The Tao and Zen of Self-selfing!







     I have a self or should I say an agency that accepts what the universe offers. I understand having no self if we are looking at the term Selfless. I like that. Being selfless. Open. Giving. Accepting. Aware.  How cool is that?

     Recently I was on the receiving end of words like delusion, mistaken, and confused. Wow. That could be, and probably sometimes manifest themselves via my  conditioning. But, not about this point. A well meaning person was trying to convince me that I was not a self and I would know this as soon as I had the experience of no-self. At the same time was pointing to the need to be a “stream entrant” in order to realize this non-self. I would think that only a self can decide that it is a non-self. A non-self wouldn’t know it was a self to not be. I know it’s strange isn’t it?  


     I am being encouraged by someone who reports having an experience (maybe not, he didn’t really say he had the experience) towards “teachings” that would enable me to somehow reach a stage that can only be reached by a state of non-intellectual “BEING.” I can’t “know” the “what” until I reach a place that I can only experience, come back, and assure people the non-describable experience has happened. Hmmm. If I am fortunate other people, who claim this experience, will support me in my claim. Hmmm. And, of course, I really need to believe in being a no self before I can achieve the no self experience and status. Wow. That sounds like a win win philosophy for the no-selfer’s. 

     I see I’m going to have to remain a self. True, I am a connected to all selves self, on occasion have experienced that stage of mind where thinking stops and clarity begins, and I’m a self that really is engaged in a meditative practice. But, still one of those unfortunate selves that will have to continue selfing. 

     I remain the “self selfing the self selfing.” (Thank you Kosho Uchiyama, Dogen, and the rest of the crew!

     All the Buddhas seem to point to there’s no point in pondering this issue. Outside of the fact that it’s fun and, at least some people, are the “not the selves.” It was postulated that I won’t be able to end suffering until I reach that state. Except there’s all sorts of people who have reduced their suffering by practicing all kinds of spiritual paths and religions. Not all of them are a not the self. 

     A quick thought on suffering. Ending suffering doesn’t mean to permanently delete suffering from the world. It means to end the suffering we are aware of in the here and now by paying attention to the process of suffering. The HOW of suffering. 

     Due to living in transience suffering will occur. We will pay attention, it will diminish, it will arise, we will pay attention, it will diminish. This is much more direct and human than the focus on universally “ending suffering.” Just a thought. I digress.

     The “is there a self or no self that is the question” question happens to be one of those philosophical things I get tired of. And, honestly, am working at moving away in terms of a “Peoples Dharma.” I see no value in the perspective one way or another. I need to point out that no one achieves any ideals including all the Buddhas, Religious hero’s, saints, or sinners. We all struggle with being human. There are no “special” states unless you want to believe in them, and then there are, at least in the mind. 

     In the next post I would like to discuss some practical means of reducing suffering that come from many areas. Until then if you have methods that work for you please share them. It’s doesn’t matter what discipline you follow or practice, if it works please share. 

Feedback is always appreciated. 

Big bow to you. 


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