconsciously conceived by grasping at certain signs and features in that experience in the process of perception.

Paticca sammupada explains both when things get real and how seeing things happens.

I can see why you say that. But it’s all a interrelated Web of phenemona. If you think the cat doesn’t exist, poke it on the nose so that it will bite. You will experience a lot of suffering. If you think the cat exists, love it. And then when it dies you will definitely suffer.


I neither think and adhere to ‘cat exists’ nor ‘cat does not exist’, i simply know how ‘cat’ came to be.

It’s like understanding magic trick. First one would think that whats happening in the trick is real, but then by seeing and understanding how the trick works he no longer holds the trick as really happening nor not being real. Where before he saw trick and got tricked he now sees how the trick comes to be.

Then, what was the added value of emphasizing “there is no self existing thing in ones experience” if you don’t mind me asking?

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I’m not sure what you’re asking, this is a thinking exercise in relation to understanding process of perception which i think is important and, if someone wants, discussion about perception / cognition around that.

Why understanding the process of perception, as presented in your post, is important?

For example, if you get aroused by looking at a member of the opposite sex, and then, you explain your experience by calling it “not real” or “a magic trick” or “mental construction” …etc. How does any of that prevent similar experiences from arising again in the future? Or, is your notion of what is “important” from a Buddhist perspective is different?

It’s not an explanation, its a thinking exercise. The only way one can derive some value from it is if he engages in wise contemplation on the theme presented.

No that is not how i would explain or prevent the situation you present, you misunderstand me.

What constitutes a wise contemplation of the theme you presented?

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Any kind of contemplation on the theme which is in harmony with eightfold path.

:warning: :hole: :cat2: :walking_man: :eyes: :meditation:

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