Friday, August 13, 2010
Nowhere to Dwell
I've been thinking and meditating lately on the concept of anatta, or no self. This seems counter-intuitive to Westerners like me, unless you seriously consider it.
Let's say I'm angry. Alright, where is the anger exactly? There it is, it is a hot sensation in my body, my vision is clear and focused, and my thoughts are repeating what made me angry to begin with. But more properly, isn't it the body and the mind that are angry, where "I" am actually watching it all?
Simply put, there is nowhere to hang anything on. There is no hook to hang labels such as "angry", "human," or even "Buddhist."
Let's say I'm holding a golden lion in my palm. I reach my arm out to you so you can see it. There is the lion, it is on my palm. We can try to say it is like this, the palm is the self and the lion is whatever we want to attach to it. But let's examine this more closely. The lion is on the palm, the palm is on the arm. The arm is on the body. The body is on the ground.
All this hangs is in consciousness. But consciousness, if you look closely, has no name or form. It is not red or blue, it doesn't make any sounds, it is not sweet or sour. Where is there then to hang any labels, or an idea of self?