Friday, 9 March 2018

Daily Zen



Central to the Buddha's teaching is the doctrine of anatman: "not-self"." This does not deny that the notion of an "I" works in the everyday world. In fact we need a solid stable ego to function in society. However, "I" is not real in an ultimate sense. It is a "name": a fictional construct that bears no correspondence to what is really the case. Because of this disjunction all kinds of problems ensue. Once our minds have constructed the notion of "I," it becomes our central reference point. We attach to it and identify with it totally. We attempt to advance what appears to be its interests, to defend it against real or apparent threats and menaces. And we look for ego-affirmation at every turn: confirmation that we exist and are valued. The Gordian Knot of preoccupations arising from all this absorbs us exclusively, at times to the point of obsession. This is , however, a narrow and constricted way of being. Though we cannot see it when caught in the convolutions of ego, there is something in us that is larger and deeper: a wholly other way of being.
         "On the Doctrine of Non- Self," with John Snelling -- from Elements of Buddhism, John                    Snelling (Elements Books, Inc., 1990)
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