We have a strong sense of self all the time but a vague idea about what it really is. Then we panic and grab onto what is not self as self and it lets us down every time – it lets ‘us’ down – we still have a very strong sense of self and we need to have – otherwise what kind of being would we be? Continue reading Who is experiencing this present experience? Which ‘I’ am I?
Consciousness in this sense depends on its object for its existence and character, and there are as many of them as there are mind moments. So it’s a collection, aggregate, bundle or collection of things – hence called a skandha… Continue reading What is the skandha of consciousness and how is it different from awareness?
A Student writes: If you ‘Awaken’ fully do you disappear? Lama Shenpen replies: This is a very interesting question. I think the answer is maybe but not necessarily – and I believe there is an element of choice involved in this too. I am reading a book called ‘Rainbow Body and Resurrection – Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body and the Case of … Continue reading If you awaken fully, do you disappear?
Even though our experience of it is distorted, we have access to its qualities already. They shine through our confusion and are what lead us out of it. We need to learn to be subtle about recognising what are the Buddha qualities and trusting them, and what is ego grasping and letting that go. While we are still only on the path, it’s not easy to distinguish between them. Continue reading What’s the difference between ‘personal mandala’ and ‘ego mandala’?
The question is whether ‘self’ has any meaning in Buddhism, since it speaks so much of ‘not-self’, which is a realization of the emptiness of the notion of self as we normally understand it. There could be an infinite number of layers to our sense of self, each of which would be a different kind of self. The coherent self that is the knower, the actor, the controller of a being is like the kernal of its associated personality, which supports and is supported by it. It is like a hard central core, which changes, depending on how deep into its nature one has gone. Each level of insight causes a collapse into a deeper, subtler, and more strongly held sense of self. Each level of insight brings one closer to what that self is in itself. Continue reading Article: Five Uses of the Term Self in Buddhism