Saturday, September 19, 2009

What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၇)

The Illusion Of A Permanent Self Or Soul

The Buddha taught that there is no essential or permanent core to a living being that could be considered one's true self or soul. What appears to be an individual person is actually a changing process of mental and physical qualities combining temporarily in a particular way. Through possessive attachment, the mind identifies with part or all of this process, and this gives rise to the sense of self, 'me' and 'mine'. In fact, all phenomena, animate or inanimate, are dependently arisen from causes and conditions. In a constant state of flux, all things are empty of independent inherent existence and the entirety of reality is a continuous flow of interconnected, causally conditioned events arising and passing away in the present moment

Rebirth however, still occurs without a soul. Consider the simile of a candle burning low and about to go out. A new candle is then lit from the old one. Though the old candle goes out, the new candle now burns brightly. What went across from the old candle to the new? There was a causal link, but no 'thing' went across Similarly, there was a causal link between one's past and present life, but no soul went across.

The Buddha taught that it is precisely this deep misunderstanding, the illusion of a self, that is the root cause of all human suffering. The illusion of self manifests as the ego, and the natural unstoppable function of the ego is to control. Big egos want to control the world, average egos attempt to control their immediate surroundings of home, family and workplace, and all egos strive to control what they assume to be their own bodies and minds. This attempt to control leads to attraction and aversion which consequently proliferates to acquire possessions, manipulate others and exploit the environment.

Although the sense of self seeks its own happiness, its insatiable craving repeatedly produces discontent. As long as one identifies with somethings as oneself, the inevitable result is a lack of outer harmony or inner fulfillment. Only through sharp insight based on profound meditation can this mirage be clearly seen for what it truly is. Only then can one know perfect happiness.

(to be continued.....)

What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၁)
What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၂)
What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၃)
What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၄)
What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၅)
What is Buddhism? (အပိုင္း ၆)

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